5 Tips for Defining Your Personal Style | Creating an Ethical Wardrobe

When I started trying to create an ethical and sustainable wardrobe, a few years ago, I had a major shopping problem.

I also had ZERO sense of my personal style. I treated clothing more like a costume, like a character I would be for the day rather than a true extension of myself.

When I first learned about the problems with fast fashion, I donated most of my clothes to adopt a simple, versatile 18 piece wardrobe.

5 Tips for Defining your Personal Style | Creating an ethical and sustainable wardrobe from www.goingzerowaste.com #sustainable #ethical #fashion #personalstyle #style #sustainablefashion

It did not go according to plan. I HATED it, you can read more about it in this post. And, I’ve been slowly figuring things out since then.

It’s been about a year that I’ve really started learning personal style, color scheme, understanding what I do and don’t like about clothing, and of course nailing that ever elusive personal style.

I feel like I’m finally, FINALLY hitting a pretty good rhythm. My personal style has developed by creating boundaries.

Many times when you think about personal style, you think about what you like. For me, I love power suits, frilly dresses, boho chic, edgy, vintage, preppy - I love ALL of the styles. But, it’s not necessarily practical for me to wear a power suit when I work from home.

And, I hear you, “Wear what you love!!” But, honestly, I’m not going to sit around my house and go to the grocery store in a suit. I’m just not going to do it when my old pair of jeans and a sweater sound sooooo comfy.

It’s not about what I like, it’s about what I do.

5 Tips for Defining your Personal Style | Creating an ethical and sustainable wardrobe from www.goingzerowaste.com #sustainable #ethical #fashion #personalstyle #style #sustainablefashion

1. dress for what you do:

Many of us get caught up in the fantasy idea of dressing for who we want to be rather than dressing for who we are.

My best recommendation is to sit down and write out the activities that you normally participate in. My list looked something like this.

  • work from home/weekend (7x a week)

  • attend client meetings (1-2x a week)

  • speaking/panel discussions/interviews (1-2x a month)

  • go out with friends/date night/party (1-2x a week)

  • dressier (1-2x a month)

From this list you can tell that the majority of my wardrobe should probably be jeans and sweaters.

When we go to our closet and think, “I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR!?” It’s because we haven’t bought appropriate clothes for the certain occasions.

Once you’ve figured out your categories, you can start putting together outfits that fall into each of these categories, and figure out where you have holes in your wardrobe.

  • work from home/weekend - typically jeans/pants, simple top/sweater, casual dress

  • attend client meetings - a little more formal, typically no denim

  • speaking/panel discussions/interviews - NO denim, blazers, silk shirts, slacks

  • go out with friends/date night/party - skirts, dresses

  • dressier - cocktail attire

I’m currently going through my closet creating outfits and putting them in one of these categories. I also have themed categories for costumes… but that’s because I’m a theatre kid and more than half of our parties have themes….

But, I figured that’s probably only relevant to me, and theatre kids everywhere.

5 Tips for Defining your Personal Style | Creating an ethical and sustainable wardrobe from www.goingzerowaste.com #sustainable #ethical #fashion #personalstyle #style #sustainablefashion

2. get realistic about the weather:

This is my personal denial. Which I guess to say, if you’re in denial about anything, then it’s time to come clean to yourself.

I realized that I’m always living like I’m leaving. I’ve moved over 20 times. I’ve moved 5x in the last 5 years. I’ve never stayed in a place longer than a year, so I prevent myself from truly settling in and creating a true home with my space.

And, I’ve treated my closet the same way. I am from Arkansas. It is either hot or cold. It isn’t hot and cold in the same day unless there’s an unusual weather event.

In Northern California, it is consistently hot and cold in the same day. You wake up with it being 40 degrees then it heats up to 78 or 80 and everything bakes because there’s no A/C and when the evening comes around the fog has rolled in and it’s dropped back down to 40.

You have to dress in layers, and my wardrobe has never been layerable. So, now I’m shopping with layers in mind, and I’m thinking about how my wardrobe has to come together because most outfits will need four pieces.

  • Top

  • Bottom

  • 1st layer (typically a sweater)

  • Outer layer (a coat or jacket)

5 Tips for Defining your Personal Style | Creating an ethical and sustainable wardrobe from www.goingzerowaste.com #sustainable #ethical #fashion #personalstyle #style #sustainablefashion

3. know your pain points:

Ah, yes, the pain points. This is where I realized how petty and particular I am. Honestly, I HATE how finicky I am, but it’s better to be honest with yourself about all your quirks upfront so you don’t wind up wasting your money on something you never end up wearing.

You’re going to read this list and think I’m out of my mind, but the fact is every piece of clothing that meets this criteria gets about 100x more wear than the pieces that don’t.

  • HATE clothing that has to be fidgeted with

  • I have to be able to walk at LEAST a mile in any pair of shoes comfortable (i.e block heels, no taller than 2-3”)

  • natural fibers (NO POLY!) Favorite fibers are wool, viscose, tencel

  • In summer, I don’t like wearing sleeves under the 1st layer

  • Really like white tops with colored and unique bottoms

  • Tops MUST be fitted or at least tailored

  • Can’t stand shoulder details that prevent you from layering

  • Have white husky who’s hair gets on everything. (!) EVERYTHING (!)

ACTION ITEM! Pour yourself a glass of wine, beer, kombucha, whatever floats your boat and get serious about the things that drive you nuts, and the things you LOVE.

5 Tips for Defining your Personal Style | Creating an ethical and sustainable wardrobe from www.goingzerowaste.com #sustainable #ethical #fashion #personalstyle #style #sustainablefashion

4. discover what flatters you:

Do you know your body shape? If you don’t, measure your bust, waist, and hips. With a quick google search you see what styles flatter your proportions. I’ve struggled a bit with ethical fashion because many of the shapes just aren’t flattering to my body shape.

I’m pear shaped which means that my hips are larger than my bust. If I wear a shirt that’s large and open at the bottom, it tends to exaggerate how large my hips are.

And, I love my hips and my booty! I’m not trying to hide or disguise them, but I do want to look proportional and balanced. I also want to show off and highlight my small waist. And, wearing shapeless shirts tends to hide the part of my body that I want show off.

Not necessarily literally showing it off, but accentuating it with the clothing that I’m wearing.

Knowing what I want to highlight, really helps me shop for clothing.

ACTION ITEM! Take some time to figure out what parts of your body you’d like to highlight. Maybe that’s your arms or waist or legs! Whatever it is, once you figure it out you’ll

5 Tips for Defining your Personal Style | Creating an ethical and sustainable wardrobe from www.goingzerowaste.com #sustainable #ethical #fashion #personalstyle #style #sustainablefashion

5. color palette:

This year, I got really serious about a color palette. To make sure I was on the right track I went to see Donna Fujii who does color analysis.

It was such a fun experience, I went with some friends and left with a swatch book of shades that look best for my coloring. Thankfully, I was already on the right track color wise, but after that appointment I narrowed it down to my favorite colors.

  • Blush Pink

  • Navy Blue

  • Baby Blue

  • Wine Red

Now, when I go to the thrift store, I only look at these color sections. I don’t look at the green or purple sections because I know I don’t really reach for those colors and they won’t play into the color palette that I’ve already built for myself.

5 Tips for Defining your Personal Style | Creating an ethical and sustainable wardrobe from www.goingzerowaste.com #sustainable #ethical #fashion #personalstyle #style #sustainablefashion

If you want to follow along with me building out my sustainable and ethical wardrobe please give me a follow on my other instagram account!

build a wonder wardrobe:

If you’re still struggling, my friend Daria from Wonder Wardrobe has created an awesome e-course to teach you how to make a flattering, coordinating wardrobe that works for you.

I just started the course and I’m really interested in learning how to make my pieces more interchangeable. She makes these wardrobes for YouTube and it’s absolutely fascinating! I LOVE her channel. Seriously, it’s mesmerizing to watch - check out this video.

 
5 Tips for Defining your Personal Style | Creating an ethical and sustainable wardrobe from www.goingzerowaste.com #sustainable #ethical #fashion #personalstyle #style #sustainablefashion
 

Where to Find Sustainable and Ethical Basics

Need some new socks? How about a new pair of leggings? If so, don’t be so quick to hit up the mall.

Everyone needs some basic essentials (like socks) to keep their wardrobe functional. That said, your basic garments don’t have to hurt the environment.

7 brands with sustainable and ethical basics from www.goingzerowaste.com #ethicalfashion #sustainablefashion #fashion #basics #leggings #socks #underwear #ethical #sustainablewardrobe #minimalwardrobe

Most basic essentials sold at your local mall (like tees, socks and leggings) are made by the fast fashion industry. They’re super cheap because they’re made using unethical practices and unsustainable materials.

However, if you’re in the market for some new basic garments (and I’m not talking underwears), I’ve got you covered. Here are 7 brands that sell sustainable basics you can feel good in.

organic basics:

Organic Basics is great because they serve both men and women in their selection of basics.

This brand has a wide selection of sustainable basics to choose from that you’re bound to love. They've got an assortment of tees, socks, and leggings that’ll get you through the day. 

Plus, it doesn’t hurt they care so much for the environment. All their basics are made from sustainable materials like organic cotton, recycled nylon, Tencel, recycled wool, SilverTech and Polygiene.

SilverTech is basically natural silver blended with polymer fiber and organic cotton. This creates a soft, heat-regulating, odor wicking fabric. They use it to make their leggings.

Polygiene is a safe, permanent fabric treatment made from recycled silver salt that keeps fabric fresher longer between washes. They use it to treat their activewear mostly (like their leggings).

Organic Basics’ products are made in factories that care about the environment as much as you do, and there’s never any forced labor or child labor. All the workers are treated with respect, earn living wages and have a safe working environment.

If that wasn’t cool enough, Organic Basics also offers climate credits on their site to offset your own personal carbon footprint. They’ll direct your purchase to CO2 reducing projects.

MY TOP PICKS are these ankle socks and these SilverTech active leggings

7 brands with sustainable and ethical basics from www.goingzerowaste.com #ethicalfashion #sustainablefashion #fashion #basics #leggings #socks #underwear #ethical #sustainablewardrobe #minimalwardrobe

everlane:

If you’re looking for some chic basics with a conscious, definitely check out Everlane. They serve both men and women there, so what’s not to love?

You’ll find so many comfy tees, sweatshirts and sweaters to choose from as well as undergarments like bras and undies. You can easily find staples from this brand you can wear in any season.

Everlane crafts their pieces using cotton as their first and foremost material. I really love that about them because that makes a lot of their clothes biodegradable at the end of their life.

That said, Everlane’s pieces are built to last. This company focuses less on trends, more on classic, well-made designs that will become quick staples in your wardrobe. 

MY TOP PICKS are this cotton v-neck and this lightweight French Terry shrunken hoodie

7 brands with sustainable and ethical basics from www.goingzerowaste.com #ethicalfashion #sustainablefashion #fashion #basics #leggings #socks #underwear #ethical #sustainablewardrobe #minimalwardrobe

pact:

I really love Pact because they create some of the most affordable sustainable basics around. You can also shop for men here as well!

Pact has so many tees, leggings, socks, hoodies and sweatshirts to choose from. You can shop until your heart’s content. 

Pact always uses organic cotton in their pieces, and they never use toxic dyes or pesticides. Not to mention they’re also fair-trade factory certified, meaning their factory workers are treated with respect and earn living wages.

Their cotton is also super soft, but be warned - they do individually wrap everything in plastic!

MY TOP PICKS are these cute premium crew socks and this lightweight hoodie

7 brands with sustainable and ethical basics from www.goingzerowaste.com #ethicalfashion #sustainablefashion #fashion #basics #leggings #socks #underwear #ethical #sustainablewardrobe #minimalwardrobe

pansy:

Pansy is definitely one of my favorite places to grab some sustainable basics. Pansy crafts everything with women in mind (plus it’s a woman owned small business). 

You can shop for tees, socks and leggings there. They also sell underwear and bras. Their original underwears and bra are completely compostable at the end of their life, which is amazing.

Pansy uses USA grown cotton in all their pieces. Every garment is dyed using fiber-reactive dyes, which are non-toxic.

The organic cotton is grown in Texas and milled in North Carolina. The actual garments are sewn in San Leandro, CA. I love how it doesn’t come from overseas!

While most of their garments are made from cotton, there are some that utilize spandex (like their leggings). However, the spandex is sourced from recycled PET plastic, which is awesome.

Another cool thing about Pansy? Everything on the sight is designed to be worn together, so they use the same dyes on all their garments. In other words, your socks can match your shirt! How cute?

MY TOP PICKS are the Pansy socks and Pansy leggings

7 brands with sustainable and ethical basics from www.goingzerowaste.com #ethicalfashion #sustainablefashion #fashion #basics #leggings #socks #underwear #ethical #sustainablewardrobe #minimalwardrobe

boody:

If you’re looking for some basics that are simple but charming, Boody is for you. They serve both men and women, which is totally awesome.

Boody sells all the basics: Tees, socks, leggings. They even have underwear, if you’re in the market for some.

What’s great about Boody is they don’t overcomplicate things and stick to classic, timeless designs that will match up with anything.

They’re also passionate about the environment, which is why they use rayon made from bamboo in all their products. 

The reason this is so good for the environment is because bamboo grows so quickly, even after it’s harvested, opposed to other crops. Bamboo also doesn’t require nearly as much water to grow as cotton. 

Cotton can guzzle 5,000 gallons of water to produce just two pounds, whereas bamboo only requires 130 gallons of water to produce 3 pounds. That’s mighty impressive!

Boody is also Ecocert certified, meaning the raw bamboo they use to make their clothing is certified organically grown. To top it all off, they’re also Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified, meaning the farming of Boody’s bamboo does not contribute to natural habitat loss or destruction.

MY TOP PICKS are these everyday ankle socks and these full leggings

7 brands with sustainable and ethical basics from www.goingzerowaste.com #ethicalfashion #sustainablefashion #fashion #basics #leggings #socks #underwear #ethical #sustainablewardrobe #minimalwardrobe

amour vert:

If you’re looking for some comfy but adorable tees, look no further than Amour Vert. They also sell men’s wear as well, which is fantastic.

One of the things I really love about Amour Vert is that when you buy a tee, they plant a tree. 

Every purchase of Amour Vert’s t-shirts plants a tree in North America. They’ve already planted over 200,000 trees so far!

Also, most of their tees are made from their signature beechwood fabric, aka modal. They make sure to sustainably harvest the beechwood using a carbon neutral process and never use any pesticides, herbicides or insecticides for growing. 

Beechwood fibers use 50 percent less land for cultivation and use 10 times less water than non-organic cotton. Modal is also extremely soft, so anything made with it is bound to feel amazing on your skin!

MY TOP PICKS are this talin tee and this camille softest camisole

7 brands with sustainable and ethical basics from www.goingzerowaste.com #ethicalfashion #sustainablefashion #fashion #basics #leggings #socks #underwear #ethical #sustainablewardrobe #minimalwardrobe

majamas earth:

If you’re looking for some basics with a little more pop, Majamas Earth is the place to shop. There’s a ton of fun patterns and colors to choose from. Better yet, they also offer selections for men as well.

You can shop for so many tees, sweaters, tanks, pullovers, and leggings. I really love the cut of their clothing – it's super flattering.

You’ll fall in love with all the pretty designs too – they have so many pieces with florals and interesting patterns. There are also tons of solid colors to choose from too, of course.

Majamas Earth always makes their clothing from eco-friendly fabrics. The main fabrics they use are modal, organic cotton and recycled fibers (like poly) that take water bottles out of the landfills.

Also, if there’s any leftover fabric from previous collections, they’ll use it to make new clothing so nothing goes to waste. Any other textile waste is used to make cute scrunchies and headbands they sell as well.

Everything at Majamas Earth is ethically designed, sourced and sewn right here in the United States. 

Majamas also makes sure the clothing is never sprayed with chemicals, wastewater is never dumped in the ocean, and the people sewing the clothes are paid fair wages. 

MY TOP PICKS are the JoJo leggings and the forte tank

7 brands with sustainable and ethical basics from www.goingzerowaste.com #ethicalfashion #sustainablefashion #fashion #basics #leggings #socks #underwear #ethical #sustainablewardrobe #minimalwardrobe

Where do you get your sustainable basics from?

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Guest Post: Ariana Palmieri is the founder of Greenify-Me.com, a blog dedicated to zero waste living and sustainability. Her work has been featured on MindBodyGreen, Green Matters, The Penny Hoarder and several other publications. Get her free e-book "10 Ways to Reduce Trash" by signing up to her newsletter and learn how to reduce your waste today.

Ethical and Sustainable Jewelry Brands

Diamonds might be a girl’s best friend, but I’m not sure they’re the Earth’s. To extract diamonds, gemstones, and metals, there’s a lot of strip mining and politics involved. 

Metal mining, gold mining in particular, is one of the most environmentally destructive kinds of mining around. Not to mention millions of gold miners earn low wages in hazardous working conditions.

The good news? You don’t have to give up wearing jewelry to be eco-friendly! There are plenty of amazing, ethical and sustainable jewelry brands out there. 

5 ethical and sustainable jewelry brands from www.goingzerowaste.com #ethical #sustainable #jewelry #ecofriendly #labgrowndiamonds

the problem with metals:

Metal mining destroys landscapes and produces a huge amount of toxic waste. In fact, gold mining companies generate about 20 tons of toxic waste for every 0.333-ounce gold ring.  YIKES.

The waste produced, usually a gray liquid sludge, is laden with cyanide and toxic heavy metals. Many gold mines dump this waste directly into natural bodies of water. It’s estimated that 180 million tons of toxic waste from mines is dumped each year - isn't that insane?

You can imagine the kind of havoc this causes for coral reefs and other ocean life. 

One top of the that, the Amazon rainforest is being slashed and burned to make way for unsustainable metal mines. When mining for precious metals mercury is often used to extract gold from rock and sediment.

Mercury is toxic it pollutes the environment, and can wreak havoc on miner’s health. As you can imagine, many miners face a number of health concerns, and are often subject to poor safety standards and inhumane labor practices. 

I think it’s clear that we need to stop supporting unethical and unsustainable mining practices.

The good news, metals can be recycled repeatedly without losing quality, and a lot of jewelry companies are now using recycled metals. This, of course, decreases the demand for new metals to be mined, and encourages recycling

And, as I’m sure you’ve heard it 1000x - are you really recycling if you don’t buy goods made from recycled materials?

the problem with diamonds:

As I’m sure many of you know, diamonds and gem stones aren’t without their flaws either. Diamond mines can be full of exploitation and violence stained by forced labor, torture, beatings, even murder. 

As far as environmental impact goes, irresponsible diamond mining can cause soil erosion, deforestation and in extreme cases can cause entire ecosystems to collapse.

There are several abandoned mining pits where wildlife has vanished, the topsoil has eroded, and land once suitable for farming has become desolate. 

The one good thing about diamond mining is that it doesn’t make use of toxic chemicals, like gold mining does, bu it’s still important we advocate for more responsible mining practices.

Lab grown diamonds and gems are a great sustainable alternative since they’re free of mining and exhibit the exact same optical and chemical properties as mined diamonds. 

Lab grown diamonds are beautiful, sparkly, and grown in highly controlled laboratory using advanced technology that duplicates the exact conditions a diamond needs to develop as they would in the wild.

One of the main problems with the jewelry industry is the lack of transparency. It can be a bit difficult to trace sourcing on both metals and gemstones. Even companies using The Kimberly Process (diamonds that have been certified to be "conflict-free") have run into issues due to lack of transparency and loopholes. ⁠

making better choices:

I know that it can feel hopeless, but here’s a few ways for you to find out a bit more info:

  • find a local jewelry maker where you can ask them about sourcing

  • opt for antique, vintage, and secondhand pieces

  • look for recycled and upcycled aspects

  • use local gemstone mines with sustainable practices. Did you know you can go digging for diamonds in Arkansas? It’s a huge field and you’re given a shovel. The Uncle Sam diamond was found there - the largest diamond, over 40 carats, ever found in the US.

And, of course, I’ve rounded up a few eco-friendly jewelry brands!

smiling rocks:

Smiling Rocks creates some beautiful pieces with lab grown diamonds.

You’ll find rings, necklaces, earrings and bracelets in their shop. I love how you can customize your search too, based off of carat, metal, metal color, price and style.

Still, perhaps one of the best things about this company is their commitment to giving back. 

For every purchase made, Smiling Rocks will donate 10 percent to the charity of your choice. You can choose to help fund educational support, environmental protection, medical support or animal protection. Either way, your money will be going to a good cause.

Another cool fact about Smiling Rocks? This company will be launching a Carbon For Carbon initiative. 

Carbon For Carbon will research the amount of CO2 produced by one human cycle and then seek to  offset this by planting trees to improve the environmental impact of unnecessary carbon usage. Pretty innovative huh?

Check out their out their new arrivals, but My personal favorite is the Essentials Geometric Necklace and the Essentials Petite Earrings.

5 ethical and sustainable jewelry brands from www.goingzerowaste.com #ethical #sustainable #jewelry #ecofriendly #labgrowndiamonds

luna & rose:

Looking for some unique pieces without any flashy gems? Luna & Rose is your new go-to shop. 

They make truly beautiful jewelry using an entirely closed loop production system. That means they have zero waste from any of their collections, which is very impressive. 

Their pieces are made from recycled sterling silver (so hard to find!) and gold. Their silver product is recovered from the residues of copper, nickel and lead refining processes, seeing as silver is mainly found in ore bodies together with these metals.

The silver is recovered from a bunch of miscellaneous sources such as industrial scraps and end-of-life applications (like electronics and electrical scraps). Isn’t that awesome? 

If they happen to have left over stock of a particular piece or style, they can just melt the silver down and re-use it for their next collection. This creates a super innovative closed loop where nothing is wasted.

Another thing to love about this company? They participate in 1% For the Planet, which is a global movement that connects businesses, consumers & non-profits committed to addressing the pressing issues facing the planet. 

As a partner to 1% For the Planet, Luna & Rose are taking responsibility and pledged to donate 1% of their annual sales to two charities that will give back to the environment.

Luna & Rose also supports Take 3 For The Sea, a non-profit that encourages people to take 3 pieces of rubbish with you when you leave the beach or any waterway. If you purchase one of their charity t-shirts, $25 from the sale of each tee goes directly to Take 3 For The Sea. 

And yes, they do sell other items besides jewelry at Luna & Rose too. They’ve got shirts, scarves, sandals, towels, tote bags and even wallets available for sale.

As far as their actual jewelry goes, there’s lots to choose from: Necklaces, saint pendants, motherhood pendants, earrings, rings, bracelets, charms and chains all make the cut. 

If you know someone who just had a Communion or a Confirmation, one of their saint pendants would be a lovely present to give. Know someone who just had a baby? Consider gifting one of their thoughtful motherhood pendants.

I personally really love their To The Moon And Back necklace - so cute.

5 ethical and sustainable jewelry brands from www.goingzerowaste.com #ethical #sustainable #jewelry #ecofriendly #labgrowndiamonds

gjenmi:

Looking for fine jewelry that celebrates women, uses quality materials and is conflict-free? Look no further than Gjenmi. 

Gjenmi creates handcrafted pieces that have a timeless, feminine air to them that are inspired by antique and vintage jewelry. The jewelry is also made right in Los Angeles, CA. 

I love how dainty and sweet their pieces are. They’re super pretty and so eye catching in a very classy manner.

Most importantly, all their collections are made with recycled gold and conflict-free stones. 

Gjenmi creates jewelry that’s meant to last and become instant family heirlooms. It's such a nice thought to be able to pass along such beautiful jewelry to your future daughter, granddaughter or niece after you’ve enjoyed it.

Gjenmi offers a stunning range of rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings to choose from. 

Something extra unique about Gjenmi is that they let you customize your own ring stack. They have signature pairings they offer as a single purchase that look so pretty together it’s almost criminal.

They also have some very beautiful collections to choose from. I especially love the Mother Earth collection because it’s inspired by California’s rain and super bloom.

Top picks: Shelly Baby Necklace, Staple Lariat, and Sibling Ring

5 ethical and sustainable jewelry brands from www.goingzerowaste.com #ethical #sustainable #jewelry #ecofriendly #labgrowndiamonds

au-rate:

If you’re looking for super unique, ethically made jewelry, AU-Rate is for you.

They have some of the most interesting designs available, presenting a modern, sleek look that’s not too showy or in-your-face. It’s the perfect balance between unique and subtle, done right.

Everything is handcrafted in NYC using only the finest, ethically sourced materials that are designed to last forever.

AU-Rate always uses conflict-free gold and conflict-free diamonds in their stunning pieces. Their gold is 100 percent recycled, which is great because gold can be repeatedly recycled without diminishing in quality. 

They strictly adhere to the Kimberly Process for their diamonds, but they don’t think that’s enough. They make sure the mines they deal with offer fair pay, safe working conditions, respect local indigenous people and protect the environment.

Their pearls are also sustainably farmed and sensitively harvested to ensure the wellbeing and biodiversity of the marine environment. On top of that, the pearl farms AU-Rate works with are family-run and create job opportunities for local communities.

Yet another thing to love about this company? They’re super passionate about giving back to the local community.

AU-Rate supports the developing literacy of students in New York. In partnership with Mastery Charter, they’ve given thousands of books to schools and students across the city.

For every purchase made, AU-Rate puts a book directly in the hands of a child that needs it. That’s amazing to me.

As far as their actual jewelry goes, you can’t go wrong with any of their beautiful pieces. 

I especially love how they’ll let you try on up to 5 pieces of jewelry at home for free. You get to keep it for 7 days and if you’re not in love, you just send them back. You only pay for what you decide to keep.

Be sure to check out their new in jewelry – I'm especially in love with their Simple Pearl Bracelet.

5 ethical and sustainable jewelry brands from www.goingzerowaste.com #ethical #sustainable #jewelry #ecofriendly #labgrowndiamonds

secondhand:

Prefer a cheaper, simpler solution? Purchase your jewelry secondhand. 

Vintage pieces have so much character, plus the resources needed to make them have already been used up. This creates no additional waste. 

Purchasing secondhand also keeps a perfectly good piece of jewelry out of the landfill. Not to mention you can come across a lot of good bargains. 

Try going to your local thrift store and seeing if they have any vintage jewelry for sale. 

Also, sometimes you don’t even need to buy secondhand. You can get secondhand jewelry from a loved one!

Has your grandmother or mother ever given you a family heirloom? Cherish it always and keep close tabs on it, because that’s certainly way more sustainable than buying new. And it has so much more value because it comes from your family line!

You can also ask any of your female relatives if they have any jewelry they don’t wear anymore that you’d be happy to take off their hands. 

Does your sister have a jewelry box she rarely touches? Ask her if you can go through it! The worst you’ll hear is ‘no’, after all. 

5 ethical and sustainable jewelry brands from www.goingzerowaste.com #ethical #sustainable #jewelry #ecofriendly #labgrowndiamonds
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Guest Post: Ariana Palmieri is the founder of Greenify-Me.com, a blog dedicated to zero waste living and sustainability. Her work has been featured on MindBodyGreen, Green Matters, The Penny Hoarder and several other publications. Get her free e-book "10 Ways to Reduce Trash" by signing up to her newsletter and learn how to reduce your waste today.