In this guest post, ethical fashion enthusiast Elizabeth Langefeld shares about the challenges she has faced finding ethically made workwear and recommends 12 sources for polished, office-ready looks!
The great thing about being in a book club is reading books I never would have found otherwise. Even if the book isn’t memorable, the discussion is.
Three years ago at one such meeting, Laura brought up that she had looked at the Slavery Footprint website and was changing the way she was shopping. I had long been trying to purchase items made in the USA to support families in our country, and I was concerned about the origin of my clothes made elsewhere but unsure of how to combat the issue. How could I reconcile the values I hold as a Christian with the often abusive practices of manufacturing? It felt overwhelming, but worthwhile, to find garments where I could trust that those in the production line had been paid fairly and were working in safe conditions.
Laura pointed me to a few sources, which helped me find more sources, and now I can’t imagine ever going back to my “old way” of shopping. I actually feel better when I’m in clothing from companies that pay workers a living wage. I’ve found that while the price point is a little higher, I’m buying items I love and am therefore buying less overall. My clothing budget hasn’t really changed, thankfully!
I’ve been very fortunate to not find it difficult to source items I like that are ethically made. Unfortunately, though, selection seems to be limited in the workwear category. While we are in an increasingly casual society, many of us do still need to look nice at work! On a given day in higher education, I may meet with a dean, attend a conference, or network with alumni. I don’t work in an office that expects suits (thankfully!), but for every “casual Friday,” I’ve got plenty of days to look nice.