Capsule Wardrobe | Ethical and Secondhand Spring Closet Additions


This post contains affiliate links

I've been a bit of a shopaholic this season.

On the one hand, it's normal. I'm anxiously awaiting warm days and have this idea that buying the appropriate clothing will somehow usher spring into being. And the number of ads for clothing, in terms of traditional ads and sponsored posts on the blogs I follow, increases astronomically in the weeks leading up to spring.

But I know that some of it is just me feeling stressed out, overworked, and pressed for time. I shop because it brings temporary relief, but what I really need is a vacation.

That being said, I can at least say I'm happy with the clarity of style I've developed over the last year, and that has kept me from buying (too much) stuff I regret. Anything that hasn't worked has been due to fit rather than style.

For reference, I did one of these posts last year, and I haven't changed very much of my core spring wardrobe. There were a few items listed there, like the Modern Babos from Everlane, that I ended up returning because I couldn't find the right fit. And I donated nearly all of the cardigans/jackets listed and sold my Fortress of Inca booties (they were too big).

See my Spring 2018 wardrobe here

My goal for this season was to bring in a bit of freshness in terms of silhouette and print. One issue with implementing a smaller wardrobe is that you often end up with a lot of basics and nothing that brings in your personal spin on style. Plus, I wear a lot of my basics, like plain tees and denim, year round, so it makes sense to inject some season-specific pieces into my wardrobe to keep those items interesting.

I purchased almost all my spring items secondhand this season, making a loose list in my head of what I was looking for before heading out to shop:

*I bought the mustard duster from Back Beat Rags because I couldn't find a secondhand one made of natural fiber. The navy linen dress was an etsy indie designer purchase.

My total spend on these items, including things I bought new, was around $225, and I made a conscious effort to only spend what I made reselling things on Poshmark. I was lucky enough to find most of these items on a Baltimore thrift trip with fellow blogger, Jess, from Jess With Less.

I realize that that's a lot of stuff by minimalist standards, but I'm keeping in mind that most of these pieces will get even more use in the warmest months of June-September, so they have a long life span in my closet.

In addition to thrifted goods, I saved up some Everlane store credit and purchased:


Ethical Style Notes: Fall/Winter Style Inspiration '18

ethical fall style with lots of secondhand and thrifted finds
A look from last November
The time has come again to plan my wardrobe for the fall and winter season (I know, it is actually too early if we're being reasonable, but the clothing marketers are never reasonable). Luckily, I've been doing this regularly for more than a year, so there's far less to assess. But I got a lot out of exploring predominant colors and silhouettes in the spring, so I'm at it again for fall.

As I always mention, I don't do a four season capsule. Instead, I shuffle out off-season items and bring in appropriate items - there's fairly significant overlap from season to season because my basic tees and denim are worn year round.

I pin inspiration so I have visual reminders of what's catching my eye. This has been a big eye-opener, because my pins truly reflect the personal style I'd like to achieve...

Predominant Themes for Fall/Winter Style

Colors: Blue | Black & White | Cream | Burnt Orange | Deep Rose | Olive Green | Mustard

Silhouettes: Oversized Jackets, Cardigans, & Tunics with Vintage Denim | Cropped Sweaters with High Waist Denim | Vintage Inspired Midi and Maxi Dresses | Loose Fit High Waist Pants with Fitted Tees

Patterns: Dusty Florals | Stripes | Marled Textures | Plaid

Footwear: Mules | Fitted Booties | Lace-up Boots | Oxfords | High Top Sneakers
shop ethically buy vintage on etsy
Recent Etsy Finds

What I've Purchased So Far

I'm trying to keep purchases to a minimum until the weather actually turns, because it can be hard to anticipate the gaps when it's warm outside.

That being said, I have been buying things secondhand as I've seen them, so I have a pair of black lace up boots (to replace my beloved boots that bit the dust this past spring), cognac heeled booties, loose-fit vintage denim, two vintage dresses in dusty floral and plaid, and two medium weight jackets: a bomber and a denim work coat. All of these were purchased from local thrift shops,, or etsy.

In addition, I received a pair of teal, vegan sneakers from EarthHero, which I plan to style with both dresses and jeans.

What I Need

I don't need anything at this point! My color profile this season is really just the fall version of my spring/summer palette, so all of my t-shirts and dresses are transferrable to fall. My shoe game is also looking pretty good. We'll see how I like the boots I purchased recently. If they're uncomfortable or don't offer enough warmth, they may have to be replaced mid-season.

Even though I'm pretty set, I have been saving up some store credit at Everlane for their washed denim jacket, coming out in the next few days.

P.S. Did you see they just came out with sustainable silk? I'm really glad to see continued momentum toward rehabbing their supply chain.

What are you all shopping for this season?

Click here to see my other outfit planning and Capsule posts

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

capsule wardrobe 5 questions to ask before making a purchase
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...


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.

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

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

Wonder Wardrobe Capsule Closet planning video course
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
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

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 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

Wardrobe Additions: April 2018

ethical capsule closet
This post contains affiliate links

In the interest of accountability, I am thinking about starting a monthly series called Wardrobe Additions, where I list what I purchased (or acquired through collaborations) each month.

It's a vulnerable task, but I think it will serve me well, and maybe it will be interesting to you all, too.

I've been staying pretty true to my Spring Capsule Wardrobe with a couple exceptions: I've added in sandals whenever the weather spikes above 70, continued to use sweaters on cooler days, and haven't really taken advantage of skirts or dresses, with the exception of Easter Sunday. This is exactly why I will only use a flexible capsule: whim, occasion, and weather patterns necessitate it.

I've gotten a lot of use out of my spring shoes, however, and have tried to prioritize them over winter or summer footwear because I really only prefer low cut, closed toe styles when the weather is mild. I ended up returning the Everlane Babos and replacing them with a pair of Franco Sarto flats, purchased locally. They're not the most ethical purchase, but the style is more timeless than the Babos.

There are a couple items I received in April that I'll be spotlighting in May, so I'm not going to include them here.

everlane cheeky high rise straight jeans review

Everlane Cheeky Straight Leg Jeans in Faded Indigo, Sky Blue, and Black

I wouldn't normally purchase three pairs of one thing at a time, but I had store credit and these jeans are awesome! They're fitted at the waist to the top of the hip, but then skim the leg the rest of the way down. I have thicker thighs and my knees sometimes swell due to standing on my feet all day, so these are so much comfier than the skinny leg version and I plan to wear them every season. After months of looking for jeans I can wear every single day without discomfort, I am relieved to have found these.

I measured myself again before buying these and discovered that my waist is 29" so that's what size I ordered. I find these true to size with a looser fit in the butt. If you don't mind a waist that pinches, you may prefer to go down one size.

Someone recently asked me if Everlane is really ethical and I honestly told her, "it depends." In the case of their low waste, resource responsible denim factory, however, I'm completely on board.

uncommon goods rug

Franco Sarto Flats

Bought to replace the Babos, a cool-toned neutral with a simple, rounded toe. I also bought this adorable rug from Uncommon Goods (because our old one literally blew away in a wind storm), but that's not a wardrobe addition.

Ankura ethical rib knit dress

Ankura Rib Knit Dress (c/o)

A soft, pima cotton dress made ethically in Peru. I'll be posting a full review of this piece on Monday.

WAMA Underwear (c/o)

See my review here and get a discount code.

New Undies from PACT Apparel

I took advantage of PACT's 40% off sale last weekend to stock up on some basic, lace-waist undies to replace my disintegrating pairs from a conventional brand.

Vintage Cotton Sundress

My favorite vintage shop in town, Low, is chock full of reasonably priced vintage. I don't visit very often, but when I do, I look for sundresses from the 80s and 90s because I can't resist the "V" angled waist on dresses from that era. Co-owner Nora knocked a few dollars off the dress I bought because she knows I have a blog, which was very kind of her.

smockwalker vintage #haulternative fashion revolution

Items for #haulternative Post from Smockwalker Vintage (c/o)

Justina sent me a pair of jeans and two blouses to upcycle for Fashion Revolution Week. See the posts here: Embroidered Blouse, Fringed Denim, Beet Dyed Blouse

Total Items: 14

Thoughts: Overall, I think I made smart decisions this month. I acquired a little more than usual from collaborations due to the #haulternative posts, but those were also really in line with my growing interest in promoting secondhand and upcycled goods on StyleWise. Now that I have a denim wardrobe and new underwear, I won't need to repurchase in those categories for a long time.

Inside an Ethical Wardrobe: Spring 2018

ethical capsule wardrobe with vintage style spring 2018
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.

Pants & Skirts:
Cardigans & Jackets:

ethical capsule wardrobe with vintage style spring 2018

Ethical Style Notes: How I Plan My *Flexible* Capsule

ethical capsule wardrobe - how to plan a two season capsule
Contains affiliate links 

Read about my flexible capsule here.

Thinking about what I'll wear in warmer weather is, all things considered, a fairly healthy coping mechanism for enduring these final days of winter.

There are a few silhouettes and colors I've been drawn to since last summer that I'm hoping to add to or revive in my warm weather wardrobe this year. I've made a few purchases already, and there are plenty of things from last year that I will continue to wear, but I need to think about updating some of my basic tees, as the Everlane ones I've had for several years are beginning to show too much wear. Since the cotton tends to be thin to begin with, I'm thinking of trying tees from American Giant or Fair Indigo this year.

I'm also A LOT more focused on buying as much as possible on the secondhand market, so some of the items I plan to purchase, while not ethically produced, will be sourced secondhand so as not to contribute to further demand for new products. I've come to terms with the fact that some secondhand, conventional-brand items are more likely to suit my needs than sub-par swaps produced "ethically."

I use Pinterest to find and save outfit inspiration, so I've embedded my Spring/Summer Wardrobe Inspiration Pinterest board below. Interestingly, this board represents years of pinning, but the themes stay almost the same.

Predominant Themes for Spring & Summer Personal Style:

Colors: Burnt Orange, Green, Blue, Mustard Yellow

Silhouettes: Full Midi Skirts, Crew neck tees, '90s Dresses, Cropped jeans

Patterns: Stripes, Gingham, Small Floral

Sandals: Black and Taupe woven and minimalist styles

What I've Purchased So Far:

I'm basically done shopping for the upcoming season. I bought a couple of '90s dresses, a pair of suede gladiator sandals, Teva black classics, an orange midi skirt, and couple of striped tees secondhand. I also purchased a pair of Everlane slide sandals in green with shop credits and black Huarache sandals from Nisolo (I'm really sticking to my colors and patterns here!). I already have lots of basic tees and three pairs of cropped jeans. 

What I Plan To Purchase:

I cannot get enough of burnt orange these days. I think I'll purchase one new item in this color and thrift a midi skirt (I have one coming from People Tree, too, which I'll feature soon).

For the committed minimalists, this may sound like a lot, but what I realized last season is that a lot of my wardrobe - but particularly shoes - were things I purchased because they were on sale and not because they suited my style or my comfort needs. This is my second shopping season of radical honesty with myself about what I'll wear and what I want to say with my clothes, so I should be able to ease up by next season. 

Items mentioned in this post:
ethical capsule wardrobe - how to plan a two season capsule

Photos by Allef Vinicius and Henri Pham on Unsplash

YSTR Clothing Part 2: Building Conscious Community

YSTR Clothing beach club conscious community YSTR Clothing beach club conscious community
I was not compensated for this post, but I did receive items for review from YSTR Clothing, and there are some affiliate links throughout.

In yesterday's post, I introduced sustainable fashion line, YSTR, which produces a capsule friendly collection in California out of eco-conscious and deadstock fabric.

In today's post, in addition to showing a few more outfits, I wanted to delve into the number one, non-material way to make strides as ethical citizens: intentional community. 

Intentional communities have existed in one form or another for centuries, most often associated with religious sects, but also taking form around particular ideologies. At its core, an intentional community exists to promote "a high degree of social cohesion and teamwork." Participants make and eat meals together, participate in daily rituals, share resources, and co-promote a particular lifestyle. My town boasts a still-thriving 1960s era commune that produces tofu and a small but mighty intentional community run through the Episcopal church. I bet if you look around, you'll find examples of these tiny socialist networks, as well (is there a convent nearby?).

YSTR Clothing beach club conscious communityYSTR Clothing beach club conscious community

Close knit, co-reliant communities can be effective paths to social and personal change because they create a foundation that instills confidence and fosters creative conversation. Because people start with similar frameworks, they can more easily build upon each other's ideas, and progress comes more quickly. My experience in conscious consumer communities online has illuminated that for me. The only thing better would be if there was a space to have conscious conversations in person.

Turns out, there is.

YSTR owns a beach club in Malibu where calm and collaboration are meant to thrive. In their words:

The goal in hosting our members at the private beach club is to create a community of like-minded individuals that think, love, and inspire one another. We want to share with you what a conscious lifestyle looks and feels like, and link you with people who share the same passion for a better planet.

Tier 2 and 3 capsule subscription members get automatic access to the house as a part of their membership, and can bring up to three friends. Though I haven't visited myself, I am intrigued by the concept, and think that we should try harder in our own locales to create spaces where these types of conversations can take place. It doesn't have to be a formal commune. We can do our part to promote community by eating more meals together, hosting "salon" type events with particular topics in mind, lovingly holding each other accountable, and participating in local community organizing efforts. My friends and I attend church together and eat together 2-3 times a week. Seeing each other often helps us stay aware of each other's needs and push each other toward our goals.

YSTR Clothing beach club conscious community
A quick note on what I'm wearing:

In the first full outfit, I'm wearing the Edie Top with the Jett Tie Pant in Black ($178). The Jett pants are made out of a linen/poly blend that is somehow both structured and breathable. A simple elastic band and attached tie belt make these super easy to wear.

In the second outfit, I paired the pants with the Anaelle Top ($128), a drapey, textured pinstripe blouse with a high neck. I'm kind of fascinated by the details - from the slit in the back to the buttons to the ruffles at the neck - that add a lot of interest without becoming overwhelming. The blouse feels, paradoxically, quite simple.

To read more about YSTR, check out yesterday's post.


Get $15 off your YSTR purchase with code, VIPXSTYLEWISE

YSTR Clothing: Made to Order, Effortless, Ethical

YSTR Clothing Ethical Jumpsuit Review
I was not compensated for this post, but I did receive items for review from YSTR Clothing, and there are some affiliate links throughout.

The first thing you should know about YSTR is that their clothes perfectly encapsulate laid back, California cool. 

The second thing you should know about YSTR is that their items are made to order in the USA out of eco-friendly and deadstock fabrics, packed in biodegradable eco-plastic, and sold in a range of prices that make it easy for anyone to find something that will suit them at a price that won't make them squirm.

It's so wonderful to be in the ethical fashion space during a time of massive change and innovation. When I first started blogging, companies that considered every little detail of manufacturing - design, raw materials, manufacturing, packing, long term education - simply didn't exist, or they weren't prominent enough to show up on anyone's radar. Now, they might not quite be mainstream, but they're out there, and that means they can set an example for the rest of the industry.

YSTR Clothing Ethical Jumpsuit Review

YSTR was founded as an antidote to the fast fashion industry, which depletes natural resources at an alarming rate, creates a throwaway culture that saps the intention from our purchases, and relies on exploitative labor around the globe. I'm (still) reading Corban Addison's A Harvest of Thorns and it has illuminated for me how quickly one type of injustice can lead to several others. When it comes to the global fashion industry, if you can spot one type of exploitation, you can be certain that others lurk just beneath the surface. It's completely overwhelming.

YSTR keeps everything in house to ensure that they can monitor their resources and work force responsibly. When you place an order, the team gets started cutting and sewing your order. The made-to-order model is a key to building a sustainable business model because it means that YSTR never has unwanted inventory sitting around on their shelves.
  YSTR Clothing Ethical Jumpsuit Review

But what makes YSTR particularly unique is that their brand is just as much about building sustainable community as it is about business. But I'm getting ahead of myself. I'll cover that in tomorrow's post.

The collection ranges from casual to semi-formal, but the aesthetic is absolutely cohesive. With that in mind, I wanted to mix and match some items to show you how they can work together.

In the first outfit, I'm wearing the Hardy Jumpsuit in Black ($198) with a simple tassel necklace from Love Justly and my favorite Melissa sandals. Made from an eco-friendly viscose and linen blend, it's soft, opaque, and slightly textured.

In the second outfit, I'm wearing the jumpsuit with the Edie Top ($68) and an old pair of espadrilles. The high boat neck and soft, ribbed cotton makes this piece perfect for everyday wear. I'm always on the hunt for flattering tops and tees that have a flattering, higher neckline because I find myself leaning over to pick up boxes of goods at the thrift shop all the time, and I'd prefer not to flash anyone while doing it.

I'm wearing a Medium in both items (my measurements are 34-28-38 and I'm "pear shaped").

YSTR Clothing Ethical Jumpsuit Review

In addition to offering mix and match pieces, YSTR offers a capsule subscription box with three tiers, great for someone who's in need of a wardrobe refresh and doesn't have the time or the interest to select individual styles. Each box contains 2-3 items with a total traditional retail value of $500, offered at a starting price of $99 a month, and subscribers can skip a month whenever they feel like it. Learn more about it here, then order your box here.

I'll be sharing two more looks and additional information tomorrow, so make sure to come back.


Get $15 off your YSTR purchase with code, VIPXSTYLEWISE

Inside an Ethical Wardrobe: Spring 2017

Image via Everlane

A quick look inside my ethical spring wardrobe. 

I had intended to make this a regular feature on StyleWise, but it's kind of a pain to pull everything out of my closet then put it back in again, so it seems I neglected to share anything in 2016. If you're interested in comparing this season's wardrobe to Spring 2015, you can read that post here.

The weather is all over the place this time of year, so I still regularly pull out sweaters and boots, but I wouldn't say they are really a part of my spring wardrobe. I should also note that the vast majority of these items are not new - most have been a component in my closet for at least a year, but some of them have been going strong for 4-5 years!

Without further ado...

 Some links are affiliate links.
Clockwise from top left: Elegantees Giselle Cold Shoulder Tee | Stack of Elegantees Tee (out of stock), Everlane Tees, and thrifted top | Everlane Striped Tee | Thrifted Striped Top and Button Down Tank | Thrifted Silk Bandanas (similar) | Elegantees Celeste Flutter Top

What's New: I added a few Elegantees stretch knit tops to my wardrobe this season to spruce things up, including a moss colored tunic that's currently sitting in my clothes hamper.

Clockwise from top: Karen Kane Jeans (similar), made in USA | American Eagle Boyfriend Jeans (not ethical) | Eileen Fisher Cropped Jeans (similar) | Vintage Jeans

What's New: Just the Karen Kane jeans.

Left to right: Old Cardigan | Everlane Soft Cotton Square Cardigan | Love Justly Kimono Jacket (c/o)

What's New: Both the Everlane cardigan and the kimono jacket are new this season, and I wear them all the time.

Clockwise from top left: Synergy Organic Clothing Full Skirt (similar) | Thrifted Cutoff Skirt | Synergy Organic Clothing Holly Skirt | Vintage Skirt, thrifted

What's New: I just bought this "Made in Texas" peasant skirt at a local thrift shop last week. The denim skirt was purchases a few months ago, but I haven't been able to wear it much until now.

Left to right: Greenheart Shop Crossbody | Thrifted Vera Bradley Tote (similar)

What's New: I couldn't resist this old school Vera Bradley tote when I saw it at the thrift shop. It's in good condition, and the lightly padded quilted fabric will be good for toting around my new laptop. 

Left to right: Sseko Designs Suede Loafers | Sseko Designs Gold Loafers | Thrifted Earth Shoes (similar) | Frye Oxfords (questionably ethical, but some styles are made in USA)

What's New: Not shown, a pair of red suede loafers I thrifted last week. I'll feature sandals in my summer wardrobe post (if I manage to remember to photograph it!). I also plan on buying a pair of the Everlane flats (featured in the first image on this post) when they come out next week.

That's (mostly) it! There are a few items I couldn't photograph because they're dirty, and I left out dresses because I have yet to wear a dress this season. For me, they're more of a summer item. 

I hope this is helpful to you. Let me know if you have any questions!

DIY: Transitioning Your Summer Wardobe Into Fall with Tea Dye

DIY ombre tea dye tutorial
Thanks to Numi Organic Tea for sponsoring this post.

I don't buy the old style rule about not wearing white after Labor Day, but I do like to bring warm fall tones into my wardrobe as the weather cools down. I had a white off-the-shoulder top that wasn't getting much use in my summer rotation, so I decided it would be the perfect test subject for a DIY ombre dye experiment.

Traditional textile dyes can be hazardous to your health and irritate sensitive skin, so I started hunting around for examples of natural dye alternatives, and ultimately decided to brew up my own concoction using a blend of Rooibos, Black, and Turmeric teas. The blend of Rooibos and Turmeric proved to be a winning combination, bringing in tones of blush and mustard, both big hits for fall, while the black tea provided a base tone to ensure proper color saturation. Read on to make your own ombre top...

dye your clothes with tea


  • Stock Pot
  • Tap Water
  • 15 Black Tea Bags, 15 Numi Rooibos Tea Bags, 4 Numi Turmeric Tea Bags, with all tags removed
  • White or Cream Natural Fabric Textiles (I used a white cotton top)
  • White Vinegar
  • Hanger
  • Stove Top
  • Timer
  • Test fabric (optional, but useful if you want to be sure that the end result won't surprise you)

how to dye with tea, featuring Numi Organic Rooibos and Turmericombre dyed t-shirt


  1. Fill a stock pot halfway with regular tap water. Place on stovetop and heat until boiling.
  2. Take all the hang tags off of 15 Rooibos tea bags, 15 black tea bags, and 4 Turmeric tea bags.
  3. Once water is boiling, add tea bags to the pot. Simmer and steep for 10-15 minutes. 
  4. While tea is steeping, visualize your garment in 3 sections. You will need to keep these sections in mind as you dip dye to achieve a noticeable ombre effect.
  5. Run your garment under cool tap water, then wring out the excess moisture before placing in dye bath.
  6. Turn off heat. Do not remove tea bags. 
  7. Clip the shoulders of your damp garment to a hanger for easier maneuvering, then submerge garment to highest point you want dyed (I left a small portion near the top of my garment white). Immediately remove the top third of the garment for a light wash of color. This will be the lightest section.
  8. Make sure the rest of your garment is aligned as straight as possible with surface of the dye bath to get an even ombre effect. Set your timer for 15 minutes and let the bottom 2/3 steep.
  9. After 15 minutes, remove the middle third of your garment from the dye bath. Make sure the bottom third is still completely submerged, then let steep for an hour or more. At this point, I took my stock pot off of the now cool burner and placed it outside in direct sun to keep the dye bath warm. 
  10. After one hour, remove your garment and see if desired effect has been achieved. If not, continue steeping. 
  11. Once you are ready, remove your garment, rinse lightly under cool, running water, then place in a clean pot comprised of 1/2 cool water and 1/2 white vinegar. This will help seal the dye. 
  12. Rinse through once more, then let your garment dry.
  13. Wash sparingly to maintain dye saturation.


DIY ombre tea dyed off the shoulder top
Before and After
DIY ombre tea dyed off the shoulder top DIY ombre tea dyed off the shoulder top

As you can see, the rinsed and dried garment will be considerably lighter in color than it appeared while still saturated in tea. Keep that in mind and steep longer if you want a darker effect. I love this pretty yellow and blush-tan ombre and I think it suits my complexion better than the original top.

Have you dyed with tea or other natural dyes? I'm trying out indigo next!


See my other collaborations with Numi here.

inspiration board: November

inspiration board november
This month is the first month of consistent cold in Charlottesville, but there's still enough variation that it's worthwhile to consider wearing light layers rather than heavy, constricting garments. I've been really into black recently, but I always try to brighten it up with color or something light, like gray stripes or a denim jacket.

As it so happens, I am now the proud owner of a secondhand "jean" jacket that's actually made of a thick, stretchy cotton blend. It's a lot more comfortable than standard denim and I plan to wear it as the last layering piece over a top and sweater to keep the wind out. I also used up the rest of my birthday ebay gift card on a secondhand pair of knee high boots. The ones I bought are brown, but they have a similar silhouette to the ones above. I'll wear them soon for an outfit post.

One of these things is not like the other: sooo, I can't really wear sandals in this weather, but I scooped up some lovely Made in Italy sandals at the J. Crew Warehouse (read my thoughts on the ethics of the sale here) sale a few weeks ago and I'm daydreaming about wearing them. I guess I'll be spending the next 5 or 6 months gazing at them longingly as I put on my boots each morning.

I'm still after the perfect pair of frames, but I'll have to wait a few more months since I don't have eye insurance.

This styleboard contains affiliate links. Everything listed is domestically or ethically produced. The bag is vegan leather.