Sustainable and Ethical Basics for Everyday

Sustainable and Ethical Basics - t-shirts, joggers, and more
Photo by Anna Shvets on

Sustainable and Ethical Basics

The terms ethical and artisan made are often synonymous with “novelty.”

And that’s not a bad thing. It’s nice to own a one-of-a-kind embroidered dress, a bag made from leather off-cuts, and handwoven shoes. But unless you’ve really embraced your eclectic side, it’s not particularly practical to outfit yourself exclusively in patterned and patch-worked goods.

I was a creature of comfort and versatility even before the pandemic. Now that most of my life is spent doing schoolwork, internships, and social events in a couple corners of my apartment, I have even more appreciation for my collection of soft cotton t-shirts and joggers. Jeans and rigid wovens just don’t belong inside the house, at least in my opinion.

So I’ve spent a lot of time seeking out ethically sourced, sustainable goods that fit well, last a long time, and fill the necessary category of “basics.

The following brands use natural, breathable fabrics; feature styles that work in many contexts; and cater toward someone who wants a good fit without too much fuss.

This post is partially sponsored and contains affiliate links. Please note that gendered terms are used here based on the brands’ usage.

$ – Under $50 | $$ – Under $100 | $$$ – Under $150 | $$$$ – $151+

Sustainable and Ethical Brands That Carry Basics

Sustainable and Ethical Basics - Antigone joggers

1. Antigone

What They Carry: With items made in NYC and North Carolina, Antigone is a newer brand that prioritizes sustainable fabrics, traceability, and comfort. They carry joggers, tanks, sweaters, and t-shirts for men and women.

Sizes: XS-XL
Price Point: $$-$$$$


American Giant

2. Encircled

What They Carry: Made in Toronto, Canada, Encircled specializes in women’s multi-wear, classic clothing in eco-friendly jersey fabrics that fit a wide variety of body types and sizes.

Sizes: XS-XXL
Price Point: $-$$$$


3. Dorsu

What They Carry: Made in Cambodia, Dorsu uses soft cotton factory remnants to produce their range of classic tees, dresses, and skirts. Men’s and women’s options.

Sizes: XS-XXXL
Price Point: $


4. American Giant

What They Carry: Made in the USA, American Giant makes clothing for men and women – including t-shirts, leggings, joggers, and hoodies – in soft cotton.

Sizes: XS-XXL
Price Point: $-$$$$


Sustainable and Ethical Basics - Quince
Sustainable and Ethical Basics - PACT Apparel

5. Quince

What They Carry: Produced using a more agile manufacturer to consumer model, Quince offers cotton basics, as well as recycled poly fleece in t-shirts, sweatpants, hoodies, and more for women and men.

Sizes: XS-XL
Price Point: $-$$$



What They Carry: PACT carries fair trade, organic lounge, athletic, t-shirts, and more for men, women, and kids. They also have a household linens collection.

Sizes: XS-XL
Price Point: $-$$


Fair Indigo
Universal Standard

7. Elegantees

What They Carry: Made ethically in Nepal and NYC, Elegantees offers a range of interesting basics like tees, dresses, and cardigans in soft cotton/spandex.

Sizes: XS-XL
Price Point: $-$$


8. Fair Indigo

What They Carry: Fair Indigo carries fair trade, organic t-shirts, leggings, and more in soft and sturdy Pima cotton. Women’s and men’s styles.

Sizes: XS-XXL
Price Point: $-$$$


9. Universal Standard

What They Carry: Universal Standard has an expansive collection of clothing for women – many offered in natural fibers with sustainable processes – with a specific focus on quality and size inclusivity (make sure to check fabric makeup; look for cotton and modal).

Sizes: 00-40
Price Point: $-$$$$


10. KOTN

What They Carry: KOTN has a close relationship with their fair wage factory, and offers classic Egyptian cotton basics for men and women, as well as bedding.

Sizes: XS-XXL
Price Point: $-$$$


More Shopping Guides

Leah Wise

Leah Wise is the founder of StyleWise Blog. She has been writing, speaking, and consulting on sustainable fashion, the fair trade and secondhand supply chain, and digital marketing for over ten years. An Episcopal priest, Leah holds a B.A. in Religion from Florida State University and an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School. When not working, you can find her looking for treasures at the thrift store.

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