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black man with afro wearing black mock neck skivvy made sustainably by A.BCH
24 Sep
black man with afro wearing black mock neck skivvy made sustainably by A.BCH

Our Top 23 Timeless and Sustainable Wardrobe Essentials

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Discover our roundup of the best more sustainable wardrobe essentials from responsible brands making everything from underwear and socks to tees and denim jackets.

Making the most of your wardrobe

If you’re starting to be more mindful about what you wear and how your clothes impact the Earth and its inhabitants, you might also be wondering how you can transition to a more sustainable wardrobe. What are some good essentials? What do you really need? And where can you find these ethical items?

Of course, you should always start by having a good look at what’s in your closet and falling back in love with what you have. As they say, the most sustainable garment is the one you already own!

BUT if you need to consolidate your wardrobe or replace pieces, it’s good to choose these new friends carefully, making sure you’ll wear them time and time again, and that the brands you buy from are having a positive impact on the Planet, People, and Animals.

If this is starting to feel daunting, don’t worry—we’ve got the ball rolling for you!

We’ve compiled a list of sustainable wardrobe essentials, with 23 ethical items to choose from; from a basic white t-shirt, sturdy jeans, and warm coats to the essential underwear and socks, we’ve got you covered.

Not interested in buying new? Scroll to the end of the page!

Underwear and socks

Subset (Knickey)

Rated: Great
5 pack of neutral toned ethical underwear by Knickey

Starter Set – Ships internationally from the US

Made in a Fair Trade Certified factory, Knickey’s organic cotton underwear sets are some of the best in the sustainable market. Taking it a step further, the brand has also partnered with an NYC non-profit to recycle old undergarments, turning the fibres into insulation and rug pads. Sending in your old undies will not only help cut down on the number of fibres that wind up in the landfill but give you the freedom to buy new, eco-conscious sets. We love this Starter Set, which allows you to get a range of rises and coverage—all in one hue or a custom assortment from Knickey’s core and limited-edition colours.

Find most items in sizes 2XS to 3XL.

See the rating.

Shop Knickey.

Organic Basics

Rated: Great
two pairs of black sustainable wardrobe essentials boxers and a pair of ethical black socks by Organic Basics

Organic Cotton Starter Pack – Ships internationally from Denmark

And let’s not forget those who like boxers! This organic cotton starter pack is perfect as it contains two boxers AND 2 pairs of socks! Organic Basics offers high-quality, sustainable fashion basics for men and women in organic materials. It also recently launched its first sustainable denim collection! The Denmark-based brand puts sustainable thinking at the centre of everything—it only chooses fabrics that care for our environment and only partners with factories that care about their impact.

Organic Basics clothes are available in sizes XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Organic Basics.


Rated: Good
a black and a white pair of bamboo sock by Boody

Everyday Ankle Socks – Ships internationally from Australia

Boody is an Australian brand that creates beautifully soft, everyday essentials designed to deliver pure comfort while not sacrificing your values. Designed to make you push even harder, the brand’s Everyday Ankle Socks are a must-have in your socks drawer. Boody’s unique bamboo blend is naturally comfortable and moisture-wicking, so you stay fresh while working out. As a bonus, the brand uses entirely animal-free materials in all its pieces!

Find the socks in size 3-9.

See the rating.

Shop Boody.

Shop Boody @ Immaculate Vegan.


Yes Friends

Rated: Great

Sustainable and Ethical T-Shirt – Ships internationally from the UK

If you’re looking for a basic, classic, timeless, sturdy white t-shirt, then look no further than Yes Friends! Yes Friends is a UK-based fashion brand that creates sustainable, ethical, and affordable clothing for everyone. Yes Friends’ t-shirts cost less than £4 to make, and the brand only charges £7.99. Using large scale production and direct to consumer margins means Yes Friends can charge you an affordable price for a sustainable and ethical t-shirt. Note that you can currently only join the waitlist, but the online shop should be reopening in November.

Find the tees in sizes 2XS to 2XL.

See the rating.

Shop Yes Friends.

The Classic T-Shirt Company

Rated: Good
man wearing black organic cotton t-shirt sustainable wardrobe essentials made by The Classic T-Shirt Company

Short Sleeve Crew Neck – Ships internationally from the US

Black t-shirts are the perfect sustainable wardrobe essential—they can be paired with pretty much anything. We love this one by The Classic T-Shirt Company, made from 100% pre-shrunk GOTS organic cotton in Los Angeles. The Classic T-Shirt Company is a US brand that creates premium tees and ethical t-shirts with luxury and integrity. All of its products are GOTS certified organic cotton, and it does not use any animal products.

The Classic T-Shirt Company’s range is available in US sizes XS-3XL.

See the rating.

Shop The Classic T-Shirt Company.

Shop The Classic T-Shirt Company @ Urbankissed.



Rated: Good
blue eco oxford shirt by Unrecorded

Oxford Shirt in Blue – Ships internationally from the Netherlands

Unrecorded is an independent unisex clothing brand from the Netherlands that represents a new wave of rebelling against fast fashion’s nature. The brand is passionate about style and produces apparel using eco-friendly materials. Its range includes year-round items suitable for any wardrobe, like this blue Oxford shirt.

Find it in sizes XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop Unrecorded.


Rated: Great
woman wearing white button up ethically made essential by Armedangels

BLANCAA Organic Cotton Blouse – Ships internationally from Germany

We don’t know about you, but we feel like adding this white shirt to our wardrobe, like yesterday?! This blouse is not only a great staple, but it also uses 91% less water than a shirt made with a conventional fibre would! Affordable, ethical, and on-trend. Germany’s Armedangels gets a ‘Great’ rating overall from us. The brand covers all the basics for women, men, and kids. Armedangels’ quality and long-lasting pieces are made from eco-friendly and certified materials, like Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified cotton. The brand also adopted the Fair Wear Foundation Code of Conduct to protect its workers abroad.

Its products are available in sizes XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Armedangels.

Shop Armedangels @ Earthkind.



Rated: Great
black man with afro wearing a white and a black mock neck skivvy made sustainably by A.BCH

Mock Neck Skivvy – Ships internationally from Australia

A.BCH is a Melbourne-based, Australian-made fashion label for individuals who care about garment provenance. It utilises renewable, organic, and recycled materials. This turtleneck is made from organic cotton in Australia and is great for layering underneath a sweater or shirt.

Find the range in sizes XS-XL, or customise to fit you!

See the rating.

Shop A.BCH.



Rated: Good
black woman wearing light pink woollen jumper by L'Envers brand

LUCIE Wool Sweater – Ships internationally from Spain

If you are looking for a super soft and cuddly sweater, look no longer—L’Envers has made it for you. The LUCIE is a true cloud of comfort with its lovely oversized sleeves. L’Envers’ mission is to design fewer pieces made in a better way. Specialising in knitwear, this Spanish brand believes in mindful, careful, and slow consumption, offering timeless editions guided by conscious, sustainable materials.

You can find the knitted collection in sizes XS to XL or even customise your piece.

See the rating.

Shop L’Envers.


Rated: Great
two people outdoors wearing a green and a beige recycled wool jumper by Hopaal

Le Pull du Futur – Ships internationally from France

Hopaal makes simple, timeless clothing for women and men. We give the brand a ‘Great’ rating for the environment, in part thanks to its use of 100% recycled materials, like in this sweater, made from 100% recycled merino wool. The brand even stocks Guppy wash bags so you can be sure you’re not sending microfibres into the ocean when you do your laundry. Hopaal also takes care of workers, paying a living wage at the final stage of production. This is an excellent example of a brand that puts ethics at the heart of the business without compromising style.

Find the range in XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Hopaal.


Opera Campi

Rated: Good
man wearing black Herotex hemp blazer sustainable wardrobe essential by Opera Campi

Hemp Blazer – Ships internationally from Italy

Yep, you read that right—Opera Campi created a blazer made from hemp, perfect for our list of sustainable wardrobe essentials. The Herotex technology makes this jacket breathable and thermo-regulating all year round, as well as anti-odour and anti-wrinkle! Founded in 2017, Italian brand Opera Campi creates premium quality garments from locally sourced raw materials. Using a balanced approach to sustainability, the brand makes conscious choices throughout its supply chain and donates 4% of its profits to social causes.

Opera Campi is inclusively sized from 3XS-3XL.

See the rating.

Shop Opera Campi.


Rated: Good
woman wearing black ethically made blazer by Baukjen brand

Alanis Jacket – Ships internationally from the UK

You can’t go wrong with a black blazer: it can be dressed up, dressed down, it can be layered, worn without anything underneath. It’s simply a good basic to have in your wardrobe. Baukjen is a London-based womenswear brand, with a focus on environmental, ethical, and sustainable style. Its clothes are designed for you, designed for good.

Find the range in sizes XS-L.

See the rating.

Shop Baukjen.

Denim jacket

MUD Jeans

Rated: Great
people wearing organic cotton denim jackets time wardrobe essentials by MUD Jeans

Tyler Jacket – Ships internationally from the Netherlands

Dutch denim brand MUD Jeans is all about sustainability. Not only does it offer a repair service, but it also provides a rental service where you can lease a pair of jeans for up to a year! MUD Jeans uses a combination of GOTS certified organic cotton and post-consumer recycled cotton. This unisex denim jacket is a timeless piece made sustainably. It’s perfect if you need to add an extra layer or for a total denim look.

MUD Jeans jackets are available in XS to 2XL.

See the rating.

Shop MUD Jeans.

Shop MUD Jeans @ Labell-D.



Rated: Good
woman wearing long pink woollen trench coat ethically made by LANIUS

Woollen Coat with Lapel – Ships internationally from Germany

Another timeless classic, this wool coat is great for the colder months and keeps you warm when it’s cold and windy outside! “Love Fashion, Think Organic, Be Responsible” are the maxims of LANIUS. The German brand uses eco-friendly materials, like GOTS certified cotton. All LANIUS facilities are SA8000 certified, and it is a member of the Fair Wear Foundation.

LANIUS’ clothes are available in EU sizes 34-44.

See the rating.


Shop LANIUS @ Curate.


Rated: Good
man of colour wearing black sustainable wardrobe essentials including trench coat by ASKET

The Wool Coat – Ships internationally from Sweden

Same timeless classic, but this time made from 100% Recycled GRS Certified Post Consumer Wool. ASKET has been creating timeless wardrobe essentials since 2015 with revolutionary sizing and fair pricing. The brand disregards seasonal collections, cuts out all the middlemen, and only sells directly to you—putting its entire focus on building a single permanent collection.

Find the range in sizes XS-XL.

See the rating.



Nudie Jeans

Rated: Great
people wearing sustainable wardrobe essentials jeans by Nudie Jeans

Breezy Britt in Dark StellarGritty Jeans in Friendly Blue – Ships internationally from Sweden


What list of sustainable wardrobe essentials would be complete without trusty jeans? Nudie Jeans gives you the naked truth about denim! The brand’s use of eco-friendly materials such as 100% organic cotton limits the amount of chemicals, water, and wastewater used in production. These sustainable jeans are made in lightweight, super-stretch organic denim, making them the perfect pair of denim jeans for your wardrobe. Note the brand does use wool and leather without stating its sources.

Find most jeans in 32/30-38/34 (Men’s).

See the rating.

Shop Nudie Jeans.

Shop Nudie Jeans @ Farfetch.

Shop Nudie Jeans Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.



Rated: Great
woman wearing black wide leg pants made eco-friendly by Mila.Vert

Wide Leg Twill Trousers – Ships internationally from Slovenia

Wide leg pants are all the rage, and they have been making a comeback into our wardrobes—this pair by Mila.Vert is super versatile, comfortable, and stylish. Love! Mila.Vert offers timeless, minimal, and chic clothing, adding sophisticated details that give the garments a modern feel. The Slovenia-based brand wants to make desirable clothing, avoiding the ethical and environmental issues that the fashion industry represents.

Find the garments in sizes XS-XL, or make a custom fit order free of charge!

See the rating.

Shop Mila.Vert.


Rated: Good
man of colour wearing beige eco-friendly chinos by ISTO.

Chinos – Ships internationally from Portugal

The truth is everyone needs to have a good pair of basic chinos in their wardrobe. These chinos by Portuguese brand ISTO. are made from organic cotton and available in 4 colours: white, navy, khaki, and olive green, so you’re bound to find one you like. ISTO.’s mandate is simple: create clothes to transcend the seasons and work as staple items in your wardrobe all year round. It has one single collection and pursues quality over quantity to try and make its items permanently available. It uses organic and natural materials and is incredibly transparent in showing you the actual cost of your clothes when you purchase a piece for your wardrobe.

The range is offered in XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop ISTO..


Whimsy + Row

Rated: Good
women outdoors wearing an ochre and a lilac silky sustainable dress wardrobe essentials by Whimsy + Row

Lola Wrap Dress – Ships internationally from the US

Little Black Dresses are fabulous and all, but the Lola Wrap Dress is what our dreams are made of. This gorgeous dress is made from Tencel and Cupro. Plus, by buying this dress, you’re helping save 223 hours of bulb energy. Whimsy + Row is an eco-conscious lifestyle brand born out of a love for quality goods and sustainable practices. Since 2014, its mission has been to provide ease and elegance for the modern, sustainable woman. Whimsy + Row utilises deadstock fabric, and by limiting each garment to short runs, the brand also reduces packaging waste and takes care of precious water resources.

Find most products in XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Whimsy + Row.

Shop Whimsy + Row @ Earthkind.



Rated: Good
woman wearing black ethical mid length skirt by Afends

Janey Recycled Midi Skirt – Ships internationally from Australia

Afends is an Australia-based fashion brand leading the way in organic hemp fashion, using renewable energy in its supply chain to reduce its climate impact. The brand also uses other eco-friendly materials, like in this silky-soft skirt made from 100% GRS Certified Recycled Rayon Satin.

You can find the full range in sizes XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Afends.


Flamingos’ Life

Rated: Good
white vegan sustainable wardrobe essentials sneakers by Flamingos' Life

Classic 70s All White – Ships internationally from Spain

Flamingos’ Life creates 100% animal-free sneakers for men and women. This classic all-white pair is made from corn waste and bamboo. And when you buy one of these, you plant five trees in deforested areas in collaboration with the NGO “Eden Reforestation Projects”.

Find the range in sizes 36-46.

See the rating.

Shop Flamingos’ Life.

Shop Flamingos’ Life @ Good.


Rated: Good
black eco boots by Aera

Steffy Boots – Ships internationally from the US

Classic black rock’n’roll boot, check! Low heeled, check! Vegan, check! Sustainable, check! The Steffy boot by AERA has it all. AERA is a US vegan luxury shoe brand, making footwear without the footprint. The brand went to great lengths to ensure that all components are made from non-animal ingredients yet still maintain the quality and style expected from a luxury shoe.

Offered in sizes 35-42.

See the rating.

Shop AERA.


Rated: Good
black loafers ethically made by NOAH for sustainable wardrobe essentials

Vegan Lace Up Shoe – Ships internationally from Italy

And for those who prefer a cruelty free lace-up shoe, we present to you this classic AND vegan pair by NOAH. NOAH creates cruelty-free and 100% vegan shoes and accessories. This German brand’s high-quality and long-lasting shoes are hand-crafted in Italy, using a small proportion of eco-friendly material.

Find them in EU sizes 35-42.

See the rating.

Shop NOAH.

Shop NOAH @ Immaculate Vegan.

Something new, something old

Second hand clothing is getting more and more popular—not only does it provide a refreshing way to shop or swap, but it’s also more sustainable and often more affordable. You can find many sustainable wardrobe essentials on second hand platforms online or in your local thrift shop. If you’re interested in buying some pre-loved ethical staples, have a look at our favourite places to shop second hand clothing. You could even host a clothing swap with your friends, combining the thrill of new-to-you pieces with concrete action towards a more circular economy!

Editor's note

Feature image via A.BCH, all other images via brands mentioned. Good On You publishes the world’s most comprehensive ratings of fashion brands’ impact on people, the planet, and animals. We love to recommend some of the best sustainable brands, rated "Good" or "Great". We also encourage shopping pre-owned as another great way to reduce the impact of our fashion choices. Use our directory to search thousands of rated brands.

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