Style Wise | Ethical Fashion, Fair Trade, Sustainability

SUSTAINABLE STYLE & ETHICAL LIVING

Inside an Ethical Wardrobe: Spring 2018

ethical capsule wardrobe with vintage style spring 2018 stylewise-blog.com
I confess I got a little ahead of myself this season and stocked up on tons of sandals even though it snowed only last week. For that reason, I decided to go ahead and split up my Capsule posts into spring and summer. The clothes will (mostly) stay the same, but the shoes will change with warmer weather.

As always, I have to add the disclaimer that I'm not a *true* capsule wardrobe person. I believe in flexible dressing - removing and adding things as needed - but I have started moving off-season items and other things I've grown bored with out of sight in order to curb my need for novelty. You can read more about that here.

This season, I've stayed very true to my style inspiration and color palette, and I'm looking forward to wearing old and new things that feel fresh and match the flowering trees and lime-colored spring leaves. I've also developed a pretty clear cut set of formulas, similar to last season: plain tee + skirt, striped tee + jeans, or vintage dress.

The graphic above represents a mix of exact wardrobe items and references to thrifted and older items I've picked up over time.

My Mostly Ethical, Always Thoughtful Spring Capsule

Items with an asterisk (*) next to them were purchased this season. Other items were purchased in previous seasons. Contains affiliate links.

Tops:
Pants & Skirts:
Dresses:
Cardigans & Jackets:
Shoes:

ethical capsule wardrobe with vintage style spring 2018 stylewise-blog.com

Dying for Dye: Why We Must Prioritize Natural Dyes in the Fashion Industry

MATTER Prints cross-back top naturally dyed stylewise-blog.com
This post was sponsored by MATTER Prints as part of an ongoing partnership. Research and opinions are my own.

The fashion industry has a dye problem...

The increased demand for textile products... and the use of synthetic dyes have together contributed to dye wastewater becoming one of the substantial sources of severe pollution problems in current times (Source).

In fact, textile dyeing is estimated to be one of the top three polluters in the world, "responsible for up to one-fifth of industrial water pollution globally, with the emission of as many as 72 toxic chemicals reaching the water supply."

But what does this mean in practical terms? 

Though not all synthetic dyes are created equal, many are known to have carcinogenic properties. Azo dyes, for instance, can be fairly innocuous in their stable form but become toxic as they break down in the environment. Dyes made with heavy metals such as copper, chrome, and zinc or with formaldehyde are also known to cause cancer in humans.

When toxic dyes enter the water supply as runoff from factory production, they raise PH levels in the environment, killing off or compromising fish and other wildlife and disrupting the delicate balance of the ecosystem. Humans potentially suffer on both sides of the factory walls: garment workers inhale and touch carcinogenic and reproductive-health compromising compounds and the surrounding community absorbs the same compounds in their food and drinking water.
MATTER Prints cross-back top naturally dyed stylewise-blog.com
And while all of Europe and other countries have banned the most toxic synthetic dyes:

The majority of garment production and fabric dying now takes place in developing countries. Often health and safety regulations are not well enforced, with workers not using protective equipment or using banned products, which can be extremely damaging to health and wellbeing (Source).

For these reasons, it is pertinent to consider not only the ethics of production but the sourcing of dyes before purchasing a product.

I confess I've been pretty lousy at this. There's no excuse other than that it's another thing to put on my long list of requirements, and sometimes I find it all overwhelming. But I need to remember that small steps forward are good, and that knowing more about the world's suffering, though it can feel heavy, is ultimately a privilege, because it means I can possibly do something to change it.

The alternative to synthetics, of course, is natural dye.

Note: For the purpose of this essay, I am using the natural dye industry's use of the term natural, which designates the roots, plants, and minerals used in traditional textile dyeing that are known to be nontoxic for textile use. This does not mean all naturally derived plants and minerals are nontoxic.

Natural dyes are produced with plants and nontoxic minerals. In the textile industry, they're often processed alongside natural mordant - a nontoxic binding agent - to keep the fabric from fading.

If you've ever dyed with indigo, you've experimented with natural dyeing. Congratulations! But there are hundreds of other possibilities, most of them having been discovered and developed over centuries.
MATTER Prints cross-back top naturally dyed stylewise-blog.com
And that's another reason to celebrate natural dyes: instead of destroying life it tells a story of human flourishing. 

Natural dyes are inherently finicky, which is part of the reason the fashion industry prefers synthetics. But the variation in process and final product also reveals the beauty of people and nature in relationship with one another.

MATTER Prints has experimented with natural dyes in the past, but they're trying to do so more intentionally with their new collection of ethically made tops. The Cross-Back Top I'm wearing was dyed with the roots of the common madder plant, which has been used for dyeing textiles since at least the 3rd century BCE. The artisan team at Indigenous Industries uses a time-intensive technique to get a rich, color-fast result not usually associated with natural dyes. In fact, it takes about a week to finish the dye process before the fabric is ready to be cut and sewn.
MATTER Prints cross-back top naturally dyed stylewise-blog.com
Ethical Details: Cross-back Top - c/o MATTER Prints; Jeans - secondhand via ebay; Shoes - thrifted

My Review of the Cross-Back Top

MATTER's cross-back top is made with a soft, tightly-woven khadi cotton. It's a simple pull-over styled with a cropped fit and wide straps. The color is somewhere between rust and red, which I find really suits my complexion and contrasts nicely with most of the colors in my closet. I always feel this way about MATTER, but really, there stuff is wearable art. Thoughtfully designed and beautifully made.

I have a 34" bust and MATTER suggested I go up a size, to a size 2, so you'll want to keep that in mind if you plan to order. The Cross-Back top costs $79 USD, a reasonable investment if it suits your style considering how laborious the dye process is. I like the idea of wearing this piece over striped shirts and crew-necks in addition to as a stand-alone, so I included it in my spring capsule, which I'll be sharing this week.

Grade: A
Size Ordered: 2
Measurements: 34A - 28 - 39"

There are other ethical brands experimenting with natural dye, and I'd like to eventually get a resource post put together, but I would recommend MATTER for sure. You can learn more about their dye and production process here.

Social Media: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram
MATTER Prints natural dye tops and toxic dye in the fashion industry stylewise-blog.com

Something Old, Something New: The Benefits of Buying a Secondhand Engagement Ring

reasons you should buy your wedding and engagement rings secondhand catherine trenton jewelry stylewise-blog.com
This post was sponsored by Catherine Trenton Jewellery. Wedding photos by Lindsey Pemberton for Leah and Daniel Wise.

Daniel and I got married eight years ago this July on a sunny day in Lakeland, Florida. 

Looking back on our wedding day, there are very few things I would have done differently. I had just discovered Etsy, so a lot of the details were a combination of artisan goods and DIY. We had a big wedding party, which meant practically all of our friends were an integral part of the day. We ate Turkish food at the rehearsal dinner and put on a love poetry contest at the reception. All in all, it was wonderful.

But these were also the days before I had woken up to the exploitation in every industry that intersects with the wedding industry, from diamonds to dresses. I love my sapphire and diamond engagement ring, but it most certainly wasn't sourced ethically. And, while Daniel's ring was made-to-order, I'm sure the raw materials weren't sourced from mines that specifically avoid child labor.

If I were getting married today, I would have to consider these things. But it's not always easy to when you're on a budget or have a specific design in mind...
reasons you should buy your wedding and engagement rings secondhand catherine trenton jewelry stylewise-blog.com
That's why I advocate buying secondhand.

Why It Makes Sense to Buy Your Engagement & Wedding Rings Secondhand

1. You're opting out of a psychologically and physically exploitative marketplace.

The wedding industry preys on our insecurities in a big way to encourage us keep up with the Joneses, buying more than we need. The average cost of a wedding in the US (as of 2016) is over $35,000 and rising, and that doesn't even include the rings. From my own experience, I know that wedding planners, reception halls, caterers, and dress clerks will do everything they can to upsell you because they know that you're trying to make this event measure up to everyone's expectations.

Add to that the strong possibility that your dress was made in a sweatshop and your gold diamond ring was mined by child slaves and there's a strong case for sticking it to the man by avoiding the mainstream industry altogether.

2. You're saving money on an expensive heirloom. 

Chances are you're going to be saving for awhile to purchase the kind of ring you'll want to pass down to the kids, so if you're on a budget, it makes good sense to look for the ring you want secondhand. You'll get a better price without skimping on quality.

3. You're making good use of a luxury item that may have not been used otherwise.

From mining to designing to production, a lot of work goes into creating a beautiful piece of jewelry. I often think of secondhand from the perspective of respecting the original maker. It seems a shame to let things languish when they can be repurposed, reused, and cherished for years to come.

Where to Buy Pre-Loved Rings

For the past few months, I've been emailing back and forth with Tina at Catherine Trenton Jewellery. Based in Australia, Catherine Trenton Jewellery specializes in the resale of Tiffany & Co. wedding and special occasion rings. Why luxury jewelry? As Tina explained to me:

I believe in preserving the workmanship of a beautifully designed piece to prevent this being broken down into raw materials and then being re-sold as new.  

The advantage of buying through a dealer like Catherine Trenton is that their staff is able to appraise and verify the authenticity of the rings they sell, as well as include all original documentation, so you know you're getting a high quality ring priced well below the original retail price. I did a few price comparisons and it's really remarkable how affordable the secondhand pieces are (around $700-5,000 USD) compared to buying new ($15,000 and up). This piece, for instance, comes out to $4,816 USD, compared to a similar new ring from Tiffany and Co. priced at $15,100.
reasons you should buy your wedding and engagement rings secondhand catherine trenton jewelry stylewise-blog.com
Catherine Trenton Pieces: One | Two | Three

I know luxury rings aren't everyone's cup of tea, whether due to budget or style, but I do think that if you're going to own something of great value, it makes sense to be a good steward of both resources and personal finances by finding a secondhand source.

You can search Catherine Trenton's Pre-Loved selections either by clicking here or by using the Search box and typing in "pre-loved" or "pre loved." New items are added frequently. Catherine Trenton Jewellery ships internationally.

P.S. The Catherine Trenton Jewellery website provides some great tips on purchasing jewelry secondhand and why it's often the better option.

Shop Catherine Trenton Pre-Loved here


On Social Media: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
reasons you should buy your wedding and engagement rings secondhand catherine trenton jewelry stylewise-blog.com

A Happy Accident: Causebox Spring Subscription Box Review

Causebox subscription box review spring 2018 stylewise-blog.com
Contains affiliate links

Welp, I pulled a Leah and accidentally purchased the Spring Causebox subscription box.

You may be asking yourself how that's possible. I subscribed to Causebox in December because I wanted to give some of the items in the box as gifts (which, by the way, worked out wonderfully. Lower cost, beautifully curated ethical gifts for all the women in my life). Then I simply forgot to unsubscribe. When I got the email that my spring Causebox was shipping soon, I decided it was better to embrace it than beat myself up about it.

And honestly, I'm really happy with it...
Causebox subscription box review spring 2018 stylewise-blog.com
If you haven't heard of Causebox, you need to. They're one of the better curated ethical subscription boxes on the market. Where GlobeIn offers more artisan made goods, Causebox offers items from slightly bigger brands that still adhere to eco and social-good standards.

The spring box contains:
  • Symbology Kimono, $105 value
  • PF Candle Co. Reed Diffuser, $22 value
  • Soko Petite Bow Earrings, $42 value
  • Bloom & Give Malabar Tea Towels, $24 value
  • Scentuals Rosehip Beauty Oil, $23.19 value
  • Juice Beauty Ultra-Natural Mascara, $24 value
  • Marylou Faure Postcard, $10 value

I've heard of the fashion brands (Symbology, Soko, and Bloom & Give) and can vouch for their ethics, but I was less familiar with the lifestyle products. After reading up on the other brands, I feel good about supporting all of them. 

My Favorites

I was excited to receive mascara, as I haven't purchased or worn mascara since last year, when I gave up makeup for Lent. This mascara lightly defines without any clumpiness or shedding. I'm looking forward to using it more to see if it continues to work for my sensitive eyes. 

The Soko bow earrings are really nice, and make a statement without standing out too much. 

But my very favorite item is the full sized Rosehip oil. It's light but still really moisturizing and it doesn't cause any irritation. I add a little into my standard, unscented lotion at night. 

Other Thoughts

The other items are beautiful and well-made, but maybe a little bit less essential to my life. The Reed diffuser has added a nice spa-like touch to my bathroom, though. We're hosting some of Daniel's family this week and they seem to like it. 

Conclusion

All in all, I'm thrilled with this box. Each item is something I can use and I'm particularly happy to have been introduced to Juice Beauty and Scentuals.

I would recommend Causebox if you're looking to sample artisan goods at a lower price point or if you want to purchase a premium gift.

You can purchase the Spring box on the site now

StyleWise's Super Epic 5 Year Anniversary Giveaway: Over $400 in Ethical Goods


epic ethical goods anniversary giveaway soul flower, bead and reel, ten thousand villages, sharon z, national picnic, everlane
Five years ago last January I sat down to write my very first post on StyleWise.

What a ride it's been so far. I started StyleWise hoping to find community as a blossoming "conscious consumer." I had heard of maybe two fair trade brands ever (Ten Thousand Villages and Mata Traders) and didn't really know where to turn to learn about ethics in the fashion industry, but I knew I had to do something. A few months later, the largest garment factory disaster in history occurred when Rana Plaza collapsed, killing over 1,1035 people. It was a wake-up call for many, and before long the conversation was loud enough to start making a difference.

Over the years, I've read (a lot), joined ethical writing communities, asked questions, gained and lost readers, teetered on the edge of nervous breakdowns and burnout, felt inspired, and written hundreds of thousands of words.

Blogging, especially on ethics, is not always easy. But it has been life-giving for me and given me a real sense of purpose. It's helped me understand that I do have a role to play in movement building, but it might not be as "world changing" as I initially thought it would be. Still, knowing that I can play a small part is valuable, and I am determined to keep playing that part as well as I can.

So I want to THANK YOU, readers new and old, for sticking with me, looking me up, and bearing with me as I work through my cluttered thoughts.

I've partnered with five of my favorite ethical brands to offer a...

SUPER EPIC ETHICAL GIVEAWAY

with a prize package worth $475
epic ethical goods anniversary giveaway soul flower, bead and reel, ten thousand villages, sharon z, national picnic, everlane
One Winner Will Receive:
Total Package Value: $475

a Rafflecopter giveaway Open to US readers only. Must be 18 years old or older to enter. By entering, you consent to have your email address added to listed brands' email lists (except for Everlane) and the StyleWise monthly newsletter.
epic ethical goods anniversary giveaway soul flower, bead and reel, ten thousand villages, sharon z, national picnic, everlane

A Master List of Ethical Shopping Resources: 20+ Guides for the Conscious Consumer

a master list of ethical shopping resources from stylewise-blog.com
Early last year I decided to make it an official part of my content calendar to write a couple of Shopping Resource posts each month. 

Not only did I find that these posts garnered more "evergreen" attention and social media shares, my Reader Survey and analytics proved that curated shop lists for specific types of clothing and accessories is what people are searching for.

And that makes sense. Once you have a general idea of the ways that exploitation and environmental degradation are woven into the fabric of the fashion industry, you probably don't need a dozen more think pieces. What you need is a "what next?" and often that comes down to how you shop.

You can always search Resource posts by clicking on the Resources tag in my sidebar or drop-down menu, but I wanted to make it even easier by hand selecting the shopping posts and compiling them into a single post. I plan on updating this post frequently, so feel free to bookmark it as a reference.

Bras & Underwear

5 Places to Find Ethical Underwear (That's Not Lingerie)
13 Ethical Bras That Put Everyday Comfort First

Shoes

7 Ethically Sourced Mules for Spring
Top 8 Ethical Shoes for the Retail & Service Industries
13 Ethical Shoe Brands Worth the Investment

Clothes

6 Places to Buy Well Made, Ethical Basics for Women (& Men)
Coming Up Daffodils: My Favorite Ethical Spring Florals
12 (More) Places to Find Affordable + Ethical Fashion
Back to Basics: An Ethical Capsule Wardrobe (Updated)
Top 10 Ethical + Affordable Clothing & Accessories Brands for Fall

Outerwear

The Ultimate Guide to Sustainable Sweaters & Outerwear

Vintage & Thrifted

My 7 Favorite Places to Shop for Vintage Clothing Online

Ethical Alternatives to Popular Brands

7 Ethical Alternatives to Anthropologie
12 Ethical Alternatives to ModCloth
How to Shop Ethically at Urban Outfitters + Alternatives
6 Ethical Brands That Are Better Than Free People
5 Ethical Fashion Brands That Are Better Than Forever 21
4 Ethical Fashion Brands that are Better Than Old Navy

Home

12 Handmade + Budget Friendly Wall Hangings
Rest Easy: An Eco + Ethical Bedroom

Accessories

Where to Buy Ethical Tech & Accessories
a master list of ethical shopping resources from stylewise-blog.com


See any gaps? Let me know what you'd like me to cover next!

The Orenda Tribe: Small, Meaningful Solutions for Global Change

The Orenda Tribe bee shirt ethical and organic and helps refugees stylewise-blog.com
This post was not sponsored but The Orenda Tribe did sponsor an Instagram post and provide complimentary t-shirts.

Charlottesville, due to its proximity to Washington DC and its well established network of social services, is home to lots of refugees.

Some of them are my friends. 

The thrift shop where I work accepts vouchers for clothing and household goods distributed by local agencies. One agency in particular works with a large population of refugees from Afghanistan. Two women have frequented the shop for the last two years and it's been a delight to get to know them, to watch their children grow, and to help them get the things they need. One is taking English classes at the community college. The other had a baby on Thanksgiving day, which everyone finds funny but also appropriate for the tiny little blessing they named Ariane, which can either refer to the region they came from or mean Holy.
The Orenda Tribe bee shirt ethical and organic and helps refugees stylewise-blog.com
Ethical Outfit Details: Top - c/o The Orenda Tribe; Jeans - #30wears; Cardigan - thrifted; Shoes - Julia Bo
The Orenda Tribe ethical clothing for kids stylewise-blog.com
I sometimes think that the people who don't want refugees here have never met someone who had to leave everything behind for their own survival. One of the women from the shop just introduced her youngest son to Santa Claus in December. I asked her if Santa was a thing in Afghanistan and she said that she grew up in wartime and never celebrated any holidays. It may sound trite, but that statement clarified for me how bad things must have been. Even your small celebrations are stripped from you.

I mention all of this to say that, though the refugee crisis feels insurmountable (it's the number one thing I pray about), it is not impossible to touch a life in a small way. My friendships with the women who come into the shop have been meaningful to me because we've been open with one another and we've refused to let cultural and language barriers keep us from relationship. This, in so many ways, is how the world changes for the better.

But even if you don't live close to refugee communities, you can help in small ways.
The Orenda Tribe ethical clothing for kids stylewise-blog.com

The Orenda Tribe found one solution...

The Orenda Tribe sets up art workshops in underprivileged communities and refugee camps to encourage children to tell their stories through images. Children and mentors create murals on the buildings and make art to be screenprinted on t-shirts The Orenda Tribe sells to put money back into these efforts.

To date, The Orenda Tribe has helped set up and beautify 17 art centers at refugee camps and schools as well as assist with art therapy sessions. You can see the location list here. In addition, The Orenda Tribe partners with Save the Children - Jordan, Art Therapy International Centre, Entrepreneurs for Social Change, Color the Camps, and SOS Children's Villages - Jordan.
The Orenda Tribe ethical clothing for kids stylewise-blog.com

About the T-Shirts

Charlie and I are wearing items from The Orenda Tribe's collection of organic, screen-printed tees.

I really love the lightheartedness of kids' art and this Mama Bee t-shirt is perfect for me since my nickname growing up was Leah Bee. A note on sizing: The Orenda Tribe's clothing runs small. I'm wearing a Medium but could have easily sized up to a Large for a slightly roomier fit.

Grade: A-
The Orenda Tribe ethical clothing for kids stylewise-blog.com
Charlie's Buzzy Bee t-shirt is a 4T, but he usually wears a 3T. (This is my friend Peter's son, in case you were wondering). I think he liked the shirt but it's hard to tell with 2 1/2 year olds!

You can learn more about The Orenda Tribe's mission here.

Shop The Orenda Tribe here.

Coming Up Daffodils: My Favorite Ethical Spring Florals

People Tree Thandie Marigold Skirt Review stylewise-blog.com
Contains affiliate links. The skirt I'm wearing in this post was provided by People Tree.

It was late summer when Daniel and I first moved into our current apartment, so we figured all the plants we could see in our yard were all that we were going to get.

Summer turned to fall then to winter until one February day something started growing in the planter outside our door. Within a week the first yellow bud had bloomed. Daffodils!

It was my first real winter as an adult and it had been a difficult one (I later learned I have Seasonal Affective Disorder). Those bright flowers with their inviting little faces were a living miracle. The daffodils are up again basking in whatever sunshine they can find, and just like that week several years ago, they remind me that the warm days I live for are just around the corner.

In the spirit of sunshine and daffodils, I compiled a few of my favorite ethical and sustainable floral things for spring...
ethical and sustainable floral clothing for spring stylewise-blog.com

1 | Ash & Rose Alexis Embroidered Sweatshirt Top, $128

My one departure from blue, this piece is great for bringing in some spring while the days are still a bit chilly. Fair trade. Made in India.

2 | People Tree Thandie Marigold Skirt, $94

The perfect modern floral with a bright pop of orange, this organic cotton piece is constructed in medium weight cotton with a front zipper and generous pockets. Fair trade. Made in India.

My Review: I was pleasantly surprised that the UK 10 (my usual size) followed the proportions of my waist and hips without pulling, as some pencil skirts do. It's also a great midi length for work. The color scheme is tailor made for the colors in my spring capsule wardrobe and I really have nothing but good things to say about it.

3 | National Picnic Digital Print Dress, $128

With a scoop neck, raglan sleeves, and a silhouette that skims the body, this is a really versatile piece, and the digital floral print is vibrant and expressive. Artisan made in the USA.

4 | Language of the Birds Tofino Paperbag Dress, $290

This is actually a minimalistic coral print, but it recalls flowers. Silk screened cotton made in the USA.

5 | Grove & Bay Mokomo Tencel Top, $34.95

I love how the bright floral offsets the casual silhouette of this piece. GOTS-certified cotton/sustainable tencel blend made fairly.

6 | Bead & Reel Betty Blue Floral Wrap Dress, $86

A classic wrap dress in woven cotton. Made with eco-friendly dyes. Fair trade. Made in India.

People Tree Thandie Marigold Skirt Review stylewise-blog.com

Wanna Shop Secondhand Florals?

Smockwalker Vintage
Swap.com
ethical and sustainable floral clothing for spring stylewise-blog.com

March For Our Lives: How To Get Involved

March For Our Lives Gun Violence Resources
This piece was written by Francesca Willow and originally appeared on Ethical Unicorn. Reposted with permission.

Writing these kinds of posts makes me frustrated. Nobody wants to have to write about these events, because they should not be happening. As someone in the UK who has worked across quite a bit of The United States (and counts many Americans as close friends) I have spent years feeling frustrated and upset over the state of gun control in the US. It’s incredibly difficult to understand, as I’ve lived nearly my entire life with strict gun regulations in my country. The Dunblane massacre (which killed seventeen people, just like Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Florida) occurred just after my third birthday, and in its wake all handguns were banned, followed shortly after by the ban of .22 caliber guns as well. After Dunblane a gun amnesty was called and more than 162,000 handguns were surrendered. Since then, nearly 22 years later, the UK has had one mass shooting.

I’ve never known a life in which I have had to fear mine in a way that American kids do. I’ve never had to face the kind of corrupt corporate lobbying and empty rhetoric that follows every time something like this happens in America. For those of us in the rest of the world, we just sit and watch baffled, stunned, heartbroken. Helpless, time and time again. I can’t even imagine what it must feel like to be a young US citizen.

But this time, things could be different, and you don’t need to be in America to play your part.

This time, the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Florida are taking things into their own hands. After the deaths of seventeen people at the hands of a teenager who was armed with a legally purchased AR-15 rifle, students are saying that enough is enough. These students are organised, and they will not be silenced.

‘We can’t ignore the issues of gun control that this tragedy raises. And so, I’m asking — no, demanding — we take action now’ (source)

In the wake of the shooting they have organised a movement, March For Our Lives, demanding for leaders and US politicians to do better. Here’s what you need to know:

What is March For Our Lives?

March for Our Lives is a mass protest taking place on March 24, 2018, demanding that the lives and safety of young people becomes a priority, that gun violence and mass shootings in school is brought to an end.

5 Places to Find Ethical Underwear (That's Not Lingerie)

ethical and fair trade organic underwear for women stylewise-blog.com
This post contains affiliate links. Items in photo above were provided by Majamas.

If you're looking for frilly, lacy, and seductive, the ethical fashion market has got you covered.

But what if you just want some everyday underwear without the fuss? 

It took me years to find the brands that offer what I'm looking for: neutral colors, no bows, nature-derived fabrics. I look for styles that don't show under clothing and work with any silhouette or style, so thongs and full coverage are preferred over "cheeky" styles that can ride up.

I also look for fair price points because I've found that many fair trade underwear brands charge more for a single pair of underwear than you would pay for an artisan made dress (I think this is because, historically, organic underwear has appealed primarily to a higher end customer). You'll still pay about double Victoria's Secret prices with the brands below, but that's pretty decent considering the quality is better.

MY TOP PICKS FOR ETHICAL EVERYDAY UNDERWEAR

1. Majamas

Made with organic cotton at an ethical factory in the USA, Majamas offers classic thongs, cheeky bikinis, hipsters, and comfort bras in solids and patterns in addition to loungewear and casual clothing.

My Picks (shown in image): Comfort Thong, Padded Daily Bra

2. Organic Basics

Danish brand Organic Basics makes underwear and tshirts in both organic and technical fabrics

My Pick: Rose Nude Thong 2-Pack

3. PACT

A favorite among ethical bloggers and conscious consumers, PACT sells socks, undies, loungewear, and dresses in organic cotton.

My Picks: Lace Waist Thong, Lace Waist Brief

4. Orgotton

Made from an organic/bamboo blend, Orgotton creates thong and hipster panties out of off-cuts from their clothing line.

My Pick: Thong

5. Boodywear

Boodywear makes panties, leggings, and bras with seamless, chemical free bamboo viscose. I find their options particularly useful under fabrics that cling.

My Picks: Boyleg Brief, Classic Bikini

Other Recommended Brands: WAMA Hemp, Hesta Organic, Pansy

If you know of others, let me know in the comments!

See my picks for BRAS here.

5 places to find organic ethical underwear stylewise-blog.com

5 Spiritual Memoirs for the Questioner

5 christian memoirs for spiritual crisis
I couldn't photograph the other books because I've lent them all out!
Contains affiliate links

Like many of you (I'm guessing), I grew up in church.

Got saved at six and baptized at ten or eleven. Attended a million Bible studies, a smattering of youth conventions, and up to three church services a week. When I started college, I learned that you could major in Religious Studies (I was lucky that Florida State had a pretty robust program, too) and I jumped on the opportunity to learn more about the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible and Religious Ethics, two areas that I felt I'd been undereducated in within the context of church.

I started attending a bordering-on-fundamentalist college ministry my sophomore year simply because my then-boyfriend-now-husband's roommate recommended it. We all went together, so at first I didn't notice the toxicity of the environment. But things started to weigh on me, namely that my education and enthusiasm for taking an "intellectual" view on the church were not welcome when they came from me, a woman. In Bible study discussion pertinent to what I was studying in school, the leader would ask the men for assistance with interpretation. When I chimed in, I was met with awkward silence.

When the church was working to hire a new college minister, they asked the women how we felt about the prospective ministers' wives, not how we felt about them. It just went on from there. It got really, really bad for me, to the point that one day I literally ran out of the service, out the church doors, and kept running until I was almost to the edge of the property. I sat down by a creek bed and cried, the mosquitos glistening in the late morning sun as they hummed around me.

That sunshine was the holiest thing I'd experienced at that church.

After that, I left church. Not just that church, but church in general. I mean, Daniel and I hunted around for another community, but I was working through trauma and unsure of what I believed, so nothing stuck. I spent something like a year and a half coming home from work and just sitting in darkness. Sometimes I would get in bed at 6:00.

I wasn't angry with God, though I'm not sure I believed in God during much of that time. But I was angry that the language and community that made God real in my life had been stripped from me by bigoted men (and their female allies), and by a history of Biblical interpretation that left no room for continuing revelation and true honoring of everyone's gifts.

The turning point was a book. Someone recommended Still by Lauren Winner, a memoir about a woman who loses faith during an identity crisis that stems from an unexpected divorce. That word, Still, felt like chaos to me in my questioning, but her words helped me realize that Stillness could also look like peace, or like expectant waiting. I learned to take God's silence as God's listening, not as abandonment. And I'm so thankful for that, because here I am 6 years later starting the process to become a priest.

It is ok if your path is hard and confusing and weird. And I would understand if you left and don't plan on coming back to this, or any, faith tradition. The pain can be unbearable. But if you're questioning and need someone else's words to bounce your scattered thoughts off of, here are my recommendations...

5 CHRISTIAN MEMOIRS FOR THE QUESTIONER

Mere Christianity

While not truly a memoir, C.S. Lewis' classic explores a lot of the practical and existential questions people have about the life of faith and the nature of God. Lewis' description of predestination versus free will in relation to time is something I come back to again and again when I'm asking the bigger questions, or exploring the nature of suffering.

Learn more here.

Searching for Sunday

Rachel Held Evans is a former Evangelical whose path closely mirrors my own. Searching for Sunday is a vulnerable exploration of what it means to find church again after trauma, and I particularly like the way she organizes her thoughts through the Sacraments. I wrote a full review of Searching for Sunday here.

Learn more here.

Leaving Church

Barbara Brown Taylor got ordained as a priest in the Episcopal church because she wanted to help wounded people. She served at a big city church and a small rural church, but after several years she found herself quietly crying in despair every Sunday. Cultivating Christian community had inadvertently left her feeling more isolated than ever before. I wouldn't recommend this book for everyone, but it was a good way for me to process some of the loose ends, particularly after I'd gotten over the initial hurdles of spiritual crisis.

Learn more here.

Dangerous Territory

Amy Peterson's memoir about being a secret missionary in Southeast Asia inspired an entire blog post, which you can read here. Peterson's naive enthusiasm for the church put her new friends in ongoing danger and deconstructed her spiritual identity, but she was eventually able to throw out the bath water without losing the baby, so to speak.

Learn more here.

Still

Lauren Winner's vulnerable story of not knowing what to believe changed my life. In 2015, I reflected on what I learned from it here, but the gist of that experience was understanding the value of liturgy and habit for sustaining periods of doubt. When you don't know why you're doing what you're doing, you can still know how to keep going. Prayers to pray, conversations to have, and questions to meditate on. I focused on social justice issues to sustain me and I credit my period of doubt for the creation of this blog.

Learn more here.

5 christian memoirs for spiritual crisis