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The Best Sustainable Formal Travel Clothes (Guest Post)

by Jeremy B

Finding formal wear that you actually enjoy wearing and that’s comfortable enough for traveling already comes with some struggles. Add on top of that the requirement that it’s made from sustainable materials, in an ethical and transparent factory or studio, and you might be shopping around for the ideal outfit for weeks.

This is a guest post from Fiona, a lifestyle blogger based in Melbourne, Australia. She’s in love with good coffee, croissants, and fashion magazines. In her spare time, she plays tennis and travels around the world. You can read more from her on her blog High Style Life.

Since formal wear, suits and tailoring cross over into the workplace for many men, finding the perfect fit and style that can be worn to numerous occasions might not be so difficult after all, as long as you know where to look and what to look out for. So, here is a curated guide for finding the best sustainable, eco-friendly and ethical clothing for any man looking for both black tie and office-appropriate outfits.

Sustainable materials

In order to find the best formal wear that fulfills your criteria, the first thing you need to know is which sustainable and eco-friendly fabrics you should look for. Some of the most widely available materials, organic cotton and organic linen are both responsibly sourced materials that are ideal for traveling.

black and silver solar panels

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But even though blazers and suits made from these fabrics might be lightweight and comfortable, they are most appropriate for summer and destination weddings, business casual outfits, or even a slightly disheveled, dressed-down evening look, if they are styled appropriately. There are many sustainable fashion brands on the market that offer this kind of clothing, although mostly in the form of a blazer and a pair of chinos, instead of actual suits.

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For the colder months and more formal and serious attire, look for suit options and jacket and trouser combinations that are made from wool. Eco-friendly and biodegradable, woolen men’s suits are not only comfortable and breathable enough for traveling, but they are also durable enough to last for years to come and truly become an essential part of your wardrobe.

From fashionable checkered jackets to sharp suits in every neutral shade imaginable, the options for woolen combinations are truly endless, covering everything from everyday workplace looks to evening wear and formal wedding attire.

Vintage and second-hand suits

Now that you are familiar with sustainable fabric options, it’s time to find out how to shop more consciously. One of the most eco-friendly ways of buying clothing, no matter the occasion, is to opt for vintage and second-hand shops.

There is a high chance that you have several of such stores in your area that you can visit regularly to find a great suit in pristine condition, but be mindful of the fact that it may take some time, patience and luck to find the ideal fit and style.


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If you don’t have the time or the will to stroll through second-hand clothing shops in the hunt for the perfect suit, there are many online vintage stores you can scroll through occasionally, and possibly find exactly what you are looking for.

Suit rental

As the times change and the awareness of the ecological and psychological effects of shopping rises, we seem to be on the cusp of embracing the end of ownership and stockpiling our wardrobes. Renting and clothing exchanges are slowly gaining traction and becoming more commonplace, particularly when it comes to attire for special occasions.

Although this is currently seen mostly in women’s fashion, there are still some great places for renting occasion wear online. Following the renting theme, a sustainable and cost-effective option is of course to hire a tuxedo or a sharp suit for those formal one-off occasions, instead of spending a large sum of money on something that will rarely be worn.

Investing in tailor made suits

Even though it may seem like an indulgence at first, an investment piece like this should last you a lifetime. And if you make the right choice, it will naturally and rapidly biodegrade in the ground or water without any issues at the end of its life.

These days, getting a suit tailor made is not as insanely expensive as it once was, and the choice is quite vast. That is why finding a good local tailor or suit-maker and getting one to measure using ethical fabrics might be a good idea. Discuss the materials with your tailor as you would the cut and the design, truly take ownership of your suit and do your best to make it as sustainable as possible.

tailor measuring man s chest

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To reiterate, wool can be an ideal option, as it can even be woven less densely than cotton, for example, and still look great. You get a fabric that is very thin and breathable, yet still presentable. This means it can be easier to wear wool in the summer, as it doesn’t hold wrinkles like cotton or linen, and it’s the most comfortable option, making it the perfect choice for formal travel clothes.

Borrowing a suit

Another sustainable option that is often overlooked is simply borrowing a suit from a friend or a family member. If you don’t wear business attire to work or you rarely attend formal occasions, there is truly no need to spend so much time and effort to find the most ethical option.

After all, the best thing you can do for the planet is to shop less and not contribute to pollution and the unfair treatment of people and animals. So, if such elegant and formal events are a rare occurrence in your life, do both yourself and the planet a favor, and simply borrow occasion wear from someone close who is eager to help.

man wearing white suit jacket and white pants

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As far as ethical and sustainable suit options for men are concerned, there is truly a gap in the market, which will hopefully be filled quickly by smart and conscious brands. If you plan on spending money on a suit, then the best idea might be to opt for an investment piece that is tailored well and built to last a lifetime.

Otherwise, charity and vintage shops still represent an absolute treasure trove if you are willing and have the time to search for a suit at a fraction of the price, with ultimately less cost to the environment.

This is a guest post from Fiona, a lifestyle blogger based in Melbourne, Australia. She’s in love with good coffee, croissants, and fashion magazines. In her spare time, she plays tennis and travels around the world. You can read more from her on her blog High Style Life.


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The Best Sustainable Formal Travel Clothes for Travel

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1 comment

David Swift January 20, 2020 - 4:05 am

It is a very wise thought.


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