men's ethical work wear

Men’s Ethical Clothing: Workwear

men's ethical work wear

Continuing with the theme of ethical office wear, I’ve put together my picks for ethical men’s clothes for the office.

As always, the men’s ethical clothing market is smaller than the ladies market, so it has been a bit tricky hunting things down, but hopefully I’ve come up with some of the best pieces available:

mens ethical clothing

1.  This grey People Tree blazer (£135) is smart and ethically made.  There are no matching trousers available, which is a bit of a pain, but fine if you’re just looking for a smart jacket.  It’s important to note that the buttons are made from cow’s horn so it’s not vegan friendly, which can be an issue for some.

2.  Again, from People Tree, these black Ewan trousers (£80) are the smartest ethical trousers I’ve found.  There’s no matching jacket to match it though, but if you’re just looking for a pair of black trousers for the office then these are the ones.  If you sign up for the People Tree newsletter you get 10% off your first order (a healthy £8 on these trousers), and you also get free delivery on them too.

3.  I tried to find some men’s ethical bags for this post, but I drew a complete blank.  Instead here’s a super sustainable cork laptop case* (£24.95) from Nigel’s Eco Store, for carrying your laptop safely.  Here’s a post I wrote on why cork is so sustainable in case you missed it.

4.  Arthur & Henry make some of the only ethical shirts on the market, and they look smart to boot.  This herringbone shirt is £65 but will always be in style.

5.  These vegan shoes from No Harm (£199.99) are very expensive but the best looking ethical shoes I found.  I found some other ethical shoes from another company which were £80 (which I’d still class as expensive) that looked like £7 ones, and not in a good way.  A cheaper alternative would be to buy secondhand shoes on eBay, if you don’t mind the idea of wearing secondhand shoes that is.

 

men's smart ethical clothing

1.  This People Tree navy blazer (£135) featured in the main image is the same as the grey one, above, just in a different colourway.  No matching trousers for these ones either am afraid, and still the horn buttons, but a smart jacket for the office if you’re not a vegan.

2.  These Komodo chinos* (£48.15, reduced from £75) would be smart enough for the office, but comfortable enough to wear at weekends and off days too.

3.  Some Elvis & Kresse cufflinks (£36) made from decommissioned UK fire hoses add a quirky element to your office attire.  Also available in black, blue and yellow.

4.  Likewise, this Elvis & Kresse cardholder (£40) is a fun way to carry your travelcard or bank cards.

5.  I’ve featured this Komodo jumper* (£65) before, in my autumnal men’s ethical clothing post, but it’s again one of those timeless pieces that can be worn at work or for leisure.

6.  Another Arthur & Henry shirt (£79).  There are more colours available than blue, including yellows and pinks, but I have to say I am a fan of the classic blue shirt.

As far as ethical suits, despite extensive searching I haven’t been able to find any ethical men’s suits in the UK.  There are some available in the States for several thousand dollars – that’s before you pay postage and import duty – which doesn’t seem the best.  If  you’re spending a lot of money on a suit should then I think it should be an investment piece tailored to fit.  Therefore I think the best option might be to find a good local tailor/suit maker and get one made to measure using ethical fabrics.  Harris tweed is handmade in Scotland and would make a great suit fabric, while Fairtrade Fabric and Organic Cotton both sell certified fairtrade fabric by the metre.  Your tailor will be able to advise which fabrics they recommend for your budget.  Otherwise eBay or charity shops if you just want an off the peg suit.

Similarly, ties.  I could not find any ethical ties anywhere.  I found plenty handmade ones, but no-one of them appeared to be made with ethically sourced fabrics.  Your best bet is again eBay or charity shops for cheap ethical ties.

If you have come across any men’s ethical suits, ties or bags then do let me in the comments below and I’ll add them to this post!

 

* Denotes the use of affiliate links – see my disclosure policy for more information on this.

 

what-to-make-with-elderberries1

Elderberry Syrup Recipe

best elderberry recipe

The Elder is my most favourite of trees.  In the summer they bloom with the most delicious flowers which can be used in a whole manner of ways (try this boozy elderflower cordial recipe!).  And then in Autumn they offer up another tasty bounty when they positively drip with elderberries, which are also delicious when cooked (but do see my safety note below before you eat any).

Elderberries are in season from, depending on where you are, roughly mid-September to mid-October.  The little black berries pack a mighty punch – they are rich in Vitamin A and B, and are richer in Vitamin C than oranges, making them a great natural cold and flu remedy.  Last winter I was plagued with the cold and flu, so this year I thought I’d make an elderberry syrup to to help ward off any pesky bugs over this coming winter.  I added some extra vitamin C in the form of oranges and lemons just for good measure.

You won’t find elderberries in the shops – you’ll have to go out and pick your own – but luckily the countryside is bursting with elderberries at the moment.    Just get out there with a bag and a pair of scissors and snip bunches of the blackest juiciest berries you can find.  It’s pretty easy to spot them, but if you’re unsure ask a local expert.

what do elderberries look like

My freshly picked and de-stalked elderberries

First, a very important word of warning – elderberries. their stems and their leaves are toxic when raw, so don’t be tempted to eat any whilst you pick.  They contain cyanide and can cause sickness.  Thankfully when you cook the berries they lose their toxicity, so you’re safe with this recipe as it calls for the berries and their juice to be cooked twice!

Picking the berries for your elderberry syrup recipe is the easy part.  Once you’ve picked your berries you’ll need to remove them from their stalks.  The best way to do this is to comb through the stalks with a fork into a bowl.  When you’ve removed all the berries from the stalks you’ll find that quite a few berries still have little stalks on them. Unfortunately these have to be removed too, along with any unripe berries. This is quite a long and tedious job – it took me the best part of an hour going through all the berries with a fine tooth comb, but do persevere as the elderberry syrup is well worth this initial toil.

Elderberry Syrup Recipe

best elderberry syrup recipe

Delicious Spiced Elderberry Syrup

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Delicious Spiced Elderberry Syrup

This deliciously spiced elderflower cordial can be served in a multitude of ways - drizzled into oatmeal/porridge, diluted in hot water for a warming drink, served with soda, and more. What's more, it's got amazing cold and flu prevention properties!

Ingredients

  • Fresh elderberries (as many as you can pick - I filled one carrier bag)
  • A lemon
  • An orange
  • Brown sugar (muscovado or demerara)
  • Cloves
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Sterilised glass bottles and tops.

Instructions

  1. Give your berries a good wash, and cover yourself up with an apron or wear old clothes as the berries can stain like mad.
  2. Next place your berries in a stainless steel pan with half of their volume of water, and simmer for 20 minutes. Don’t allow to boil or you’ll remove some of the goodness from the berries. While they are simmering it’s good to give them a mash with a stainless steel potato masher or the back of a metal spoon to help release the berry juices. Don’t use wooden utensils unless you want them to be stained purple forever more!
  3. Pass the mixture through a fine stainless steel sieve into a bowl, and allow to sit for 15 minutes or so to allow all of the liquid to drip out. Use a metal spoon to push down on the berries to ensure as much water and juice is pressed out of the berries:
  4. Measure your elderberry liquid – for every 500ml of liquid you have add 250g of sugar, a few slices of lemon, a few slices of orange, a few cloves and one cinnamon stick to a stainless steel pan, and then add your liquid.
  5. Stir and then let simmer for 20 minutes (my kitchen smelled like Christmas at this point, it was amazing!) and then pass it through the sieve to remove the fruit, cinnamon and cloves.
  6. Place in a sterilised glass bottle (I filled a 500ml bottle) and enjoy whenever you feel a cold coming on or just when you fancy it. I would serve diluted with hot water as a tasty winter warmer. It has a lovely earthy flavour, and the spice and citrus give it that extra sweet edge:
http://moralfibres.co.uk/delicious-spiced-elderberry-syrup/

elderberry-syrup-recipe

This winter I also plan on enjoying the elderberry syrup as a hot toddy with a shot of whisky and hot water!  I’m looking forward to that on a cold evening, let me tell you!  Alternatively you could drizzle over plain yoghurt or porridge, or even over ice-cream or pancakes.  The possibilities of the syrup are endless!  I’m going to make at least double the amount of elderberry syrup next year as we polished ours off pretty quickly!

Will you be elderberry picking this weekend?