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If you are vegan or considering the vegan lifestyle, it’s important to veganize your wardrobe to fit your chosen lifestyle. Why? Veganism isn’t just a diet; it’s a lifestyle guided by ethics.
According to The Vegan Society, veganism is defined as:
A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.
Choosing a wholly vegan lifestyle is a very personal choice, according to each person’s ethics and moral standard, but many vegans choose to be vegan in every aspect of their lives. For us, choosing a vegan lifestyle means purchasing clothing and accessories that are made from vegan materials. That’s why all of our products are made from vegan materials.
If you’re looking to veganize your wardrobe, here’s a step-by-step guide.
To start veganizing your wardrobe, you first need to know what materials are vegan. Research what materials are animal-made or -derived and what materials are man-made or plant-based.
According to PETA, here are some vegan materials you can look for in your new wardrobe:
According to PETA, here are some materials that you should try to avoid as you adopt a vegan wardrobe:
To go a step further in your research, find out what vegan-friendly materials are the most eco-friendly. Some materials seem vegan on the surface because they are not animal-derived, but the process to create them creates more harm than good, so it’s important to do your research before purchasing a new clothing item.
Once you know what materials to look out for, it’s time to read clothing labels. Start by researching what clothing companies make and/or sell vegan clothing. Even when shopping online, read the item label. If a material is not clear, such as fleece, reach out to the company (via chat, email, phone, or in-person) to determine whether the item is vegan or not.
When you visit your favorite stores that don’t solely sell vegan apparel, continue to be vigilant about reading the labels. Don’t be afraid to walk away from an item if the store owner isn’t sure where from a material is derived.
Another option when undergoing a wardrobe overhaul is to purchase secondhand items.
You likely can’t overhaul your entire closet overnight because your time and money are limited resources. Instead, tackle this wardrobe overhaul in one of two ways:
Start with your hats or shoes, and then move through each item type in your closet and dresser drawers. We recommend starting with something small so you can experience the snowball effect.
For example, if you’re not a hat person, start there before moving on to your shirts, dresses, undergarments, pants, socks, and shoes. If you don’t own many shoes but you own a lot of shirts, then start with your shoes and go up. Earning small wins throughout this process will help you keep going.
After you’ve determined what type of item you’re going to start with (e.g. shoes), start searching for and purchasing that item. When you have enough to wear (e.g. work, workout, and formal shoes), which may or may not be enough to replace what you currently own in non-vegan items, it’s time to move on to the next clothing item (e.g. socks).
If you’re a seasonal shopper, then purchase your new wardrobe in stages by season. There are two ways to do this, depending on whether you purchase items based on necessity or if you are a thrifty shopper. Often, you will want to do a mixture of these two, depending on your budget.
If you targeted your new favorite vegan stores, then purchase items as you need them (e.g. shorts and summer dresses in the summer). If you want to save money and don’t mind wearing your old wardrobe for a little while longer, then wait for the end-of-the-season sales (e.g. snag those shorts at the beginning of fall for next year).
If you are choosing the vegan lifestyle for health reasons and will be gaining or losing weight throughout this process, we recommend buying the clothes you need in stages when they are on sale, if you can. This will help you enjoy the process while also allowing you time to focus on your dietary needs, too.
After you’ve replaced your animal-derived clothing with vegan items, you are ready to part with the pieces that no longer suit your lifestyle. You can choose to give your well-loved non-vegan clothing to friends, family, or thrift shops. Or you can sell them online or to a local consignment shop.
We recommend boxing up these items after you’ve replaced them for a couple of reasons. First, if your closet was largely non-vegan at the beginning of this process, it can be overwhelming to downsize a lot at once. But if you wait to remove these items from your closet until you have replaced them with vegan items, it will be easier to say “goodbye” to some of those beloved items.
That brings us to our second point about giving items away after you purchase their vegan replacements. If you cherish some clothing items made with animal-derived materials, this process may be harder than giving up some of your animal-made foods. Make the process easier by waiting to give these items away until after you’ve found some vegan clothing items you love.
If veganizing your wardrobe is challenging, embrace that challenge, but don’t push yourself too fast. Because this process is non-linear, you may come across various items in your closet or storage that are non-vegan for months to come. It’s more important to be aware of what you are choosing to wear and store than it is to be perfect. For instance, if you have a silk wedding dress or a loved wool coat passed down from your grandfather, then you may not want to give them up, even with all of your other wardrobe changes. That’s okay as long as it’s your choice and you feel confident about your choice.
Do you need a simple reminder to choose vegan clothing and accessories? Check out our vegan accessories.
Do you want to break the ice when it comes to sharing why you choose to wear vegan? Check out our vegan apparel, which is made from 100% cotton.