Accessorising Your Outfit... the Sustainable Way.

It seems that getting the perfect fit isn't quite enough these days. Accessorising seems to be the way forward. Unsure how to do so sustainably? Have a gander below for the best suggestions.


An outfit isn’t as simple as the top, the bottoms, the shoes, and the hosiery. It’s like a Christmas roast... it requires all the trimmings. However, forking out £30 for the hottest new accessory isn’t the one – especially when there are so many to keep up with. More importantly, it’s not great for the environment. Here are some sustainable swaps that you can consider introducing to your day-to-day lookbook!


How to nail it!


Nails seem to be on a bit of a hot streak at the moment. There are some incredibly talented nail artists out there who are working hard to produce inspiring designs. With that said, a trip down to your local nail salon comes with its woes. The majority of acrylic extensions and gel polishes will include shellac, alongside being tested on animals. So it’s worth checking your next purchase of polishes and/or checking the polish your nail artist uses so as to not fund the continuation of animal testing. We can all make these little swaps, and I’m sure those talented bunch are happy to suit your requirements.


Swaps you could consider: Invest in a good, vegan, cruelty-free nail polish. M&S, Barry M and Essie have a lovely range of colours. Or buy second-hand! Car boots and charity shops are brim with preloved goods. Whilst it may not always be vegan, you are not directly funding the prolongation of these practices. And if you still crave that nail salon environment, there's no harm in asking your beautician to confirm those little details for you!


Rings, rings, rings.


A girl's best friend (in my opinion). I'm sorry, but they just make an outfit. However, a lot of jewellery companies aren’t very eco-friendly. Larger companies involved in supply chains cause deforestation as well as contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. It’s also a fact that jewellery mining is pretty damaging. The machinery required, the land destroyed, and the spread of harmful chemicals can literally destroy an entire habitat. Did you know that producing 1, yep ONE, gold ring generates 20 tonnes of waste?


Swaps you could consider: another charity shop suggestion here. You can honestly find some absolute gems (pun intended). It’s a brilliant way to recycle someone's unwanted pieces, and you may even find a staple accessory. It also helps sponsor charities that are in need of the funds they’re advocating for. Likewise, shopping second-hand reduces the demand for newly mined jewellery.


Not enough pockets?


No problem, bags are your next best bet. In particular, reusable bags. You know the ones… the trendy vintage shoulder bags, those handy eco-friendly crochet market bags, and we can’t forget about the absolute godsend of a recycled cotton tote! Yeah, a great bunch of gals. But those bags we know and love aren't very ecologically sound. Most backpacks and shoulder bags are made of polyester – a nonbiodegradable, water-thirsty, toxic fabric. Likewise, cotton, reserved for our precious tote bag collection, is unimaginably damaging to the human race.


Swaps you could consider: always re-use your bags! Don’t worry; we’ve all been there. You're getting to the till at the big Tesco's when you realise you've left your bags in the blooming car *sighs in consumptive mistake*. But don't worry, the fact that you are starting to make those changes is enough. It's also worth investing in a good quality recycled cotton bag – they help reduce: greenhouse gas emissions, energy & water consumption, and clothes being sent to landfills.



Photo by Kevin Grieve on Unsplash


Necklaces and bracelets and earrings on pretties.


Etsy has an incredible page dedicated to sustainable jewellery. The best part is that Etsy helps out small businesses. Your single purchase pays their living costs, (hopefully recycled) material costs and makes someone very happy. Another handy little widget is their filter option of shopping from just the UK – this is great because it reduces international shipping, ergo limiting air and water pollutants. Depop is another brilliant app too – it’s all second-hand items and the ability to discuss with the seller is great in getting an understanding of what you want! Likewise, and hear me out, Facebook Marketplace can be an absolute gold mine for unique pieces.


Not to copyright the folk over at Tesco but every little helps! It’s often hard to see your changes as having an impact because they are on such a small scale but honestly, they do. It also helps change the way you view the world…


Katie Mortimer 10/05/22