I have to admit I no longer get that thrill when September comes along. To me, it just means more work (and lots of it), and the impending doom of winter. At heart, I’m an island girl (preferably in the Caribbean). But a girl’s got to work, and in order to work, I’ve got to get dressed. Fortunately, there are more and more options for organic clothing (although still not as many as I would like).
I am lucky that I can dress casually for my job, which is a good thing because all the organic clothing out there is pretty dang casual. But here’s why it’s important—cotton is one of the most toxic crops out there. If everyone in America switched to organic cotton clothing, we would reduce the use of agricultural chemicals by 20 percent. But here’s why I really wear organic clothing: It’s so comfortable and soft!!!!!!!!!!
Here are my favorite places to shop:
1. Stewart and Brown. Truly my first stop, their clothes are soft, comfortable, flattering, lightweight, and a pleasure to wear. Plus, they are just real good people.
2. Eileen Fisher. OK, these are kind of old lady clothes, but I’m an old lady. Their stretchy black pants (nonorganic, unfortunately) are the only formal work pants I wear—no dry cleaning or ironing required. But most days I wear the organic jeans. They are starting to make some truly lovely organic cotton shirts, too.
3. Patagonia. Well, how can you argue with the first and best? The clothes are well made and comfortable and great for almost any sport (I’m waiting for them to make bike shorts). I’ve visited the company headquarters and met the founders, and I can attest to their great intentions and awesome products. Sometimes they are cut too small for ladies like me, though.
4. Toggery. This is a new company, but I really like its stuff.
5. Sundance. Not all of it is organic, but some of it is.
6. Hannah Anderson. Great kids’ clothes, awesome pajamas, and a nice selection of fairly traditional organic clothing. Extremely well made.
7. Garnet Hill. Like Sundance, you have to dig for organic options, but they are there.
8. Gaiam. Mostly yoga wear, but a good source for underwear!
9. Blue Canoe. Again, mostly yoga wear and pajamas. But very well made, and hugely comfortable.
10. Loomstate. This is the “fashion-forward” brand for organic, but it’s made and built for skinny little things—the kind who shop at Barneys, where Loomstate is sold.
Unfortunately, I can’t go to work in pajamas and yoga wear. I’m ALWAYS looking for more places to shop for organic clothing, so PLEASE let me know if there are other sources out there.
I love Mission Playground. Their clothing is incredibly comfortable, and they have a great mission. They use mostly organic, sustainable and recycled fabrics. You can order from their website, but I have also seen their tee shirts in REI.
I long for the day when organic fashion moves beyond yoga clothes. Stewart+Brown is one of my fav’s for that.
My two favorites are Indigenous Designs (who actually makes some of the stuff sold at Eileen Fischer) and Truly Organic Apparel. The good part about Indigenous is that all their clothes are made by a co-op of women artisans in Peru, so it’s fair-trade, too!
I occasionally go through the clothing section of the national green pages and browse websites. All of these businesses pass Green America’s screens for environmental and social responsibility. I agree there’s not much there for us big girls, and a lot of it looks like pajamas, but sometimes I find something great. You can support a lot of smaller businesses this way.
Rawganique says they go to size 2X but I haven’t bought yet from them because Canadian clothing tends to run smaller and they don’t have a size chart (last I looked).
Decent Exposures has all sizes, childrens, plus sizes, and they make things right here in Seattle to order, but the clothing is very casual, and the organic cotton only comes in a natural color. Their signature item is the “unbra,” a sports-bra style with no hardware made custom, that I use as a sleeping bra. Similar to blue canoe but more sizes. They also have shirts, pants, leggings, shorts, skirts, dresses, leotards, swimsuits, baby blankets, cotton ski caps, all made of t-shirt material and semi-custom.
I love Eileen Fisher clothes and her local campaigns.
How much I wish that the clothes were made locally as well.
Just found these great organic tote bags on http://dandeliontotes.com. They are made entirely of organic cotton and use no pesticides or chemicals in the growing cycle. There are 6 neat designs and could work well as a school bag. Also, if you use the coupon code BTS at check out you can save 25% on your purchase!
Thanks for writing about this. You might want to check out this video I saw on YouTube which also discusses eco-friendly clothing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ygijzLltHY. I’m sure you’ll love it.
Saw that the fall Athleta catalog has a lot more organic clothing. Workout clothing and streetwear.