ootd

the moral wardrobe: mud

turquoise cashmere sweater personal styleGreenheart Shop Ikat crossbodymonochrome outfit thrifted and ethical
Ethical Details: Tee - Everlane; Plaid Top - thrifted; Cardigan - J. Crew Sample Sale; Boots - thrifted; Purse - c/o Greenheart Shop

Winter sunshine - what a treat! But the downside of an unseasonably mild, sunny winter is a very muddy yard. It rains, then the ground freezes, then the sun turns everything into sludge. As a result, there's mud caked onto all of my boots now. One of the benefits of choosing better quality clothing and accessories is that I don't have to worry as much about how well things will hold up, so I can stomp through the yard as much as I want!

In other news, I'm feeling really good about 2016 so far. Realistic expectations paired with confidence that I can accomplish anything with hard work and the proper resources has changes my perspective. I'm not overwhelmed. I'm excited and I'm ready to take on whatever comes my way.


the moral wardrobe: Elegantees Hayley Top

elegantees fair trade blog

I heard about Elegantees on instagram a few months ago and was intrigued by their business model. Founded by fashion designer, Katie Martinez, Elegantees works closely with anti-trafficking agency, The Nepali Rescue Project, to provide consistent, gratifying employment to survivors of sex trafficking in Nepal. 

Elegantees focuses on dressed up basics because they want women to feel stylish, comfortable, and empowered. Designs are created and tweaked both by head designers in the US and, more recently, by Nepali staff, and sewn by a team of less than a dozen women in Nepal. Elegantees hopes to triple their sewing staff by this fall!

made in nepal elegantees
elegantees hayley
elegantees outfit post
Ethical Details: Top - Elegantees Hayley Top; Skirt - vintage; Sandals - Sseko Designs (select items* 25% off); Earrings - Mata Traders

I bought the Hayley Top in my new favorite muted pink, Rosewood, because of the cool sleeve detail. I've already received a compliment on it by a customer at work who makes her own clothing! Though it has an over-sized fit, it's cut well with slight contouring at the lower hem and a nice breast pocket. If you like t-shirts but aren't ready to go full on #normcore, Elegantees may be just the thing for you. 


Click here and get free shipping on your Elegantees order with code, STYLEWISE.


---------


Shop the Hayley top here. Visit Elegantees on facebook, instagram, and twitter.

I received discounted product in exchange for writing this post.

*denotes affiliate link

the moral wardrobe: indigo girl

Mata Traders In Full Bloom Dress
Mata Traders In Full Bloom Dress
Sseko Designs Chiffon ribbons
mata traders dress
Ethical Details: In Full Bloom Dress - Mata Traders; Sandals - Sseko Designs*

The moment you've all been waiting for! This is the dress I bought at Mata Traders in Chicago. The rich indigo and resist dye flower motif are beautiful and the classic silhouette makes me feel feminine but not twee. As I mentioned in my behind-the-scenes post, I have trouble finding a good fit in some Mata dresses, but this one works great on my frame and the waist hits right at my natural waist as it's meant to. 

You've probably noticed that this month's blogging schedule has been jam packed. I was determined to finish the Justice Conference posts while everything was still fresh (and relevant), but between that and all these (awesome) giveaways, I've spent a lot more time blogging than usual. I think I'll ease up and get my bearings next week. 

Speaking of giveaways, the Hands Producing Hope giveaway is over and a winner will be contacted shortly. The Synergy gift card giveaway is still going strong 'til next Friday, however, so enter if you're interested. And if you don't have an instagram account (the mandatory entry), just click through as if you do and make sure to sign up for the Synergy newsletter. I don't want you to be left out just because you don't have access to an expensive iPhone or iPad.

*denotes affiliate link.

the moral wardrobe: Synergy Organic Clothing Beatrice Dress

synergy beatrice dress review
synergy organic clothing

Synergy Organic Clothing started out as a yoga wear company, but quickly expanded to include comfortable, versatile stretch cotton looks for almost any occasion. They've committed to using organic textiles, low-impact nontoxic dyes, and fair labor practices for all of their products and they still manage to offer fashionable, affordable, figure flattering clothing!

Jules at Synergy sent me the Beatrice Dress to review. I own one other piece from Synergy since I walked in a fashion show featuring their products at Floyd Fest last summer, so I had an idea of what size and styles would suit me best. Because I'm pear shaped, I opted to go one size up in this dress so that the super stretchy fabric wouldn't pull at the hip. When I pulled the dress out of the bag, it looked a bit too big up top, but it quickly conformed to my body, so I think I made the right choice when all is said and done. I'd say Synergy clothes best fit a straight figure, so if you have a few curves, pay careful attention to the size chart. Petite people may want to size down.

spotted in synergy

I wore this dress to explore the quaint little mountain town of Crozet and do a wine tasting at King Family Vineyards last weekend. It looks a bit dressy, but it feels like pajamas, which means perfection. 

synergy organic clothing tank dress
My face is ridiculous.

The Beatrice Dress is priced at $66.00 and is available on Synergy's online shop. Synergy Organic Clothing is offering a $50.00 gift card to one lucky Style Wise Blog reader, so check back Wednesday to enter the giveaway!

---------

Check out Synergy Organic Clothing on facebook, twitter, and instagram. Visit their website here

the moral wardrobe: Hands Producing Hope Shalom necklace

hands producing hope shalom necklace
hands producing hope shalom necklace

Hands Producing Hope is an accessories company with a mission to support marginalized women in Costa Rica through dignified work, life skills courses, and spiritual guidance. They sent me this beautiful Shalom necklace to review and it's become a fast favorite. 

The Shalom necklace is made of glass beads and seeds from the Ojo de Buey ("eye of the bull," part of the legume family) and Jaboncillo harvested by the artisans. I like that it's an organic twist on a statement necklace, plus the neutral tone makes it versatile. I wore it four days in a row when I first got it!

fair trade jewelry
fair trade outfit
Ethical Details: Top - c/o Tonle; Skirt - secondhand via thredup; Necklace - c/o Hands Producing Hope

I reached out to founder, Rebecca Gardner, for a behind-the-scenes interview about the daily running of Hands Producing Hope. I've included a few of her answers below (you'll see the rest Wednesday).

What does a day in the life of an artisan look like at Hands Producing Hope? 


The days of our artisans vary quite a bit because we work with women ranging from high school students to grandmas! Most of their days start soon after the sun rises, begins with either getting their own children ready for school or getting themselves ready for school. Soon after waking up they begin making the fire that will likely be burning during the entire day. Rice is a fairly normal breakfast or at times it is some form of meat if the family has recently slaughtered a chicken or pig (with no refrigeration, meat needs to be cooked right away and then consumed fairly quickly).

The women work on their jewelry or headband assignments throughout the day as they have time. This often happens while babies are napping, beans are cooking or kids are in school. Having the flexibility to work any time during the day or even not work on day and just do more work another is key for the women in our program, as many of them have many other responsibilities with their families! Often families have houses near each other and so sisters, cousins and in laws will get together during the day to work together and just spend some time socializing. If there is a soccer game on, you are sure to find a large crowd at the nearest house with a TV that evening. While this isn't an exact representation of what every day looks like for the women in our program, I hope this gives you a glimpse into their daily lives!

How do you select materials for your goods? Who designs them? 


We love utilizing local, natural materials. We also love the contrast of a beautiful metal beside a hand picked seed. Our products include materials found in the artisans local village, a near by town, and around the world. The designs are a collaboration between myself and our awesome board member/product design extraordinaire Emily Duke. We often pull designs from traditional Guaymi patterns and styles!

Make sure to check back this Wednesday to learn more about Hands Producing Hope and enter to win your own Shalom necklace!

---------

Check out Hands Producing Hope on facebook, twitter, and instagram. Shop here

the moral wardrobe: backlogged

Ethical Details: Earrings - handmade by Hannah Naomi; Top - thrifted; Sandals - Sseko Designs


I started this post, uh, like a month ago and forgot to post it!

This morning, I dropped off Daniel at school, then headed over to Albemarle Baking Company, a Charlottesville staple. I dreamed about their chocolate croissants last night, so I was determined to get one. When I got to the counter, I ran into my old boss from Java Java! The male attendant complimented me on my Sseko Designs sandals, handed me my croissant and hot tea, and I settled into an outdoor table with a magazine for the next hour or so. 

I'm not very good at taking time to just breathe. I spent a lot of time at home dawdling and reading blogs, but my mind's always preoccupied with the next task, so it was nice to really settle into leisure time this morning. 

the moral wardrobe: mad men

Ethical Details: Dress - c/o Nomads; Sandals - Sseko Designs

Did you watch Mad Men? It's 1970 in the last season (just ended Sunday) and all the secretaries were wearing itty bitty mini dresses to work. I don't think I'd wear this outfit to work, but it's just fine for a lazy Saturday afternoon. I used to wear short dresses all the time, but as I get older, I just don't feel like I can get away with it anymore. Subtle social pressure paired with greater personal awareness, I suppose.

This week is an exciting one! I drove over to Roanoke to see a friend on Monday, my parents are coming into town Thursday, and I'm going to a book premiere party for Lauren Winner's new book, Wearing God Thursday evening. They're even letting me give a little speech about Style Wise while I'm there. If you're local, you can RSVP on facebook.

style swap: my favorite ethical dress

Today's post is brought to you by Julia of Fair-for-All Guide. Julia and I thought it would be fun to do an ethical style swap, so we each chose our favorite fair trade dress to style for each other's blogs! Enjoy the post and check out Julia's blog to see my outfit.

---------


This dress reminds me of summer weddings, especially when I wear it with a string of pearls. Since I don't have any weddings on docket this year, today I paired it with a cubic silver necklace and paper bead bracelet to play along with the vibrant semi-geometric print.


One of my favorite things about this dress is the super-long sash. It's probably a good seven feet long and I have to wrap it around myself multiple times, which adds more visual interest to the waistline. The dress itself is a very simple shape, basically just a big sack with understated detailing around the neck until you add the sash.


The drawstring hem of this dress puzzled me to no end when I got it. I didn't notice it in the online images when I bought the dress, so it came as a surprise. I like the slightly gathered shape it gives the skirt, even though it is a little bizarre to have a bow dangling down the side of my leg.

I've thought about attempting to make a similar dress out of extra-large t-shirts, but I haven't taken the plunge yet. The existing hem of a t-shirt would be an excellent sheath for the bottom drawstring.


This is only one of several dresses I have from Fair Indigo, all of which are wicked comfortable and versatile, but this one is my favorite. I don't wear it as often as I could since the print is so memorable, but the fact that I tend to save it for important occasions just serves to make it more special.

Outfit Details:
Dress: Ethos Paris brand purchased from Fair Indigo
Necklace: From Indianapolis fair trade store Global Gifts
Bracelet: Bead for Life
Shoes: Oka B.

---------

Thanks, Julia! To check out my post, head over to Fair-for-All Guide.

the moral wardrobe: all the neutrals

thrifted outfit
betula by birkenstock
minimalist neutrals
the moral wardrobe: all the neutrals
Ethical Details: Tee - Everlane; Cardigan - thrifted; Necklace - handmade via etsy; Sandals: Betula by Birkenstock*

I went through a couple of outfit changes to get to this one, but I'm so happy with the result. I used to avoid warm colors and neutrals, but I think last year's experiments with hair color helped me get a sense of what suits my complexion. I love coppery brown tones that highlight my natural hair color (isn't it crazy that I hadn't seen my natural hair color in all its glory for something like three years?).

I think my orientation to the fair trade industry has shifted slightly in the last few months. I'm trying to find and highlight more brands that are both fair trade and sustainable, because I think it's silly to avoid the inevitable conversation between the two movements. Additionally, I'm increasingly convinced that supporting factories with ethical labor standards in countries like China is just as important as supporting fair trade; they reform different parts of the same industry and I think supporting them in tandem is the way to go. Not everyone can be supported by a fair trade co-op. If there's greater consumer demand for well-maintained factories, more people can find good work. There are a lot of moving parts and it's easy to get overwhelmed, but I'm glad to know I can make choices that help.

*Betula sandals are made in Spain, where labor standards are high and regularly enforced. Parent company, Birkenstock, makes efforts to reduce energy and materials waste.