Top 10 Ethical Shirts You Need for Your Eco-Friendly Closet


A good, high-quality, ethically made shirt is a stable of any eco-friendly closet. Whether you’re building a capsule wardrobe or just looking for a more sustainable option to add to your wardrobe, there are a few things to consider.
In this article, we’ve created a short beginner’s guide to some of the main points you may want to consider for ethical shirts. As well as a list of our favorite sustainable and ethical shirts for both men and women.

What is a sustainable, ethical shirt mean?

When speaking of sustainability, we must consider three areas of impact – environmental, social, and economic. Therefore, a sustainable and ethical shirt is one that has a reduced impact (or a positive impact) in all three of these areas.

How is ethical shirts sustainable?

Amour Vert's green blouse
Papillon 3/4 Sleeve Blouse (Image Sourced from Amour Vert’s Official Website)
Firstly, environmental sustainability is very important nowadays – many of our activities in the past have put the planet we live on in danger and it’s time we reduced our negative impact. Many sustainable clothing brands produce ethical shirts to help fight against fast fashions and give us options for a greener lifestyle. Ethical shirt’s impact includes reducing the carbon footprint, minimizing waste, using natural rather than synthetic fibers, limiting the use of plastic, avoiding the use of toxic chemicals, or avoiding any harm to animals are only some of the factors to consider under environmental sustainability.

Next, we also need to consider how an item impacts the community – social sustainability. What conditions do the workers work in? How much are they paid – and is it enough to secure their basic needs? How is the local community in the area of production impacted? How is society, as a whole, being changed by the existence of the brand? Is it encouraging responsible consumption? These are only some of the questions to ask to ensure the social impact of the brand you’re buying from is positive. Ethical shirts are produced to make sure that these questions can be answered and all processes are ethical and sustainable.

Lastly, economic sustainability often gets forgotten by us when we’re shopping, despite being extremely important to companies. This doesn’t just refer to making a profit – it entails whether the company is able to grow and expand its otherwise sustainable practices, how the brand adds to the economy it exists in and how it’s affecting the marketplace. For example, large international fast-fashion chains are usually detrimental not just to the economy in countries of production, which they exploit for cheap labor, but also the local economy anywhere their stores are, as they are putting small, local brands out of business.

By supporting or buying ethical shirts, you actively help brands that are doing the most to maintain sustainability in all three areas.

10 ethical shirts for your eco-friendly closet

What are the best sustainable shirts to add to your wardrobe? Here are a few pieces we are loving, that might just be up your alley too!

Ethical shirts for Men

Men's Ethical Shirt by Absolutely Bear
Alba Navy Organic Cotton Checked Shirt (Image Sourced from Absolutely Bear’s Official Website)
Shirts are essential for men’s fashion, so why not ethical shirts? Here are 5 ethical shirts for men.

  1. Men’s Organic Cotton Flannel Shirt by Rapanui
    Whether a classic red check flannel shirt is what floats your boat, or you’re looking for a more sophisticated solid color option, Rapanui has just what you’re looking for.
    The brand also has the same design in a cut more suited to a women’s figure, although you could certainly wear the men’s option too if you’re looking for a looser fit.
  2. Oxford Shirt by Kotn
    Kotn might just be the best place for professional shirts made sustainably, with a budget-friendly price tag.
    This light blue Oxford shirt, for example, can be worn with a suit for a professional look, or you can create a more relaxed business casual outfit with a pair of jeans.
  3. Mallards Fairtrade Organic Cotton Long Sleeve Printed Shirt by Thought
    If you are looking for a shirt that’s more fun, Thought has got many that will catch your eye. This mallard-printed design is our personal favorite!
    It’s made from Fairtrade and GOTS certified organic cotton in a regular fit.
  4. Men’s Ikat Shirt Salmon by Fair Trade Winds
    This short-sleeve shirt can be styled casually or more professionally – the choice is yours.
    The fit emphasizes the shoulders and the material is tapered in at the waist, for a perfect and timeless fit.
  5. Alba Navy Organic Cotton Checked Shirt by Absolutely Bear
    A simple checked shirt to close the list – and it’s made from 100% certified organic cotton.
    This one can be worn both over a t-shirt, unbuttoned, or by itself – it looks great both ways!

Ethical Shirts for Women

Ethical shirts from DOEN
The Jane Blouse (Image Sourced from DOEN’s Official Website)
Here are 5 options for women’s ethical shirts.

  1. Organic Handkerchief Linen Short Sleeve Shirt by Eileen Fisher
    A good white short-sleeve shirt is a must-have for a women’s closet. This high-quality piece is made from organic linen, which makes it ideal for a warmer climate, as the fabric keeps you cool on hot days.
    The range of sizes is also wonderfully inclusive, which we love to see – ranging from XXS to XXXL.
  2. April Oversized Western Shirt by Able
    Denim shirts are another fun wardrobe stable – and this one from Able is handmade in India from cotton.
    It can be layered over a graphic tee for a relaxed look, or get more adventurous in a head-to-toe denim outfit!
  3. SoftHemp™ Chambray Button Down by United by Blue
    A chambray is the perfect shirt for a laid-back look. This one, made from a combination of hemp and organic cotton, is also super breathable.
    Tuck it into a pair of jeans or wear it with a skirt!
  4. The Jane Blouse by DOEN
    If you’re looking for a boho shirt with a touch of luxury, this one by DOEN could become your new favorite.
    The organic cotton shirt is available in a wide variety of prints, as well as plain colors.
  5. Papillon 3/4 Sleeve Blouse by Amour Vert
    Last but not least, a relaxed sleeveless shirt for hot summer days.
    This one is made from organic cotton in the US and comes in a comfortable, loose fit. Wear it over a pair of skinny jeans, or tuck it into your trousers!

    1. Let’s change to ethical shirts!

      Ethical shirts are staples in a sustainable wardrobe. These ethical shirts are comfortable, good for the environment, and of course good looking.
      If you like ethical shirts, be sure to check out more about ethical sustainable clothing.

Author: Monica Chang
On my own ethical journey since 2010. Always happy to learn more!