Want to make a difference? It’s easier than you think. As a citizen of the world, your actions can always do good, even if they start with a few clicks from your couch. That’s because what we buy in this time matters more than ever, and the brands we support should be ones we believe in.

Enter Pact, a fashion brand that makes fair trade organic cotton basics that are 1) cute 2) sustainable 3) ethically made 4) affordable 5) cute. (Yes, we said that already. Yes, it’s still very true.) Based in Colorado, Pact is a fashion brand that embodies the casual American coolness that never goes out of style. Since they’re kind of a big deal in the sustainability community, we asked for their help on these sustainable shopping tips. Here’s three main ways to reduce your impact without putting your wardrobe on lockdown. And if you’d like to stock up, use this link and code NEWSETTE to get 20% off your first full-price Pact purchase.

1. Learn the Basics
“Sustainable” gets thrown around a lot, but, to quote The Princess Bride, that word does not mean what you think it means. In order for an item to be truly sustainable, it’s got to include the three Ps.

  • PLANET: Are these materials okay for the planet? Look for items made with natural organic fibers instead of plastics when possible, and pay special attention to items made with recycled or “deadstock” (i.e. made a long time ago, but never used) fabrics. Also—what’s the packaging like?
  • PEOPLE: Was anyone harmed making this product? If something’s made in an unregulated factory, or at a company with documented labor violations and no reported solutions, don’t buy it.
  • PROFIT: Are people being fairly paid for their work? Is money going back into local economies and resources? Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever to do your research on where stuff actually comes from…and who makes it.

2. Know What You Want (What You Really, Really Want)
Before you buy something, know why you want it—and how long you’ll keep it around. Does that mean you can only buy basics? Of course not, but knowing that something like a black bodysuit has good karma and great style makes it more likely that you’ll keep it around to layer with more trendy stuff for years to come. There’s also the option of upcycling, as seen in the Zero Waste Daniel x Pact collab, where organic hoodies are treated with recycled fabric patches to turn old materials into a totally new style. Part of sustainable shopping is simply deciding to invest in stuff you know you’ll love for a long time… or at least stuff that’s so easy to resell or repurpose that like an Oceans 8 heist, it leaves no evidence of its existence behind.

3. Don’t Be Shy
Want to know if your favorite denim brand is using less water than before? Curious if the plastic in an influencer collab’s raincoat comes from a recycled source? Don’t be shy—ask! Use Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or email to engage your favorite brands and designers in informed questions about sustainability, which helps them understand that their customers care about sustainable issues—and helps you decide where to get your next bralette. Win-win.

4. Embrace What’s Worn
Clothes are not band-aids—they don’t need to be brand-new in order to “work.” In fact, some items, like denim and leather, are even better once their fabric gets more wefts and lines (and in the case of a riding boot or a motorcycle jacket, they’re way more comfortable too). Besides exploring resale clothing sites like Depop and TheRealReal, try a rental service like Noom to explore pairing your favorite everyday tees with designer statement pieces you can wear once, then pass onto the next fashion fan. (Bonus: you keep your beloved tees while someone else does the designer dry cleaning.)

Shop sustainable style that’s actually cute.

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