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Winter Wellness: 8 Conscious Goods & Activities For Mental and Physical Health

8 ethical goods for winter wellness and self care stylewise-blog.com

Sponsored. I selected & purchased products for this post with a combination of store credit and cold, hard cash.

Willkommen to my brand new monthly series, Monthly Favorites.

Each month I choose a theme and select products and activities that align with it. I am really excited about this format because, 1. flatlays are fun, 2. it provides a sense of order to my recommendations, and 3. it's a way to feature brands and products I like in a more manageable format.

January's theme is Winter Wellness. As you may remember, I have seasonal affective disorder and a circulation condition that makes my feet and hands particularly vulnerable to frostbite, so this very cold month of the year is difficult for me. I like to be very intentional about my mental and physical self-care habits to make things more manageable.

Here are the routines, products, and activities that help me find balance...

My 8 Ethical Winter Wellness Picks

8 ethical goods for winter wellness and self care stylewise-blog.com
8 ethical goods for winter wellness and self care stylewise-blog.com

1 | Godai Soaps Sky and Earth Multi-Use Bars

Using minimal, non-irritating ingredients and RSPO-certified palm oil, these soaps are intended to be used for face, hair, and body. I use them mostly as a body soap, but it's nice to know that in a pinch, I could pack just one item in my toiletry bag instead of three.

❋ SHOP GODAI SOAPS

2 | SW Basics Oil Serum

I've rhapsodized about this product a few times, but it's my very favorite facial oil. I add a few drops to my sensitive skin lotion at night for extra moisture.

SHOP SERUMS AT EARTHHERO

(10% off with code, STYLEWISE2019)

3 | Ten Thousand Villages Guiding Star Earrings

A mental health indulgence more than anything, I like the message behind these earrings. I'm in a period of transition in terms of planning for my future and it's been important to remember that I can trust my instincts, and succeed if I'm willing to put in the work.

SHOP TEN THOUSAND VILLAGES EARRINGS

4 | Desert Essence Lavender Body Lotion

I used to love Thistle Farms' Lavender lotion, but when they changed the formulation, I was left without a nice, thick body lotion option for winter. Desert Essence was the perfect replacement. I slather it on my hands and feet before going to bed.

SHOP BODY LOTION AT EARTHHERO

(10% off with code, STYLEWISE2019)

8 ethical goods for winter wellness and self care stylewise-blog.com

5 | Any book by Carl Hiaasen

I discovered Hiaasen novels at a bookstore last winter and have been hooked ever since. Full of absurdity and dark humor, his books are often on themes of human failing and ecological devastation in Florida. But somehow you always feel hopeful afterwards! A rare educational combination.

SHOP USED CARL HIAASEN BOOKS

6 | Weaving Kit

I made this tiny weaving using a kit from Uncommon Goods (no longer available) awhile ago, but I wanted to recommend DIY kits again because I think they're a great way to find a meditative moment. This took me a looong time, but I did it while watching The Office, so it was fun!

SHOP DIY KITS AT UNCOMMON GOODS

7 | Tablet Stylus

I had been wanting to get back into drawing and this seemed like an easy way to do it. I bought a pen that's compatible with my second generation iPad, so it's not state of the art. Still, I've gotten a lot of use out of it (pro tip: to avoid "smearing" your iPad app from contact with your hand, wear fingerless gloves on your drawing hand).

SHOP THIS STYLUS

8 | A Nostalgic Scarf

I threw this in here because it was given to me by a friend who moved to Australia a couple days ago. I already miss her and her family a lot, and I cherish this little piece of our friendship.

SHOP VINTAGE SCARVES

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8 ethical goods for winter wellness and self care stylewise-blog.com

Decluttering? Here's How to Responsibly Get Rid of Your Stuff

tips for tidying up and donating old things stylewise-blog.com

Written by Alice Robertson, a professional organizer and tidying consultant, for StyleWise

A note from Leah: In today's fast paced consumer economy, where items are purchased and discarded without a second thought, it's important to remember that "tidying up" can function merely as a release valve for overconsumption, personal guilt, and overwhelm. We should be careful to cultivate a type of consumption that releases us from this cycle, but in the meantime, it's good to know how to start the process of paring down for good. 

It wasn’t too long ago that decluttering one’s home meant stuffing garbage cans and dragging oversized items out to the curb. Diminishing landfill space — today, 2,000 landfills hold more than 200 million tons of municipal waste — and a growing environmental consciousness have altered the way Americans dispose of waste and objects that create clutter. Eco-friendly decluttering is a deliberate, purposeful process that emphasizes recycling and finding ways to dispose of objects that can’t be simply thrown out. Protecting our environment requires everyone’s participation, so consider the following ideas for reducing, recycling and reusing.

Textiles

Textiles account for a massive amount of the total material that’s sent to landfills. In 2014, more than 16 million tons of textile waste was produced, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. The majority of that bulk — over 10 million tons of clothing, bedclothes, and mattresses — wound up in landfills. Old mattresses make up a considerable amount of textile wastage, despite the fact that much of the material inside a mattress is recyclable. So, contact a local recycling center to see if they have a mattress reclamation and recycling program. The American Textile Recycling Service has collection bins in communities across the US where you can leave old clothing, bedding, and other textile items instead of throwing them away. Find a drop-off location near you by calling 866-900-9308 24 hours a day.

Instead of tossing old clothing into the trash, make a trip to Goodwill, Salvation Army, or a local thrift shop with a mission that aligns with your values every month to keep textile waste from overwhelming your living space (call ahead to make sure that the shop has the infrastructure to send unsaleable items to textiles recycling facilities).

Or, take advantage of the second-hand economy by taking your unwanted clothing to consignment stores, holding a garage sale, or by selling them online on Ebay, Poshmark, or Etsy. It’s a great way to make decluttering pay off (literally) and recycle items that could benefit someone else. It’s certainly better than sending more waste to the local landfill; you can learn more by clicking here.

Appliances and Electronics

Decluttering can become a hassle when it comes to disposing of oversized items such as appliances and electronics. Check with appliance retailers who sometimes offer buyback programs to encourage consumers to recycle. If that old refrigerator in the basement still works, consider donating it to a homeless shelter or an orphanage. If, like many people, your drawers are jammed full of old computer keyboards, cast-off cell phones, cracked tablets, chargers, and other debris from outmoded electronic items, be aware that most communities have recycling facilities that make it easy to declutter all that drawer space in an environmentally responsible manner (many electronics retailers also have buyback programs).

Digital Decluttering

Not only has technology made our lives easier, but it can also be put to work to help Mother Nature. What you need to declutter all those old documents and photos are a computer, an internet connection, and a scanner. Once you’ve scanned everything you want to keep, simply upload it to the cloud, where it can live forever at your fingertips and readily accessible.

Digital decluttering also lets you clear out computer downloads, unsubscribe from newsletters and email lists, clear out browser extensions, and better organize your images.

Clean and Green

Another not-to-be-overlooked benefit of eco-friendly decluttering is the opportunity to give your home a thorough cleaning. In keeping with the environmentally responsible theme, use natural and non-toxic cleaning substances that won’t threaten your family or the environment. Supermarkets and hardware stores offer many green cleaning options these days so you don’t have to default to the same bleach-based products you’ve always used.

If you prefer a more homespun approach, use common household substances like baking soda, lemon juice, or vinegar to clean the bathroom, get stains out of carpeting and upholstery, and deodorize your indoor air. Some of the safer cleaning products on the market are instantly recognizable (such as Bon Ami), while others, such as Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap, are made from natural substances and can be used to clean everything from floors and dishes to your body.

Decluttering frees you from the stress and strain of agonizing over what to do about unwanted and unneeded possessions. It’s a way of preserving the natural environment and making resources last longer. The next time you look around your house in despair, try thinking of decluttering as a freeing and self-empowering initiative and an opportunity to recycle and reuse.

Related Posts: 

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tips for tidying up and donating old things stylewise-blog.com

Year In Review | Top Ten StyleWise Posts Published This Year

top ethical fashion posts on stylewise in 2018 stylewise-blog.com

Yesterday's post was all about 2018's top performing posts in general.

Today's post is about the top performing posts written this year.

You can see that the posts that performed well this year are a little more varied in format and topic. Part of that has to do with the fact that posts that stay evergreen for years are more likely to be highly "pinnable" and answer a question in Google searches. I am always happy to see those posts performing well, but what's the fun of a blog without some personality? It's nice to see some reviews, personal style posts, and essays in the mix.

This year in blogging is such a blur. I worked on some wonderful freelance projects and sponsored posts with brands I love and have an ongoing relationship with. But the freelance life never gets easier - I think it's actually getting harder! And some days I feel like the old lady who doesn't have the advantage of being a "digital native" in a space full of incredibly savvy women.

When I'm down on myself, I try to remember that I am proud of what I've done, and it might not answer all the questions or pay all the bills, but it is enough.

StyleWise's Top 10 Posts Written in 2018


1 | 11 Ethical Brands That Are Better Than Madewell

2 | 6 Places To Buy Well Made, Ethical Basics For Women (& Men)

3 | Everlane Review: Cheeky Straight Jean

4 | Elizabeth Suzann Clyde Work Pants Review + Grab Bag Thoughts

5 | Is Everlane Ethical? Pragmatism, Scale, & Why Good On You Doesn't Tell The Full Story

6 | Inside An Ethical Wardrobe: Spring 2018

7 | Nordstrom's Surprisingly Good Sustainable Selection + My Picks

8 | Is Everlane Ethical? I Asked, They Answered

9 | 5 Places To Find Ethical Underwear (That's Not Lingerie)

10 | Gift Guide: The Ultimate List For Ethical & Sustainable Holiday Shopping

Year In Review | Top Ten Most Popular Ethical Fashion Posts of 2018

top ten ethical fashion posts of 2018 stylewise-blog.com Just when I think that blogging is too demanding, I look over my Analytics and heave a sigh of relief. 
Though some posts are situated firmly in current events, and therefore fade into the internet black hole in a few days, a number of them continue to carry weight year after year, providing a resource for people looking for sustainable options. I love that not only because it means that these posts were worth the time to put together, but because it means that the fast paced internet world they occupy isn't so overwhelming that it can swallow them up. Some things really do last!

I mention this because, as it turns out, almost all of my top ten most viewed posts this year are from last year. That just means they're gaining traction!

P.S. If you're interested in a particular subject or format for a post, you are always free to comment or email me and let me know!

Top Ten Ethical Fashion Posts of 2018












Gee, The Traffic is Terrific! Nimble's Sustainable Tech Charger is a Road Trip Lifesaver

Nimble ethical and sustainable technology wireless and portable chargers stylewise-blog.com

This post was sponsored by Nimble in partnership with Ethical Writers & Creatives.

You've heard about my ancient iPhone technology, so now let me tell you about my ancient car.

Goldie Locks II is a gold 2000 Saturn SL2 with all the features, including a cassette player and a CD player, and a sunroof that we can no longer open because the fabric liner will fall down and cause reckless driving.

I was telling my husband how excited I am to have a new, sustainable tech charger from Nimble because it will make it possible to take our annual road trip down to Florida without fear of a dying iPhone and loss of GPS.

He pointed out that most people have a way of charging their phones through a tech port or other plugin in their cars and thus my brilliant concept for this post was less brilliant than I'd initially imagined.

Nimble ethical and sustainable technology wireless and portable chargers stylewise-blog.com
Nimble ethical and sustainable technology wireless and portable chargers stylewise-blog.com

I'll admit that he's probably right, but I still stand by my choice to prioritize a portable charger that can charge a phone as many as 5 times before having to be recharged itself instead of buying a new car. Definitely a better value, not to mention a better environmental choice when you consider the raw materials necessary to produce a car. I should also point out that the car industry is one that is almost guaranteed to include slave labor in the supply chain by nature of being closely linked to the steel manufacturing industry. For that reason alone, it's imperative to be thoughtful and strategic about new car purchases.

What Makes Nimble Sustainable?

As I've discussed before, the vast majority of new technology uses toxic virgin materials that end up in landfills when consumers decide they're ready to upgrade. Nimble, however, aims to make a range of responsibly sourced, eco-friendly tech products with an eye toward circularity (this seems to be the theme of the month). 

They do this by sourcing fully recyclable aluminum and plant-based plastics manufactured without adhesives. The fabric used in their wireless charger line is made of organic hemp and recycled plastic. There are, of course, components that can't yet be considered circular, but Nimble aims to continue to make progress in this arena, and they're working to become a certified B-Corp in addition to their current public benefit corporation status. 

Nimble products are packaged simply in cardboard using custom, size efficient boxes and come with a bag to put old tech in and return to a responsible recycling service.

You can learn more about their practices here.

Nimble ethical and sustainable technology wireless and portable chargers stylewise-blog.com

Why The 5-Day Fast Portable Charger Works for Me

As I've already mentioned, I don't have a charger that's car compatible, so having a portable charger I can rely on for more than one full charge makes traveling feel a lot more secure. I've been stuck numerous times with a quickly dying phone (my phone, after all, is also old) and not a clue as to where I'm going. Being able to charge my phone on the go means I don't have to worry about losing my connection to both GPS and people I may need to call in an emergency. This probably goes without saying, but obviously the charger would also be great for plane travel or days where you're out and about without access to a plug.

The 5-Day Charger has a fast charge option that will charge a phone 3x faster than standard chargers and can charge up to 4 devices at once, or one phone 5 times.

The 5-Day Charger costs a very reasonable $59.95, but Nimble also sells smaller and larger portable chargers, which you can view here.

As long as Daniel and I manage not to get a stomach bug on day one of our road trip this year (that was last year's saga, unfortunately), we'll be in really good shape to travel...and we'll definitely remember not to open the sunroof this time.

Shop Nimble Here.

I Found an Ethical Phone Case Brand with Options for Older iPhones

Sponsored by Pela Case in collaboration with the EWC. Thoughts, research, and images are my own.

pela case biodegradable phone cases for iphone stylewise-blog.com

I have a confession: I would have liked to believe that the real reason I still use an iPhone 5c circa 2013 - which is practically a century ago in phone years - is because I am deeply committed to sustainable consumerism's "make it last" philosophy, but it recently dawned on me that the real reason is that I like a good bargain.

I bought my iPhone refurbished in 2016. My very first smart phone, I finally bit the bullet because people kept talking about how great Instagram was (sigh! What a can of worms I opened) and I couldn't access it on my dependable LG slider phone I'd had for like, ten years. I think I paid about $250 for my smart phone, and it's been a very good investment.

The reality is that I do think buying refurbished technology is a good idea, not only for the cost savings, but also because smart phone production is catastrophic for the environment and linked to multiple worker suicides in China.

And at the breakneck pace we "update" our tech hardware, we further contribute to end-of-lifecycle pollution, as toxic chemicals leach into the ground and affect water resources and rice farms in China, which imports literally tons of discarded phones to recycle the precious metals inside of them.

But I realized that if I had a lot more disposable income than I currently do (like, if I won the lottery), I would be awfully tempted to buy the best and most expensive new smart phone on the market. And I'd be able to make some kind of excuse for that, too.

The point being that sometimes the choices we frame as moral are, in a different context, simply practical. So while it's good that we take the time to understand the consequences of our actions, we should be careful not to make our identities dependent on every choice giving us more "moral points."

pela case biodegradable phone cases for iphone stylewise-blog.com
pela case biodegradable phone cases for iphone stylewise-blog.com

But alas, I have lost the plot.

This post is about the fact that I found an ethical and sustainable company that still makes cases that fit the iPhone 5c!

Even when I bought my phone a couple years ago, I could only find one company still making cases for the 5c, and those cases were on final clearance! In case you don't know much about the 5c, the actual shell came in several colors, and because the shells were made of plastic instead of metal, they are slightly bulkier than your average iPhone. Very few companies made full collections for the 5c in the first place, so buying a case two years out was a challenge.

But Pela Case's unique, biodegradable material is flexible enough to work with a 5c.

About Pela Case

Pela Case was founded with the express purpose of reducing plastic waste. It's a BIG topic right now in the sustainability world, but a lot of the "solutions" are shortsighted, especially since we've seemed to have gotten stuck on the single use items like straws and grocery bags while ignoring plastics generated from other consumer goods like home storage, children's toys, and technology.

And anything helps of course, but I believe that companies that can prove the market for sustainable long term solutions are one of our greatest assets when it comes to changing consumer habits. 

Pela Case has managed to find a plastic-free solution for smart phone cases. Using a material they've termed "flaxtic," their cases are made with a mix of plant-based polymer and flax that gives the case durability and a unique speckled design while being completely compostable in both backyard compost heaps and industrial facilities. They're also manufactured ethically in Canada.

pela case biodegradable phone cases for iphone stylewise-blog.com

Save the Waves

I chose the Save the Waves design because of my beloved Florida. As you may know, Florida suffered (and is still enduring) one of the worst red tides in recent history.

According to the Ocean Conservancy, this year's algae blooms have, as of late August, killed over 300 sea turtles, 100 manatees, and dozens of dolphins, along with hundreds of fish. As of November 2nd, Florida Fish & Wildlife still reports high concentrations of algae along the Southwest and East coasts of Florida, with human respiratory irritation occurring in Manatee County, where I grew up, and neighboring counties.

This red tide is different because it's not totally natural. Red tide is a common occurrence on Florida's coasts - I was unlucky enough to go on a beach vacation during one in 2005 - but this algae bloom is particularly devastating because it is feeding off pollutants washed into waterways from farms in South Florida. (I have learned a lot about this phenomenon from reading Carl Hiassen books, strange and humorous crime thrillers about South Florida, if you're looking for an easily digestible alternative to scientific reports.)

While the Save the Waves Coalition does not directly address Florida coastline, it works with local partners along at-risk coastlines to address issues of overdevelopment, water quality, erosion, and marine debris while also fighting to keep beaches public and accessible to all. Pela Case donates 5% from each sale of the Save the Waves case to the Save the Waves Coalition.

Start With the Product

I appreciate Pela Case's design-first approach, which feeds into the concept of circularity. Pela Case is durable, flexible, and functional with sustainability at the forefront and their charitable initiatives are simply icing on the cake.

Plus, their willingness to continue to produce older iPhone cases encourages people to hold onto the things they have just a bit longer. Whether we're doing it for the budget or the earth - or maybe a little bit of both - Pela Case has made an accessible, quality product.

P.S. They also make cases for Android phones.

Get 15% off with code, STYLEWISE

Shop Save the Waves products.

Shop the iPhone SE/5 series.

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The Life Changing Magic of... A Life Less Throwaway by Tara Button

a life less throwaway book review stylewise-blog.com
I received a copy of A Life Less Throwaway to review

My not-so-secret secret is that I really didn't like Marie Kondo's The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

For one, Kondo begins the book with a personal anecdote about her strained, isolated home life, an environment that led her to find solace in organization. This is not, in my view, a healthy way to begin a project. Secondly, I was distressed by the lack of scientifically backed claims about what makes us consume and how to stop it. It's all well and good to make a home tidier, but without knowing what leads us to become stuff addicts, we're doomed to repeat the cycle. 

And maybe most dangerous: at local thrift shops, we could actually trace the fad by the volume of donations we were receiving. Sadly, a lot of the larger thrift chains threw away overstock, so all of that perfectly useable stuff the local community was "tidying up" ended up in the landfill at the end of the purge.

I say all that to say this: Tara Button's new book, A Life Less Throwaway, is the one book you should be reading on tidying up. 

About A Life Less Throwaway

The book is an extension of Button's passion project turned business, Buy Me Once, a website that brings users' attention to products that are meant to last a lifetime. The premise of Buy Me Once and A Life Less Throwaway is that decades of planned obsolescence - a business model that intentionally reduces the lifespan of an item so that the consumer has to repurchase it prematurely - have actually fooled us into thinking that this is the way the world has to be. This is a massive waste of resources, burdens recycling and waste management systems, and reduces people to mere consumers. It is dehumanizing through and through.

Button, a former advertising writer, offers anecdotes, expertise, histories, and scientific studies to help the reader understand that she is part of a complex, deceptive consumerism machine. The only way to defeat it is to live and shop in ways that are counter-cultural.

What I Learned

In addition to the sections on the history and psychology of advertising, which I gobbled up with glee, Button offers a lot of practical advice on developing personal taste in a way that can endure decades of trend cycles. Unlike predominant capsule and minimalist wardrobe narratives, she advocates for knowing what makes our taste truly original, i.e. a classic for me might be a tweed bomber instead of a khaki trench.

But this advice doesn't just apply to clothing: it also applies to household decor, appliances, and basically anything else you can think of. Know thyself. 

Later on in the book, Button provides step-by-step instructions for building small, long-lasting wardrobes for the different contexts of your life - like work and weekend - and offers a massive directory on how to select lifetime goods, as well as how to care for those goods.

Final Thoughts

Button is a wonderful writer, with a style that is both conversational and authoritative. In fact, I read the entire book in one day. Her ideas are backed up by real world data and personal stories. And maybe most importantly, she gets that a project in changing our consumer habits must address the whole person as they live and breathe within a multi-faceted system. This is not just a fun project - this is a total transformation.

Purchase A Life Less Throwaway...


a life less throwaway book review stylewise-blog.com

Thicket: The Cast-from-Nature Earrings I Wore for a Month Straight

Thicket Jewelry cast from nature Charlottesville jewelry designer eco friendly stylewise-blog.com
This post is sponsored. Editorial direction and opinions are my own. Get 15% off Thicket items with code, STYLEWISE.

Blackberry thorn. Lemon seed. Cardamom pod. Birch bark.

No, these aren't ingredients for a tincture - they're inspiration for a collection of straight-from-nature jewelry by local designer, Becca, of Thicket Jewelry.

Becca has an MFA in Poetry, and it's evident in the attention to detail she gives to her designs before they're even cast. For one, they're made with recycled materials whenever possible. But most distinctively, they're cast from real organic materials and kept true-to-size. There is both a practicality and a delightful whimsy in this fact, this way of capturing the minute details of the natural world and solidifying them, quite literally, as keepsakes.
  Thicket Jewelry cast from nature Charlottesville jewelry designer eco friendly stylewise-blog.com
But let me tell you another story first.

Becca and I have known of each other for five or six years. She was a picture framer within walking distance of the coffee shop where I worked and we'd greet each other and make small talk whenever she came in to grab a drink. Later on, she worked with a fair trade company assisting with design and fabrication. Meanwhile, I was starting my job at the thrift shop.

We lost touch until I spotted her at a craft fair selling her jewelry. It was a new venture at the time, but I found it all very intriguing. I didn't buy anything that day, but my friend bought one of Becca's early earring designs and still wears them weekly. It's funny when you make connections with people and then find your paths crossing again and again, even funnier when you realize you share a similar aesthetic and ethical vision. Neither one of us was working in the sustainable fashion space five years ago. Now here we are working together.
     Thicket Jewelry cast from nature Charlottesville jewelry designer eco friendly stylewise-blog.com
Thicket Jewelry cast from nature Charlottesville jewelry designer eco friendly stylewise-blog.com
Thicket Jewelry cast from nature Charlottesville jewelry designer eco friendly stylewise-blog.com

Blackberry Thorns and Brambles

I'm wearing a mixed earring set composed of blackberry thorns and brambles cast in recycled silver. I've found the size of these ideal for everyday wear because I can sleep in them without irritation. The fine metal is also ok to wear in the shower (versus cheap metals which can turn your skin green over time). I actually opted to keep a Blackberry Thorn matching set (the other featured items are on loan for review) because I already have stick earrings. This gives me more versatility, but I love the asymmetry of the mixed set. You can purchase individual earrings for your own mixing and matching. Earrings start at $24 each.

And the title of this post is true: I wore - and am still wearing - the Blackberry Thorn earrings for over a month now. I wore them on my recent trip to Florida and they generated some fun conversation about what they were and how they were made. I appreciate items that spark conversation and come with a story, so these are really perfect for that. They make a statement without hollering at you.

Lemon Seed

The delicate pendant in the photo above is cast from a lemon seed in the same recycled silver. While I don't personally wear a lot of necklaces, I am drawn to unobtrusive pieces like this one because they don't hit you in the face when you bend over or get entangled in purse straps and seat belts. Like all of Becca's pieces, it is thoughtfully created. The Lemon Seed necklace is $98.

Final Thoughts

Thicket Jewelry doesn't need a lot of creative marketing because the pieces speak for themselves. In a sea of minimalist jewelry, this is a remarkable accomplishment.

By turning the small details of the natural world into fine art, Thicket also - at least for me - achieves something like virtue: it draws the eye to everyday miracles, diverts our gaze from the hardness of our modern lives and lets us ease into a walk through the brambles, taking footpaths carved by animals over hundreds of years and trod before by millions of tiny and large footprints. It re-enchants our world.

In a word, it's poetry. Condensed into visual haiku.

Shop Thicket with 15% off through September 9th with code, STYLEWISE

thicket recycled jewelry charlottesville virginia stylewise-blog.com

5 Companies That Make Going Zero Waste Fashionable & Accessible

where to buy zero waste products storage and clothing stylewise-blog.com

A KeepCup

Sponsored. Contains affiliate links.

It's still #PlasticFreeJuly and, admittedly, I haven't been paying enough attention.

I had good intentions, but about one day in, I looked at the carryout container I brought home from a local restaurant, noted its plastic appearance, and slapped my hand to my forehead in shame.

Oof!

If you've been paying any attention to what is cleverly being termed "Plastic Strawgate," you may also be thinking about plastic use in your everyday life. With England and other

countries planning to ban straws

and multinational companies like

Starbucks finding workarounds

(plastic lids??), plastic is all anyone in the sustainable fashion community seems to be talking about. And while that's a good thing, it can also be shaming and unproductive.

Pollution is a systemic issue

, after all, and we've been fed the lie that our waste is being

neatly sorted and recycled

, so who can blame us for being confused? And then we've got the issue with straws, which we use, more often than not, because they're handed to us outright or put directly into our drinks. Saying no is not a long term strategy, because it's not an individual problem - it's a collective one. That means that we need to question everything from the marketing to the suppliers to the infrastructure, and dedicate more effort to long term change than we currently are.

Nevertheless, it's much easier to make small, concerted changes when we are armed with the tools to do so. When it comes to straws, use them if you need them for medical reasons. Otherwise, say goodbye. When it comes to coffee cups and saran wrap and takeout containers - or even clothing - a little bit of forethought goes a long way. Invest in things that last if you can and lay off the guilt trip if it's not financially or structurally within your means to do so. We in the conscious community have your back.

5 COMPANIES THAT MAKE GOING ZERO WASTE FASHIONABLE & ACCESSIBLE

For zero waste storage & supplies...

1 | EarthHero

On its way to becoming my #1 one-stop-shop for sustainable goods, EarthHero offers a huge, carefully curated selection of goods meant to make zero waste easier, from BeesWrap to food containers to skincare to clothing.

My Favorites: 

Beeswax Wraps

Recycled Plastic Food Storage Containers

SHOP EARTHHERO HERE

For zero waste clothing...

2 | Tonle

Using factory remnants and employing rigorous zero waste processes to ensure that every last scrap is used in their designs, Tonle makes fashionable, artisanal clothing for women that is anything but ordinary.

My Favorites:

See my review here

SHOP TONLE HERE

For accessories...

3 | Purse for the People

Using specialized software, Purse for the People offers custom, made-to-order woven basket bags with minimal waste. Additionally, the bags are created using traditional artisan techniques that honor the cultures of the people who make them.

My Favorites:

the Aspen

SHOP PURSE FOR THE PEOPLE HERE

For eating on the go...

4 | ECOLunchBox

With a strong emphasis on zero waste for families, ECO Lunch Box sells bento boxes, lunch bags, flatware sets, and more to ensure you can go zero waste when eating outside the house.

My Favorites:

Eco Tableware Trio

SHOP ECOLUNCHBOX HERE

For bespoke fashion...

5| Zero Waste Daniel

Fabric scraps never looked so good. Zero Waste Daniel makes one-of-a-kind garments with fabric leftover from New York City's garment industry through a zero waste process.

My Favorites:

Grey Fitted T-Shirt

SHOP ZERO WASTE DANIEL HERE

For the market...

BONUS | Eco-Bags

Specializing in canvas shopping totes and string bags for produce, Eco-Bags is your one stop shop for bags that will last. I've only just recently come to understand the wonders of a well made canvas bag, and I have to say they're so much better than those flimsy polyester grocery totes they sell in the grocery store checkout line.

My Favorites:

Buyerarchy of Needs Bag

,

Produce Bags

SHOP ECO-BAGS HERE

where to buy zero waste products storage and clothing stylewise-blog.com

Note that when it comes to buying "zero waste" storage products, these items are likely not produced using zero waste practices. Rather, they ensure that, in the long term, you will become less reliant on single use plastic and other non-biodegradable or wasteful disposables. It's important not to over-consume zero waste products because they still create waste during production. Buy less. Choose well. Make it last.

Ethical Wardrobe: The 5 Questions I Ask Before Making a Purchase

capsule wardrobe 5 questions to ask before making a purchase stylewise-blog.com
Recently on my Instagram Stories, I polled followers about a dress I'd been thinking of getting. One person sent me a direct message asking me if I ask myself any particular questions before making a purchase. I couldn't quite read her tone - it could have been a critique or even a request for advice - but my answer was short and sweet: "Yes, of course!"

That got me thinking about the questions I ask myself. Because of course I make judgment calls before I purchase an item, but I'm not always very strategic about it. Sometimes the pull of want overwhelms the more rational side of my brain.

As much as I'd like to claim that I'm the perfect minimalist, laser focused on sustainability, I like clothes, and it's easy, especially as a thrift shop manager, to say "yes" to things without considering my current wardrobe.

So, inspired by that simple Instagram question and by Daria's Wonder Wardrobe course, here are...

THE FIVE QUESTIONS I ASK MYSELF BEFORE MAKING A PURCHASE

1. Will it serve a useful purpose in your wardrobe?

If I can't answer yes to this question, there's no point asking any others. It's very tempting to collect clothing simply because I like the look and feel of particular pieces, but if I'm not going to wear it, if it doesn't fit my lifestyle, or if it's just too cumbersome to take care of, it's simply not an item I need to add to my wardrobe.

2. Is it similar to something you already own?

I have a tendency to buy three (or 4 or 5) of things I like. Case in point: Everlane tees. But then I have 5 very similar t-shirts that are all appropriate for the same exact context, which means something isn't going to get the attention it deserves. This is the question that stopped me in my tracks when it came to that dress I mentioned on Instagram. It resembled in color, style, and seasonality a dress I already own and love. They would have competed with each other, and that's not useful.

3. Does it coordinate with most, if not all, of your current seasonal wardrobe?

I got this idea from Daria's Wonder Wardrobe course. She suggests that one of the most important things to prioritize for a successful capsule is coordination, namely that all tops coordinate with all bottoms for endless outfit options. I'm not quite there - there are simply some pieces I can't part with - but I agree that thinking in terms of color scheme will reduce the perceived need for a bigger wardrobe. My current color palette is blue, green, rust, and tan with some mustard and neutral stripes mixed in. So I probably shouldn't add a purple skirt to the mix (not that I would anyway - I can't stand the color purple).

4. Does it meet the ethical criteria of fair labor and/or sustainable production, or is it secondhand?

In my case, I often know the ethics of a brand or item before I begin shopping, but it's not necessary to make this the first question you ask because you might disqualify the item on questions one and two before you have to do tons of research. I prioritize fair labor, then check that the fabric isn't made with synthetic fibers. I will occasionally make textile exceptions for secondhand goods or things that contain a bit of stretch for longevity.

5. Is the item timeless and high enough quality to last several seasons?

Fabric quality and construction matter so much! Wearing a well made piece makes you feel more satisfied in your clothes and means that you won't feel like you have to constantly replace items in your closet. I don't subscribe to "french wardrobe" dressing that makes you feel like you have to have a trench coat to be a responsible curator, but I do ask myself if the item suits my style in a way that feels timeless, and try to ensure that the fabric will hold up to repeated wear and tear.

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It's tempting when you're just starting out on the ethical fashion journey to only ask yourself question 4 followed by a quick exclamation of "But it's sooo cute!" before making a purchase. But I've learned and am still learning that a drive to shop ethically without a drive to slow down consumption overall does not really have the desired effect. Overconsumption is a surprisingly tough habit to break, but I'm getting there.

I actually wrote a post very similar to this one a few years ago. You can read that one here and compare notes! Only a couple things have changed. 
capsule wardrobe 5 questions to ask before making a purchase stylewise-blog.com

Ethical Jewelry: The Top 9 Places to Find Minimalist, Everyday Jewelry

where to buy minimalist and ethical jewelry stylewise-blog.com
This post contains affiliate links

You might think I'm not a jewelry person, but you would be wrong. 

I believe in a good jewelry, but I also believe in not overdoing it. Coco Chanel is credited with saying that you should take one piece of jewelry off before leaving the house. Well, if I did that, I wouldn't have any jewelry on anymore. But that one special piece can make a difference: in your mood, in the way your outfit looks, in the way you compose yourself.

I have started to branch out a bit. I recently purchased a delicate cross bracelet from Made in USA brand Alex & Ani that I keep tightened around my left wrist at all times. Some days I add statement earrings or a simple necklace. It's not a lot, but it's noticeable.

There are likely hundreds of jewelry makers doing innovative things with fair labor and sustainable materials, but for the sake of brevity, here are my top 9...

BUDGET/COSTUME (Up to $50)
where to buy minimalist and ethical jewelry stylewise-blog.com

1. Sela Designs

Simple geometric jewelry made with seeds and other natural materials with proceeds benefiting orphans.

My Pick: Black and Gold Earrings (Check out more styles on her website and see these worn here)

2. Hannah Naomi

Barely there, gently sculpted jewelry handmade in Portland, Oregon.

My Pick: Mini Bead Bar Stud Earrings

3. Hands Producing Hope

Lightweight jewelry with a boho twist produced under fair trade guidelines.

My Pick: Shalom Necklace (See my review here)
where to buy minimalist and ethical jewelry stylewise-blog.com

4. Happy Fox Studio

Handmade statement jewelry made with upcycled materials

My Pick: Ear Crawler (See my review here)

5. 31 Bits

Imaginative jewelry produced under fair trade guidelines.

My Pick: Constellation Hoops

KEEPSAKE/LUXURY ($75+)
where to buy minimalist and ethical jewelry stylewise-blog.com

6. Soko

Forward thinking jewelry produced with ethical labor standards.

My Pick: Lucine Statement Ring (not pictured)

7. Sharon Z

Edgy jewelry made with recycled and ethically sourced materials.

My Pick: Silver Spear Earrings (see my review here)

8. Edge of Ember

Classic luxury jewelry made with fair labor and sustainable materials.

My Pick: Edie Rose Bar Necklace

9. Ananda Soul

Bali-inspired motifs made fairly with profits benefiting homeless children.

My Pick: Ever Present Faith Nose Ring (see my review here)
where to buy minimalist and ethical jewelry stylewise-blog.com

Wonder Wardrobe Is the Only Capsule Closet Course You'll Ever Need

Wonder Wardrobe Capsule Closet planning video course stylewise-blog.com
This post was sponsored by Wonder Wardrobe and I received a complimentary course for review. 

The first thing you should know about Daria Andronescu, founder and creator of the Wonder Wardrobe program and video series, is that she's a highly skilled, credentialed stylist. The second thing you should know about Daria is that she's an absolute delight!

When Daria reached out to me several weeks ago to introduce me to her multi-step, highly detailed plan for a customized capsule closet, I was interested, but not ecstatic, to take part. As you know if you've been following StyleWise for awhile, I've waffled back and forth on the Capsule concept and have, more recently, adopted what I'm calling a flexible capsule to maintain order and intrigue in my closet without stifling creative whims.

Daria's video-based Wonder Wardrobe class embraces the capsule without hesitation. And surprisingly, I realized after a couple class sessions, I'm totally on board.

This Is Why

Daria understands that a wardrobe is as unique as the person who curates and wears it. Her Wonder Wardrobe class helps the viewer value herself - what suits her, what styles she prefers, what colors compliment her skin tone - and manages to tear down the cumbersome walls a typical minimalist capsule puts up, the ones that dictate what styles are "correct." In addition to all this, Daria is a firm believer in prioritizing ethical and sustainable fashion, so the course is tailored toward like-minded individuals without being exclusionary.

Here's How It Works

Daria leads you through a series of workshops that methodically and precisely determine what your closet needs are in terms of lifestyle, color palette, style, budget, and more. She does this in a way that really makes you think about the ways you interact with your clothes, and makes you value your own perspective rather than trying to chase the predominant trends. The series is effective, in my opinion, because it manages to get the capsule down to a science without losing necessary flexibility.

Wonder Wardrobe Capsule Closet planning video course stylewise-blog.com
I asked Daria a few questions to better understand her perspective on the class and on personal style more generally...

StyleWise: What inspired you to start your YouTube channel and do the Wonder Wardrobe course? How did you get started in personal styling?

Daria: My fashion journey started in 2009 in Milan at the Up-to-Date Fashion Academy where I studied image consulting for women and men, fashion, personal shopping, and etiquette. After graduating, I was lucky enough to get an internship in Milan. It gave me a huge amount of experience. A year later I went back to Moscow, where I am from originally, and decided to start a personal shopping business.

It wasn’t easy in the beginning, so I had several other jobs before I became a full-time shopper. I was working as a brand specialist and VIP stylist in a fashion concept store, as a stylist in an online shop, and as a freelance writer for Cosmopolitan Russia magazine.

All this experience helped me come up with a special method for creating fully interchangeable seasonal wardrobes. After practicing it on my clients and my own wardrobes for years, I realized that my method actually solves a lot of problems and can be useful for other people as well. An online course seemed like the perfect solution to introduce it to the world. So, I recorded the lessons and put it out there. Soon after, I’ve started my Youtube channel to connect with more people interested in sustainable fashion.

Have you used this process for your own wardrobe? What did you learn through the process of paring down your wardrobe?

Of course! I’ve transitioned my wardrobe into the Wonder Wardrobe around 4 years ago. Everything I have now is fully interchangeable. I can literally get dressed blindfolded because any top I choose goes well with any of my bottoms. It makes my life so much easier.

Although it has never been hard for me to pair clothes, I’ve learned much more about the power of color, style harmony and how they can instantly increase wardrobe functionality. I talk a lot about it in my course and Youtube videos.

The other thing I’ve learned was that it takes some time to make your wardrobe eco-friendly and sustainable. When I started applying the Wonder Wardrobe method I had lots of mass market, unsustainable items. So my first capsule wasn’t perfect at all. But I realized that instead of feeling guilty about my previous choices I should concentrate on my future purchases. So for the past 4 years, I’ve only bought clothes that I enjoy wearing as long as they reflect my values.

Wonder Wardrobe Capsule Closet planning video course stylewise-blog.com

I love how you incorporate different style preferences into your course. Share a bit about your opinion on the minimalist craze and how that's not necessary in order to simplify your wardrobe.

I agree you don’t have to become a minimalist or change your personal style to simplify and make your wardrobe more functional. Most of the people that try capsule wardrobes choose simple and basic clothes and neutrals colors. I guess it’s the easiest way to combine clothes, but it’s not the only way. I believe we’re all different characters and freedom of stylistic expression would only bring more joy to ourselves and beauty to others.

Are you working on any other projects?

Yes, I do! My mother, husband and I have been working on giving kids new types of interactive books that let them have fun while learning new things. We write our own stories, personally hand-pick the materials, draw and sew our books and then sell them in our threadandstories.com online shop. So far it seems that kids are happy solving puzzles while parents are even happier that their kids want to play with something else than their tablets or phones.

My Progress

So, I'm not that far along in the paring down and coordinating process yet, but I have watched all the videos, done my color test (my complexion is Winter as far as I can tell), and have started thinking deeply about the wardrobe formulas I gravitate toward. I'm looking forward to continuing the process for several seasons so that I'll have a fully interchangeable wardrobe in the next few years.

---
The Wonder Wardrobe Course includes 17 videos and several wardrobe planning handouts you can print out for a total cost of about $238 USD (converted from Euros). You can also purchase classes a la carte on the Wonder Wardrobe website.

You can get 15% off your purchase* of a full course or single class with the code, STYLEWISE

Check out Wonder Wardrobe


*Coupon expires 5/12/18

12 Places to Find Eco-friendly & Ethical Vegan Shoes

ethical and eco-friendly vegan shoe companies
When it comes to ethical credentials, some are more straightforward than others. 

The Vegan designation, for instance, is complicated. If something is labeled vegan, it simply means it was produced without the use of animal products. It doesn't, however, account for the environmental costs of production, biodegradability, or toxicity, which means a whole lot of vegan products are made with synthetic, oil-based materials that are bad for people, animals, and the ecosystems both parties depend on. Read more on that here.

This doesn't seem to ring true to the broad ethos of veganism, which is to respect all life. Though I'm not vegan personally, I respect the arguments of those who avoid leather and other animal products and figured it was time to create a resource that pairs the vegan label with ecological sustainability and human rights.

Tip: When shopping for eco-vegan shoes, look for materials like cork, canvas, Pinatex, and recycled fibers. 

Contains a couple affiliate links

12 PLACES TO FIND SUSTAINABLE VEGAN SHOES

Bhava

Made ethically with organic, natural, and recycled materials. Boots, flats, mules, and more.

Nicora

Made with recycled faux leather (called Kind Leather) in the USA. Classic combat boots, flats, and more.

VEJA's Vegan Line

Made ethically with natural rubber and canvas. Sneakers.

Po-zu's Vegan Line

Made ethically with cork, Pinatex (pineapple fiber), and other innovative materials. Sneakers, flats, and more (+ Star Wars exclusives).

Bourgois Boheme

Made ethically with more eco-friendly PU and sustainable materials like Pinatex. Flats, boots, sandals, and more.

Etiko

Fair trade and made with canvas and natural rubber. Low and high top sneakers.

BANGS

Made ethically with canvas and rubber, with 20% of profits benefiting Kiva entrepreneurs. Low and high top sneakers.

And don't forget the secondhand option! Because secondhand shoes have already been produced and purchased once, they are a more sustainable option than buying new even if they weren't produced with natural fibers.

Tip: When shopping for secondhand shoes, aim for higher quality brands with minimal wear.

Secondhand Marketplaces

ethical and eco-friendly vegan shoe companies

Save the Date: Fashion Revolution 2018

Fashion Revolution 2018
Fashion Revolution, the world's biggest ethical fashion action, takes place this year from April 23rd-29th.

Fashion Revolution was founded by two fashion designers after Rana Plaza, a massive garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, collapsed due to faulty architecture and safety compliance failures, killing more than 1,134 people and injuring 2,500.

Since then, components of the legally binding Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety - signed by over 200 retailers and fashion brands -  have been put into effect, but as Hannah Theisen recently reported, numerous promised payments and protections have fallen by the wayside as Western consumers have lost interest in or forgotten Rana Plaza's survivors.

And the problems don't stop at Bangladesh. 

An unfortunate side effect of poorly regulated Capitalism is that as regulations are enforced in some countries, manufacturing moves to countries with fewer worker protections. For instance, as Cambodian and Bangladeshi garment workers have received more rights and better wages, many of the world's largest fashion companies have moved to Vietnam. The cycle will continue unless we as citizens and consumers step up and demand better.

It is time for us to realize that justice takes sacrifice, that it is not as easy as simply redirecting our purchases. Real progress will take political action: voting for leaders with a strong sense of ethics and transparency who recognize that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

And, as we've seen in the US in recent years, people who live here are not exactly thriving. Though we have strong labor laws, the working poor and undocumented immigrants slip through the cracks. There are sweatshops in the US. There are still slaves in the US, working in prisons and as nannies, farmhands, seamstresses, and sex workers.

A holistic ethic of human dignity demands that we see the big picture, and fight for the rights of those in our own communities at the same time that we fight for those in other countries. 

It is time for us to recognize, too, the US' complicity in much of the world's depravity, from genocide in Guatemala to food shortages in Venezuela to building collapses in Bangladesh. Yes, other countries' leaders need to step up, but that doesn't make us innocent bystanders.

But back to Fashion Revolution: the event. 

Fashion Revolution is a way to motivate the world to take the first step.

You can participate in several ways:
  • Wear your clothing inside out and ask companies, "Who made my clothes?" on social media.
  • Take a moment to read garment worker stories, available on the Fashion Revolution website.
  • Try a #haulternative, the antidote to fast fashion, by swapping with friends, buying secondhand, or doing a DIY project with what you already have. 
  • Share a love story: share your love for an item that you've owned for a long time.
  • Write your policy makers and your favorite brands.

What will I be doing?

I'll be speaking at a local event this year in partnership with Darling Consignment Boutique (I'll update the post once I have all the details). I'll also be participating in a social media challenge with MATTER Prints and, hopefully, posting a love story or haulternative on the blog.

Beyond that, I am committed to being an active citizen and not settling for better-than-nothing when it comes to ethics. Small, calculated changes are fine. BS, greenwashing, and white saviorism are not.

Related Posts:

#WakandaForever: 3 Ethical African Owned, African Made Clothing Brands

black panther style: ethical clothing african owned fit for wakanda

Long Shirt Dress

 | 

Green & Lime Basket Bag

Black Panther was a victory on many fronts, from its groundbreaking POC representation to its strong female leads to its counter-cultural - but totally accurate - narrative that African nations have a lot to offer to the rest of the world (And in fact, we need them. Just look at the history of colonialism: Western countries have taken advantage of and exploited Africa's natural resources and its people for hundreds of years).

I'm not normally one for superhero movies, so the fight scenes weren't really my cup of tea, but I absolutely loved the imagery (and also, I'm kind of in love with Michael B. Jordan). 

The initial bird's eye view of Wakanda made me gasp with delight. I loved the futuristic buildings paired with more traditional African elements, like street vendors selling their artisan wares and people wearing widely varied representations of African textiles. And that's what this post is about: those beautiful African textiles.

But I didn't want to find just any fair trade company working in Africa, because I don't think sharing African goods from companies owned by white Westerners rings true to the moral of Black Panther. Instead, I crowd-sourced companies that are owned and run by African-born women (thanks for the recs, Twitter friends).

3 AFRICAN OWNED, AFRICAN MADE ETHICAL BRANDS TO GET THE WAKANDA LOOK

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Studio 189

Co-founded by Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah, Studio 189 is a Ghana and US-based clothing  and accessories line that works with artisans who specialize in traditional African artisan techniques, such as indigo-dying, batik, and kente weaving. Artisans are offered fair prices for their goods and Studio 189 helps set up educational programming. They also partner with the United Nations' ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative.

black panther style: ethical clothing african owned fit for wakanda

Zalinka Wrap Top

&

Leila Maxi Skirt

 |

Two Cowries Lariat Necklace

Omi Woods

Omi Woods celebrates founder Ashley Alexis McFarlane's Jamaican-Maroon-Ashanti heritage by sourcing eco-friendly, ethical clothing, jewelry, and accessories made with natural dyes with designs and techniques inspired by African culture.

black panther style: ethical clothing african owned fit for wakanda

Jewel Neckline Top

 |

Ruwi Sheath Dress

TaSanni

Founded by Ethiopian-born childhood friends Fatsani Chikwana-Dogani and Tariro Mapuranga-Sibanda, TaSanni celebrates African craft tradition in hopes of bringing economic success to the artisan communities they work with. All items are produced with local fabric in Southern Africa.

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There are a plethora of ethical brands working in Africa right now and some are better than others. EDUN, though it wasn't founded by Africans, has helped put traditional African production on the map in the high fashion world. But given white Westerners' violent colonial past in much of Africa, we must be cautious when it comes to supporting brands that don't have a connection to the indigenous people of the countries where they operate. Supporting small scale, highly localized companies is one of the better ways to ensure high ethical standards.

black panther style: ethical clothing african owned fit for wakanda

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

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
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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