Who doesn’t love fall? The blazing heat gradually decreases as we FINALLY reach the midway point between way too chilly and way too hot. The leaves form vibrant florets of color that is nothing short of selfie worthy.
While the nip in the air is just the right amount of cool before skirts just stop being an option, it does require a wardrobe change if you want to keep warm.
Fall and winter basically require you to sort through your clothes for warmer fabrics if you want to stay warm. While we’d all like to look cute in our tanks, minis, and high heels, it just doesn’t make sense to catch a cold just because you want to show off some skin (Unless you’re that one chick I saw attempting to hike a mountain in the winter wearing high heels and a skirt just because you’re on a date- I hope you tripped). And the fact is, you CAN look cute and dress warm. It’s all about fabric.
Cooler Fabrics for Cooler Weather
A problem when it comes to winter clothing is access to ethically produced sources. While there are a ton of companies that crank out fibers for mass production it is possible to find companies that hold themselves to higher standards and produce ethically.
As we strive to be sustainable these are our favorite sustainable options for the cold weather:
Wool- Who hasn’t heard of wool? This is a fantastic fabric for the cooler months as they keep you super warm! And not only that, it’s also completely natural. Wool mainly comes from sheep and goats, but what I bet y’all didn’t know was that it can also come from a ton of other animals! Think camels, llamas, and Angora rabbits.
That means it’s also renewable since- think about it, if you shave them bald, they’ll just grow the fleece right back in 6 weeks!
This sustainable fiber doesn’t have to be washed as much and uses lower temperatures so it’s better for the environment as well. AKA go wool or go home!
Cashmere- I know, I know. When we think of cashmere, we think expensive. And I’ll be honest with you. I’ve never owned a piece of cashmere in my life. BUT that doesn’t mean that I won’t in the future.
Cashmere wool comes from goats. Pashmina goats. Cashmere goats. All kinds of goats from Kashmir basically (for those of you who don’t know this is a state in India that’s the center of a tug of war between India, China and Pakistan).
Sustainable cashmere is animal-friendly, non-allergenic, AND it doesn’t WRINKLE! It also tends to get softer the longer you have it so do yourself a favor and invest in some cashmere.
One thing to note however, is to stay away from the cheap stuff. You know- the too good to be true, on sale for some ridiculous price stuff.
The fast fashion industry manufactures way more of this than the planet is capable of producing. What this means is that instead of waiting for the goats to shed naturally, they get shaved before they get warm, and essentially freeze to death.
In layman’s terms, cheap cashmere = dead goats.
Down- Down is great for keeping warm. It not only creates a bubble around you that keeps wind away, it’s also natural and biodegradable. It has a low carbon footprint compared to synthetic materials. According to Apparelmag.com, down and feathers are a byproduct of the food industry. AKA it’s not known to be the most ethical. Most of us (including me) never stop to think about how down is harvested but the research has left me shell-shocked.
Let me help you imagine it. Imagine that you’re chilling on a lake, minding your own darn business when some jerk kidnaps you, throws you- alive- in a pot of boiling water for 3 minutes before taking you out and proceeding to forcefully pull all your hair out.
Replace that hair with feathers.
That’s EXACTLY what happens. If you don’t believe me go take a look for yourself.
Fortunately, however, there are companies working to create better standards for how down is harvested, such as Patagonia and The North Face. If you must buy down (because let’s face it- it’s necessary for hikers and the like) do your research.
Alpacas- Ever see a 5 year old girl in a giant fur coat and shades and think how adorable? That’s exactly how I feel when I look at this creature. And if he (or she) looks that cute, just how awesome would you look wearing his (or her) clothes?! (Work that Alpaca girl!)
But back to the point… Alpaca fleece is a fiber harvested from an alpaca (the cutie above). It’s super soft and durable, plus it can be as light or heavy as you want.
It’s not that different from sheep’s wool- just warmer, more comfortable and hypoallergenic to boot. In other words, it’s wool with a hint of chic.
One more reason to invest in Alpaca? It helps the Peruvian farming industry. You can be classy, comfortable, and sustainable.
Organic cotton- I’ve mentioned the perks of cotton before but it never hurts to reiterate. Cotton is weatherproof, hypoallergenic and durable. It provides insulation in the blazing heat of summer and the cool of winter, essentially making it great for any season.
In addition, organic cotton also has a low impact on the environment due to production systems that reduce the usage of toxic pesticides and chemicals.
Silk- Silk is great for layering under wool and other fibers. You can still look chic without all the heavy chunky knits. It also works great as undergarments for cold nights (Think silk long johns- Sexy!).
Just as silk is a great sustainable choice for summer it is great for winter also. Read why we think it’s sustainable in our previous post.
These fibers aren’t just one and done type fabrics- they last through multiple winters so they’re well worth the investment. Opt for a blend of different fibers such as cotton/wool, etc if you don’t want to overspend for a single item of clothing.
And think about that poor goose in scalding hot water the next time you go shopping. Your choice of fabrics doesn’t just affect you, it affects the animals and the people around you.
Textile pollution is one of the largest (and least known) sources of in the world. In a time where we’re reaching all time heights in terms of the environmental crises (the Amazon is literally burning down people!) it’s important to start considering how to make our planet more livable.
We’re not superheroes. One person can’t reverse global warming or take on human rights. But it does start with one person. Think about your choices. Think about the damage. Think about what you can do and start making conscious decisions.
Read the clothing tags to know what fibers your clothes are made of and how to take better care of them, and learn about the company/brands you’re buying from to know how they are outsourcing their materials and labor.
It’s just as much our responsibility as consumers to be aware as it is for companies to be transparent.
Be slow. Be sustainable.