5 Tips for Defining Your Personal Style | Creating an Ethical Wardrobe

When I started trying to create an ethical and sustainable wardrobe, a few years ago, I had a major shopping problem.

I also had ZERO sense of my personal style. I treated clothing more like a costume, like a character I would be for the day rather than a true extension of myself.

When I first learned about the problems with fast fashion, I donated most of my clothes to adopt a simple, versatile 18 piece wardrobe.

5 Tips for Defining your Personal Style | Creating an ethical and sustainable wardrobe from www.goingzerowaste.com #sustainable #ethical #fashion #personalstyle #style #sustainablefashion

It did not go according to plan. I HATED it, you can read more about it in this post. And, I’ve been slowly figuring things out since then.

It’s been about a year that I’ve really started learning personal style, color scheme, understanding what I do and don’t like about clothing, and of course nailing that ever elusive personal style.

I feel like I’m finally, FINALLY hitting a pretty good rhythm. My personal style has developed by creating boundaries.

Many times when you think about personal style, you think about what you like. For me, I love power suits, frilly dresses, boho chic, edgy, vintage, preppy - I love ALL of the styles. But, it’s not necessarily practical for me to wear a power suit when I work from home.

And, I hear you, “Wear what you love!!” But, honestly, I’m not going to sit around my house and go to the grocery store in a suit. I’m just not going to do it when my old pair of jeans and a sweater sound sooooo comfy.

It’s not about what I like, it’s about what I do.

5 Tips for Defining your Personal Style | Creating an ethical and sustainable wardrobe from www.goingzerowaste.com #sustainable #ethical #fashion #personalstyle #style #sustainablefashion

1. dress for what you do:

Many of us get caught up in the fantasy idea of dressing for who we want to be rather than dressing for who we are.

My best recommendation is to sit down and write out the activities that you normally participate in. My list looked something like this.

  • work from home/weekend (7x a week)

  • attend client meetings (1-2x a week)

  • speaking/panel discussions/interviews (1-2x a month)

  • go out with friends/date night/party (1-2x a week)

  • dressier (1-2x a month)

From this list you can tell that the majority of my wardrobe should probably be jeans and sweaters.

When we go to our closet and think, “I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR!?” It’s because we haven’t bought appropriate clothes for the certain occasions.

Once you’ve figured out your categories, you can start putting together outfits that fall into each of these categories, and figure out where you have holes in your wardrobe.

  • work from home/weekend - typically jeans/pants, simple top/sweater, casual dress

  • attend client meetings - a little more formal, typically no denim

  • speaking/panel discussions/interviews - NO denim, blazers, silk shirts, slacks

  • go out with friends/date night/party - skirts, dresses

  • dressier - cocktail attire

I’m currently going through my closet creating outfits and putting them in one of these categories. I also have themed categories for costumes… but that’s because I’m a theatre kid and more than half of our parties have themes….

But, I figured that’s probably only relevant to me, and theatre kids everywhere.

5 Tips for Defining your Personal Style | Creating an ethical and sustainable wardrobe from www.goingzerowaste.com #sustainable #ethical #fashion #personalstyle #style #sustainablefashion

2. get realistic about the weather:

This is my personal denial. Which I guess to say, if you’re in denial about anything, then it’s time to come clean to yourself.

I realized that I’m always living like I’m leaving. I’ve moved over 20 times. I’ve moved 5x in the last 5 years. I’ve never stayed in a place longer than a year, so I prevent myself from truly settling in and creating a true home with my space.

And, I’ve treated my closet the same way. I am from Arkansas. It is either hot or cold. It isn’t hot and cold in the same day unless there’s an unusual weather event.

In Northern California, it is consistently hot and cold in the same day. You wake up with it being 40 degrees then it heats up to 78 or 80 and everything bakes because there’s no A/C and when the evening comes around the fog has rolled in and it’s dropped back down to 40.

You have to dress in layers, and my wardrobe has never been layerable. So, now I’m shopping with layers in mind, and I’m thinking about how my wardrobe has to come together because most outfits will need four pieces.

  • Top

  • Bottom

  • 1st layer (typically a sweater)

  • Outer layer (a coat or jacket)

5 Tips for Defining your Personal Style | Creating an ethical and sustainable wardrobe from www.goingzerowaste.com #sustainable #ethical #fashion #personalstyle #style #sustainablefashion

3. know your pain points:

Ah, yes, the pain points. This is where I realized how petty and particular I am. Honestly, I HATE how finicky I am, but it’s better to be honest with yourself about all your quirks upfront so you don’t wind up wasting your money on something you never end up wearing.

You’re going to read this list and think I’m out of my mind, but the fact is every piece of clothing that meets this criteria gets about 100x more wear than the pieces that don’t.

  • HATE clothing that has to be fidgeted with

  • I have to be able to walk at LEAST a mile in any pair of shoes comfortable (i.e block heels, no taller than 2-3”)

  • natural fibers (NO POLY!) Favorite fibers are wool, viscose, tencel

  • In summer, I don’t like wearing sleeves under the 1st layer

  • Really like white tops with colored and unique bottoms

  • Tops MUST be fitted or at least tailored

  • Can’t stand shoulder details that prevent you from layering

  • Have white husky who’s hair gets on everything. (!) EVERYTHING (!)

ACTION ITEM! Pour yourself a glass of wine, beer, kombucha, whatever floats your boat and get serious about the things that drive you nuts, and the things you LOVE.

5 Tips for Defining your Personal Style | Creating an ethical and sustainable wardrobe from www.goingzerowaste.com #sustainable #ethical #fashion #personalstyle #style #sustainablefashion

4. discover what flatters you:

Do you know your body shape? If you don’t, measure your bust, waist, and hips. With a quick google search you see what styles flatter your proportions. I’ve struggled a bit with ethical fashion because many of the shapes just aren’t flattering to my body shape.

I’m pear shaped which means that my hips are larger than my bust. If I wear a shirt that’s large and open at the bottom, it tends to exaggerate how large my hips are.

And, I love my hips and my booty! I’m not trying to hide or disguise them, but I do want to look proportional and balanced. I also want to show off and highlight my small waist. And, wearing shapeless shirts tends to hide the part of my body that I want show off.

Not necessarily literally showing it off, but accentuating it with the clothing that I’m wearing.

Knowing what I want to highlight, really helps me shop for clothing.

ACTION ITEM! Take some time to figure out what parts of your body you’d like to highlight. Maybe that’s your arms or waist or legs! Whatever it is, once you figure it out you’ll

5 Tips for Defining your Personal Style | Creating an ethical and sustainable wardrobe from www.goingzerowaste.com #sustainable #ethical #fashion #personalstyle #style #sustainablefashion

5. color palette:

This year, I got really serious about a color palette. To make sure I was on the right track I went to see Donna Fujii who does color analysis.

It was such a fun experience, I went with some friends and left with a swatch book of shades that look best for my coloring. Thankfully, I was already on the right track color wise, but after that appointment I narrowed it down to my favorite colors.

  • Blush Pink

  • Navy Blue

  • Baby Blue

  • Wine Red

Now, when I go to the thrift store, I only look at these color sections. I don’t look at the green or purple sections because I know I don’t really reach for those colors and they won’t play into the color palette that I’ve already built for myself.

5 Tips for Defining your Personal Style | Creating an ethical and sustainable wardrobe from www.goingzerowaste.com #sustainable #ethical #fashion #personalstyle #style #sustainablefashion

If you want to follow along with me building out my sustainable and ethical wardrobe please give me a follow on my other instagram account!

build a wonder wardrobe:

If you’re still struggling, my friend Daria from Wonder Wardrobe has created an awesome e-course to teach you how to make a flattering, coordinating wardrobe that works for you.

I just started the course and I’m really interested in learning how to make my pieces more interchangeable. She makes these wardrobes for YouTube and it’s absolutely fascinating! I LOVE her channel. Seriously, it’s mesmerizing to watch - check out this video.

 
5 Tips for Defining your Personal Style | Creating an ethical and sustainable wardrobe from www.goingzerowaste.com #sustainable #ethical #fashion #personalstyle #style #sustainablefashion
 

Ethical and Sustainable Jewelry Brands

Diamonds might be a girl’s best friend, but I’m not sure they’re the Earth’s. To extract diamonds, gemstones, and metals, there’s a lot of strip mining and politics involved. 

Metal mining, gold mining in particular, is one of the most environmentally destructive kinds of mining around. Not to mention millions of gold miners earn low wages in hazardous working conditions.

The good news? You don’t have to give up wearing jewelry to be eco-friendly! There are plenty of amazing, ethical and sustainable jewelry brands out there. 

5 ethical and sustainable jewelry brands from www.goingzerowaste.com #ethical #sustainable #jewelry #ecofriendly #labgrowndiamonds

the problem with metals:

Metal mining destroys landscapes and produces a huge amount of toxic waste. In fact, gold mining companies generate about 20 tons of toxic waste for every 0.333-ounce gold ring.  YIKES.

The waste produced, usually a gray liquid sludge, is laden with cyanide and toxic heavy metals. Many gold mines dump this waste directly into natural bodies of water. It’s estimated that 180 million tons of toxic waste from mines is dumped each year - isn't that insane?

You can imagine the kind of havoc this causes for coral reefs and other ocean life. 

One top of the that, the Amazon rainforest is being slashed and burned to make way for unsustainable metal mines. When mining for precious metals mercury is often used to extract gold from rock and sediment.

Mercury is toxic it pollutes the environment, and can wreak havoc on miner’s health. As you can imagine, many miners face a number of health concerns, and are often subject to poor safety standards and inhumane labor practices. 

I think it’s clear that we need to stop supporting unethical and unsustainable mining practices.

The good news, metals can be recycled repeatedly without losing quality, and a lot of jewelry companies are now using recycled metals. This, of course, decreases the demand for new metals to be mined, and encourages recycling

And, as I’m sure you’ve heard it 1000x - are you really recycling if you don’t buy goods made from recycled materials?

the problem with diamonds:

As I’m sure many of you know, diamonds and gem stones aren’t without their flaws either. Diamond mines can be full of exploitation and violence stained by forced labor, torture, beatings, even murder. 

As far as environmental impact goes, irresponsible diamond mining can cause soil erosion, deforestation and in extreme cases can cause entire ecosystems to collapse.

There are several abandoned mining pits where wildlife has vanished, the topsoil has eroded, and land once suitable for farming has become desolate. 

The one good thing about diamond mining is that it doesn’t make use of toxic chemicals, like gold mining does, bu it’s still important we advocate for more responsible mining practices.

Lab grown diamonds and gems are a great sustainable alternative since they’re free of mining and exhibit the exact same optical and chemical properties as mined diamonds. 

Lab grown diamonds are beautiful, sparkly, and grown in highly controlled laboratory using advanced technology that duplicates the exact conditions a diamond needs to develop as they would in the wild.

One of the main problems with the jewelry industry is the lack of transparency. It can be a bit difficult to trace sourcing on both metals and gemstones. Even companies using The Kimberly Process (diamonds that have been certified to be "conflict-free") have run into issues due to lack of transparency and loopholes. ⁠

making better choices:

I know that it can feel hopeless, but here’s a few ways for you to find out a bit more info:

  • find a local jewelry maker where you can ask them about sourcing

  • opt for antique, vintage, and secondhand pieces

  • look for recycled and upcycled aspects

  • use local gemstone mines with sustainable practices. Did you know you can go digging for diamonds in Arkansas? It’s a huge field and you’re given a shovel. The Uncle Sam diamond was found there - the largest diamond, over 40 carats, ever found in the US.

And, of course, I’ve rounded up a few eco-friendly jewelry brands!

smiling rocks:

Smiling Rocks creates some beautiful pieces with lab grown diamonds.

You’ll find rings, necklaces, earrings and bracelets in their shop. I love how you can customize your search too, based off of carat, metal, metal color, price and style.

Still, perhaps one of the best things about this company is their commitment to giving back. 

For every purchase made, Smiling Rocks will donate 10 percent to the charity of your choice. You can choose to help fund educational support, environmental protection, medical support or animal protection. Either way, your money will be going to a good cause.

Another cool fact about Smiling Rocks? This company will be launching a Carbon For Carbon initiative. 

Carbon For Carbon will research the amount of CO2 produced by one human cycle and then seek to  offset this by planting trees to improve the environmental impact of unnecessary carbon usage. Pretty innovative huh?

Check out their out their new arrivals, but My personal favorite is the Essentials Geometric Necklace and the Essentials Petite Earrings.

5 ethical and sustainable jewelry brands from www.goingzerowaste.com #ethical #sustainable #jewelry #ecofriendly #labgrowndiamonds

luna & rose:

Looking for some unique pieces without any flashy gems? Luna & Rose is your new go-to shop. 

They make truly beautiful jewelry using an entirely closed loop production system. That means they have zero waste from any of their collections, which is very impressive. 

Their pieces are made from recycled sterling silver (so hard to find!) and gold. Their silver product is recovered from the residues of copper, nickel and lead refining processes, seeing as silver is mainly found in ore bodies together with these metals.

The silver is recovered from a bunch of miscellaneous sources such as industrial scraps and end-of-life applications (like electronics and electrical scraps). Isn’t that awesome? 

If they happen to have left over stock of a particular piece or style, they can just melt the silver down and re-use it for their next collection. This creates a super innovative closed loop where nothing is wasted.

Another thing to love about this company? They participate in 1% For the Planet, which is a global movement that connects businesses, consumers & non-profits committed to addressing the pressing issues facing the planet. 

As a partner to 1% For the Planet, Luna & Rose are taking responsibility and pledged to donate 1% of their annual sales to two charities that will give back to the environment.

Luna & Rose also supports Take 3 For The Sea, a non-profit that encourages people to take 3 pieces of rubbish with you when you leave the beach or any waterway. If you purchase one of their charity t-shirts, $25 from the sale of each tee goes directly to Take 3 For The Sea. 

And yes, they do sell other items besides jewelry at Luna & Rose too. They’ve got shirts, scarves, sandals, towels, tote bags and even wallets available for sale.

As far as their actual jewelry goes, there’s lots to choose from: Necklaces, saint pendants, motherhood pendants, earrings, rings, bracelets, charms and chains all make the cut. 

If you know someone who just had a Communion or a Confirmation, one of their saint pendants would be a lovely present to give. Know someone who just had a baby? Consider gifting one of their thoughtful motherhood pendants.

I personally really love their To The Moon And Back necklace - so cute.

5 ethical and sustainable jewelry brands from www.goingzerowaste.com #ethical #sustainable #jewelry #ecofriendly #labgrowndiamonds

gjenmi:

Looking for fine jewelry that celebrates women, uses quality materials and is conflict-free? Look no further than Gjenmi. 

Gjenmi creates handcrafted pieces that have a timeless, feminine air to them that are inspired by antique and vintage jewelry. The jewelry is also made right in Los Angeles, CA. 

I love how dainty and sweet their pieces are. They’re super pretty and so eye catching in a very classy manner.

Most importantly, all their collections are made with recycled gold and conflict-free stones. 

Gjenmi creates jewelry that’s meant to last and become instant family heirlooms. It's such a nice thought to be able to pass along such beautiful jewelry to your future daughter, granddaughter or niece after you’ve enjoyed it.

Gjenmi offers a stunning range of rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings to choose from. 

Something extra unique about Gjenmi is that they let you customize your own ring stack. They have signature pairings they offer as a single purchase that look so pretty together it’s almost criminal.

They also have some very beautiful collections to choose from. I especially love the Mother Earth collection because it’s inspired by California’s rain and super bloom.

Top picks: Shelly Baby Necklace, Staple Lariat, and Sibling Ring

5 ethical and sustainable jewelry brands from www.goingzerowaste.com #ethical #sustainable #jewelry #ecofriendly #labgrowndiamonds

au-rate:

If you’re looking for super unique, ethically made jewelry, AU-Rate is for you.

They have some of the most interesting designs available, presenting a modern, sleek look that’s not too showy or in-your-face. It’s the perfect balance between unique and subtle, done right.

Everything is handcrafted in NYC using only the finest, ethically sourced materials that are designed to last forever.

AU-Rate always uses conflict-free gold and conflict-free diamonds in their stunning pieces. Their gold is 100 percent recycled, which is great because gold can be repeatedly recycled without diminishing in quality. 

They strictly adhere to the Kimberly Process for their diamonds, but they don’t think that’s enough. They make sure the mines they deal with offer fair pay, safe working conditions, respect local indigenous people and protect the environment.

Their pearls are also sustainably farmed and sensitively harvested to ensure the wellbeing and biodiversity of the marine environment. On top of that, the pearl farms AU-Rate works with are family-run and create job opportunities for local communities.

Yet another thing to love about this company? They’re super passionate about giving back to the local community.

AU-Rate supports the developing literacy of students in New York. In partnership with Mastery Charter, they’ve given thousands of books to schools and students across the city.

For every purchase made, AU-Rate puts a book directly in the hands of a child that needs it. That’s amazing to me.

As far as their actual jewelry goes, you can’t go wrong with any of their beautiful pieces. 

I especially love how they’ll let you try on up to 5 pieces of jewelry at home for free. You get to keep it for 7 days and if you’re not in love, you just send them back. You only pay for what you decide to keep.

Be sure to check out their new in jewelry – I'm especially in love with their Simple Pearl Bracelet.

5 ethical and sustainable jewelry brands from www.goingzerowaste.com #ethical #sustainable #jewelry #ecofriendly #labgrowndiamonds

secondhand:

Prefer a cheaper, simpler solution? Purchase your jewelry secondhand. 

Vintage pieces have so much character, plus the resources needed to make them have already been used up. This creates no additional waste. 

Purchasing secondhand also keeps a perfectly good piece of jewelry out of the landfill. Not to mention you can come across a lot of good bargains. 

Try going to your local thrift store and seeing if they have any vintage jewelry for sale. 

Also, sometimes you don’t even need to buy secondhand. You can get secondhand jewelry from a loved one!

Has your grandmother or mother ever given you a family heirloom? Cherish it always and keep close tabs on it, because that’s certainly way more sustainable than buying new. And it has so much more value because it comes from your family line!

You can also ask any of your female relatives if they have any jewelry they don’t wear anymore that you’d be happy to take off their hands. 

Does your sister have a jewelry box she rarely touches? Ask her if you can go through it! The worst you’ll hear is ‘no’, after all. 

5 ethical and sustainable jewelry brands from www.goingzerowaste.com #ethical #sustainable #jewelry #ecofriendly #labgrowndiamonds
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Guest Post: Ariana Palmieri is the founder of Greenify-Me.com, a blog dedicated to zero waste living and sustainability. Her work has been featured on MindBodyGreen, Green Matters, The Penny Hoarder and several other publications. Get her free e-book "10 Ways to Reduce Trash" by signing up to her newsletter and learn how to reduce your waste today.

18 Ethical and Sustainable Summer Dresses

It’s time to break out the cute summer dresses! With the warm weather here, you can’t go wrong with a classic sundress.

There’s only one problem: Most summer dresses made in the fast fashion industry aren’t sustainable. They’re made using unethical practices and produce a ton of textile waste.

18 ethical and sustainable dresses you'll be wearing all summer long from www.goingzerowaste.com #summerwardrobe #dresses #summer #ethicalfashion #slowfashion #sustainable

Several of the links below are affiliate links for more information please see my disclosure policy.

One of the most sustainable things you can do is wear what you already have, so that no new materials or resources are wasted in creating the dress. I really do encourage you to look in your own closet first and see what you have or host a clothing swap with friends!

However, if you’re in the market for a cute new dress, then I’ve got you covered. Here are several ethical and sustainable summer dresses you’ll want to wear all summer long.

christy dawn:

Christy Dawn creates some ultra-swoon worthy dresses. Seriously, and her summer collection is no exception.

These dresses look like they stepped straight out of a fairytale with their pretty florals, soft colors and flowy skirts. I can totally picture myself wearing these dresses and just chilling in a beautiful meadow, hands down.

What I love most about Christy Dawn dresses is the fact they’re made using only deadstock materials. In other words, the residual fabrics left over from major fashion houses.

They literally take textile waste other fashion brands create and repurpose it into something beautiful. If that’s not amazing, I’m not sure what is.

 My top picks are The Delphine Dress and The Rosemary Dress

18 ethical and sustainable dresses you'll be wearing all summer long from www.goingzerowaste.com #summerwardrobe #dresses #summer #ethicalfashion #slowfashion #sustainable

balzac paris: 

If you’re looking for chic, trendy, French-inspired dresses, look no further. Balzac Paris has you covered. 

All the dresses are made thoughtfully using sustainable materials like cotton or Tencel. Tencel is made from a cellulose fiber conceived from Eucalyptus pulp. It’s a completely biodegradable material, which is awesome.

Also, some dresses are even made from textile scraps from other popular outfits in their collection. This saves tons of textiles from entering landfills (where they’d just sit and waste away for no reason). 

They also occasionally use modal and elastane in their dresses. Modal is produced from renewable cellulosic plants such as beech trees, bamboo and pine trees, making it a biodegradable fabric. Elastane is basically similar to spandex, so it’s not biodegradable, but Balzac Paris makes sure to use minimal amounts in their dresses, if any at all.

Most of their dresses are made completely from Tencel or cotton, which is really great.

I really love how their dresses can be worn so effortlessly throughout summer. There’s something for everyone because there are both long and short dresses to choose from.

There’s also tons of fun colors, patterns and textures on these dresses. I’m a sucker for florals, but they have plenty of solid colored dresses too, which can transition nicely from day to night.

My top picks are the Amia Dress and this Eliane Dress

18 ethical and sustainable dresses you'll be wearing all summer long from www.goingzerowaste.com #summerwardrobe #dresses #summer #ethicalfashion #slowfashion #sustainable

fauxgerty: 

Want to buy a dress from a sustainable brand that caters to women of all shapes and sizes? Fauxgerty is the place to shop!

I really love how diverse and body positive their models are. It helps make online shopping easier when you know how a dress will look on different body types.

Most of Fauxgerty’s dresses are very flowy and perfect for twirling and frolicking about. You’re bound to look cute this summer in any of them because there’s something for everyone.

Not only does Fauxgerty have some incredibly cute dresses, they also have some incredible ethics too. 

All the materials they use are sustainable, from their certified organic cotton to their deadstock vintage. Deadstock vintage is basically rescued leftover fabric, otherwise destined for a landfill, which they’ve used to create beautiful pieces with vibrant colors and patterns.

Also, Fauxgerty uses faux suede and an eco-friendly leather alternative to make their clothes. The faux suede is made using the same sustainable fabric that car brands like Tesla use to create durable, comfy seats. The leather alternative is PVC-free and uses post-consumer recycled content that won’t peel or crack.

I also really love the fact Fauxgerty partnered up with Jess With Less to create The Jess Set! If you don’t follow Jess on Instagram, you’re seriously missing out – because she's always dishing out amazing sustainable fashion advice.

My top picks are The Edie dress and The Fiona dress.

18 ethical and sustainable dresses you'll be wearing all summer long from www.goingzerowaste.com #summerwardrobe #dresses #summer #ethicalfashion #slowfashion #sustainable

amour vert: 

Amour Vert has some really cute, unique and chic dress options to get you through the summer. 

They have everything from wrap dresses, to midi dresses to babydoll dresses. There are so many different cuts, styles, colors and patterns to choose from its essentially sustainable dress heaven. 

They use a bunch of eco-friendly materials to make their dresses too, such as organic cotton, modal, Tencel, Linen and OEKO-TEX certified Mulberry silk. Their silk being OEKO-TEX certified means it meets rigorous testing for harmful substances ensuring that the fabric is nontoxic and safe to use against skin, which is amazing. Not many brands do that!

Many of their dresses are a blend of modal and organic cotton, but there are some dresses made from one solid material, if you’d prefer. Each dress is certainly unique though, and there’s no limit to the ways you can style them.

My top picks are the Coral Wrap Dress (The PERFECT LBD!) and Hanne Silk Maxi.

18 ethical and sustainable dresses you'll be wearing all summer long from www.goingzerowaste.com #summerwardrobe #dresses #summer #ethicalfashion #slowfashion #sustainable

reformation:

Reformation probably has some of the prettiest, classiest dresses available, if you ask me. I cannot get over how flattering the cut and style of their dresses are. Their patterns are also swoon worthy.

Every time I see a Reformation dress, I’m tempted to get it. So tempted. But that wouldn’t exactly be ethical in and of itself, right? It’s best to avoid over consumption, even when it’s supporting a sustainable brand! 

I’m in love with their dresses that have a sweetheart neckline, florals, or slits. Reformation has a way of making dresses that are the perfect balance of cute and sexy rolled into one.

You can filter your search and shop by color, size, print, occasion, length and price. It totally makes navigating the sight ten times easier.

Perhaps the best part about Reformation is the fact they use eco-friendly fabrics that don’t harm the environment. They use materials like Viscose, Tencel, organic cotton, recycled cotton, and linen.

Viscose, aka rayon, is a man-made cellulosic fiber made from wood pulp, making it biodegradable. Reformation is extremely committed to ensuring all their forest-based products come from sustainably managed forests. To prove this, Reformation works with the non-profit group Canopy to help drive positive change for all their forest products.

Occasionally, they will also use deadstock materials in their outfits as well, though most dresses are made from new (albeit sustainable) fabrics.

As an overall brand, Reformation is just a great shop to support. They offer so many cool things like getting a $100 Reformation credit if you switch to wind power, and climate credits, aka carbon offsets. They’re also super transparent about their sustainability practices, which is so important.

My top picks are this Fern Dress and this Nikita Dress.

18 ethical and sustainable dresses you'll be wearing all summer long from www.goingzerowaste.com #summerwardrobe #dresses #summer #ethicalfashion #slowfashion #sustainable

everlane:

If you prefer your dresses looking casual and cool, Everlane is the brand for you. They make a lot of laid-back looking pieces, perfect for lounging around with your friends on a sunny day.

In the summer, you never want to be boggled down by heavy fabrics, and Everlane gets that. They make their dresses using lightweight, sustainable materials that won’t make you sweat, such as cotton, linen and triacetate.

Triacetate is made from wood fibers called cellulose, making it biodegradable, just like cotton. I love the fact Everlane doesn’t mix materials on their dresses either – it's very straight forward.

There aren’t too many complex patterns with Everlane, so you can definitely get away with accentuating any of their pieces with fun accessories. 

My top picks are this Cotton Weave Picnic Dress and this Japanese GoWeave Short-Sleeve Mini Wrap Dress

18 ethical and sustainable dresses you'll be wearing all summer long from www.goingzerowaste.com #summerwardrobe #dresses #summer #ethicalfashion #slowfashion #sustainable

thought: 

If you’re looking for some dresses with unique and abstract patterns, look no further. Thought has the dress for you!

There are so many fun patterns to choose from, it’s almost like you’re wearing art. Not to mention there are so many different cuts and styles available.

Their dresses are made from organic cotton, bamboo, Tencel, modal, and hemp. Hemp and bamboo are fast growing plants that are incredibly versatile, making them easily renewable.

Another thing to love about Thought? All their dyes are Azo-free, which happens to be a harmful carcinogen, mind you. And the finishes they use are gentle on the environment.

Similar to Reformation, you can apply filters while you shop to make finding something even easier. You can shop by price, print type, color, length, sleeve length, style, size, or even fabric! How convenient, right?

My top picks are this Emily-Mary Tencel Midi Dress and this Emmeline Bamboo Jersey Wrap Dress.

18 ethical and sustainable dresses you'll be wearing all summer long from www.goingzerowaste.com #summerwardrobe #dresses #summer #ethicalfashion #slowfashion #sustainable

oh seven days:

For the absolute perfect blend of feminine and rustic, you need to check out Oh Seven Days. They create some very pretty pieces, all made from reclaimed fabric. 

Similar to how Christy Dawn dresses are made, Oh Seven Days sources their materials from ‘runoff’ fabric rolls. Lots of textile factories often have unused fabric that’s doomed for the landfill, thanks to miscalculated consumptions.

Oh Seven Days seeks to correct this problem: Being based in Istanbul, one of the textile manufacturing capitals of the world, they have access to a bunch of these factories. This means they can easily save them from the landfill and create some really beautiful dresses from them!

Another amazing thing Oh Seven Days does is it will take back your old garments and recycle them. So, when you finish wearing the pretty sundress you get from them, or it’s no longer wearable, it won’t have to end up in the landfill.

My top picks are this Sunday Peasant Dress and the Sophie Dress.

18 ethical and sustainable dresses you'll be wearing all summer long from www.goingzerowaste.com #summerwardrobe #dresses #summer #ethicalfashion #slowfashion #sustainable

thred up:

Thred Up is amazing if you’re looking for affordable dresses without harming the environment. They’re essentially the world’s largest online thrift store.

You can find tons of lightly worn items there for cheap. They have dresses from so many well-known brands too, like Forever 21, H&M, and Anne Taylor. 

It’s a great option for those who love conventional brands but want to help the environment at the same time. By purchasing secondhand, you’re keeping the item out of a landfill and saving a buck. 

I love how you can filter your search so much on ThredUp – you can choose to shop by size, brand, color, price, material, condition, style, skirt length, occasion or even neckline. It really helps you find the perfect match for you!

Guest Post: Ariana Palmieri is the founder of Greenify-Me.com, a blog dedicated to zero waste living and sustainability. Her work has been featured on MindBodyGreen, Green Matters, The Penny Hoarder and several other publications. Get her free e-book "10 Ways to Reduce Trash" by signing up to her newsletter and learn how to reduce your waste today.