On the ethical fashion aesthetic

One of the things I’ve been struggling with lately in regard to building an ethical wardrobe is the aesthetic that it feels like I need to maintain in order to be relevant.

While having a curated, more ethical wardrobe is freeing in a lot of personal ways, I think I’ve also been spending a little too much time on Instagram and reading other blogs, focusing on the ways in which my wardrobe and life don’t measure up.

There are a lot of really polished ethical and capsule wardrobe blogs, with professional photography (or really talented Instagram spouses!), curated living rooms with monstera plants for that eco vibe, and lots of giveaways and sponsorships. Not to mention – the clothes.

Small wardrobes that somehow have all the right pieces, wardrobes that have neutral colors, leather mules, a round straw bag, the right accessories. Whereas, when I look at my wardrobe, I see stray UGG boots, a pink Vineyard Vines dress from our engagement photo session, random pieces that are too good to part with but not quite good enough to admit to owning – or so it feels. Granted, I have a lot of beautiful ethical pieces. But I still have the outliers that you aren’t supposed to have when you have a conscious wardrobe.

You know, things that I can’t part with for various reasons, but that don’t fit the aesthetic and make me feel, well, inadequate. Like if only I had been wiser sooner, or if only I had the strength to deprive myself of holding onto such things, then I could be a legitimate voice in the community.

I know that isn’t true. But it can totally and completely feel that way.

Even the most well-intentioned fashion communities have their stresses, I guess, since they are inherently about things and consumption – even if that consumption is thoughtful.

Unpacking my wardrobe in our move this weekend made all of the above especially apparent, as I tried to arrange my closet in an attractive way and then eventually just gave up for the time being, because I was so frustrated with it.

I’ve been meaning to do a month-long fashion shopping ban, and then I always fail for whatever reason. But I think that I’m finally going to commit to it, right now, today. (I can’t totally ban all shopping as we need to furnish our new home, but you get my point).

I’m spending too much time focusing on the clothing I feel like I need to have, instead of focusing on styling what I do have and connecting with people in an authentic way. The whole point of my ethical fashion journey is to consume less and live more and I’ve really lost sight of that lately.

What are your tips for staying on track during a no-shop month, with all the outside pressures?




  1. Yes! I’ve been writing a blog post so similar to this. The ethical wardrobe envy is real! But I remind myself that these bloggers have been doing it a lot longer than me therefore have had more time to curate their perfect wardrobe!
    We’ll get there eventually! 🙂

  2. I feel this SO MUCH. Sometimes I start ticking off all the things I need to make my blog more successful (straw bag, beautiful plants, professional photos) and then I realize how far I’m straying from my original intention for my blog, which was to explore my emotional relationship with clothing, not to cultivate a perfect Instagram aesthetic. It’s hard! You really hit the nail on the head here.

    • Thank you! I’m the same – as I was unpacking my closet I was sort of making a mental list of things I “should” have, or thinking like, “Hmm, maybe I shouldn’t hang this up, because it’s bright pink, and if I take an outfit photo in here, it will look weird hanging in the background with these other items.” It’s that tough line between being authentic but also, well, being a good blogger (in a sense). Argh!

  3. I feel ya on the ubiquitous neutral-minimalist-homesteader-artist vibe in the ethical fashion community. I’m intentionally staying away from it as much as possible because it’s just not my taste, but I really do think that people are subconsciously attracted to it because it feels so clean and wholesome, so there’s actually a marketing disadvantage to having quirkier, brighter tastes. Oh well. Personal style has to be personal or it doesn’t really amount to much, so I’ll keep wearing my “off brand” things.

    • ahaha oh my gosh, I love how you’ve described the aesthetic here. SPOT. ON. I really like neutral colors but I definitely will never have that homesteader-artist vibe. It just isn’t me. Cheers to personal style. 🙂

  4. I kind of struggle with the same things when having a non-shopping-time… What helps me is to slow down in my daily tasks so I don’t have the time to think about new things or browse online shops. Like really take time to fold my laundry and connect with the items I already own. Just slowing down and really being ‘in the moment’ helps to reconnect and realize we don’t need new stuff. xo

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