Wednesday, September 09, 2009

One Girl's Green Wardrobe

Does 'back to school' have to be expensive or bad for the environment? My seven-year-old eco-fashionista doesn't think so! Here are a few ways your kids can be paragons of style without compromising their values or your finances.

Buy Organic

T-shirt by Born On Earth, which is a new brand that makes children's clothing from organic materials. It's all made in Southern California, so you don't have to worry about oppressing people in the third world. If the shirt doesn't look brand-new, it might be because Grace has worn it at least five times since the company sent it to us (thanks, guys!). I tried to convince her to save it for the photo shoot... no luck. So you can see that it washes and line-dries well! We have gotten so many comments (especially when we went to Seattle last weekend... it was a real showstopper in Pike's Place) on this shirt because of the cute graphic on the front and the little details all over it. Check it out...

This tee has a modern, fitted cut and it's long enough to cover what low-rise jeans don't. If your little ones also happen to have been born on earth, you might want to check out their website.

Organic, fair trade clothing is more expensive than what you would pick up at Target, but it is well worth it. Take for instance, Born on Earth. The products are 100% organic with water-based inks. They plant one tree for each purchase through a partnership with Trees for the Future. Even their tags and bags are 100% recycled and recyclable. You'll be able to afford at least a few key pieces from green clothing makers if you fill out your wardrobe with the ultra low-cost options that follow.

Recycled Clothing

The outfit above is entirely from freecycle. The shorts are faded, but I think that's back in style now. The shirt was a boy's stained white t-shirt. I sun-bleached it to fade the stains and then tie-dyed with bright colors. The result is a beautiful, wearable piece of art that Grace helped make.

There are many sources of free clothing. First, freecycle and the free section of Craig's List. Second, hand-me-downs. Make it known that you take hand-me-downs and you'll start getting offers. Most people would love to have another mom to give their children's cast-offs to, but they are afraid to offend someone by offering.

Speaking of free clothing, the shirts below are from freecycle as well. Little girls can't wear thin-strapped tanks alone to my daughter's school, but they are cute and modest when layered to cover stains and worn spots in other shirts. I made the skirt--isn't it adorable?

Support your Favorite Cause

Grace cares deeply about the plight of endangered animals, so when she saw this shirt at the Bellevue Mall, she had to have it. We were even more thrilled when when we found out that one dollar from every tee goes to the World Wildlife Fund. You can get this shirt at Justice, which is in most major malls now. If you don't have one near you, there are also eco-themed tops at Cafe Press. Check out the bee green Kids Hoodie.


What can you do with really pretty toile curtains from the Goodwill that don't look right on a single window in your home? If you're a hippie mama like me, you can trace your daughter's favorite jumper onto newspaper, adding a half-inch all around for hems, and use that as a sewing pattern for a stylish jumper. This is a super easy project and the only costs are the curtains (99 cents) and the thread (pennies).

As you can see, procuring a school wardrobe without trashing the planet is attainable and even easy. Just remember to Recycle (by passing on your unneeded clothes and accepting hand-me-downs from others), Reduce (as in reducing the social and ecological impact of your new stuff by buying organic and fair trade), and Reuse (mend, tie-dye, and repurpose to get the maximum use out of every item).

Here's a game for my readers: of all the shoes Grace owns, only one pair was bought brand new. Can you guess which? The choices are: brown flats from first picture, gold sandals, or black tennis shoes. Leave a message with your guess and I'll tell everyone next Monday.


Surfer Earning Free said...

Blog walking from my web traffic blog.. Very nice blog here.. :)

That's my story and I'm sticking to it, at least for now. said...

Cute blog!!!!

Kirsten Corsaro said...

Cute! I really love the Born on Earth tee and the handmade dress.

Tina said...

Have you seen the win the table giveaway this month? She's giving away a whole table full of eco-friendly products for moms (kid books, snack bags, backpacks, cleaning supplies, etc.) and it's completely free to enter! Check it out at before it's too late!

Emily the Great and Terrible said...

Okay, the new shoes are the sandals. No one guessed, but I just thought I'd throw it out there.