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12 Sustainable Basics – Conscious Clothing Essentials You’ll Love


There’s nothing #basic about sustainable basics that reduce our impact on the world. 

Between organic fabrics, ethical manufacturing, and future-proofing brands, everyday essentials can be so much more than your go-to comfy clothes.

For those who need something to wear now, consider these sustainable basics clothes brands:

Keeping it local, Harvest & Mill is one of the best sustainable brands for basics made in the USA. 

While The Good Tee is a good place for not just organic cotton t-shirts, but other sustainable basics.

And for ethical basics that won’t break the bank, you won’t be barking up the wrong tree with tentree.

Basic(ally), you can head to the end of the article to see why these sustainable basics brands made the list. 

*This post contains affiliate links

1. ALLBIRDS

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About Allbirds

Allbirds is a Tencel clothing brand that makes use of this tree-based material in their eco friendly basics.

Apart from their famous sustainable running shoes, they’ve added sustainable underwear, socks, activewear, bottoms, tees, and tops for men and women to the lineup.

Allbirds’ Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials: 

Lyocell fabric, a eucalyptus-sourced semi-synthetic, is joined by ZQ Merino wool (either separately or joined in a fabric called Trino) to make the most sustainable basics.

Recycled polyester, recycled nylon, and a small amount of elastane are occasionally used.

Supply chain & labor practices: 

Allbirds was co-founded by a New Zealander, which is where the ZQ Merino wool is also sourced (a country known for ethical wool production and no mulesing laws).

The Certified B Corp has factory partners in the US (North Carolina) as well as South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Peru, and China. 

Each is covered by a range of third-party standards and adheres to Allbirds’ Code of Conduct

Green business practices: 

By 2025, Allbirds hopes to cut their footprint in half, and by 2030, achieve near zero emissions. In the meantime, offsetting makes them 100% carbon neutral. 

Their carbon offset projects include wind energy products, clean cookstoves, solar projects, and regenerative wool in Argentina. 

Inclusivity: 

Women’s and men’s sizes XS-XXXL are available. 

Community & charitable giving: 

Partnering with Soles4Souls, consumers are able to send their old Allbirds shoes back to be distributed to global communities that need them. 

Available: Allbirds

2. PACT

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About Pact

Pact makes packing your wardrobe full of affordable sustainable basics easy.

With minimalist styles for the entire family, Pact is a go-to for sweats, socks, underwear, organic bras, tees, tanks, pants, ethical leggings, shorts, and basic dresses and skirts.

Pact’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials: 

GOTS-certified organic cotton is the principal material in most garments, but the stretchier fabrics feature a small amount of elastane.

You can narrow your search to collections of 100% organic cotton clothes, for both men and women.

Supply chain & labor practices: 

Pact sources organic cotton from India, where the clothing is also processed in a Fair Trade certified factory.

Green business practices: 

In addition to practices which curb their water and energy use and fabric waste, Pact ships petroleum plastic-free, using post-consumer recycled materials and biodegradable polybags. 

They also offer carbon-neutral shipping. 

Inclusivity: 

Women’s sizes run from XS-XXL and men’s from S-XXL. 

Community & charitable giving: 

Wondering what to do with old clothes?

The cardboard box used for shipping doubles as a Give Back Box, where gently used clothing can be sent back for distribution among nonprofits.

Available: Pact

3. COLORFUL STANDARD

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About Colorful Standard 

Add some pop to your basics with Colorful Standard

The Denmark-based sustainable basics brand boasts a vertically integrated supply chain that keeps essentials affordable—and colorful! 

Available for men and women (and with some unisex sizes), Colorful Standard has t shirts, socks, and sweats available in 48 colors.

Colorful Standard’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials: 

PETA-approved organic cotton and GRS and OEKO-TEX certified recycled Merino wool are the only materials used. 

Your many color options are thanks to OEKO-TEX certified dyes. 

Supply chain & labor practices: 

Transparency is a breeze with CS—they have their own manufacturing center in Portugal that adheres to European Labor Laws and ensures workers receive fair conditions and pay. 

Green business practices: 

Colorful Standard doesn’t do sales or seasons. Instead, they create high-quality, long-lasting clothes that help people buy less over time. 

Precise laser cutting keeps fabric waste to a minimum and any excess is turned into furniture filling. 

Through offsets and tree planting, Ecologi has ranked them as a Climate Positive company, and they ship using recycled, FSC-certified packaging.

Inclusivity: 

While most of their collection is designed to be gender neutral, the “women’s” styles are available in XS-XL and “men’s” in XS-2XL.

Community & charitable giving: 

Colorful Standard’s Let Them Play program has created an all-purpose activity center and football club in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They keep it going by donating 5% of annual profits towards this cause.  

Available: Colorful Standard 

4. BOODY

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About Boody

The best sustainable basics and Boody go together like bamboo and pandas.

Which, coincidentally enough, is what comprises all of their essentials for men and women

This range includes sustainable activewear, comfy tops and pants, underwear and bras, and bamboo socks.

Boody’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials: 

Bamboo viscose (produced in a sustainable, closed-loop process with non-toxic solvents) is the main material, though it’s sometimes blended with organic cotton, and/or a little spandex. 

Their new LYOLYTE line is made with bamboo lyocell for a lighter, comfier feel. 

In addition to being processed sustainably, the bamboo is organically-grown and certified by FSC, PETA, ECOCERT, and OEKO-TEX. 

Supply chain & labor practices: 

The bamboo is sourced from responsibly managed Chinese forests.

Boody’s manufacturing partners are also based in China and adhere to both WRAP labor standards and the brand’s Code of Conduct

Green business practices: 

SGS testing provides assurance that final products are chemical-free. 

All water used during production is recycled and reused, and eco packaging is used to get your Boody on your booty.

Inclusivity: 

Women’s sizes XS-4XL are available in some products, with an XS-XL range for the rest. 

Menswear comes in S-XL.

Community & charitable giving: 

In addition to supporting 1% For the Planet, Boody’s Goodbye Malaria bracelet sees 100% of profits from this item go toward malaria treatment and research in South Africa. 

They often help charitable initiatives by volunteering or donating returned and unsold goods.

Available: Boody

5. MATE THE LABEL

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Image by MATE the Label

About MATE the Label

MATE the Label is one of our favorite affordable ethical clothing brands.

The Los Angeles based brand offers everyday activewear, as well as harder-to-find items like ethical plus size clothing

Their sustainable fashion basics include women’s sweats, tops, bottoms, tees, and tanks. Their kids’ and men’s essentials range is smaller but includes sweats and tees. 

MATE the Label’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices 

Materials: 

Organic cotton is MATE’s best mate, but you’ll occasionally see conventional cotton, linen, and spandex (but they keep it at a low level, <8%). 

You can get essentials in nearly every color under the sun, thanks to low-impact dyes. 

Supply chain & labor practices: 

The cotton is sourced from an organic farm in India. 

All garments are manufactured in Los Angeles, in a fair wage factory less than 20 miles away from MATE’s headquarters. 

Green business practices: 

Their reMATE circularity recycling program accepts old MATE products to be transformed into new ones.

Their Impact Report has more about this better-for-earth BFF, including details about their carbon neutrality and plastic-free consumer packaging.

Inclusivity: 

MATE was founded by women and is run by women to create products for (mostly) women. 

Moved by the BLM movement, they developed a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion framework and created an Anti-Racist & Accountability Action Plan.

Extended sizing means all essential styles are available in XS-3X (with model diversity to represent this range, too). 

Community & charitable giving: 

This member of 1% For the Planet has contributed more than $95,000 to environmental organizations.

They’ve also donated a similar amount to BLM-related organizations, including Raheem, a service for reporting police abuse online. 

Available: MATE the Label

6. ORGANIC BASICS

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About Organic Basics 

And the award for the most apt name in this list goes to…Organic Basics

Obviously one of the best sustainable clothing basics brands. 

The Danish company and Certified B Corp is well-stocked with essentials like underwear and bras, sustainable bike shorts, pants, shirts, activewear, and t shirts for men and women of all sizes.

If your budget is looking a little basic right now, purchase in packs and save up to 20%.

Organic Basics’ Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials: 

Organic cotton, TENCEL lyocell, and recycled nylon (sometimes blended with minimal virgin nylon) make up most of the materials.  

Some of the more active-ready SilverTech™ pieces feature Polygiene® Stay Fresh treatments to neutralize bacteria and odor. 

Supply chain & labor practices: 

All clothes are made in fair working conditions (read: living wages, freely chosen employment, and no child labor). Most of the basics are made in Portugal. 

Details about their factory partners are available for conscious consumers. 

Green business practices: 

As a lover of regenerative agriculture, Organic Basics partners with the WWF to create a regenerative organic cotton farm in Turkey.

Their entire supply chain is carbon neutral through One Carbon World, including free carbon neutral worldwide shipping. 

And their low-impact website for sustainable online perusing completes the picture. 

Inclusivity: 

Having recently expanded their sizes, women’s XXS-XXL is available in some styles, including S+, M+, and L+ for those that fall in-between.

As per their new Body Friendly Manifesto, they plan on continuing to increase their sizes until their basics fit all bodies. 

The rest of the women’s garments come in XS-XL and men’s in S-XXL. 

Before their size increases, we’ve always loved their inclusive and body-positive model selection.

Community & charitable giving: 

In addition to being a member of 1% for the Planet, The Organic Basics Fund provides financial support for European organizations working to solve environmental and social injustices. 

Available: Organic Basics 

7. OUTERKNOWN

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About Outerknown

Outerknown produces high quality sustainable basics. 

While better known for their sustainable swimwear and outdoor-ready activewear, their men’s and women’s essentials are also making waves

They come in the form of organic hoodies, sweats, tees, shorts, and denim. 

Outerknown’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials: 

A range of sustainable, bluesign®-certified fabrics are used, including organic cotton, alpaca wool, linen, hemp, and recycled synthetics. 

Even the buttons are natural and plastic-free.

Supply chain & labor practices: 

Outerknown has manufacturing partners in California, Mexico, Peru, Sri Lanka, and China. 

As a supporter of Fair Trade USA and Fair Labor Association certified from day one, over 5,000 workers have been supported with fair wages and working conditions. 

Green business practices: 

Outerknown has already taken steps toward achieving its 2030 Sustainability Strategy. 

New US customers can shop their Pre-Loved section, and old customers can sell their old OK clothes. That’s on top of their denim repair and recycling program.

Inclusivity: 

Most women’s garments are available in XS-XL and men’s sizes S-XXL. 

Community & charitable giving: 

Outerknown uses its platform to advocate for the outdoors, and they spend a lot of time educating and supporting causes that protect our oceans and fight for climate action. 

Ocean Conservancy is one long-time donation recipient.

Available: Outerknown

8. TENTREE

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About tentree

Sustainable outdoor clothing brand and certified B Corp tentree may just as well grow their range of sustainable basics clothing on trees because it is so impressive.

For both men, women, and kids, they have many styles of tees, tanks, shirts, sweaters, sustainable sweatpants, and shorts. 

tentree’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials: 

TENCEL lyocell, recycled polyester (from plastic bottles), organic cotton, and hemp are the main materials in use, though added elastane gives some garments a little stretch. 

Supply chain & labor practices: 

tentree’s Factory Ledger transparently shares where each garment is produced and each location’s third-party certifications (Fair Wear Foundation, WRAP, Fair Trade, BSCI, and SA8000). 

Green business practices: 

By 2023, tentree’s supply chain will be free of single-use plastics, but shipping materials are already there via FSC-recycled paper instead of polybags. 

You can also buy carbon offsets to offset your own emissions from your lifestyle, international flights, pet ownership, or hot showers. 

Inclusivity: 

Women’s sizes run from XS-XXL and men’s from S-XXL

Community & charitable giving: 

tentree refers to their practice of planting 10 trees for every purchase. They’re working to plant one billion by 2030.

This not only provides selected communities of damaged biodiversity with carbon sequestration and reforestation benefits, but also meaningful work.

Available: tentree

9. HARVEST & MILL

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Image by Harvest & Mill

About Harvest & Mill

Harvest & Mill is where to buy sustainable basics that have been “grown and sewn in the USA.”

Their men’s and women’s basics include shirts, pants, socks, and pants, and come in minimalist, staple colors.

Harvest & Mill’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials: 

They use 100% heirloom organic cotton, much of which is undyed yielding neutral colors. 

The only exception is their black fabric. While still organic cotton, it contains low-impact fiber reactive dyes. 

Supply chain & labor practices: 

The fabrics, yarns, and cotton are sourced in the USA, where they’re also turned into clothes. 

With a local supply chain, Harvest & Mill is able to ensure ethical working conditions. All workers benefit from safe work environments and fair wages. 

Green business practices: 

The low-impact dyes follow EPA discharge and environmental laws, some of the strongest worldwide, ensuring zero water and soil pollution. 

Harvest & Mill supports regenerative agriculture and partners with Fibershed to help increase biodiversity and promote soil health. 

The company and all its garments are certified Carbon Neutral. 

Inclusivity: 

The woman co-founded company offers sizes S-XL.

Available: Harvest & Mill

10. THE GOOD TEE

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Image by The Good Tee

About The Good Tee

The Good Tee fits the demand for sustainable cotton basics to a T. 

In addition to eco friendly t-shirts for kids, women, and men, they also have simple yet stylish tanks, hoodies, henleys, and tunics. 

The Good Tee’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials: 

The shirts are made with 100% GOTS certified organic cotton that’s also Fairtrade certified. 

Only low impact, AZO-free dyes are used. 

Supply chain & labor practices: 

This Certified B Corp’s Supply Chain Map provides specific details about each step of the manufacturing process.

The organic cotton is sourced in India where it’s processed by Fairtrade groups. 

Green business practices: 

Hang tags are made of cotton or recycled paper, making them biodegradable—just like the tees, which are also designed for durability and long-lasting use. 

Recycled boxes and biodegradable bags are used for shipping. 

Inclusivity: 

Sizes XS-XXL are offered and many styles are unisex.

Available: The Good Tee

11. BROOK THERE

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Image by Brook There

About Brook There

Brook There aims to “create a timeless, well-made garment you can treasure for years.”

For all your barely-there sustainable womens basics, they make organic underwear and bras, and loungewear like tops, tanks, bottoms, and camis. 

Brook There’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials: 

As lovers of organic cotton, they have an entire shop section devoted to it. 

Sometimes you’ll see a little spandex blended in, and other pieces are made with materials, like silk. 

Fiber-reactive dye is used to create most of their colors. 

Supply chain & labor practices: 

Organic cotton is sourced in California and South Carolina. Everything is cut and sewn in Massachusetts and the designs and patterns are completed in Maine. 

Keeping everything close to home means they know each of their workers by name and ensure they’re supported with fair working conditions. 

Brook There does everything possible to source materials in the US, but some things (like lace, silk, and elastic trims) are imported. 

Green business practices: 

Everything is shipped with EcoEnclose recycled and reusable poly bags and recycled tissue paper. 

Inclusivity: 

The standard size range is from XS-XXL, but they’re actively working to expand this further.

Available: Brook There

12. MIGHTY GOOD BASICS

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About Mighty Good Basics

A fitting name for a brand making sustainable clothing basics; Mighty Good Basics is mighty good for the utmost essentials.

It’s no surprise this Australia-based co. specializes in the “down under” of your favorite sustainable duds.

In other words, they make underwear for men, and underwear and tanks for women. 

Mighty Good Basics’ Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials: 

Certified small-scale Fairtrade organic cotton is used, along with a small amount of elastane in some garments. 

Only AZO-free, low impact dyes are used. 

Supply chain & labor practices: 

They share details about their entire supply chain, which includes the locations of each manufacturing partner, employee benefits, and third-party certifications. 

Green business practices: 

Within the next few years, MGB should be a totally circular business—right down to creating an underwear recycling program.

Their dye-houses recycle most of the water used and other manufacturing partners employ innovative methods to reduce energy requirements (i.e. burning rice industry waste instead of fossil fuels).

Inclusivity: 

Women’s sizes XXS-L are available; men’s from S-L. 

Available: Mighty Good Basics

HOW WE CHOSE ECO FRIENDLY BASICS

Better-for-earth basics start with considering the following sustainable and ethical fashion criteria. 

Materials: 

Going au natural is the most basic way to dress, but natural sustainable fabrics are a close second. 

Organic cotton, hemp, wool, and linen are a good choice for us and our planet. Semi-synthetics (like modal fabric, lyocell fabric, or closed-loop bamboo fabric) are close seconds.

Stretchy, breathable fabrics often require synthetics like polyester and nylon, but these are best when kept to a minimum or are made from recycled materials.

With any synthetic fabrics (recycled or not), be sure to use a Guppy Friend bag to capture microplastics during washing. 

Supply chain & labor practices: 

Uncomfortable and ill-fitting clothing has nothing on Greenwashing.

Going beyond basic to transparently share manufacturing details, factory locations, worker pay, and Code of Conducts are what we look for in ethical brands. 

Third-party certifications provide extra assurance. 

Green business practices: 

The most sustainable basics are those with an impact compensated by carbon offset programs, or made using renewable energy and other practices that reduce water, energy, and chemical use.

Plastic-free shipping, programs to reduce or reuse waste, and ensuring manufacturing processes don’t pollute the environment may not be basic brand practices, but they’re sure appreciated!

Sustainable basics are the foundation of a minimalist wardrobe, so we also love seeing brands avoid fast fashion tactics by designing timeless and seasonless garments.

Inclusivity: 

Basics should be for all bodies, so inclusive sizing is important, as is using models that actually represent all the bodies their clothes are made for.

Community & charitable giving: 

Stocking up with sustainable basics from brands that give back makes that oversized tee feel extra cozy.

This could come in the form of money or product donations, volunteering, or a brand simply using its platform for good. 


FINAL THOUGHTS ON SUSTAINABLE BASICS BRANDS

Sustainable basics and slow fashion go hand in hand. 

You can feel good knowing that your everyday essentials are made in a way that has minimal impact on the environment.

But before you shop for eco-friendly basics, check out an online thrift store for secondhand staples. At the very least, you’ll find something unique and new-to-you.


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