Published by Ashley Palmer.

The following article was written by Leigh-Anne Dennison.

One of your goals for 2012 may be to dress for the job you want (not just the one you have)—either dressing to impress in your own office or looking sharp for that upcoming job interview.

In the world of work apparel, wool and silk tend to be two of the biggest fabric challenges to a vegan wardrobe, while leather and suede dominate a vast array of professional footwear. But seeking to improve your fiscal or other circumstances doesn’t mean selling out your principles. You may just need to shop a little more, be aware of which retailers stock vegan clothing and accessories, and learn more about synthetic materials that can look just as professional and pulled together as animal-based fabrics.

Nothing Suits Him Like a Suit

In lieu of wool (or wool-blend) suits, look for cotton or linen. Cotton-poly blends are another option, and today’s versions are definitely not your parent’s polyester suits. Rather than silk, check out the ravishing feel and drape of rayon (also called “viscose”) for dresses and blouses. Men, try a satin necktie as a suitable substitute for silk.

When it comes to pounding the pavement, women may have an easier time finding pleather or faux-suede shoes, but there are stylish, non-animal options for men out there if you look for them.

Classic or Casual—Suits Me Just Fine

Not only has the quality of plant-based and synthetic fabrics improved, the style and cuts of these wardrobe staples have also become more sophisticated over the years. Designers and manufacturers have dramatically improved how they use them as well as how often they incorporate them into clothing lines. In addition to being cruelty-free, many of these fabrics can also handle business travel with minimal to no wrinkling—and they’re often more affordable than their wool, silk, cashmere, mohair, angora, or other animal-derived counterparts.

Relaxed or “business casual” dress codes these days also mean that cotton khakis or chinos are acceptable for men most days of the week, and ladies can show a little more flair with more feminine dresses, skirts, and slightly funkier shoes and accessories (a little attitude isn’t a bad thing).

A Look that Suits You

At the end of the day (or really at the beginning, I guess), while it may take a little more time and research to put together, you can create a killer look for the office while keeping kindness a staple in your work wardrobe.

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