As we’ve all been told to practice social distancing, suddenly, we have a need for enough comfy stay-at-home clothing to last us a week. But pajamas won’t cut it. Your roommates or partner will be taking funny Instagram stories of you learning how to cook on the fly, or your cat being cute in your lap. You’ll have to get on conference calls, plus wear real clothes to walk to the dog, get some fresh air, or check in on your elderly neighbors.
So for the next two weeks, our rule is this: Dress as if you’re going on a long-haul flight. You want to be comfortable, and your clothes to be comforting. But you’ll be seen by the outside world, so they have to be somewhat appropriate.
We’ve put together a list of sustainable and ethical sweats, loungewear, and casual clothing that will keep you feeling like a human while you shelter in place.
Plus, if you have the means, now is a great time to support small, sustainable brands. They work hard to operate in an environmentally-responsible way while providing work for artisans around the world. Their margins were already tight, but many of the brands below have launched sales in order to give their customers a little break while also keeping revenue flowing.
What to Look for in the Best Eco-Friendly, Work-From-Home Brands:
Natural, non-toxic fibers: Organic and/or natural fibers like cotton, hemp, merino wool, and linen are better for the environment and better for you. They don’t perserve odors the way synthetics do (so you can hang them up overnight and put them right back on the next day).
Comfort, but with Class: Comfort is an absolute must when working from home. But as you’ll see when you browse the brands below, serious comfort and incredible style CAN go together.
Integration into your post-covid life: What are you actually going to be doing for the next month? If you’re going to be on conference calls the entire day, you might need more formal and sophisticated tops. If not, maybe go for some more casual sweats. Choose pieces that you will be able to implement into your regular wardrobe too, for when all of this is over.
Environmentally-conscious manufacturing: The processes involved in creating textiles are often pretty harsh on the environment, using lots of water, chemicals, and energy, and leaving behind waste. Look for brands that are using more earth-friendly processes that reduce their impact.
Non-toxic dyes and finishes: Traditional clothing is dyed with chemicals that are not good for the earth, the people making them, or you. Look for natural and/or non-toxic alternatives and certifications.
Fair labor and transparency: This is the most important thing. We want to support brands that care about the workers at the bottom of the supply chain, who will bear the brunt of this crisis. Look for brands that prioritize transparency (do they tell you where their apparel is made, with pictures?) and certifications like Fair Trade and SA8000.
Here are our favorite brands that are perfect for working from home:
Neu Nomads has managed to design an impressively sleek and professional line of loungewear made out of fabrics like organic cotton, linen, and Lenzing Modal. From their founders to designers to factory workers, the Neu Nomad mission is to empower the growing global collective of women. Their garments are produced in a family-owned factory in Delhi that maintains healthy working conditions, health care benefits and compensation far above the living wage. Their female designers celebrate women’s bodies and take an inclusive approach to fit and design.
Alternative Apparel’s joggers, jumosuits, and other work-from-home clothes are made in WRAP certified facilities out of eco-friendly materials like organic cotton, recycled polyester, and low-impact dyes. They use water-conserving processes, oxo-biodegradable mailer bags, and have implemented a vendor recycling program.
Outerknown has a wide variety of sweats and comfy apparel for men and women. The brand was started by 11-time World Surf League Champion, Kelly Slater and acclaimed designer, John Moore. As a brand, they are committed to transparency, working with manufacturers who abide by the Fair Labor Association’s standards and keeping a list of those suppliers right on their website. They use eco-conscious materials like ECONYL (recycled nylon), organic cotton, and hemp and they also give back a portion to the Ocean Conservancy.
Lauren Manoogian’s super-cozy knitwear is ethically crafted in Peru, where traditional craftsmanship intersects with experimental techniques. Offering small, specialty-focused seasonal collections, Manoogian’s focus is on signature hand-loomed wool, cashmere, and organic cotton knits.
Theo + George uses a lot of eco-conscious fabrics like natural cotton, wool, cashmere that comes directly from herdsman from Tibet and Inner Mongolia, and modal that’s sourced from an OEKO-TEX certified supplier. They are committed to sustainable production, but they do use synthetics in a few of their pieces, so make sure to check the materials before buying!
Amour Vert (which means ‘green love’ in French, creates clothing and loungewear that’s made from low-impact fabrics like organic cotton, TENCEL, OEKO-TEX silk, ethical wool, and more. Most of their products are made transparently in California, in limited quantities to reduce waste. Plus, they plant a tree with each purchase of a tee.
Made Trade is one of our favorite curated online shops carrying ethical and sustainable fashion and home goods, and they’ve got a good loungewear collection. Everything is expertly curated based on a set of ethics. Read more about why we love Made Trade here!
Designed to be flattering to all body types and created with sustainability and versatility in mind, Hackwith’s reversible jumpers, tie-tops, and wide-leg pants are created by hand right in their Minnesota studio. They use eco-friendly fabrics like Lyocell and cotton, and many of the pieces are made to order to reduce waste.
Kotn creates beautiful basics from authentic Egyptian cotton that’s finer, softer, and more breathable than any other cotton. By working directly with cotton farming families in Egypt, Kotn is seeking to rebuild the industry from the inside. They make their own fabrics from raw cotton bought direct from farmers at guaranteed prices. A Certified B Corp brand, they built a school in Egypt to combat child labor, and are now working on building a second one.
Groceries Apparel makes sweats and loungewear out of natural materials like organic cotton, Tencel lyocell, hemp, and linen, along with recycled plastic and cotton. They operate their own factory in Los Angeles so they can keep a strict eye on worker wellbeing, as well as cut down on waste and increase traceability.
I HIGHLY recommend NAADAM’s cashmere lounge pants—I bought them on sale two weeks ago and I’m basically wearing them every day now. This brand goes straight to the source of the best cashmere, Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, and works directly with herders and their goats to bring you high quality, sustainable and unbelievably soft knitwear at the fairest prices possible.
Eileen Fisher, the lady herself, has been leading the charge to pioneer sustainability in a mass-market brand, with a take-back, resell, and upcycle program, along with sustainable textiles. Her sweats and relaxed looks are made from materials like cotton, linen, and merino wool and are certified non-toxic.
Harvest & Mill truly goes beyond sustainability—their fabric is actually regenerative. That means the way the cotton is grown not only has a lesser impact on the environment, but it actually helps the planet by sequestering carbon. Everything is truly made in the USA — even the cotton is 100% grown here — non-toxic, and totally compostable. Their newest collection of sweats is dye-free and made from organic heirloom undyed cotton that naturally grows brown.
Threads 4 Thought makes comfy but stylish work from home apparel for men and women made out of organic cotton, recycled polyester, and Lenzing modal. In addition to their fair working conditions and water conservation, they also use profits to support the International Rescue Committee.
Toast carries really beautiful linen and cotton jumpsuits, pull-on trousers, loose tops, and flowy dresses that are as comfortable as they are beautiful. The brand collaborates with artisans from around the world in order to support and sustain traditional textile techniques and craftsmanship. They also have a free repair service and a clothing swap initiative in order to give their pieces a second life.
MATE uses non-toxic fabrics like TENCEL and GOTS organic cotton and their supply chain is localized, within ten miles of Los Angeles. They’re currently working on a way for customers to return their used MATE pieces so they can be made into new ones, too.
Elizabeth Suzann intentionally creates pieces that are meant to be long-lasting, so you can buy fewer of them and reduce waste. Everything is cut and sewn in their studio in Nashville, Tennessee. Their entire collection is basically the epitome of look-great-while-being-comfy. Use code HOPE10 to get 10% your purchase during the pandemic.
If you’re looking for some extra luxurious fabrics to help get you through your workday in style, check out The Ziran. Founder Kelly Wang Shanahan discovered xiang yun sha silk while researching ancient Chinese techniques and instantly fell in love with both its luxurious beauty and cultural significance. Xiang yun sha silk not only preserves cultural heritage, but it is completely natural, wrinkle-resistant, anti-microbial, and skin-nourishing. Everything is cut and sewn ethically in Los Angeles.
Texas-born designer, Arielle, launched her label in 2018 after a series of design gigs at several major ready-to-wear brands left her disenchanted with the ethics of the fashion industry. ARIELLE is a sustainable apparel label committed to GOTS organic and recycled fabrics like cotton, linen, wool, and milk! Developed by German microbiologist and designer Anke Domaske, spoiled milk from German dairy farms is fermented and spun into a silky fiber, produced entirely without chemicals and with very little water. The finished fabric retains all of milk’s nutrients and natural proteins, making it antimicrobial, hypo-allergenic, temperature regulating and fully biodegradable. Everything is made in NYC and the team uses fair-trade, zero waste, and plastic-free operations.
LA Relaxed uses only sustainable and eco-friendly materials like TENCEL and GOTS certified organic cotton. They produce in small batches to minimize waste, and they make everything right in downtown Los Angeles.
Inspired by the freedom of living with less, OZMA’s designs are built for longevity, ease of wear, and adaptability. They use Silk Noil (or raw silk), Silk Noil Jersey (a more vintage feel), linen, organic cotton, and hemp.
Par en Par’s pieces are handwoven by artisans in India out of 100% handspun and handwoven organic cotton.
Study NY cuts and sews collections in the US, as transparently and responsibly as possible. They use fabrics like organic cotton, raw silk, linen, and repurposed materials.
Sofwear’s sweats are made in Brooklyn, NY out of cotton, modal, and non-toxic dyes. They call it Softwear for a reason—it really is luscious. I have a pair of their sweats and I love them!
Honestly, who wouldn’t want dinosaur sweatpants or a tee with a bouquet of flowers on it right now? Daniel Silverstein (pictured center) creates beautiful textile artwork from upcycled fabric scraps, which is incorporated into custom streetwear that both men and women can wear. You’ll get a ton of compliments on your ZWD piece, I promise. Read more about Zero Waste Daniel.
If you need something that looks a little more sophisticated for all of those video conference calls, check out Sourcery’s washable silk. They use the highest quality, 100% naturally grown silk from a region of China that has been producing silk for thousands of years. All of their fabrics are OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified and all of the dyes used are non-toxic. Sourcery spent months coming up with a silk that can be washed, which is amazing since most conventional dry cleaning is terrible for the environment.
Designed and made in NYC, Lacher Prise’s dynamic, unisex designs can be worn a variety of different ways. They use natural and biodegradable fabrics like TENCEL and implement responsible practice into their process wherever possible. You can also swap with your partner of the opposite sex for more versatility!
This Lisbon-based brand has become synonymous with comfort and elegance, offering must-have essentials for the conscious and modern woman’s weekly wardrobe. Their pieces are created with deadstock, surplus materials and eco fabrics, made with low water consumption and non-toxic dyes, partnering solely with ethical and transparent factories that have a clear sustainable approach to their production.
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