Do you follow Andrea Cheong on Instagram or TikTok? If you don’t, you should! She has become the trusted and approachable authority in an arena that many find daunting to step into: sustainable fashion. Breaking it down into bite-size pieces of information one can easily digest and use for more sensible shopping tactics in the future, Andrea’s Mindful Monday Method is an absolute must-view if you want to be a more conscious consumer of fashion. With her wealth of knowledge and very good taste, it’s no wonder we had to knock on her virtual door. Join Andrea each Friday on Who What Wear UK’s TikTok channel (@whowhatwear.uk), where she’ll be dissecting the latest trends and shopping phenomena. Last week, she shared the coolest sustainable moments from LFW. This week, she brings you her edit of the four sustainable co-ord sets that are worth the money.
The wonderful thing about coordinating sets is that you barely have to think about getting dressed in the morning. If your hair remains unbrushed and you have remnants of last night’s mascara dragged across your eyelids—do not fear. That matching set makes you look effortless. Plus, if you know how to shop for one that looks expensive, no one will notice anything else but the outfit. These are the four more sustainably minded co-ords that I think are worth the price, and yes, I’ve checked them out in real life.
It may surprise you to know that when it comes to the most appropriately priced garments (meaning you are mostly paying for the materials and construction rather than brand hype), 100% cashmere or wool knitwear tends to be the most favourable to customers. However, these well-loved fibres come with a great deal of environmental implications. It’s best to opt for recycled and ethical cashmere wherever possible. One I’ve come across that I love is Reformation’s Varenne Cashmere set, an adorable cropped tank top with a cardigan. I absolutely love pairing them with denim.
Why it’s a sustainable buy: Made of 70% recycled cashmere and 30% cashmere, it’s reducing the amount of virgin fibre used in its production. Why is this important when it’s already natural? When it comes to animal-derived fibre, overgrazing is a huge issue. It’s estimated that 95% of forage-able land across the Tibetan Plateau, Mongolia and Northern India is taken over by livestock, mainly Kashmir goats.
As you know, shopping sustainably means limiting the amount we purchase, prioritising what’s already in our wardrobes. That’s why looking for quality pieces if and when we need to replace items is essential. This Maje set of a matching waistcoat and shorts (there’s a blazer, too!) is easy to mix and match. Open the zipper of the shorts to find bias-bound seams, where most high-street brands have an overlock finish. Unbutton the waistcoat to see it’s fully lined with organic cotton. While expensive, it’s not hard to justify the price with attention to detail like this and a 100% natural composition. Why it’s a sustainable buy: If you’ve been looking for a smart co-ord set, this could be the one for you. It’s 74% cotton, 26% linen. And not just regular cotton but organic. This is always preferable as it uses less water and doesn’t rely on fertilisers and pesticides that can damage the earth and harm workers.
This brand has never claimed to be sustainable and neither am I suggesting that it is. But when it comes to the price-quality axis, Self-Portrait is one of the most reliable out there. It is refreshing to see classic yet on-trend pieces in mostly natural fibres. This co-ord is 80% cotton and 20% wool. If you’re unsure about styling, this set does all the work for you. No special jewellery or special accessories are needed to elevate the look thanks to the bougie buttons and beautiful texture of this knitted set.
Why it’s a sustainable buy: There’s a difference between sustainable brands and a sustainable buy. The latter is influenced by a garment’s potential to be versatile, last and stay valuable in the resale market. If this is your style, I think this is the set to last through the years!
Have you ever seen a co-ord look more expensive? While MYCASHMERE has a great deal of covetable loungewear sets, the cut-out detail on this turtle neck jumper caught my eye. Extra points that it’s made of Re.Verso. This is a recycled cashmere made from post-factory leftovers in Italy. I loved wearing these with my coolest pair of trainers and high tube socks. Why it’s a sustainable buy: As we’ve established, cashmere may be luxurious, but the high demand for this has meant numerous environmental challenges arise. MYCASHMERE claims its suppliers are part of the Sustainable Fibre Alliance (SFA), meaning that the herders are certified and audited. Also, the recycled cashmere that’s used is rarely re-dyed, which helps to minimise the environmental impact.
Next up, the best classic outfits you can wear time and again.