spring outfit

The Moral Wardrobe: a Whole Lotta Mata (Traders)

mata traders maxwell midi skirt reviewmata traders maxwell midi skirt review
Mata Traders works with women's co-ops in India to produce their line of festive, feminine dresses, skirts, blouses, and jewelry. They sent me the Maxwell Midi Skirt and the Layered Amulet Necklace from their Spring 2016 line to wear and review. I love the updated designs and the versatility of these items.

First, the hand block printed geometric design on the skirt is graphic without being too busy, and it pairs well with my overabundance of Everlane tees. The length is great for work, where I often have to lift boxes and pick up dust bunnies, and the necklace adds a thoughtful touch to basic tops. I imagine it would look great layered with other jewelry, as well.
  mata traders maxwell midi skirt reviewmata traders maxwell midi skirt reviewEthical Details: Maxwell Midi Skirt and Layered Amulet Necklace - c/o Mata Traders; Tee - Everlane; Sandals - secondhand via Thredup

Now for the downsides: I always have trouble getting the right fit in Mata Traders items, particularly with their woven, non-stretch fabrics. The skirt is too big in the waist by several inches even though I followed their size chart (definitely size down). As a result, it's a bit awkward to fit evenly at mid-rise, as I'm wearing it here. The skirt also lacks a back or side slit, which limits my stride when I'm walking, though they did add enough fabric near the knee and calves to provide reasonable walking comfort if you're not a fast walker, like I am.

I'd definitely still recommend the skirt, but you may want to reach out to Mata Traders for specific details before ordering. The necklace is lovely, as well.

I took these photos on the only sunny day we've had in, like, 14 days. I'm back in sweaters for now, but I enjoyed the brief respite.

---------

Mata Traders is featuring artisan stories and running a giveaway until May 16th! Check out this post to learn more. 

the moral wardrobe: mountains in 2 languages with Degree Clothing

Degree clothing ethical fair trade
When Degree Clothing reached out to tell me about their sustainable, organic clothing line, I hopped on over to their website to take a look at their offerings only to find that I couldn't understand the product descriptions! Degree is a German brand that caters to a German market and yet, despite the language barrier, I appreciated their design approach and ethical priorities (plus, they have an Etsy shop in English). With the help of Google Translate and my German literate husband, I narrowed in on this beautifully hued graphic tee that says:

Weil bayern berge hat


According to our German church organist, this means "Because Bavaria has mountains." The phrase is meant to conjure the nostalgia, warmth, and culture of mountain-side living. I was drawn to it because I know a thing or two about the beauty of the mountains, nestled as I am in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Did you notice that the shirt just happens to be Blue Ridge Mountain Blue?

Blue Ridge Mountains Degree clothing ethical fair trade
As fate would have it, I wore this shirt to take my very first tour of nearby historic landmark, Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's mountaintop home. While I enjoyed viewing Jefferson's unusual and eclectic home, I was deeply moved by the 45 minute tour about the enslaved people who called Monticello home.

The thing that stuck with me the most was a comment the tour guide made about personal agency and family life. You were owned from dawn to dusk, but when night came, you finally had the chance to cultivate your real identity among friends and family who grounded you in cultural traditions and reminded you that you had a right to exist on your own terms. Historians of slave documents note that slaves often ranked fear of family separation above fear of death. Can you imagine waking up in the morning and someone telling you that your husband, wife, or child was going to be sent away, never to return?

It's brutal, and yet it was commonplace for our founding fathers and their contemporaries. In the retelling of these stories, we are reminded that deeply rooted, terrible injustice can be - and is - normalized. We can know something is wrong, as Jefferson knew about slavery, and continue to benefit from it. It's not enough to know. We have to f*ing change the systems that allow cruelty to be perpetuated, condoned, and institutionalized.
  Monticello The view from Monticello Degree clothing ethical fair trade
Ethical Details: Top - c/o Degree Clothing; Skirt - thrifted; Sandals - Sseko Designs

Well, that was a tangent (nevertheless, an important one). Anyways, Degree Clothing is fairly and organically produced with a contemporary streetwear aesthetic. Lots of cool tees and sweatshirts at really reasonable prices. This tee will cost you about $29.00 if you purchase through the Etsy shop

If you're based in Germany, shop the Degree site here

---------

Follow along: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.