It’s a well-known fact that February, although technically the shortest month, can often feel like the longest. Those winter days seem to drag on with spring tantalizingly close. This is perhaps why the powers-that-be designated this month, on the feast of St. Valentine, to celebrate love in all its forms. To that end, I’ve searched high and low for the perfect ethical outfit ideas for the various ways you might choose to celebrate the love in your life this year.
1. Galentine’s Day Party
Reformation is an ethical fashion brand that places value on slow, sustainable fashion production and workers being treated fairly. Their clothes will set you back a pretty penny, but that’s the idea with this brand. Buy less, wear more.
Reformation has some great dresses for a night out. My favorite dress for winter is the Kellan dress, with its flirty skirt and beautiful dark floral patterns. For a similar feel on a budget, the Novela dress from Mata Traders has a pretty swing skirt and fitted sleeves to keep you cozy and dancing all night. Mata Traders purchases empower women in India and Nepal, making your Galentine’s celebration a global affair.
To finish off your outfit, try Able’s red suede heels. Similar to Mata Traders, Able focuses on giving women economic opportunity through craftsmanship. If these shoes are any indication, then their craftsmanship is second to none.
2. Popcorn and a movie
A pioneer of the capsule wardrobe, Canadian brand Frank & Oak’s monthly clothing subscription box takes the guesswork out of getting dressed. They are also a certified B Corporation, meaning that they meet the highest standards for social and environmental performance as well as transparency to the public.
If you want to choose your own clothing adventure, then my pick would be the comfy Alice straight-leg pant, which will take you from your desk to the cinema with ease. Top it off with one of their super-soft sweaters or sweatshirts and get cozy with your date. Speaking of getting cozy, Veja’s vegan and fair-trade sneakers make for a pretty comfy, guilt-free game of footsie when the lights are out.
3. A hike
What can I say, when it comes to clothing for the great outdoors, my native Canada knows it’s stuff. Another certified B corp, Ten Tree is based on the beautiful west coast in British Columbia. Their goal is to plant 1 billion trees by 2030, while selling well-made lounge wear, outdoor clothing and accessories. There’s even a cork leash so your furry friend can to tag along with you in style.
Once you’ve picked the perfect organic hoodie and joggers, it’s time to pick some boots and start walking. The Native Shoes’ Johnny Trek Lite style is water resistant, comfy and warm, plus can be recycled through the company once you’re done trekking in them. They also come in bubblegum pink.
Underneath your boots, don’t forget some good wool sock, a hiking necessity in the winter. SmartWool are the experts in that department and source ethical wool from well-treated sheep whenever possible.
4. A picnic
If you are lucky enough to be enjoying sunny skies and warmer weather this February, then you get to throw on one of these adorable sundresses from Christy Dawn. Those of us slogging through slush on our way to work are insanely jealous of how cute you’ll look in her upcycled fabric designs.
The pretty prints and breezy styles will be picture-perfect for sitting on a blanket with a picnic basket and some rosé. When the stars come out, throw on a fair trade cardigans from People Tree, a pioneer in ethical style since 1991. Also, add some Huaraches from Nisolo for a sweet finishing touch.
For those of us in less forgiving temperatures, there is one redeeming activity: ice skating. I happen to live in Ottawa, which boasts the largest skating rink in the world on the city’s Rideau Canal. I know a thing or two about winter dressing.
It starts with what you put underneath and ends with a good coat, both of which Patagonia is an expert on. A pair of thermal leggings and a long-sleeve activewear top are absolutely essential when heading into subzero temperatures for long periods of time.
To add some style, you can’t go wrong with Everlane’s reasonably priced denim on top. The jeans are created in “the world’s cleanest denim factory,” which recycles 98 percent of its water and turns waste product into building blocks for home. I especially like their Cheeky Straight Leg style in a faded indigo. Next, add a pretty sweater that’s been made with recycled cashmere fibres. Finally, put on an insulated coat and a thick pair of socks from Patagonia.
Finally, as a bonus, if you’ve decided to just curl up at home and watch Netflix romcoms this holiday, Pact has some of the best leggings, socks, tees and underwear made of organic, fair trade cotton. So Netflix and chill in comfort, my friend. Happy almost Valentine’s Day!