10 Outfit Ideas for The Vegan Professional

November 26, 2013

You’re a busy young vegan professional and as such, you’re wont to stress about a lot of things. “How am I going to come up with rent money while simultaneously accompanying my girlfriends to wine tasting this weekend?” “Will I meet my boss’s impossible deadline?” “Am I ever going to find true love, and why am I consistently finding myself on boring, mundane dates?” Or maybe it’s just me. Regardless, us young professionals can unite over one common denominator: fashion.

Every woman wants to appear well polished, even if the rest of her life feels chaotic. If you’re compassionate, you also want your apparel to reflect your ethics, meaning everything should be animal- and sweatshop-free. Finally, your daily office ensemble should be fashionable and suit your personal style.

Follow this cruelty-free guide and you’ll be dressed to impress (though I’m not sure it will help you meet your project deadline):


Tops and Bottoms

Is it just me, or has leather been in vogue this year? Not only have the runways been awash with classic jackets, but suddenly tops and bottoms are studded with leather accents. Unfortunately, most leather in the United States is imported from countries like China and India, both of which do not adhere to strict animal welfare laws. Cows’ tails are broken, and tobacco and chili peppers are forced into their eyes in an attempt to blind them before entering the slaughterhouse. In the U.S., things aren’t much better: the animals are castrated, dehorned, and branded–often without painkillers.

For affordable tops and bottoms made with faux leather, check out Zara and H&M

vegan leather skirt

Leather-look skirt can be work-appropriate, especially if it’s restricted to subtle trims. Faux leather skirt by Zara, $59.90.

chiffon blouse by hm

Pair your faux leather trim pencil skirt with a sheer black chiffon blouse. Chiffon top by H&M, $29.95

embroidered tee by jcrew

If you’re more used to sassy than sexy, tone down your leather skirt with a fun top, like this patterned cotton tee. Embroidered front tee by J.Crew, $62.50


An outfit without a good coat is akin to a soy latte without a healthy dose of soy whipped cream. In blustery temperatures, many people turn to down coats for warmth. In order to construct a down coat, though, ducks and geese are restrained while their feathers are ripped directly from their skin. Often, the process is so unregulated that the birds’ skin is torn open and sewn back together with a needle and thread. Painkillers are generally not administered.

Commute to your office in coats from Vaute Couture (my personal favorite), Polyvore, or Alternative Outfitters.

vaute couture emily coat in black velveteen

Emily coat in black velveteen by Vaute Couture, on sale for $337.50 (originally $450)

vaute couture velveteen coat

It’s so cute with the hood up, too!


faux leather trim coat by h&m

Short faux leather trim coat (wool-free) by H&M, $49.95


Most women can appreciate a good shoe. Just as the leather industry harms cows for your office apparel, the product of their suffering is also used to manufacture shoes. Plus, did you know that the leather in your shoes isn’t even guaranteed to originate from cow skin? Alligators, ostriches, kangaroos, dogs, and cats are all known to be slaughtered for their meat in other countries and their skin is then exported to the U.S. Not so glamorous, right?

Thankfully, there are many popular designers that have jumped on the proverbial bandwagon, blessing us with cruelty-free shoes that are also fashionable (i.e. not Birkenstocks). Visit Beyond Skin, Olsen Haus, and Steven Madden for all of your professional shoe needs.

novacas ava pump

These ribbon pumps are prim but sexy. Ava pump in red by Portuguese vegan shoe brand Novacas at Moo Shoes, $39.99

alexia peep toe pump by nae

You can never go wrong with peep toe pumps in classic black. Alexia peep toe pump in ecological microfiber by nae, a Portuguese vegan shoe brand


What’s a work outfit without a day bag? Unfortunately, for many, leather bags have become synonymous with sophistication and class. I encourage you to explore the many vegan-friendly accessory brands that offer faux leather purses, guaranteeing that you’ll remain stylish sans the real leather.

Personally, I like ModCloth, but you can also check out Matt & Nat and Brooklyn Industries.

vegan bags for work

Full Course Load bag in Rose at Modcloth, $97.99

modcloth vegan bag2

Bowled and Beautiful bag by Modcloth, $62.99

vegan bags for work

Make a statement with Extempore tote by Modcloth, $54.99.

Also in Style: Librarian’s Guide to Fall Sweaters

Reader Question: I Need Help Finding an Engagement Ring for My Vegan Girlfriend

By Molly: What You Need to Know About Vivisection

Random Acts of Kindness


Photo: Zara; H&M; J. Crew; Vaute Couture; Moo Shoes; Nae; ModCloth

Contributing Editor Molly Lansdowne lives in Boston, Massachusetts. In her free time, she enjoys writing, practicing yoga, and traveling around New England. Follow Molly on Pinterest @bostonvegan and Instagram @molly_lansdowne.


always stay inspired!