Colorful Standard: In-Depth Review of this Ethical Brand

When you think about diamonds you think of the 3 C’s – color, clarity, and carat. When I think of clothing I also think of the 3 C’s – color, comfort, and quality. (OK, that’s only a C sound.) If you are looking for soft, comfortable, quality casual clothing that has been thoughtfully created in an amazing array of colors, look no further than Colorful Standard.

If you find this review helpful, consider shopping at Colorful Standard using this affiliate link to support the work of Unsustainable.

Also, check out our new review: Colorful Standard T-shirts and Crew Neck Sweatshirts Review

Review by Ellen Rubin

colorful standard
Source: Colorful Standard

Review of Colorful Standard

Tee shirts and sweats play an important part of my life. I spend more time in them than in any other type of clothing. Finding just the right ones is hard, finding sustainable ones is even harder. Colorful Standard offers sweatpants and shorts, hoodies (zippered or not), tee shirts, socks and beanies that are soft, durable, have great construction details.

Let’s start with their site and an overview of the company. The two words that come to mind are Quality and Color!

The site is well designed and easy to navigate. The company makes clothing in men’s, women’s, and unisex. The basic offerings are the same, but the proportions vary. They offer a wide range of sizes. (Men’s & unisex XS-2XL, women’s XS-XL.) There is an accurate size chart if you need help determining your best size.

Fabrics: Almost everything they make is organic cotton – either jersey knit or twill (button down shirts and twill shorts for men). They use Woolmark and OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified merino wool for their beanies, scarves, and a men’s long sleeved crew top.

colorful standard

Colors: They truly live up to their name of Colorful Standard. When you shop most places you might get 5-10 color options. Here you can choose from 45 colors! The hard part is narrowing down your picks because they all look amazing. The site accurately portrays the colors – you will get what you saw! Whether you want to choose from neutrals like browns or grays (and remember you aren’t limited to a single hue), bolds (bright primaries), or want softer shades (i.e. aqua or pink), there are numerous choices.

I’ll admit to being one of those color geeks who loves to study paint swatches, flower varieties, and has a large bucket of colored pencils. I was impressed with Colorful Standard’s choices and how thoughtfully they were chosen and presented.

Sizing: Their clothes run true to size. I compared a medium hoodie with and extra large hoodie. There was about a 2” circumference difference between the two which seems to go along with industry standards. The clothes are generous, rather than skimpy and didn’t seem to shrink much after a cold water wash.

colorful standard

Feel: The hoodie and sweat pants I tried are both made of the same fabric. The surface is a nice tight weave, but the best part is the inside. It’s soft, not quite a French terry, but not really a fleece. It’s brushed and very comfortable. Weight wise – it seems to be the perfect weight for all but weather extremes of hot and cold.

Their clothes are garment dyed (dyed after then are made, rather than using the dyed fabric to make the garment) and come pre-washed so they are soft right out of the box with none of that new clothes stiffness or smell. One cautionary note: I washed the black sweatpants and petrol blue hoodie as soon as I received them in cold water. I was curious about color-bleed and loss of interior fuzziness.

There was a lot of excess dye which filled up one of the washer sheets that catch dye that I like to use. I didn’t notice any difference or loss of color so I’m guessing it was just excess dye. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to wash with like colors for the first few launderings. While there was a lot of lint from the dryer, the fabric still felt soft and brushed after drying – and no pilling.

colorful standard

Quality Details: One of the nicest surprises about Colorful Standard’s clothing are all the very deliberate and thoughtful detailing that goes into everything from the garments to the packaging.

  • The hood has a double layer of fabric so the brushed side in not exposed. You won’t catch your hair on it, nor will you have fuzz in your hair.
  • Hood ties have metal tips at the end instead of just knots. It’s more finished looking and should hold up in the long run.
  • The hood tie openings have metal grommets. Some other hoodies just have a slit in the fabric. Again, durability and polish.
  • The generous sized front pocket is very securely stitched down. This is a stress point where lesser hoodies will rip.
  • The bottom banding and sleeve cuffs are stretch and not skimpy.
  • The sweatpants have a great waistband. It’s a good width with elastic and a tie (again with the metal tips and grommets). It also has a couple lines of stitching through the elastic so it won’t twist. I doubt I’m going to lose the string inside the waistband and never be able to dig it out, partly because the stitching creates and narrower channel for the tie.
  • Pant bottoms have elastic, but aren’t constricting.
  • Pockets are important and most sweats, especially for women, short-change you. That isn’t a problem here – they are deep and generously made.

As you can tell, they’ve paid attention to not just looks, but the substance of how you wear garments, and how the garment will wear.

colorful standard
colorful standard

Packaging: Although it may not be as important as the clothing, I have to say that the packaging is the best I’ve seen. Just getting and opening the box made me feel special. It isn’t a plain brown box, but a sturdy, FSC recycled cardboard logo’d box that arrived with individually packaged, plastic (again recycled) bags for each garment that fit the box perfectly so there was not slipping or crumpling.

The box and bags also let me know that the company makes a 5% donation to charity, use 100% organic cotton, are made in Portugal, pre-washed, garment dyed, and anti-pilling. They even have much nicer than normal hang tags that aren’t attached through the fabric so there’s no chance of leaving a hole. So even if you sent this as a gift to someone who knew nothing about the company, they could see that they are getting a quality product from a quality company.

Sustainability: There is a lot on their site about their transparency, sustainability, ethical, and donation policies. They discuss fabric, dye, and packaging choices, ethical labor practices, zero waste policy, and the fact that they don’t sell seasonal collections, but as their name suggests – standards – that will carry you through any season. You can learn about any of this at Sustainability – Colorful Standard US.

As their tags say, “Actions speak louder than words. Let’s change the standards for a better direction.” The company is certainly living up to their declared goal.

colorful standard
Source: Colorful Standard