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It’s safe to say that more and more people are investing in and being aware of their fashion choices now, as the sustainable and eco-friendly movement just gathers more and more momentum. Me included. At the start of 2020, I began my own sustainable fashion journey and ditched fast fashion retailers for good. But sustainability doesn’t stop at your clothes. So today I want to chat about sustainable ways to accessorize your outfits! Because who doesn’t LOVE accessories?

Sustainable Accessories

Photo by Camilla Carvalho on Unsplash

I arguably love accessories more than clothes. I’m a big jewellery lover. My Mum is a big handbag lover. My boyfriend is a watch lover. So it’s safe to say we’ve all got through our fair share of accessories over the years. I feel like accessories can also completely make an outfit so if you have somewhere special to go or somewhere to dress up for, it’s not worth skimping on them. And there are plenty of options when it comes to shopping sustainably for jewellery. Even options you might not have considered, like antique jewellery from retailers such as Carus Jewellery.

But as with everything in the sustainability and eco-friendly movement, we can all do our bit to help. I’m not an all or nothing kinda gal. I’m very much a “small actions make a difference” kinda person. And if you’ve not considered sustainability in your accessories yet – that’s okay. I’m still making those small steps too.

So let’s look at some alternative ways to source beautiful accessories for your outfits which are also more sustainable!

sustainable accessories

Make your own sustainable accessories

This isn’t something I could do personally – as I’m so un-artistic that anything I made would probably look like it came out of a reception art class. But if you are handy with things like crafts and art, then this could be a great option for you. And so much fun to do as well!

Shop second hand for your accessorize

As with shopping sustainably for clothes, second hand is a great way to shop sustainable for accessories too. Not to mention that some accessories really can cost a pretty penny, so as well as saving some cash, you also won’t be buying into damaging fast fashion retailers! Bonus points if you buy from a charity and help them too!

Invest in antique jewellery instead of buying new

This one is probably not the most obvious point on this list but investing in antique jewellery instead of buying new is another great way to shop sustainably for accessories and landing yourself with some incredible pieces of jewellery that people are unlikely to have seen on the market due to their nature.

Not the cheapest option by any means but definitely an option nonetheless if it’s for a mega special occasion. I can imagine doing something like this for my wedding (non-existent wedding, I might add. Don’t start congratulating me). The pieces below are all picks from Carus Jewellery, who sell collections of beautiful antique jewellery from Georgian, Victoria, Art Deco and Edwardian time periods, to name a few.

Antique jewellery has a timeless appeal. And although right now, you might be buying a gorgeous piece of jewellery to accessorize an outfit, in generations to come, that piece will make a family heirloom. And generational piece of you and your family that could live on for decades – even millennia. You might even already have your own pieces of antique jewellery in your family!

The pieces from Carus Jewellery are exquisite. As they should be, with something so valuable, elegant and timeless. I’m a big lover of earrings myself, so I found myself going straight to have a look at their collection of beautiful antique earrings. The Edwardian Aquamarine & Diamond Earrings took my breath away.

Shop accessories from sustainable fashion brands

I love a sustainable fashion brand and have found myself gravitating towards places such as Thought Clothing whenever I want to treat myself to something new (as opposed to something second hand). Remember, it’s still okay to purchase new items (whether that’s clothes or accessories) as long as you do your research on the brand and the materials they use!

Ditch animal products in your accessories

I’m obviously talking about things such as leather (especially), fur and silk. By not purchasing items new made from these materials, you’re doing your bit to lessen the demand. There are so many amazing alternatives to these materials that don’t harm or come from animals and not to even go in to the horrific working conditions for those working in China and India’s silk industry. You can read more about that here.

Shop at small businesses

And finally, ditch those fast fashion retailers, ditch leather and materials that harm animals, ditch giving your money to huge organizations that don’t respect the environment, the workers or the impact they’re having on the world and try and shop at small businesses for your accessories instead. There are SO MANY incredible creators on Twitter who create and sell their own jewellery. I’m in constant awe of their talent and I’d much rather give my money to them.

How will you be shopping for your accessories going forward? Do you shop sustainably now or is it something you’d like to start doing?

70 Comments

  1. Although I don’t always wear jewelry, I think antique jewels are so appealing, and they’ve clearly stood the test of time. I don’t know how to make my own jewelry either but that sounds like it could be fun with the know how! Really good ideas!

  2. I’m loving find accessories second hand atm – I just found a bag I wanted two years ago on depop for a bargain! xx

  3. If you have them in your area, farmer’s markets are a great place to look for accessories. I used to find amazing stuff in my early 20s, now I’m not really an accessories person but I should look around as they do help complete an outfit 🙂

  4. I’m so basic when it comes to adding accessories to my outfits! I’m a silver girl so I add bits that compliment my engagement ring usually! Some lovely picks here!
    Rosie

  5. I LOVE looking for antique pieces. It’s nice to have something that isn’t everywhere and it feels so much more special when you find an older piece that you absolutely love. It’s amazing to see a lot of smaller shops cropping up too though x

    Sophie

  6. I don’t wear a lot of accessories to begin with. But when I do, I always love seeing what the small businesses have to offer. I can usually find accessories that are far more unique and set to my style. Great ideas in your article!

  7. I’ve read a lot about sustainable fashion but this is the first post I’ve seen that’s specifically about sustainable accessories! It makes so much sense to buy accessories from small creators, I’ve been seeing so many lovely things on Twitter lately. There are also sooo many accessories in charity shops but I don’t always think to look there! I will be more mindful from now on! xx

  8. Some really great tips. I definitely need to look a little more second hand
    I used to constantly buy jewellery from fast fashion chains and then it would go green within months and it’s just so wasteful to think about now.
    Now I’ve been opting for buying jewellery from smaller businesses and spending a little more on products that aren’t going to be ruined within a year

    What I Have Wrote 

  9. I’m especially all for shopping small business for jewelry. When I first began my blog, I was sent these stunning druzy earrings by a small shop, and a few years later, she was the one who created all the bridesmaids gifts for my wedding + provided the earrings for me! To this day, it’s some of the most special jewelry I own. I also love a good antique or thrift jewelry find!

  10. I guess when you think of fast fashion, you forget about accessories and jewellery, don’t you? I love looking at old vintage jewellery, although don’t own any apart from my Grandma’s engagement ring which is too big for me 😂 Love the idea of making your own and Etsy is a great place to find small sellers with great jewellery, isn’t it?

    Thanks for sharing!
    Aimsy xoxo
    Aimsy’s Antics

  11. I loved this post! I agree and have been promoting this very idea on my blog & my e-store, for over 2 years. When I discovered the beauty & benefits of wearing natural stones & Vintage jewelry, I instantly fell in love with the concept and (especially), the look of it!

  12. I’d never really thought about paying attention to the materials used before so thanks for highlighting that! 🙂

    I generally shop secondhand for accessories and only buy new if it’s a product I intend to use until it’s completely worn out. I need to get better with shoes though…

  13. Love these tips! Especially second hand jewellery always make outfits so much more authentic in my opinion. I even wear my mothers old wedding ring from her first marriage sometimes, since it’s a very subtle, pretty, delicate ring.

  14. Great post! I love accessories and really think that they can make an outfit just that little bit more put together! I’ve never really thought about them in terms of sustainability though which is silly since I think about it all the time regarding my clothing, I do try and shop with small businesses though when I can. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for antique and second hand pieces in the future though, those Edwardian earrings are so stunning I’ve got to find my own pair (or similar)

    bumblingalong.co.uk

  15. I’m all about the accessories as well. I love scarfs and big chunky jewellery. I tend to find mine in second hand shops as you suggested as people tend to buy costume style jewellery for a one off event.

    I’ve also got my mums jewellery… apparently Dad had no use for it 😉 and it feels really special when I wear those x

  16. Great post! I personally love vintage/second hand jewelry. My favourite pieces I wear are a locket that was my grandmother’s (with a pic of her and my grandpa in it) and a ring that was the first piece of jewelry my dad bought for my mom when they started dating.

  17. I love this! I do buy vintage jewelry and likely need to stop because it is pricy but I love its history and live that it can last forever!

    I will definitely give some thought to the other suggestions as well; I’ve gone cruelty free in makeup already.

    Giulia, tidbitsofcare.com

  18. Antique jewellery is exquisite! One of my friend’s has her grandmother’s art deco engagement ring as hers – her husband just has it fixed up slightly, cleaned etc but it really is one of the most beautiful rings I have seen! x

    Beautylymin

  19. What a wonderful article!
    I’ve never thought about jewellery in terms of sustainability before, so this article was a great eye-opener for me. I already love looking for secondhand clothing, so hunting for antique jewellery sounds like a lot of fun too – i’ll have to keep my eyes pealed!

    Thanks for the great content.

  20. I’ll be honest – I’m not great at sustainable efforts, but to my credit if I buy something (and I”m not a big spender) i keep it for life. I buy classic look items and wear them til the bitter end 🙂

  21. I would love to become more sustainable with my fashion and accessory choices but didn’t really no where to begin. I’d actually never thought about antique jewellery before, although my most prized posession is a ring that was passed down to me from my Nan. Thanks for sharing!

  22. I have to admit that I’d never really thought about accessories in terms of sustainability but this is definitely making me think again. I ADORE antique jewellery although don’t really own any apart from an old necklace of my mum’s from back in the day. I’ve seen so many amazing creators on Twitter recently as well, it’s definitely something I’d move towards in the future. Thanks for sharing – this has really made me think!

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