closet

ethical review bonanza: summer edition

reviews


I've purchased a fairly high volume of new ethical goods recently thanks to a combination of an awesome ebay gift card and site sales. I thought I'd review them all in one fell swoop to give you an idea of what did and didn't work for me.

1. Fair Indigo Organic Sleeveless Shirt Dress  


This looked a little big out of the bag, but I washed and dried it and now it fits really well. My coworkers liked it, too. It hits right at the knee and you can unbutton the lower buttons if you want to make it a little more vacation ready. Fair trade, organic.

2. Fair Indigo Organic Scoop Neck T-shirt  


Heavyweight, soft pima cotton with a bit of stretch. I like the dimensions on this, but the small fits a little big. I kept it anyway, because I think the length and arm holes would be too cropped in a size smaller. The fabric is really high quality, too, so I think it'll be a closet staple for a long time. Fair trade, organic.

3. Pact V-neck Tee  


I love the white and navy stripes, but this felt too tight at the hips and the v dipped too low on my small chest (didn't want to expose myself!). I returned it, but if you have a straighter frame (and maybe bigger boobs), this might be awesome on you. Fair trade, organic.

4. The Body Shop Colour Crush Eyeshadow in Mon Cherry  


I love this eyeshadow. It leans a bit pink on my skin, but it contrasts beautifully with my hazel-brown eyes without being in-your-face. Slight shimmer. Uses community fair trade Marula oil.

5. The Body Shop Aloe Protective Serum  


I have used this sparingly so far, but the good news is that I haven't had an allergic reaction! I have really sensitive skin, particularly under my eyes, so that's really saying something. The serum adds a bit of moisture and smooths out and brightens my skin immediately upon application. I'd recommend layering this over your regular moisturizer because it's not quite strong enough to do it alone. Uses community fair trade aloe and Soya oil.

6. Oliberte Hirari Booties  


I ordered these two sizes up from my normal size (I typically wear a US 7 and I got a EU 40 in these). They're comfy and beautiful and have a great sole. I got mine on ebay, but they're currently available at the link I provided. Fair trade.

7. Synergy Organic Clothing High-Low Peacock Skirt  


I'd wanted this skirt ever since I saw it all over Floyd Fest last summer. I got mine in a pretty plum color in one size smaller than normal (a size small) and it fits great. The lightweight, stretch cotton is comfortable and the front length hits at the knee, which makes it more versatile than most high-low skirts in my opinion. Fair trade, organic.


All in all, some pretty good experiences! I've been working to replace everyday basics this summer as my old things deteriorate and pill. I feel confident that the things I ended up keeping will stand the test of time, which is such an important part of the ethical shopping process.

inside an ethical wardrobe: spring 2015

ethical capsule wardrobe

Spring has sprung here in Charlottesville, so I'm back with another installment of my "Inside an Ethical Wardrobe" series. See my winter post here and my jewelry post here.


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I've been in aggressive spring cleaning mode for several weeks and I've finally been able to part with a lot of things I was holding onto because of their nostalgic or "practical" value. I'm a firm believer that it's ok to have an attachment to things that remind of us people, places, and experiences we love, but it was time to clear out old high school event t-shirts and ill-fitting blouses.

striped tees

I'm left with a reasonable, varied assortment of knit cotton tops, including several v-necks from Everlane, a few fair trade statement tops, a couple old items purchased from conventional retailers, and several thrifted items.

Note that a few things are missing either because I was wearing them or they were in the wash, but this is a pretty accurate representation of my wardrobe.

thrifted cardigan

I'm a cardigan lover, so I have about double what's depicted here, including a mustard yellow cardigan (an old purchase) I'm wearing while I write this post, a Seamly.co wrap cardigan (made in USA), and a thrifted shawl collar cardigan.

spring skirts wardrobe

I love skirts for spring and summer, particularly midi and maxi skirts that allow me to move freely without fearing my skirt will fly up. The above skirts are (clockwise from top left): Fleet Collection (made in USA), thrifted, secondhand via thredUP, Mata Traders (fair trade), and thrifted. I have a black skirt from thredUP coming in the mail this week.

ethical dresses

And finally, a mess of dresses. About half of my dresses are fair trade and the other half are thrifted or vintage. The ones pictured here are (clockwise from top): thrifted, Nomads, Synergy Organic, thrifted, vintage, and fair trade/sustainable from Gaia Couture.

I left out a few rarely worn graphic tees, formal dresses, and two button-ups that I keep around for professional events. I'll do a separate post for shoes and accessories later.

And just a quick reminder that this isn't a capsule wardrobe. The items I photographed in my winter wardrobe post are still in regular rotation when the weather is suitable for them. Maybe it's my Florida upbringing, but I prefer to wear as much of my wardrobe as possible year round. In fact, I'm wearing my high waist jeans today.

spring cleaning

bee

An important part of sustainable living is avoiding unnecessary purchases. It's something I hadn't considered when I started my fair trade journey a few years ago, but it might be one of the most important habits to adopt in the long run. Reducing my overall consumption in terms of how many things I buy is awesome because it naturally reorients my spending. It gives me the freedom in my budget to save up for fair trade options I really want instead of making stupid impulse purchases at every thrift store in town. It also gives me the wiggle room to invest in non-material things like traveling or just spending the afternoon reading instead of shopping around.

I went through my closet yesterday and realized I don't even wear a dozen pairs of shoes I own. The fact that I can get rid of a dozen pairs of shoes without making a real dent in my collection is baffling! I also found 8 or so varieties of the same knit shirt that I never wear. Granted, many of them were thrift store finds, but acquiring them wasted time and money better spent elsewhere.

I think the desire to dress creatively is great, but there's a tricky balance between wanting to be fashionable and buying responsibly. I think it's ok to infuse my wardrobe with the occasional kooky thrift store purchase, but even when shopping on the secondhand market, I need to weigh the practicality and long term potential of each item before pulling out the credit card. Sigh. It's an ongoing battle, but I am making progress. I'm learning how to work toward my goals as a consumer and conscientious citizen of the world without all the unproductive guilt trips I used to take myself on.

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