4 Buying Sustainable Outerwear

It is -4 billion degrees here this month. That is not even an exaggeration. I am literally a walking popsicle. We are outside often either coming and going from the car or shoveling snow from the driveway to the now 6+ foot wall of snow that flanks either side of it.  The frigid temperatures are making me so very grateful that I did not cheap out on our winter wear. That doesn't necessarily mean that I spent a lot of money, it just means that I looked for reputable brands that would meet our cold weather needs while still keeping the environment in mind.

Buying for Kids - Buy 2nd Hand

My approach with outwear for me is very different than it is for the clothes I buy for B. Kids are still growing so there is really no need to spend the money or resources on buying new items. Consignment stores offer amazing deals on kids clothes and if you go early enough in the season (September) you can get most sizes and brands. 

Coats - Look for something with a hood, a good zipper that also has snaps to close the flap over top. I have found the coats that are a bit longer with an elastic around the waist work best at keeping snow out and the warm in. 

Pants - We have 2 styles, the kind that are like overalls and then just regular pants. The overall kind are way better for keeping B warm and keeping the snow away from his skin. But on the PITA scale they are a 10 for bathroom breaks. When buying 2nd hand check the knees to ensure they aren't close to forming a hole. 

Boots - If you are looking for longevity or if your kid goes through the toe of shoes like crazy then you need to find a winter boot that has the entire foot made of rubber. The boots that have fabric on the foot and toe will only disappoint you when the inevitable hole develops causing snow and water to seep in.

Gloves - I opted to buy new waterproof gloves that based on their sizing will last B for at least 3 years. I chose a company that has a commitment to the environment and got a style that was long enough to grow with him. When we are done with them we will donate them to someone in need.

Hat - Ear flaps are an absolute requirement but if the hat has velcro closures check them carefully before you buy to ensure that they aren't too worn out from the previous owner. 

Buying for You - Buy What You Love

Buy 2nd hand where you can but if you can't find anything or if you don't have a lot of selection then look for something that you absolutely love. I looked for a pair of boots for years and finally a few short months ago I found a pair that met my requirements. They were cute, warm and made from recycled materials.  I haven't found a pair of waterproof gloves that I love that are made from sustainable resources yet so I am still rocking my Canadian Olympic mitts from 4 years ago. 

Check out my handmade hat that I bought from a nice older lady at a market in Madeira Portugal

My previous winter coat I bought in my first year of University and wore until last year. Not too shabby. I fell in love with the Patagonia brand of coats because they are made from recycled materials and because they are guaranteed for life.  I found a coat that is a mix between sporty and dressy so that I wouldn't have to buy 2 coats to cover the occasions where I want to toboggan or when I am wearing a fancy dress and heels. 

What To Look For in a Brand

Personally, I love the brands Patagonia and The North Face because of their sustainability programs, inclusion of recycled materials and amazing product guarantees. Look for the following things in a brand if you are looking to ensure that your outerwear is sustainable:

  • Clothing should have all or at least part of the content made from recycled materials.
  • Stay away from animal fur....because its well animal fur. 
  • Look for the location of where the products are made and chose those closest to you if possible.
  • Ensure brands have not only good return policies but policies that allow you to send products back to be repaired and either returned to you or resold to someone else.
  • Pick good corporate citizens. Companies that operate under the values that they portray their products as achieving are the one's you want to support. You don't want to support a company that makes outerwear that doesn't like nature!

What do you look for when you buy your outerwear to ensure it is sustainable?

Related Posts - Check them Out
Stripping Your Clothes Without Chemicals
Eco-Friendly Clothing
Hidden Water - Part 2


  1. No down or leather, either, please.

  2. I still have the same Columbia jacket I bought about 15 years ago. It still fits great! And because it's a men's 2 piece version, I was able to wear it comfortably when I was pregnant with Abigail.

    For the kids, last spring, I scored 3 like new 1 piece snow suits.

    When it comes time to look for something new though, I will be sure to check out The North Face or Patagonia :)

    1. Most of what we have for B is from Columbia. For kids it is the most affordable option that will last and perform against the cold weather temps. I have heard that their zippers break often but you can just send them back and they will repair it and send it back for free.

  3. I had the heat turned down for a while but turned it back up today lol