Where to Shop for Affordable & Ethical Basics

Where to buy affordable ethical basicsOften times when I’ve brought up the topic of ethical and sustainable fashion, friends respond by saying something to effect of  “that’s nice, but there’s no way I could afford that.” That was my mindset when I first started to look into alternative brands as well, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the affordable, but still fair, options that are on the market today. I’ve been able to find many brands that are comparable in price or even less expensive than fast fashion brands, and while affordability is a relative term, I hope there will be something for everyone among the brands I share. Today I’d like to start with knit basics such as tees, leggings, and tanks.

Move over fast fashion, we’ve got better alternatives!


Best for: Camisoles, tees, leggings.

Ethical Practices: Organic cotton, ethical manufacturing.

My favorite: The Organic Cotton Shelf Bra Camisole; $17.99; compare to Gap’s Modern Cami; $19.95.

Current Promotions: Save 25% off purchases of $100 or more, free shipping and returns on orders exceeding $59.

People Tree

Best for: Tees, skirts, cardigans.

Ethical Practices: Fair trade, organic collections.

My favorite: Organic Cotton Jersey Skirt in Dark Grey; $27.30 (sale); compare to Forever 21’s Satin Accordion Pleat Skirt; $38.00.

Current Promotions: Sale styles up to 60% off.


Best for: Tees, tank tops.

Ethical Practices: Ethical manufacturing, traceable supply chain

My favorite: The Box-Cut Tee; $16.00; compare to Merona’s Swingy Tee; $17.99.

Current Promotions: Free shipping on 2+ items.

Girlfriend Collective

Best for: leggings.

Ethical Practices: Fair trade, made from recycled water bottles

My favorite: Basic Black Leggings; just the cost of shipping, around $19.00; compare to Forever 21 Mesh Panel Leggings; $22.90.

Current Promotions: Leggings for the cost of shipping.


Best for: Tees.

Ethical Practices: Ethical manufacturing, donates school uniforms with purchase.

My favorite: The V-Neck Tee in Grey; $28.00; compare to Banana Republic’s Signature Linen Tee; $34.00.

Current Promotions: Free shipping and returns.

American Apparel

Best for: Tees, cardigans, tunics, leggings.

Ethical Practices: Sweatshop free, made in USA, recycling practices.

My favorite: The Bouclé Shawl Collar Cardigan; $29.00 (sale); compare to H&M’s Mohair Blend Cardigan; $59.99 (sale.)

Current Promotions: Take 40% off site-wide with the code TAKE40.


Where are your favorite places to shop for basics? What would you add to my list? I’d love to hear!

2 thoughts on “Where to Shop for Affordable & Ethical Basics

  1. There a many affordable options. I’ve bought PACT lace panties, but I’ve torn them a bit, but then I tend to do that, so that might just be me and not the product. I still want to try their other items (particularly the tights and cami with self bra). One thing that I’ve disliked in researching Fair Trade is the often extreme trendiness or gender neutral or plainess of the items. But for cute dresses, Mata Traders are reasonable. They have retro feel. I’ve only ever tried PACT, but I (not for fair trade reasons) have mostly been buying second hand in recent years and that is an affordable “fair trade” option.

  2. I think people just have a perception that fair trade is going to be unaffordable, without actually looking to see. It’s kind of like assuming that your local store will be more expensive than shopping on Amazon- sometimes, but not always. I know with Everlane, they cut out the “middleman” in order to keep their prices low and still fair. This is a great round up of ethical options! Thanks for sharing.
    The Artyologist

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *