ethical closet

Deciphering My Style: Spring 2017

ethical and capsule closet - spring update, stylewise-blog.com

I've never been particularly good at nailing down what I like in specific terms.

And that's been a problem for me as I've embraced a more expensive, ethical market. I can't just buy all the things and see what works. I need to be smart and curate aggressively.

To help me narrow it down before I start shopping for a new season, I decided to break my preferences down by both what I like and what I don't like. Here are my lists...

Things To Avoid:

  • Prep and boho (a nod here and there, but not a whole look)
  • Strapless, wide leg, billowy silhouettes
  • Denim on denim
  • Heels
  • Low-cut and high-cut blouses and tops
  • Ankle-wrap shoes and sandals
  • Polyester and other synthetic fabrics

Things To Look For:

  • Stripes and bright solids
  • Mid-rise and high-rise denim
  • High rise pencil pants
  • Straight-cut and midi skirts
  • Straight-cut dresses
  • Tunics
  • U-necks and V-necks
  • Distressed-look denim
  • Simple, modern footwear
  • Organic and natural fabrics

I am getting considerably better at being honest with myself about what I'll actually wear versus what looks good but just isn't me. While I love some of the contemporary, oversized, androgynous cuts of designers like Elizabeth Suzann and Everlane, it's important that I find the right balance between timeless and of-the-moment.

Here's what I'll be looking for this spring: 


As with all of my shopping lists, I probably won't purchase all items listed, but I'll use specific products as a reference point as I shop around. This post contains affiliate links.

The "Needs"

ethical and capsule closet - spring update, stylewise-blog.com

The Helpful Additions

ethical and capsule closet - spring update, stylewise-blog.com

Just for Fun

ethical and capsule closet - spring update, stylewise-blog.com

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.