The Workwear Edit
In the past few years I think vegan fashion has come on leaps and bounds. When I started blogging it was more of a struggle to find chic, modern clothing that didn’t contain any animal products. Now I’m constantly discovering new vegan brands or at least brands that don’t use any animal skins, furs etc. I believe vegan clothing is slowly becoming the new norm, and hopefully, in around 5-10 years, fabrics like leather, fur and wool will just be distant memories of fashion’s past. I can dream anyway…
I often ask other vegan fashion bloggers what types of clothing or accessories they find difficult to source vegan versions of, and thankfully most people say nothing! However, some do say they find it hard to find nice workwear that doesn’t contain leather, silk or wool. I myself have encountered this issue as I recently started a new job and needed to find some appropriate work clothes (my last job wasn’t too strict with dress code) I tried looking in charity shops for some second hand high street clothes that could work, but they were either seriously out-dated or not my size/style.
I took my search online and was getting a bit frustrated with the lack of results, when I came across a really good article on The Good Trade called “16 Ethically-Made Workwear Brands For The Modern Working Woman”. Whenever I see the word ‘sustainable’ I approach with caution, as it can still include animal products, which really baffles me but hey, that’s another conversation for another day. I checked it out and it had a really great list of brands that specialise (or were accidentally really good at) in workwear. A few I knew already like Everlane, Komodo, People Tree and Eileen Fisher, but the rest I hadn’t heard of before (jackpot!)
My ‘office’ style is block colours, simple silhouettes and classy but comfortable. I like to feel smart but still look like me, and it has to be versatile, i.e. be able to go into a meeting in the same outfit I’ll meet my friends after work in. I found so many great pieces on these websites, I was really spoilt for choice. A few of them were based in America so I knew the shipping would be painful – so I tried to stick to UK and Europe brands, I guess that’s more ethical in a way as it cuts down on transport and therefore C02 emissions.
I ended up buying from Thought, Komodo and Boden, and spent £247 in total. I’m being honest with you guys about how much I spent as I need to make it clear that this was an expensive shop and these brands are ethical but not cheap (I mean, that’s why they’re ethical) I’m keeping track of how much I spend on clothes in 2019 and how often/what I buy, at the end of the year I’ll do a blog post about it :)
You can find out more about each brand on their websites (tagged above) but I picked them because they were either wholly or mainly vegan, used organic materials and practiced ethical sourcing and manufacturing processes. Click on the images below to visit their websites, I’ve also listed their ‘Good on You’ ratings:
I was concerned with the Boden rating but I checked out their website and found that they list all the factories that make their clothes, are part of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) and is part of other social networks like the HER Health Programme and Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) You can obviously make up your own mind but I wanted to support this London-based brand who are clearly trying to create clothes ethically and sustainably, even if they haven’t got the ratings to prove it yet!
Here’s what I bought from each brand:
Thought: Rozalie Organic Cotton Blouse £32.00
Komodo: Shaena top £30.00 + Skinita Bamboo top £40.00
Boden: Melina Paperbag Trousers £80.00 + Hampshire 7/8 Trousers £65.00
And here are some of the looks I created with these pieces for workwear outfits…
This is the Shaena top from Komodo and the Melina Paperbag trousers from Boden. I just added some old leopard print loafers I had from years ago. I like how simple this outfit is yet really classy.
Here I styled the Skinita bamboo turtleneck top from Komodo with my People Tree trousers that I bought in January and some new loafers from M&S vegan footwear range. I like how the coat takes this from smart office wear to a more relaxed look. This outfit is super comfy and the bamboo top is really soft!
This is the Rozalie organic cotton blouse from Thought and the Hampshire 7/8 trousers from Boden. Again, I kept this simple with just a pair of ballet flats I already had. You could tuck in the blouse but I feel it’s made to be worn more relaxed than that.
For this look I paired the Richmond trousers from Boden with a wrap blouse I already had from Vera Moda from a few years ago. I wore this with the M&S loafers as the gold detailing works well with the deep yellow in the top.
My top tips for buying vegan workwear are:
Look for brands that use sustainable material (not just polyester because it’s technically vegan!)
Find out if the company pays a living wage to it’s garment workers
Go for simple, versatile pieces that you can make several outfits out of, that way you won’t need to buy as much
Opt for timeless classics over trend-led pieces, this will mean you’ll want to wear these clothes forever!
If you know of any vegan and sustainable fashion brands that make good workwear please let me know! I’m really into more classy looks at the moment and I’d love to discover more brands to promote. Thanks for reading :)