12 Sustainable Dresses You Need to See

In addition to looking great, sustainable dresses can last longer in your closet and help the environment!

A girl looking through a rack of clothing.

We all know that the fast fashion industry has exploded in the past several years. With that explosion has come an explosion in clothing waste, textile industry-related CO2 emissions, and water pollution. As trends come and go at the beginning and end of every season, more and more consumers find themselves constantly buying new, cheaply-made clothing to replace outfits that they haven’t even worn more than a couple of times.

As fun as it can be to go shopping for new clothing, it’s definitely not fun to think about how mass-produced clothing affects the environment. Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives to the fast-fashion industry. Thrifting, for example, is a great way to find sustainable dresses and clothing and allows you to give new life to secondhand clothing.

But if you’re still in the mood to buy new instead of used, you’re in luck. Recently, more and more companies are making efforts to introduce more sustainable fashion to the market- clothing that is ethically sourced, more durably made, and leaves less of a carbon footprint. Although sustainable clothing is usually more expensive, it also lasts longer, saving you money in the long run. Not to mention, several of these sustainable brands partner with local artisans to produce their pieces, which means that supporting them helps craftsmen and craftswomen keep their textile arts alive.

Here are some of our favorite sustainable dresses on the market right now:

1. Christy Dawn: The Florentine Dress

A woman with brown hair wearing a white dress.
Christy Dawn is a regenerative clothing company, not just sustainable. Image courtesy of Christy Dawn.

First on the list is a beautiful Edwardian-inspired dress by Christy Dawn. Christy Dawn aims to be more than a sustainable clothing company- it aims to be a regenerative one, putting resources into renourishing the land used to grow the cotton in their dresses.

Made of 100% organic cotton and dyed with organic dyes, the Florentine dress boasts a flattering Edwardian silhouette and beautiful lacework around the neckline. If you’re looking for something classy but not too formal, this might be a great option for you.

Price: $278

2. Tove & Libra: Wrapped Shirtdress

A woman wearing an orange wrapped dress
Trove & Libra prioritizes using ethically-sourced materials for their clothing. Image courtesy of Tove & Libra.

This dress by Tove & Libra puts a classy spin on the casual shirtdress look. With its wide belt, you can choose how to wrap and tie it to suit your own style, or to vary your look from day to day. The shirtdress is made from triacetate-- sustainably upcycled-- and is lightweight enough for those late summer days when you can feel the autumn breeze just around the corner.

Trove & Libra puts a focus on using ethically-sourced fabrics and recyclable packaging in order to make its products sustainable. They also love to produce clothing that offers a variety of style options for each article-- meaning more bang for your buck.

Price: $150

3. Reformation: The Nadira Dress

A woman wearing a floral dress with tied shoulder straps
Reformation aims to source all of its fabrics from recyclable, renewable, or regenerative sources by 2025. Image courtesy of Reformation.

Looking for something formal and flattering? The Nadira dress by Reformation is a beautiful option. It’s made from viscose, a wood-based fiber sourced from sustainably-managed forests, and has a lightweight feel to it, making it great for a summer night out. With its sweetheart neckline, tie straps, and fitted style, this dress has both a modern and vintage feel. Reformation even does alterations to make sure that your dress fits you exactly the way it’s meant to.

Price: $278

4. Faithfull the Brand: Azalea Midi Dress Tobago Floral

A woman wearing an orange, brown, and white floral dress
Faithfull the Brand lowers its carbon footprint by minimizing its use of machines in producing its clothing. Image courtesy of Faithfull the Brand.

This Azalea-print midi dress by Faithfull the Brand is a standout for several reasons. Like all Faithfull products, it is handmade by local artisans in Indonesia, where the company is based-- meaning that great skill and love went into making it. This dress is hand-sewn from hand-printed floral fabric, which means it doesn’t have a huge ecological impact on the environment. Plus, it’s beautiful and would fit in during the day as well as during a night out.

Price: $329

5. Mila.Vert: Knitted Belted Dress

A woman wearing a long-sleeved white dress
Mila.Vert uses organic cotton for all of its knitwear. Image courtesy of Mila.Vert.

If you’re looking to update your winter wardrobe, this knitted dress might be right for you. Made from 100% organic cotton-- like all of Mila.Vert’s knitwear-- this dress boasts a clean, straight, contemporary fit. Besides that, it’s cozy! Great for a brisk winter day.

Besides that, buying from Mila.Vert helps a woman-owned and completely female-staffed company grow. Sustainable clothing made by women, for women-- sounds like a great option!

Price: €266/$284.64

6. Toad & Co: Hemp Daybreaker Hooded Dress

A woman wearing an orange hooded dress
Toad & Co. uses organic and green materials like hemp to make its clothing. Image courtesy of Toad & Co.

This hooded daybreaker dress is great for those easygoing, casual days. Made of hemp and organic cotton, soft brushed on the inside, and boasting a simple, straight shape, this is a comfortable dress to lounge around in-- and it looks good, too.

Price: $110

7. Amour Vert: Russo Luxe Fleece Dress

A woman wearing a dark red dress, lying on the ground
Amour Vert uses low-impact materials to make its clothing sustainable. Image courtesy of Amour Vert.

This dress by Amour Vert is gorgeous with its simple-- and flattering-- straight fit and wrap tie. Made mostly from organic cotton and modal, an environmentally friendly semi-synthetic fabric, it’s cozy, too, perfect for the colder months. This is a great option for semi-formal events, and wouldn’t look out of place in the office, either.

Price: $84 (Regular Price: $168)

8. Girlfriend Collective: Riley Sweetheart Dress

A woman wearing a black exercise dress
Girlfriend Collective makes sustainable activewear for women. Image courtesy of Girlfriend Collective.

If you’re looking for sustainable activewear, Girlfriend Collective is a great place to look. This company is committed to using recycled plastics and eco-friendly dyeing processes in order to help the planet. This exercise dress is super flattering with its sweetheart neckline and cross-over straps. Plus it has pockets!

Best of all, like all Girlfriend Collective products, this dress comes in a wide variety of sizes-- from XXS to 6XL-- meaning that it’s available to and flattering on a variety of body types.

Price: $88

9. Rare and Fair: The Maya Midi Dress

A woman wearing a floral purple dress
Rare and Fair works alongside small family businesses and village cooperatives to produce its clothing. Image courtesy of Rare and Fair.

This beautiful dress is made from 100% natural, sustainable silk-- like many of Rare and Fair’s products. Anything not made from silk is made from natural cotton, so the company is definitely committed to minimizing its carbon footprint and using sustainable, eco-friendly fabrics.

Also, all products sold by Rare and Fair are handmade, giving the Maya dress a lovely personal touch. We have a bit of a weak spot for handmade clothing and the time and effort that goes into crafting it, and the flattering style of this dress only makes it stand out even more. Although it’s a bit more expensive than other dresses on this list, for a handmade dress made entirely out of silk, that doesn’t seem unreasonable. Its floral pattern would fit right in during the summer months, or, paired with a nice jacket, it could work wonderfully as a formal outfit.

Price: $385 (Regular Price: $552)

10. MagicLinen: Pinafore Linen Dress VISBY

A woman wearing a dusty pink pinafore dress
MagicLinen leaves no waste in manufacturing its linen from flax. Image courtesy of MagicLinen.

Pinafores are kind of a classic. They’re so easy-- toss them on over a T-shirt, and bam! You have a cute, comfortable outfit, easy to move around in. This pinafore dress from MagicLinen has a soft sort of charm to it, with its loose fit and pockets. The woodrose color makes it perfect for the spring, but it also comes in tan. And, since it’s made entirely from linen, it’s biodegradable and easy to recycle.

Price: $55 (Regular Price: $86)

11. Velvety: Audrey Burgundy Belted Linen Dress- Long Sleeve

A woman wearing a red dress with a tied waist and a black hat
Velvety is a curated marketplace of ethical, vegan, and sustainable brands. Image courtesy of Velvety.

The Audrey dress, found through Velvety, has a beautiful vintage feel to it, making it a must-have for those who want sustainable clothing and love feeling classy. The half-length sleeves and tied belt accent the straight cut of the dress beautifully. In this dress, made from 100% sustainable linen and boasting subtle pockets, it would be hard to feel like less than a queen.

Price: $220

12. ourCommonplace: Antonia Dress

A black floral dress with ruffled hems
ourCommonplace prioritizes ethicality and sustainability in selecting the brands it prefers to work with. Image courtesy of ourCommonplace.

Last-- but certainly not least-- on our list of amazing sustainable dresses is the Antonia dress, found on ourCommonplace. ourCommonplace, like Velvety, is a marketplace that curates clothing from sustainable brands. It carefully evaluates brands for the sustainability of their products and the ethicality of their manufacturing process-- so you can be sure that anything you get off of the site is cruelty-free and helps the environment.

The Antonia dress, made of sustainable cotton, has a classic feel to it, similar to the Audrey dress. With its half-length mutton sleeves, shell buttons, and cotton ruffle along the neckline and pockets, it would look great in the spring or summer-- for either casual or semi-formal events.

Price: $278

Those are our Favorite Sustainable Dresses Available Right Now!

In a world undergoing an environmental crisis, sustainable dresses and eco-friendly clothing manufacturing processes are going to be crucial to minimizing the impact of the fashion industry on the planet. Although newly-bought sustainable dresses do run more expensive than their mass-produced counterparts, they are designed with the goals of decreasing the environmental impact of the fashion industry and lasting for a long time in your closet-- saving both the planet and your wallet in the long run.

Skyler Watkins

Skyler Watkins is an aspiring author and editor located in Columbus, Ohio.
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