So we think about the plastic we use for food storage and other daily items, but have you ever thought about the plastic in your clothing? In your underwear, your socks, your workout clothes, your favorite leggings.....I'm definitely guilty. I'm still obsessed with how comfortable my Lululemons are and I haven't yet found a suitable alternative (spoiler alert haha).
Why do I avoid synthetic materials?
Synthetic materials like polyester, nylon, acrylic, etc. are literally made from plastic. Why oh why would you want to coat your largest organic with plastic all day every day? When you sweat, your pores open up and when you heat up polyester, it off-gasses little plastic molecules.....right into your open pores. Not good. This is a recipe for major endocrine disruption.
What fabrics to look for?
Everything natural or from animals:
- cotton (ideally organic as regular cotton is a pretty heavily sprayed crop)
It's hard. I've always been a fan of online shopping - I like the thrill of the hunt. Trying to find exactly what I envision for the best price. Something unique - or not. The essential basic. Whatever it is. Because I like shopping online, it's been relatively easy for me to switch my search terms to include fabric composition. You learn very quickly which brands and stores carry anything that fits the bill. For example I really used to like a lot of the Free People basics, but if you search "silk" on their site, a ton of products come up but if you actually look at the material composition for each product it's 100% polyester.
If you still enjoy shopping in person, it may be in your best interest timewise to do a little research online first and then go to the store as it's quite time consuming to find the inside tag and check out the composition. I would not have a lot of faith in being able to ask the salesclerks to suggest which items are made from natural fibres.
Where can I shop?
A lot of the brands that I've found through homesteaders etc. on IG have been very Little-House-on-the-Prairie. I would very much love to wear flower-patterned puff-sleeve dresses, but I'm just not there yet. I still live in the city and I have two young kids. I think a large part of it is definitely a mindset - I don't have any friends who wear long flowy dresses either. Baby steps. Maybe I'll surprise myself one day.
I've definitely been in a (frivolous) spending freeze, but I recently had to buy some clothing for the lifestyle part of my brand photoshoot so I've spent a fair amount of time browsing online.
Here are some of my favorite places to find natural fibre clothing online:
- Eutierria Arts: An online Canadian store dedicated to stocking natural fibre clothing for men and women. Pre-loved items as well as small-batch creative offerings.
- TheRealReal: A US-based online consignment store! By far my favorite place to browse online. You can get super luxe fabrics for the fraction of the price, incredible inventory and you can easily search by fibre content. It's all vintage/used clothing but excellent quality. I've definitely found some gems on here especially when I had to dress for the office. They ship from the US so Canadians prepare to pay duties and make sure you're shopping in CAD.
- Silk Maison: Not the cheapest option, but decent sales and they ship from BC, Canada. Pretty big inventory. I got this dress, this bra and this bra. Check the sizing charts - it's definitely on the tiny size. The silk sleep masks are clutch (I already have one), and I used to love my silk pillowcase (from Lilysilk) when I used to use a pillow.
- Asos: Surprising, I know. I found the best options when searching organic cotton. I got this two-pack of shirts and they're pretty decent. 95% organic cotton, 5% elastane. I'll take it. Also, they're fitted! All of the super organic brands you find when you search are either giant and flowy or made to fit a box. I have some of that in my wardrobe yes but sometimes I just want a tight white shirt with jeans. Ships from UK so takes a long time and there are duties to pay.
- Revolve: I've never bought anything from here. It was all way too expensive. Now that I've started looking at fabrics it just seems absurd. Why would I want to pay $500 (usually more) for something made of plastic? Pass. Anyways, turns out AGolde and CoH have some options in organic cotton jeans as well as some shirts. Pricey. Definitely pricey. Ships from USA.
- Free People: I used to hate their boho stuff (not my style), then I became obsessed with some of their mesh stuff and basics you could only find online (apparently I love paying duties to ship stuff from the US). I haven't thrown out these items yet, I still enjoy them, but I won't be buying anymore of them. I did find this one cute cotton top - not organic - that I'm very excited to wear this summer. They do have some cashmere pieces (I have an older version of this one that looks great with jeans, dress pants, or Lulus) but as I'm writing this in the spring/summer I can't say that wool/cashmere/fur/shearling are on my shopping list right now.
- There are tons of other brands that specialize in these fabrics: Pact, Everlane, Patagonia, Naked Cashmere, Duckworth Co., KOTN, Kent, Organic Basics, REI, IceBreaker, etc.
Natural fibre bedding!
My daughter and I switched to Canadian-made organic buckwheat-hull-stuff pillows. They come with extra fill so you can adjust your fill level. I cheaped out and didn't order a pillow cover, which I regret as it's an awkward size (aka impossible to find) and the fabric is a bit rough on the face. My daughter also finds them quite loud when you readjust, but I like how they stay in whatever shape you want them to be in.
For bedding I found some great stuff at Simons (Canadian)! Like the cheapest organic bedding I've ever come across. Like $150 for a king sheet set with two pillowcases!
The kids needed some new bedding so I searched high and low at HomeSense and found some organic cotton sheet sets as well as just some regular cotton flannel bedding, all for between $30-$50 (for twins and doubles).
Not an overnight swap
This will be a long process for me. I don't have the funds to swap my entire family's closet in a week plus I feel like that would be extremely wasteful! Now that I know I'm not going back to an office job, I went through my clothes pretty thoroughly: consigned some stuff to Vespucci (actually a great consignment store to visit if you're in Calgary AND they list/sell everything online too!), donated a bunch, and tossed the rest. I'm working through the kids' stuff as well as my husband's. We're looking at other areas of the house too - pillows (I've donated all of our polyester-filled pillows and only kept the few wool-stuff pillows we had.
I would love to know any great brands you've come across in your search for more natural fibres. If anyone can help me find cotton leggings (maybe with just a bit of elastane?) that don't get a saggy bum after one wear like my merino wool ones (I still love them to death in the winter saggy bum or not) that would just be great. DM me on IG or email me!