Americans send 25 billion pounds of textiles* to landfills every year, helping to make the fashion industry the second largest polluter after oil. So how is it remotely possible to look good and do good through our closets?

Fast fashion is quick to buy, and because of its low quality, quick to fall apart, ending up in our landfills and increasing pollution. This common buy-to-purge process is hurting our environment and believe it or not, our wallets. We actually spend more on cheap clothes! When we buy ethically made, higher quality pieces instead of fast and cheap, we vote to change this process. What was once a temporary fix is now a long-term closet staple. What was once an impulse buy is now a well-loved piece that we cross-function through the seasons. There are many ways to walk the ethical fashion talk of fewer better things, and here I’ve walked you straight to the shirt dress, my ultimate closet staple.

Join me in the 7 days I cross-function this ultimate closet addition, showing you how to maximize your fewer better things in the bustle of a busy life:

Green Backdrop

Day 1: The Indian summer day. This shirt dress is the perfect piece for that odd and welcome hot day in autumn. Up-cycled from fabric scraps, it helps keep textiles out of landfills. The dress is handmade by Oakland brand Tilden, owned and operated by Tilden Yamamoto. Tilden is a true craftsman and is committed to providing fewer better things. His work and sustainable making simply proves it.

Bus Stop

Day 2: The morning commute. Commuting on public transit, I always have my favorite vintage trench on hand. Rain or shine, I’m ready for anything. A vintage leather top-handle purse and wide-brimmed fedora add an eye-grabbing touch. An opportunity to add a little extra flair on the go? Honestly, I can’t help myself.

On the Run

Day 3: The meeting on the run: When I know I’ll be working on the run, I always default to what I call my urban uniform (i.e. anything with a blazer). A light blazer, this one also by Tilden, keeps this look stylish and professional at the same time.

Evening Cocktails

Day 4: Girl time. When it’s time to play, a simple swap of shoes makes this the perfect girly number. The shiny, silver sandals transform this buttoned-up look in an instant. I added a vintage belt to personalize the look. Accessorize to your liking.

Girls Nite

Day 5: Evening cocktails. Hanging out at a friend’s house, I’m going for comfort and ease. This open shirtdress is the perfect light weight topper.

Brown Dres

Day 6: Networking. At a networking event, I definitely want to stand out. I paired this shirtdress with a vintage vest and skirt suit, and a neckerchief tied right around the collar. A vintage velvet purse and contemporary booties finish it off and really make it unique.

Date Night

Day 7: Date Night! A red-hot vintage belt and candy apple lip adds pop to this essential piece. Bon Soir!

The sustainably made items featured in this post are available at Tilden:

The shirt dress, made from up-cycled remnants left over from a larger company’s run. $240 The blazer, made from a heavy chambray, American milled, 100% cotton. $310

*Textiles includes clothing, footwear, accessories, bedding, towels etc.

Laura Madden
Laura runs a personal image consultancy, where she empowers women to make more conscious shopping decisions. She believes that impeccable style can be both sustainable and affordable, without coming at the cost of humans and the environment. As a stylist, lifestyle blogger, model & social media influencer, she has specialty in curating second hand and vintage looks to reduce the waste cycle of fast fashion.