Fashion, Life & Style

Your Ethical Style: Elizabeth Stilwell

clothes rail

I’m really pleased to have Elizabeth Stilwell from ethical lifestyle blog, The Note Passer, on the blog today, sharing her ethical style tips and inspirations.  New York City-based Elizabeth shares a whole manner of advice for living more ethically and sustainably on her beautifully designed site.  If you haven’t visited her site before then you are most definitely in for a treat!

ethical outfit

Elizabeth’s wearing: Silk top by Suzanne Rae / Skirt and coat secondhand from eBay / Watch by JORD and is made from wood furniture remnants / Shoes are men’s dress shoes found secondhand on Yerdle.

If you think you might recognise the name, then Elizabeth was the designer behind this really useful ethical shopping infographic that was featured here on Moral Fibres, and is also all over Pinterest!

Hi Elizabeth, can you share with us three facts about you?

1.  I’ve had glasses since the 4th grade.
2.  I taught English in China for five years.
3.  My husband and I live in a 350 square foot apartment in Manhattan.

Where are your favourite places to shop for ethical clothing?

I try to buy secondhand as much as possible.  I’ve sent in a lot of clothes to Twice for credit and use it to get new (to me) items.  I’ve also bought things from eBay and Etsy.  I shop at my local secondhand stores and always go to thrift shops when I travel.

If I can’t find something used, I like to shop sites that do all of the ethical vetting for me.  One of my favorites is Shop Ethica.  I keep a running list for whenever I need to shop for something.

What’s the last ethical item that you bought?

I just got a gorgeous bralette from Uye Surana.  It’s made of high-quality materials and was designed and crafted here in NYC.

ethical underwear

Is there anything secondhand or ethical that you are lusting over at the moment?

I’d love to have an organic cotton flannel robe from Coyuchi.

Do you have a top tip for shopping ethically?

Try to slow down your process.  Many retailers and brands manipulate us into thinking we’ll miss out on something if we don’t take advantage of a sale or trend.  By establishing a style that works for you (regardless of trends) and asking some questions before you buy, you can slow down that compulsion and avoid impulse buys.  I think through a series of questions and then do a lot of hunting before I actually buy something

Is there anything you find difficult about shopping ethically?

There’s still a lot of time and effort that goes into shopping ethically.  Even if a brand is considered “ethical” I still sometimes have to ask questions. Questions like, “Do you know where your merino wool comes from and do the farmers practice mulesing?”.  

I deal with this kind of thing all of the time, but it’s not a question the average consumer would even know to ask.  One of the purposes of my site is so I can pass this information on and help my readers make more informed decisions. It would be amazing if it didn’t take so much time and energy, but right now it does.

vintage shoes

Where do you get your style inspiration from?

That’s a good question.  I don’t really follow style blogs or read fashion magazines.  I think living in New York is inspiration enough; I notice a lot of styles when I’m out and mentally file them away to try myself.  For the most part, though, I dress for comfort and practicality.  I recently “minimalised” my wardrobe with the help of my fashionable friend, Christina, and I’ve never felt more at ease in my clothes than I do now.  Everything I own now has a good shape and quality, neutral colors, and all goes together.  It’s a breeze to get dressed!

What is your best secondhand or ethical find ever?

A few summers ago, I was thrifting in Florida and found a pair of Liz Claiborne black velvet trousers. I didn’t realise it at the time, but they were such a great find!  I wear them so much in the winter because they are warm and look luxe while being incredibly comfortable.  I just adore the serendipity of thrifting!

What would be your ultimate thrifted find?

Like many people, I would love to find the perfect vintage leather jacket.  Still looking…


Could you tell us your top three style tricks/DIYs?

1.  Take good care of your clothes and hand wash delicate items so that they last a long time.
2.  Look for timeless shapes with interesting details to keep from looking too trendy and subsequently dated when the trend is over.
3.  If you are looking for a particular piece to add to your wardrobe, look for it secondhand first.  You can usually get better quality at a lower cost than anything you would get at a fast-fashion chain.  With sites like Tradesy and TheRealReal, you can even get trendier stuff at a fraction of the cost and without its ethical burden (since it’s secondhand).

Thanks for taking part Elizabeth! New to Moral Fibres?  You can also check out the other Your Ethical Style posts!

Do you want to share your ethical style with Moral Fibres readers?  Whatever your age, sex, size, style, budget or location I’d love to feature you to show that ethical fashion is for everyone!  Get in touch via to take part in Your Ethical Style!  There are no barriers to taking part – you don’t have to be a blogger to be featured!

all images c/o Elizabeth Stilwell

Fashion, Life & Style

Spring Ethical Clothing Wishlist

spring ethical clothing
spring clothes

Looking for some spring ethical clothing inspiration for your sustainable wardrobe? I’ve got you covered!

I’m trying to be on a buy nothing new (or secondhand) clothing diet right now.  However, I’m only human. And I can’t help but notice all the pretty clothes coming out right now from sustainable and ethical clothing retailers, as part of their spring ethical clothing ranges!  Retailers have definitely managed to kick the tie-die trance trousers reputation that eco-friendly and ethical fashion once had right into the past.

The Spring Ethical Clothing Lust List

I’ve put together my fantasy spring ethical clothing shopping list in case you’re looking for some ethical inspiration.  The good news is all pieces are £50 or under:

ethical clothes

Orla Kiely T-Shirt (£36) from People Tree*. I have a bit of a thing for Orla Kiely’s beautiful prints and I love her newest collaboration with People Tree.

Peter Pan T-Shirt (£45) from Bibico. This just looks so easy to wear, and great to dress up or down.

Bicycle Belle T-Shirt* (£25) from Howies. Isn’t this just the sweetest t-shirt?

Nomad Maya Jeans (£21.95) via Ethical Superstore*. I’ve featured these jeans before, but it was worth adding them again as they are currently on super sale in sizes 14 and above.

More Ideas

ethical clothes

Mero Tote (£49) via Ethical Superstore*. This tote bag is currently out of stock but is back in 11 days if you’ve got your heart set on it.  It’s a bit of a multi-tasker too – it’s reversible (to red) when you want to change things up!

Leaf Print Dress (£39.90) from Thought Clothing*. I’m a sucker for a good print and this dress is pretty much perfect.  Wear with the Nomads cardigan below and you’re sorted!

Cardigan (£50) from Nomads*. If I was buying anything new right now it would definitely be this beauty.  Light enough to wear as a cardigan but with the look of a smart jacket, this would be perfect for my work/going out wardrobe.

3/4 Sleeve Merino Top (£45) from Finisterre. Stylish and cosy, and most importantly ethically made and guaranteed to be non-mulesed.

Also, as I was putting this ethical spring clothing guide together it struck me that pretty much everything I’ve picked out is blue!  I’m not sure why I’m so drawn towards all things blue right now. Perhaps it’s the thought of blue skies ahead!

Looking for more ethical clothing inspiration? Do check out my guide to over 40 ethical clothing brands.