spring style

The Moral Wardrobe: Finding my Style with Made in USA staples from IMBY

IMBY ethical capsule wardrobe review IMBY ethical capsule wardrobe reviewIMBY ethical capsule wardrobe review
My friend, Sara, founded IMBY out of her own frustration trying to build a capsule wardrobe that was both financially sustainable and ethical. An IMBY item must incorporate three principles: made ethically in the USA, designed with a small wardrobe in mind, and priced in a range people can afford.

Each piece is curated to fit together, so whether you're building a capsule wardrobe or just don't like to think too much in the mornings when you're putting your clothes on in the dark, you'll look good. It's a refreshing take on an ethical marketplace model, which can often feel overwhelmingly patterned and incongruous. I'm finding myself drawn more and more to simple but striking pieces (and fits that look good on me rather than things that are in right now), so the pieces Sara sent me to try are helping me get a better sense of what I ultimately want for my wardrobe.

IMBY made in usa clothing review Ethical Details: Organic Circle Shirt - borrowed from IMBY; Perfect Blue Jeans - c/o IMBY; Shoes - Sseko Designs

This one-size-fits-all circle shirt is extraordinarily fun to wear. The tunic length, low back, and spin-able silhouette make me feel put together and modern, but also like I'm wearing lounge wear. It's made from an organic cotton/bamboo blend, so it gets extra points for sustainability. That being said, it's probably a better fit for someone who wears a medium or large rather than a small. 

The jeans are made of surplus stretch denim that feels luxurious. The high waist is on trend without being juvenile and I'm excited to wear them again and again in the coming years. A tip on sizing: I had to get a Large in these to fit without pulling at my hips, so ask Sara for some advice before ordering!

Though I've been shopping thoughtfully for about 3 years now, it's still a challenge to put my blinders on and make shopping decisions that suit me in the place that I'm in now while also being adaptable for the future. Life in my 20s has been full of transition and it can be difficult to know what styles and cuts will work for me in the future. Being able to collaborate with curated companies like IMBY helps me streamline my approach. Finding jeans that work in both casual and semi-professional settings feels like a big win. 

Shop IMBY here. 

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I've been thinking a lot about some of your responses to my Reader Survey. Know that I plan to address your questions more in the future, but I do hope you've noticed that I intentionally work with brands and choose products that offer items in a moderate price range, and try to limit my collaborations to 3-4 times a month max to allow for a variety of posts. The vast majority of my wardrobe is comprised of items I purchased myself over a span of months and years (if the item shown is not marked "c/o" it means I purchased it myself). If you ever have questions or concerns, please do address them with me! I promise I don't bite.

the moral wardrobe: tried and true

bonlook selfie glasses and ethical outfithannah naomi bar earrings manos zapotecas purse fair trade made in mexico ethical outfit native american textile bag
Ethical Details: Top - SkunkFunk via Ash & Rose; Purse - Manos Zapotecas; Cardigan - thrifted (similar here); Shoes - old; Earrings - Hannah Naomi

Today I want to talk about the work horses of my wardrobe. Though I rarely photograph it, this thrifted cashmere cardigan has gotten me through weeks of cold weather and even a midday nap or two. It's cozy and lightweight, so it's a great layering piece. 

I deliberated for months over the perfect glasses and finally settled on the Selfie frames in Rose Sepia from BonLook. BonLook's manufacturing structure is comparable to Warby Parker, but they don't have a charitable branding strategy. That's alright, though, because I decided to donate to the presidential campaign of my choice in tandem with my glasses purchase. Sometimes I get so caught up in buying ethical things that I forget I can always donate cash to causes I care about. Don't forget to vote in the primaries!

These Converse All Stars have been in my wardrobe now for 11 years! They've seen me through three moves, heartbreak, high school, college, and beyond. I don't wear them often, but I'm reconsidering now that sneakers have made a comeback. 

The earrings and top are relatively new, but I love anything that's simple-with-a-twist. The top is made of sustainable bamboo viscose, which is both soft and sturdy, and the earrings are by Hannah Naomi, one of my favorite jewelry designers.

The thing about conscious consumption is that you get to have a connection with physical objects, not in an unhealthy way, but in a way that makes you thankful for the warmth and comfort a well-loved object can provide.

the moral wardrobe: fair

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I wore this today for Fashion Revolution Day. It's not inside out (I chickened out), but it is all fair trade and secondhand. Instead of being forced to tell people why I was wearing my clothes inside out, I just shouted "It's Fashion Revolution Day!" to an assortment of customers until I felt I had done my duty. Even though I work at a fair trade, organic coffee shop and have a great relationship with the owners, I didn't think it was the right environment for this type  of conversation. There just isn't enough time for deep reflection when you're making coffee all day for people with places to go and things to do.

Since April is National Poetry Month, the local library had representatives hand out poems on the Downtown Mall today. I got Saturday at the Canal by Gary Soto. They left a few at the shop so I exclaimed, "Have you gotten a poem yet?!" in between Fashion Revolution Day reminders.

Ethical choices are bolded below. Retailers taking steps to become more ethical are bolded in gray.

  • Top - People Tree

  • Skirt - secondhand via Thredup (I won a giveaway!)

  • Shoes - secondhand via ebay

  • Belt - thrifted

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the moral wardrobe: pleasant surprises

casual outfit spring stylethrifted outfit post

When I added this top to my thredup cart, I thought it was black and white. Last night, when I opened my package in the dim light of the living room, I thought it was navy and white. This morning, in the bright spring light, I realized it was navy and robin's egg blue!

I had trouble rationalizing another black and white top in my wardrobe anyway, so this was a pleasant surprise. Add that to the beautiful weather we had today and the lovely customers I got to chat with at work and it was an all around thrilling day to be alive.

Since my first thredup order finally arrived (this week's winter storm caused delays), I thought I'd quickly review it in this post. Everything fits well and looks even better in person. One of the main flaws of the thredup site is that the pictures tend to be overexposed, so I was quite happy to see vibrant, rich colors and fabric in excellent condition. I'm quite pleased and will be shopping there again (and maybe exclusively - jeez, they should pay me for this).

Ethical choices are bolded below. Retailers taking steps to become more ethical are bolded in gray.

  • Top - secondhand Gap via thredup

  • Jeans - Levi's

  • Jacket - Gap

  • Shoes - Asos

  • Earrings - handmade via etsy

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