When I tell someone that I am vegan they often look at me quizzically (especially once they learn that being vegan is more involved than just what we eat), and, with a slight twist of the head, ask, “So where do you buy your clothes?”
This always brings a smile to my face. It’s like the ever-present question, “Where do vegans get their protein?” I know vegan fashion seems like a mystery to people. They feel sure that vegans must have to shop somewhere special and buy things (mostly uncomfortable and unattractive) made out of stuff they’ve never heard of and certainly wouldn’t be caught dead in.
It’s just another reason why I love that question. It’s fun to answer, and you can see the blossoming awareness in someone’s face when they realize it isn’t so weird after all.
The truth is that we can shop almost everywhere except leather stores and specialty wool stores.
This means you have to know what you’re looking for (and equally important, what you want to avoid like wool, leather, suede, fur, silk, and down), and you must read labels. But once that is clear, it’s relatively easy.
As demand for cruelty-free fashions increases, people naturally get creative and new (often recycled) fabrics are born. Sure, buying a winter coat is still the number one challenge for vegans, but even that is changing as more designers become aware of the cruelty involved in wool, shearling, down and fur production.
To ease your mind about how to shop and give you a few fun ideas, let’s look at putting together an outfit from several different kinds of stores from department stores to discount stores and online shopping.
Let’s begin with this Calvin Klein skirt — one of the best skirts out there for women. It’s flattering on so many body types. The only drawback is that it only comes in black. You can find it Lord & Taylor (a major department store), and it is made of cotton and spandex.
Pair that with a beautiful deep claret colored fitted corduroy jacket (again cotton and spandex) from White House Black Market.
Tie it together with a stretchy black Betsey Johnson belt from Nordstrom made of polyurethane and nylon.
Complete the outfit with a great pair of knee high boots (with black tights). Shopping for shoes on-line (in this case Zappos) is one of the best ways to get what you want (especially if you have a wide or narrow foot). Most of them offer free shipping and free returns so nothing is lost if they don’t work out. This is a pretty, sleek man-made knee-high boot.
As you can see, whether you shop at a large department store, a smaller chain or boutique, a discount store like Target, or online, vegan (cruelty-free) options abound.
This is just one example of a fairly classic outfit. Not your taste? That’s fine. If your style runs more towards trendy, sporty or sophisticated, vegan options are available and at every price point. You are not restricted to any particular store. You can find beautiful vegan fashions from Kohls and Payless to Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus. See, you can be a fashionable vegan after all!