Slow Fashion October

My plan was to have a post all about Iceland written up and shared by now, but it's proving quite a bit harder than I expected. My goal is before Friday this week, so we'll see how that goes. 

Until then, I wanted to share some thoughts on Slow Fashion October. If you check out the #slowfashionoctober feed on Instagram, you'll get a feel for how lovely it is. There are so many different styles of creating, mending and best of all choosing to reject Fast Fashion and find responsible alternatives. It's truly inspiring.

I've found some wonderful articles and thought provoking pieces that I thought I'd share. Pick one or two and maybe you'll find some inspiration to choose quality over quantity in your closet.

Breaking it down by the numbers

How to dress like the real you. "We often use our clothes to cover up our insecurities and mask our flaws. I urge you to contemplate your motivations, your fears, and your goals. "

Just a little monkey doing what monkeys do.

Cheap jeans!

No one wants your old stuff.

My biggest recommendation when diving into slow fashion is to start small: pick one item you'd like to mend instead of replacing, knit that beanie you've always wanted, or maybe just save a bit more for a shirt you know was produced in ethical conditions. Every penny, every action can make a difference. It's so empowering when you realize that you can vote for the sort of world you want to live in with your purchases. We really can change the world, one baby step at a time.

Fall Style

One year ago, I started my first capsule wardrobe and began an informal education in my style and a reset of my shopping habits. I'm pretty sure I thought that this year I would be able to pull out my capsule from last fall, stick in my closet and be completely happy with it.

Surprisingly, that's mostly true. A few things have worn out since then and I've outgrown a few others. Every season finds me more content and comfortable in the clothes I wear.

I've also started putting things into storage during off seasons and unpacking them feels similar to buying a load of new clothes. This weekend I unpacked my fall sweaters and long pants. It was like meeting old friends and this whole week it's felt special to wear my cozy things that I haven't since the spring.

I didn't really "need" anything new this fall, but I did add a few things. And they were pretty Icelandic centric. Before we left, I had to get a rain coat and long underwear. I wore both every single day we were gone and bought them thinking about long term wearability, so they should fit into life at home as well.

I also knew that the wool products in Iceland were going to be exquisite. We arrived planning to pick up a fuzzy souvenir or two. I found one traditional sweater (lopapeysaat the Handknitting Association of Iceland and that thing is crazy warm. I'm going to have to wait for Michigan to cool down before I can wear it at home.

Finally, my absolute favorite is this sweater. We were perusing the racks at one of those duty free shops in the airport before we left when we found it. I have NEVER bought something from one of those places, but they got me this time. I figured since I loved it 100% and I wasn't going to have another chance to get something like it, we should go for it.

And I have to say I made the right decision. No regrets. I looked up the brand afterwards and loved it even more. Supporting smaller brands with integrity has to be one of my favorite things. 

For now I'm very happy with what I have available in my closet. Once winter rolls around, I may have identified a gap or two, but for now I'm more than content to cozy up with what I have.

Summer Capsule

All done! When we hit fall it will have been a year since I started this. It’s been fun, but I’m also excited to see what comes after the strict rules of the capsule. I’ve been thinking alot about how easy it is to bring things into our home without thinking and that is something I really want to become even more aware of. I wonder what’ll help with that.

Super happy with the way this one turned out. Added a bit more color back in. I didn’t mind the neutrals of my spring closet, but a little color will be fun for the warmer weather. I bought all my new items from Everlane, Thredup, or thrifted. I really enjoyed filling in some gaps and now that I can easily spot my “needs” it takes no time to fill them.

I considered leaving off any shoes other than my birkenstocks, because those are my holy grail of footwear. I’ll be wearing those 90% of the time. I already had all the other shoes, so I might as well give myself options if I ever want them. Also, I ended up with 35 items, but I honestly didn’t even count until right now, so the number has really become inconsequential and I know that I don’t need as much as I’ve felt I do in the past.

I’ve really enjoyed this exercise, and am grateful for it. I have never gotten dressed with such ease or felt so good about what I wear. I’d highly recommend it for anyone who is frustrated with the state of their closet.

Capsuling: the next step?

Officially my spring capsule should have ended in 2 weeks (Mid-March to Mid-June), but with the arrival of the 80s on our weather forecast, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t tapped into my summer box a while back.

I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to capsule for the summer, but I think I will to finish out the year (that’s my type a personality shining through). It’s been a great structure to support building better shopping habits and a functional wardrobe. But I don’t need to continue  counting, strategizing, photographing, and sharing the items like I have been. Capsuling has been a great tool, but the habits it’s taught can now sustain themselves without the strict rules.

All this to say, my season of capsuling is drawing to an end. I’ve learned so much that I’ll use going forward and can only recommend going through any part of the process yourself. As I’ve thought about it, these are the biggest lessons and advantages I found:

  1. Budget. I never went over mine. Even the times we decided on a smaller budget, once I had a strict budget I stuck to it. And the boundary of a budget was more freeing than restricting. Weird, right? But true and so great.
  2. Shopping impulse. It’s gone. I used to get a feeling of panic in my stomach when I walked into a store, like I needed to find the deals or else. These days, I only shop at the beginning of every season. I look at stores as a place to peruse and maybe get some inspiration to note for the next season, but I feel so free these days. The deals are there for me, and they will still be there when I need them.
  3. Style. I think I’ve found mine. I used to buy things because it was on sale, it was a color I didn’t have, I felt like I should, etc. Being so disciplined helped me cut through the crap and give myself permission to just wear what I love every day.
  4. Authenticity. I’m being true to myself. For example, I love Birkenstocks with a fiery passion, so I wear them — almost daily. I think before I dressed more for others and according to expectations I assumed other had of me. Letting go of those is so great and I couldn’t be happier.
  5. Comfort. I honestly just feel good in my clothes. I don’t know that I ever could have imagined saying that. I like what I wear and I wear what I like. And I feel damn good in it.

If you’d like to know what I’ll shamelessly be wearing on repeat this summer, it’ll be some variation of the below outfit:

My Ethical Shopping List

This past weekend I met up with some college girl friends and at one point during the deep conversation, I was able to open up about my journey to shop with conscience. I love these opportunities because this cause is so close to my heart. But it is also a sensitive topic that people can very easily be defensive or feel judged about. My sweet friend (Hi Natalie!) jumped and grabbed a pen and asked “what are your favorite shops?” I can’t describe how happy that made me that maybe just one other person is interested in changing some of their habits. If you find yourself in a similar place, but don’t know where to start, here is my list. And I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Personal Favorites:

  • *Pact cotton basics: socks, undies, tshirts, etc for men/women/baby (Dave loves the socks I got him from here)
  • *Krochet Kids stylish fair trade clothing made by women in Peru and Uganda who are pursuing their personal dreams. Each item is signed by the creator #knowwhomadeit
  • *Patagonia this well known company has a fair trade section and their other products are so well made you will only buy them once. 
  • *Everlane designer styles with radically transparent production
  • *Brass designer quality dresses and tees (more coming soon!) with transparent sourcing and amazing customer service
  • *Eileen Fisher designer quality and fashion with ethics and supply you can feel good about supporting
  • *Rifle Paper Co I recently told a friend “I want a Rifle Paper Co.-themed life.” Everything is made in the USA and the quality and art is phenomenal. 
  • Nisolo Men and Women’s clothing and accessories, I can’t wait to someday get a pair of these shoes
  • *ChapterTen Watches I have been eyeing these for a while and am hoping I can get one of these beauts soon. (UPDATE: Dave got me one of these for our first anniversary, I wear it every day)
  • *Matt and Nat  these have me drooling… sigh (UPDATE: I found one of their purses on thredup and LOVE it)

Other Companies I would love to try:

Further Resources:

Some companies to try to avoid supporting:

Note: I myself have shopped at most of these places (and still buy kitty litter at Walmart), but it’s good to be aware.

  • Victoria Secret (source | source)
  • Forever 21 for sourcing cotton from Uzbekistan where children are forced to harvest cotton (source)
  • Aeropostale for sourcing cotton from Uzbekistan (source)
  • Toys ‘R’ Us for sourcing cotton from Uzbekistan (source)
  • Urban Outfitters for sourcing cotton from Uzbekistan (source)
  • H&M sweatshops and child labor (source | source)
  • Nike (source)
  • The Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic  (source | source | source | video)
  • Ralph Lauren (source)
  • Disney sweatshop use in China, Bangladesh and Haiti (source)
  • Nestle child labor is used in their cocoa production
  • Walmart (source | source)