lbd

The Moral Wardrobe: Menswear-Inspired with Ethos Collection's Versatile LBD

Ethos Collection Little Black Dress, fair trade and sustainable
This post was sponsored by Ethos Collection and I received product for review. All opinions are my own.

A few months ago, I received an email from a reader who had recently discovered that we lived in the same town. She asked if we could meet up just to chat about shared interests, including community organizing, progressive Christianity, and, of course, ethical fashion. She mentioned in passing that her cousin was starting an ethical boutique and - long story short - here we are today. I've enjoyed being able to give some initial feedback on the brand over the last few months and I'm happy to be able to feature Ethos Collection today.

Sara, founder of Ethos Collection, is determined to get it right when it comes to curating ethical brands. And in a market that's increasingly crowded with a whole bunch of stuff - some good, some bad, some ugly - claiming to be "ethical," I find the clean layout and aesthetic extremely refreshing, especially as I continue to work on decluttering my house, my office, and my stylistic point of view this season. Ethos Collection is also the only domestic boutique that carries People Tree, which means Americans now (finally) have access to VAT free, hassle free fair trade goods from the hugely influential brand.

Ethos Collection Little Black Dress, fair trade and sustainable
I'm particularly interested in adding pieces to my wardrobe that are truly versatile, not just in terms of the setting I can appropriately wear them in, but in terms of styling. The Luxe Tank Dress from Indigenous felt like the perfect base for lots of outfits, dressed up with tights, worn by itself when the weather's warm, layered over various t-shirts and blouses like a pinafore, and, as shown here, worn over jeans as a tunic.

I went for a menswear-inspired look here by wearing the dress over denim with a pair of oxfords. I've admired the menswear look for a long time, but I shied away from it when my hair was short because I didn't want to look too masculine, as ridiculous as that may sound. I'm enjoying experimenting with it now that I have a bit more confidence that I can balance the feminine and masculine elements. I paired the dress with a thrifted top that I dip-dyed with indigo.

Frye Tracy Oxfords in GrayEthos Collection Little Black Dress, fair trade and sustainable
Ethical Details: Luxe Tank Dress (worn as tunic) - c/o Ethos Collection; Turtleneck - thrifted and indigo dip-dyed; Jeans - old, redyed with indigo; Shoes - Frye

The Luxe Tank Dress is made of silky soft, low-impact dyed organic cotton and produced under fair trade conditions in Peru. The fabric is medium weight, which means it holds its shape and provides a more flattering fit than thinner cotton, and the wide v-neck provides the right look for layering without being too low cut to be worn alone.

Since I'm participating in Dressember this year, I'll be road testing the Luxe Tank Dress more in December and highlighting my outfits on Instagram as often as possible. I'll let you know how it holds up!

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Shop Ethos Collection here. 


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The Moral Wardrobe: A Very eShakti Thanksgiving

I spent Thanksgiving day in rural Virginia with my father-in-law and his wife's family. The landscape was covered with snow in the Shenandoah Valley, but Charlottesville was sunny and relatively warm. I'm glad I thought to take pictures here before I left - it was too cold to go coat-less in Edinburg!

eshakti review of lbd with retro inspiration on stylewiseblog.blogspot.com
eshakti review of lbd with retro inspiration on stylewiseblog.blogspot.com

eShakti contacted me a few weeks ago to see if I'd be interested in reviewing a dress and I chose this one. They're a women's clothing brand with a secret weapon: customization. Say you find a dress you like. You have the option of buying it in its default form using the company's size chart or you can enter your measurements, change the sleeve and skirt length, and remove pockets and other special features for a minimal add-on fee. If you have particular modesty requirements, a body that's hard to fit, or are just picky about the way things fit, it's a great option. 

eshakti review of lbd with retro inspiration on stylewiseblog.blogspot.com

Since this is a fair trade blog, I asked them to provide some information on manufacturing and labor standards. Here's what they said:
Our clothing is made in India in our own factories and in local factories that produce some of the leading brands at retail...And wages paid by eShakti are typically 50% to 100% over the Indian government's minimum stipulation. The people who work to make eShakti's clothes are typically the main wage-earners of their families, and provide for them, including education for their children. eShakti is proud that hundreds of families enjoy the advantages of such employment provided by it. Indeed, it is a part of our organizational ethos and goal to contribute to the welfare of society in India as a responsible corporate citizen and employer, just as we contribute in the USA by creating new jobs as we grow. 
eShakti's covenant with its customers is this: we will never allow anything that is opposed to human dignity or the laws of the land where we operate.
I appreciate eShakti's transparency on this issue and feel comfortable supporting them here. And they knew what they were doing when they provided a product for review, because I'm hooked. This dress comes in a stretchy medium weight cotton knit that's flattering and versatile. I opted to change the sleeve length only since their size chart measurements were close to my own. The only thing I would change is perhaps making the skirt a bit shorter; that option is available, but I worried it would be too short. Knit dresses are the best kind of dresses and I love the retro-meets-modern design of this one. I'd been looking for the perfect LBD and I actually think I've found it. Groovy!

Update 8/22/16: This post has been more popular than I ever expected because a lot of you are trying to figure out if eShakti is really an ethical company. My answer today is slightly more nuanced. eShakti is better than most, but I wouldn't call them truly sustainable and wouldn't regularly purchase from them. Still, in the custom apparel space, they're you're best bet in an affordable price range. If you have any other questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments.

Shop eShakti here.


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eShakti provided me an item for review as part of their Real Fashion for Real People campaign. Visit their website or get to know them on facebook, pinterest, twitter, and instagram.