Where to Shop for Ethically Made Basics (for All Bodies and Budgets)

DSC_0396.JPG

Whether you fancy yourself a fashionista or wear clothes for the primary purpose of, you know, being clothed, basics are the cornerstone of a well rounded wardrobe. You know the ones, the white v-neck tee you wore till it had holes in the armpits and looked more yellow than white from coffee stains. The t-shirt dress you can dress up or dress down effortlessly. The striped long sleeve shirt you can wear anytime you want to add a layer or two of Parisian style to your day to day.

Try as I may, I can’t seem to gravitate from a wardrobe made up of mostly basics. And now that I’m more familiar with my style and “life-style” than ever, I don’t really want to. Even in outfits where I throw on a statement piece, like my MATTER Prints pants, I pair it with a basic to keep it feeling like “me”. Most days, you can find me in a striped tee and jeans (although, at nearly 8 months pregnant, I’m ditching the jeans most days). In the summer, a pair of mom shorts and a cozy button up or tank top are just fine.

Basics are the cornerstone of a well-rounded wardrobe. Make sure they're made to last when you buy from these ethical and sustainable brands.

However, considering the wear and tear that most basics get, I’m finding it more and more important to invest in ones that are made well. There are some pieces that work well buying secondhand, but for basics, buying new, from brands you trust, ensures the long life of the product.

Fabric content and quality, production standards, and price tag all pay a role in finding basics that will actually last more than a season. Most brands, ethical or not, have some kind of collection of basics, but finding the ones that will last AND are worth supporting can be tricky.

This post, I hope, will act as a resource when you’re on the hunt for a new closet staple. It’s not an exhaustive list, of course, but it does include the majority of brands I know, love, and have tried in real life. I’ll be focusing on textile type (NOT a black and white matter, as you’ll soon see) size inclusivity, ethics and price point making notes on which brands prioritize what aspect.


Fabrics to Look For

  • Organic Cotton

    • As conventional non-organic cotton becomes rightfully more and more controversial, GOTS certified organic cotton is a highly sustainable alternative that is making it’s way into more and more brands’ pieces. Conventional cotton is widely grown worldwide and it uses a shocking 6% of the world’s pesticides and 16% of the world’s insecticides. (Source). Furthermore, it takes 2700 liters of water to make a single t-shirt. These chemicals are both harmful to the consumer and, mostly, to the farmer growing the crops and to the environment.

    • Organic cotton on the other hand, uses no chemicals, pesticides, or insecticides to produce, isn’t hazardous to the health of the farmers, and uses much less water to grow and turn into fabric.

    • A Quick side note on cotton: I got a few questions about the difference between conventional cotton, Pima cotton, and organic cotton so here’s a quick breakdown in addition to what’s above.

      • Conventional cotton: grown worldwide in relatively unregulated conditions, usually using harsh chemicals

      • Pima cotton: called the “cashmere of cotton”, Pima cotton is simply a higher quality cotton than conventional. It yields a longer fiber which makes for a softer, better quality fabric. (Source). It can be both organic and non organic.

      • Organic cotton: cotton grown without the use of any chemicals or pesticides. This is the ideal type of cotton for sustainability, health, and fabric quality.

  • Hemp

    • Hemp is one of the most sustainable fabrics out there. It requires little water and grows extremely fast (producing around 250% more crop in the same amount of land as cotton). (Source).

    • Similar to linen, hemp produces a sturdy fabric that wears well and lasts years. It’s also naturally UV ray resistant. It can be blended with other fibers, like organic cotton, to yield a variety of textures and weights.

  • Linen

    • Linen, like hemp, is easy and quick to grow/harvest and requires even less water than organic cotton. It’s moisture resistant, becomes softer with wear/wash, and biodegrades when you’re done!

    • It’s grown from the flax plant, which is able to be used in its entirety, meaning no part of the plant is wasted. (Source).

  • Tencel/Lyocell/Modal

    • Here is when the controversy sets in. Few people will argue any cons about the above fabrics, but these last two definitely aren’t pure sustainability.

    • All three of these fabrics are created and made by Lenzing, in a closed-loop process. They’re similar, but made from different plants using the same process.

    • Pros:

      • Tencel (Lyocell) is a cellulose fiber marketed by Lenzing (the third generation fabric of second generation modal) made from the pulp of sustainably harvest eucalyptus trees certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC). Modal is made from the pulp of beech trees.

      • All three are produced in a closed-loop process, which means that all resources/materials/solvents used to produce it are recycled back into the process to do it over again.

      • It uses less water than organic cotton

      • Since it’s a naturally derived fiber, it’s also biodegradable

    • Cons:

      • It’s not a chemical free process and conventional chemicals are used to turn the fabric into Tencel from wood pulp (however, Lenzing noted that it has a 99% recovery rate of the solvents due to the closed-loop process). (Source).

      • The production method uses a lot more energy than is ideal. No fabric is exempt from using energy, but Lenzing has work to do in the coming years to produce a product that uses less energy to produce. (Source).

  • Bamboo Rayon/Vicose vs. Bamboo “Monocel”

    • Pros:

      • Although calling a fabric “bamboo” is slightly misleading because of of the processes the bamboo goes through to become a textile, it is plant based which means it will biodegrade.

      • Bamboo self-regenerates from its own roots, requiring little water and little grow time.

      • Bamboo Monocel is another Lyocell fabric, but this time made from bamboo, so it’s made in a closed loop, more environmentally friendly process. However, it’s harder to find.

    • Cons:

      • Although the cultivation phase may be more eco-friendly than growing cotton, manufacturing the fabric from bamboo is when the cons arise.

      • Most bamboo fabrics are labeled “rayon from bamboo” and the process to create this fabric is similar to that of Tencel or Modal but MUCH less sustainable since it isn’t a closed loop process, so the chemicals are released into the environment without reusing them. (Source). It’s essentially a synthetic fabric derived from a natural fiber.

      • There isn’t evidence that the properties of bamboo (UV ray resistant, antibacterial, water resistant) are present after the bamboo is processed into fabric.

Of course, there are plenty of ethical brands that use synthetic fibers to create their basics and any brand that takes steps towards sustainability should be lauded for their work. I would, however, push the envelope even further by asking if they consider themselves holistically “ethical” if they aren’t prioritizing the use of truly natural fibers and working to minimize their brand’s footprint.

It seems fairly cut and dry doesn’t it? Simply choose fabrics that are 100% organic and made from natural fibers at all costs.

However, like most issues of ethics and sustainability, it’s not always that simple.

The Unsustainable Reality Check

Why, you might ask, would any brand owner ever choose to use fabrics that are factually not great for the environment? I’ve noticed that bamboo derived fabrics are especially popular among ethical brands — have they just not done their research? I don’t think that’s the usually case.

The reality is that brands have A LOT to factor in when it comes to producing a quality product. First, they have to consider where the fabric they’re planning to use was grown, before it’s ever harvested or turned into fabric. Were the farmers treated fairly? Paid a living wage (an issue all on its own)? They have to source a fabric (regardless of what kind it is) from a responsible factory that pays its employees well. They need to design a product that represents their clientele well. They need to design a product that won’t disintegrate after a few wears/washes. They need to consider affordability and the “true cost” of the product and charge accordingly without marking it up too much or too little.

Obviously, you know all of this. But I think it’s all too easy to judge brands a bit harshly for not scoring a perfect 100% on the ethics/sustainability/inclusivity/price front. Indeed, we as the consumers should push for high standards and hold our ethical brands to even higher ones, but celebrating progress and steps in the right direction is important for growth in the industry too.

Ethical shopping isn’t a black and white matter in the least, not even when you’re trying to buy something as simple as a new white tee.

All of that said, below are a few brands that I’ve fallen for and whom, I believe, meet the criteria to be considered ethical/sustainable/inclusive and worth supporting.


Brands to Love

Encircled

Price point: $$-$$$

Encircled is a Canadian brand that prioritizes quality, longevity, and versatility. I’ve worked with them several times, own 3 or 4 pieces from them, and can say with full confidence that their pieces are worth the investment. On the size inclusivity chart, Encircled ranks higher than most with pieces that are meant to fit a wide range of sizes and, of course, fluctuate with your own body throughout life’s seasons. They offer sizes xs-xxl and considering that most of their styles are stretchy and oversized, can fit quite the range of body types.

As far as sustainability and fabric choice goes, they offer a healthy mix of fabric types. The majority of pieces I’ve tried from their line have been a Lenzing Modal blend (incredibly soft, stretchy and durable). They also work a lot with bamboo based products for its softness, but blend it with cotton for the strength and durability.

I chatted with Kristi, Encircled’s founder and designer about the murky issue of choosing sustainable fabrics and she wisely noted that oftentimes 100% natural fibers don’t hold up as well over time when they aren’t blended with other fabrics (oftentimes elastane, polyester or lycra) and, instead of creating a fully sustainable product that deteriorates more quickly, have opted to balance the two by mixing their natural fibers with less sustainable options for the sake of the longevity of the garment. Sustainability can be argued from both sides in this matter and although I don’t claim to be an expert, I can say that Encircled’s pieces truly stand the test of real life and real bodies.

(Pictured above: Encircled’s Nomadic V-Neck and Encircled’s Everyday T-Shirt Dress (soon to be released!))

The Natural Edition

Price point: $-$$

You’ve all heard me rave about The Natural Edition’s basics for a few months now, but I’ll say it again — I’m so impressed with this newly launched brand and their dreamy first collection of basics. I’ve spoken extensively with Nicole, the brand’s designer and owner, and she, like Kristi of Encircled, noted the struggle that goes into creating a brand that is as sustainable as it is practical and high quality.

The Natural Edition’s first collection features pieces made of GOTS certified organic cotton and Tencel, both of which (especially organic cotton) rank high on the sustainability charts. Their first collection is likewise oversized, excluding the Striped Breton Dress which fits true to size, with sizes ranging from xs-l (Nicole noted that this most accurately means sizes US 4-12). She’s also told me that her plan is to include more and more sizing options as her collections grow.

(Pictured above: The Stretch Jersey Long Sleeve Top and The Organic Cotton Oversized V-Neck. Use the code LIV20 for 20% off.)

LA Relaxed

Price Point: $-$$$

Another amazing brand with a wide selection of styles, sizes, and fabrics, LA Relaxed creates some of the coziest and easy to wear pieces I’ve ever tried. They’ve recently added hemp and organic cotton to their repertoire which is a huge step towards ultra-sustainability. They also use Tencel and Modal fabric so you can rest assured that their pieces are even softer than they look.

As far as sizing goes, they offer sizes xs-xxl (conventional 0-18) which is beautifully inclusive. I’ve worn all of the pieces I have from them during my third trimester and they’ve accommodated my baby bump perfectly.

(Pictured above: The Norah Dress in grey and the Lila Tank in black stripe. Use the code SIMPLY25 for 25% off.)

ROUND + SQUARE

Price point: $-$$

ROUND + SQUARE is one of the most mission driven and sustainably focused brands I’ve encountered in a while. All (yes, all) of their pieces are made with organic cotton (aside from their bandanas and scarves which are 100% silk). They sell a line of thoughtfully designed tees meant to inspire equality. Although their graphic tees are pretty amazing — you’ll see more of those soon — their solid color shirts are beautifully made, slightly thin and stretchy, and come in a lovely variety of colors.

Their sizing is refreshingly inclusive as well, offering xxs-xl with an emphasis on oversized fit. Their models show a variety of body types that will hopefully make ordering the correct size easier!

(Pictured above: The Relaxed Long Sleeve Tee in plum and the Basic Boxy tee in Olive Nights. The first photo in this post features their Sunflower Silk Bandana.)

Honorable Mentions:


Let’s end this novel of a post by restating that slow fashion is messy and choosing to support sustainable brands comes with lots of grey area that, luckily, is up to the consumer to push for and decide what to prioritize.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the sustainable fabrics listed above or any other struggles you might face when trying to shop for not-so-basic-basics.


*This post is part of a long-term collaboration between several brands and myself. As always, all opinions, photographs, and storytelling are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make SL&Co possible!*

Turkish Textiles || Quiquattro

DSC_0392.JPG

The longer I work with brands and write about their products, the more fascinated by textiles I become. I find the process from plant to thread to fabric so fascinating and, when done ethically and sustainably, something to be truly celebrated and supported. There are so many ways to “spin it” when it comes to fabric creation, but hand-woven pieces made from natural fibers have to be some of the most heirloom-worthy.

In my pre-slow fashion days, I would run to Target or H&M or *Insert-big-chain-fast-fashion-store-of-choice-here* when I needed something like a blanket or a towel (in fact, my freshman year of college, I literally had one orange towel that I bought from Target). And although I was thrifty, my purchases reflected their true worth. They’d unravel after a few uses, pill after a few washes, or dull in color after a bit of wear and tear.

I’ve been in seasons of life when it’s financially necessary to choose the cheaply made option and, without a doubt, recognize the privilege involved in being able to choose better made alternatives, but let me tell you — the difference between supporting handmade versus unnamed-factory-somewhere-made is palpable.

There’s something about cozying up with a blanket or drying off with a towel knowing that the hands who made it were treated fairly, paid well, and were supported through its creation.

Quiquattro is one such brand who takes the “weaver to customer” mentality seriously.

Their products — a beautiful collection of pestemal towels, bedspreads and beachwear — are all handloomed by women weavers in Turkey using bamboo and cotton. The result? Gorgeously intricate detail and a textile that can withstand day to day use and washing.

I packed the Stone beach towel in my suitcase on our babymoon to Cancun because I loved how beautiful the towel was and couldn’t pass up an excuse to put it to use (no surprise that Colorado winters don’t allow for many beach days). It doubled as a cover up, beach blanket, and towel and was just absorbent enough to keep me dry without becoming too wet. It’s woven with stunning detail, but is still sturdy enough to act as a true towel.

And because my girls are over the moon when they get special surprises in the mail too, the sweet folks at Quiquattro sent over two matching bathrobes to keep them cozy and dry. We use them after showers, at the pool, and most recently, on a family morning trip to our local hot springs.

IMG_2905.JPG

We’ve also been loving their Navy Blue Bed Cover and have had it for four or five months now. It’s surprisingly heavy, intricately made, and very high quality. We put it on top of our duvet cover and it’s been the perfect thing to keep in the heat all winter long.

Although running to the closest fast fashion store is undoubtedly the more convenient and instantly gratifying option, choosing to support brands like QuiQuattro to furnish your bedroom and bathroom means that women artisans are able to make a living for themselves, sustainable craftsmanship is pushed forward, and you’re left with a piece that will last you years and years, instead of only a few rounds through the washer and dryer.


*This post was in partnership with QuiQuattro. All opinions, photographs, and creative direction are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make SL&Co. possible!*

A Guide to Textile Recycling: How, Why, and Where to Recycle Old Clothes

*This post is part of my #InspiringZeroWaste challenge for 2019. To read the original post click here, or click here to see my first post for February*

DSC_0306.JPG

As conscious consumers (or folks on the path towards conscious consumerism), living in a non-circular economy complicates things. Most of our products are designed with the short term in mind — they’re meant to be convenient, cheap to make, cheap to buy, and aren’t typically made with the life cycle of the product (or its impact on the environment) in mind.

Clothing is no exception. In fact, as far as typical fast fashion goes, clothing production has been the the unfortunate gold standard for waste, cheap production, and linear production.

In an ideal world, production would be circular — meaning: products are designed with the end of their life in mind from the beginning of it. Pieces made with natural fibers, in factories that recycle their waste and water, and reuse/recycle/compost their pieces at the end of their life are the most sustainable. But, of course, it’s not the norm (yet).

If you’re anything like the average American Joe, you’ve tossed trash bag upon trash bag of clothing into the dumpster before without giving it a second thought (upwards of 81 lbs of textile waste, per person, per year). Maybe you toss said trash bags off to your local Goodwill, or maybe you even pass them on to a friend. Either way, clothing waste is in the US is a huge issue that isn’t disappearing anytime soon (especially with the rate that people are Kon Mari-ing their closets).

Why Textile Waste Is a Problem

What’s the big deal? It’s not like you’re sending hazardous chemicals or plastic that takes years to biodegrade to landfill. Why is clothing waste an issue in the first place?

Two of the biggest reasons, as I see them, are as follows:

  1. Most clothes are made of synthetic fibers which, like plastic, take years to break down, or may never fully biodegrade. In fact, when stuck in a landfill, clothing made from synthetics like polyester or lycra release methane, a harmful greenhouse gas, and take at least 30-40 years to biodegrade. It’s not an “out of sight out of mind” matter, and even cotton clothes woven with synthetics don’t biodegrade as easily as natural fibers like organic cotton, linen, hemp, tencel, etc.

  2. We have way too many clothes to begin with. Combined with the fact that our clothes aren’t made to last, the sheer amount of product sent to landfill (both from retailers and consumers) is insane. Most of these clothes are forgotten about, or worse, incinerated.

DSC_0308.JPG

Steps to Combat Textile Waste

1. Consume Less:

With a “Less but better” mindset, you can shift from buying clothes you don’t really need that aren’t made to last to buying “investment pieces” that are made to last for years to come and, hopefully, won’t need to be disposed of. The brands in my List are all great jumping off points to look for ethically made, quality pieces.

2. Resell/Gift:

When a piece has plenty of wear left but may not fit your body or style anymore, you can sell it or gift it to someone else. Host a clothing swap with friends or sell them with resell platforms like Poshmark or Depop.

3. Upcycle:

For pieces that are towards the end of their life or you don’t feel could be resold, upcycle them into new-to-you products that you can use around the house. Cut up old t-shirts to use as cleaning rags, headbands, and more. Or, you can transform old clothing into completely new clothing if you have the creative skills for it. A quick Pinterest search of “upcycling clothing” should do the trick.

4. Donate

But Don’t Automatically Assume Secondhand Shops want Your Stuff

I include this point with caution because, as crucial as secondhand shops are for circular economy and sustainability, they don’t always need or want your junk. Before you drop off a load of unsorted belongings, consider these points:

  • Is this a piece someone else could actually use? (Ie. it’s not stained/ripped/hanging on by a thread/broken)

  • Does this shop need donations of this kind right now?

If the answer is no to one or both of these questions, scout out another secondhand shop or consider upcycling or recycling the piece.

5. Recycle:

Once a garment has reached the definite end of its lifespan, chances are there are ways it can be recycled into something completely new. Not only does recycling keep clothing out of landfill, but it reduces the need for new, virgin fabrics which can be costly and not-so-eco-friendly to produce.

Keep reading for a list of where and how to recycle your clothes by type. Keep in mind that you should have resources available locally (or semi-locally) for textile recycling — so it’s not really as hard as it sounds. Do a quick Google search for “your town + textile recycling” and see what pops up.

Clothing waste is a huge issue, and most people don't know where to send their clothes once they've reached the end of their lifespan. Luckily, textile recycling isn't as tricky as it sounds.

Recycling by type:

Cotton/polyester blends:

  • ReSpun: Marine Layer’s recycling program that accepts any and all (non-spandex) tees.

  • Patagonia WornWear: Patagonia will accept any of their old clothing back to recycle.

  • Terracycle: an incredible recycling program that can almost literally recycle anything. You do have to pay for the box to ship things back in (which is semi-costly), but worth it!

  • Brass Clothing’s “Closet Clean Out”: Brass sends you a pre-paid mailer that you stuff with clothes and send back. They send it to a textile recycling center in NC. I didn’t see any restriction on type of clothing accepted.

  • I:Co (Locations worldwide — I:Co is who retailers like H&M use for their recycling programs, although I’ve, not surprisingly, found that their track record isn’t the greatest when it comes to actually recycling the majority of what they bring in.)

  • USAgain: collects used clothing of any kind and condition in their drop off locations

Athletic clothes

Dress clothes

  • Dress for Success: A really cool organization giving women who don’t have access to interview appropriate clothing your gently used work-wear for free.

Undergarments

  • Knickey: This organic underwear brand has partnered with a NYC organization to recycle all unwanted underwear (any brand, condition) and will even send you a free pair in exchange.

  • The Bra Recyclers: Ensures bras don’t end up in landfill by recycling them into new product/insulation/bedding.

  • Free the Girls: An incredible non-profit that helps victims of human trafficking start their own businesses reselling gently used bras in their communities.

Denim (There are LOTS of resources for this - I’m only listing a few)

Bedsheets and towels

  • Cut them up into smaller towels/sheets to use for cleaning

  • Call your local homeless or animal shelter to see if they’re accepting donations

  • Coyuchi for Life: Coyuchi’s circular subscription program that recycles old linens and towels and send you new ones regularly.

  • USAgain: accepts used clothing and household textiles in any condition at their recycling drop of locations.

Shoes


Before I dug deeper, I knew textile recycling was a thing, but wasn’t sure where to begin sending my own clothing in. I hope this post can be a recurring resource for you (it will be for me, anyway!) for when your clothes wear out.

Where to Find Ethically Made Maternity/Nursing Bras

IMG_2691.JPG

Nursing bras and I have a love/hate relationship.

After breastfeeding two kids for a nearly combined 4 years of my life and, of course, adding a third baby soon to my boob journey, I’ve tried just about everything. There was the phase with my first when I stubbornly refused to buy nursing bras, because ew and because I was 20 and barely had time to discover normal lingerie before being thrust into a world of ultra supportive, ultra covering, ultra “mom-ish” undergarments. There was the phase with my second where just I gave up and bought cheap nursing bras at Target that wore out from literal days and days (and nights and nights) of wear at a time.

I’m not sure what “phase” I’ll go through with baby #3 yet, but I’m hoping it’s the “finds a few really high quality, ethically made nursing bras that also work post-nursing and never looks back” phase.

If you’ve breastfed a baby before, you’ll know that breastfeeding in typical underwire bras just doesn’t work (sorry, 20-year-old me). And most bralettes and sports bras are, simply put, unprepared for the amount of leaking, spraying, spiting up, and mess making that takes place in their vicinity. So, buying at least a few nursing bras will really, really, really make your life a lot easier.

But.

Finding ethically made ones is like finding a mythical creature that most people assume doesn’t exist.

I’m hoping this post will convince you otherwise.


What to look for:

A few notes before we dive into the bras I’ve found thus far about nursing bras in general:

  • In my opinion, maternity bras that are incompatible with breastfeeding (if you plan to breastfeed, of course) are pointless. When you shop, look for ones that will fit you during pregnancy (much easier to swing) that are also breastfeeding friendly.

  • You’re going to spend A LOT of time in these bras, so don’t be afraid to shop around, spend a little more, and keep looking/exchanging till you find the perfect fit.

  • I recommend getting mostly “comfy bras” and maybe 1 or 2 “big girl bras” with underwire for when you want to feel more like a human and less like a farm animal. I love breastfeeding, but I never said it was glamorous.


The Ethics of Lingerie:

Like with all ethical shopping, there are certain things people will prioritize when shopping. Aside from fit and compatibility with breastfeeding, the qualifications I’m hoping to meet for my nursing bras are:

  • Made from a sustainable (ideally organic) material

  • Made in responsible, traceable, ethical conditions

  • Fits a wide ranges of body types (so I can more honestly recommend them to you all!)

  • Is a practical bra that transitions well from pregnancy to postpartum and beyond.


My picks, this time around:


First up: Aside from the obvious conclusion that it’s really hard for me to take a photo without touching my hair, my next conclusion is about this sexy (yes, take heart, 20 year old me, I finally found a sexy nursing bra) bra from Azura Bay.

Azura Bay is a Canada-based lingerie shop collecting the best of sustainable and ethically made bras and undies from around the world in one convenient place. I’m wearing their Nikki Black Lace Nursing Bralette from Mayana Geneviere. The bra is great for pregnancy (soft, elastic waistband) but is actually designed for breastfeeding with pull-away nursing access.

The shop also has another beautiful and similar nursing bra, the Alexander Black Lace Nursing Bralette, that’s essentially the same bra without the longer lace trim.

I haven’t gotten any other nursing bras yet, but the following list are a few on my radar that I’m planning to add to my repertoire in the coming months:

  • 24/7 Bra by Boob Design: ($55)

    • This bra is made to be worn all day and night and has medium support, which is ideal for comfort. Really, I can’t recommend Boob more highly - I’ll be sharing more about them in the coming months, but if you’re pregnant or nursing, it’s a great resource.

  • Padded Daily Bra by Majamas ($39)

    • I’ve worked with Majamas before and, although they don’t have many bra styles to choose from, their mission is admirable and they’re empowering moms all over the world through their products.

  • None So Pretty Lace Nursing Bra by Mothers En Vogue ($36)

    • This is a Singapore-based brand that I learned about via Eco Warrior Princess. They’re transparent about their production and strive to use natural fibers but what most excited me was that their bras look like NORMAL bras.

  • Marvella Classic Nursing Bra by Kindred Bravely ($49.99)

    • Although not marketed as an ethical brand, I did some digging and spoke to their Customer Care team who informed me that KB only works with supplier and factories who meet strict ethical requirements (they visit their factories often and even told me their largest factories comet to visit their team headquarters as well). There is obviously room for improvement, but I would prefer to shop from a brand who knows where their clothes are made instead of a bigger “box store”. They utilize organic cotton in several of their products as well.

  • Jane’s Bra Top by Blue Canoe ($49)

    • Similar to the 24/7 Bra from Boob, this bra is meant to be comfortable and is made with organic cotton.

Shopping for sustainable lingerie in general is difficult, but finding options that are nursing friendly AND ethically made is almost impossible. I've rounded up a few of the best sustainably made nursing bras on the market - save for later or buy your favorite now!

Have you found any other places selling sustainably made nursing bra? Let me know and I’ll add them to this little list!


*This post was sponsored by Azura Bay as part of a long term partnership - all opinions and photos are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this world a better place*

A Sustainable Denver Staycation

ACS_0865.jpg

I’ve never lived in Denver, but for most of my life, I’ve lived a few hours outside of it, tucked away in a cozy mountain town that truly is my happy place. The proximity to the “Mile High City”, however, isn’t something I take for granted though. As one of the quickest growing cities in the country, Denver has no shortage of things to do and places to see. But, since I’ll likely never get around to seeing them all or doing them all, I’ve recently begun looking for businesses, restaurants, cafes, and shops that prioritize sustainability.

Last month, for my birthday week, AJ and I had a full weekend away to visit some of the places I’d been researching for our little “Sustainable Denver Staycation” and although we barely scratched the surface of all that Denver has to offer, these recommendations are based on our trip there and a few other gems we’ve discovered over the years.


To Stay:

Kimpton Hotel Monaco, Downtown Denver

When we go to Denver, we typically just drive home after a full day or, when needed, stay with friends. But this time, I decided to go all out and research hotels with high ratings for sustainability and treat the trip like a true tourist. Hotel Monaco, one of Kimpton’s two Denver locations, was sweet enough to accommodate us for a night and it truly made the "Staycation” a dream.

ACS_0882.jpg

A little bit about the hotel and their sustainability endeavors:

  • Single-use goods like coffee cups, napkins, paper bags, key cards, and the like are all made using recycled materials

  • Waste from the hotel is recycled/composted via commercial centers and in-room recycling bins

  • Reusable mugs/cups/flatware all provided for staff

  • The first hotel brand to become 100% certified by the Green Key Eco-Rating Program

  • Kimpton sources only organic and sustainably made wines from vintners with shared values (we can attest to how tasty their complimentary wine hour is).

  • They don’t offer “to-go” toiletries, instead, have re-fillable containers with organic shampoos, conditioners, and body washes.

ACS_0886.jpg

We felt so welcomed and, yes, at home, there. And to sweeten the deal, all of their rooms were recently renovated, giving a very modern sophisticated, yet art deco feel that I couldn’t get enough of.

Thanks so much, Hotel Monaco. We’ll be back soon!


To Eat:

Not surprisingly, when we weren’t at the hotel, we were eating. This little list barely scratches the surface of everything that Denver has to offer in the way of sustainable, farm-to-table eating, but oh my gosh, my belly was happy for two full days.

Rootdown: A forerunner in the farm-to-table movement in Denver, Rootdown (and their several sister locations - even one in DIA for all you passersby) has an incredible, seasonal selection at an approachable price point. The majority of their dishes are made with food grown either in house or locally, their business is entirely wind-powered, and the restaurant as a whole composts or recycles 80% of their waste. Read more about their sustainability efforts here.

Panzano: Located in the first level of Hotel Monaco, Panzano is considered one of “the” happy hour spots in Denver, as well as one of the best sustainable Italian restaurants. Their ingredients are nearly 100% organic and, when possible, locally sourced. They recycle and compost everything that they can and, of course, refrain from using straws and other single use plastics.

The Family Jones: Right next door to Rootdown and, conveniently, partnered with Hotel Monaco to offer guests buy-one-get-one cocktails, The Family Jones was a spontaneous stop before dinner but I’m so glad we tried it out. All of their spirits are made in house and the atmosphere was unique and modern, but so cozy and welcoming.

Mercantile: On my list for a while, Mercantile is located inside Union Station in the heart of Downtown. Mercantile hopes to bridge the “information gap between farmer and consumer” by promoting transparency in each step of the farm to table process. Their breakfast was amazing and they serve locally roasted coffee from Commonwealth.

Little Man Ice Cream: Little Man is designed to pay homage to the whimsy of the 1950’s and it’s a must-stop almost every time we come to town. In every relationship, Little Man seeks to develop long lasting relationships that support local farmers and businesses as well as the 9 countries they donate supplies to as part of their “Scoop for Scoop” model.


To Do:

Again, I can barely scratch the surface of all of the things to do in the Mile High City. These things are just a few of the places I’ve been that support my values.

Jalan Facial Spa: Last year, Aj and I were treated to an afternoon at this spa and it was mind blowing. If you’re looking for a sustainable spa that values organic products and will truly let you relax, book a facial or other service at Jalan Spa.

Denver Botanical Gardens: Supporting conservation all across Denver, the Botanic Gardens have two locations with gardens, tours, art exhibits, and more. There are scheduled free days as well throughout the year, if you plan your trip well.

Denver Center for the Performing Arts: I’ve seen many plays at the Denver Center over the years and they’ve never disappointed. Most recently, Les Miserables made me sob more than anything else ever has.

Cafe Crawl: I could chat Denver coffee with anyone for hours. A growing craft coffee scene with quality coffee and great vibes all over the city, I always hit at least two or three cafes each time I’m in the city. Here are a few stand-by favorites: Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters, Jubilee Roasting Co., Amethyst Coffee Co., Little Owl Coffee, Huckleberry Roasters, Middle State Coffee…I could go on, but I won’t. Feel free to message me if you run out of options ;)


Where are your go-to spots in Denver? My list is always growing.