Overall Style (Ethical Update)

As someone trying ardently to support sustainable and ethically conscious fashion, I have been thinking a lot about the effect of repping brands that I do not support anymore by continuing to wear their items. I have not come to a clear cut solution, but let me take you through my thought process. Maybe you will have some insight to offer me on the conversation.

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This outfit is old. I bought all of these pieces around two years ago. The shirt is from Forever 21, the overalls are from the Gap, the shoes were a gift, and the socks from an estate sale. When I bought this shirt, I still had not given up shopping at Forever 21. Knowing what I know now about their lack of transparency and many scandals, my Forever 21 days are long gone. However, I am often left questioning whether or not I should still wear the items that I already have from them, even if I am no longer currently shopping there.

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My first instinct was to say no. For the sake of starting over fresh in this ethical fashion process, I should purge my wardrobe of all of the remnants of my ignorance. I did not want anyone to accuse me of faking it or still supporting companies I claimed to renounce. I thought, if someone liked my shirt and asked where it was from, I would have to tell them I bought it at Forever 21 and then I would be unintentionally promoting them.

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After further thought, I have come to a different conclusion. If I still like the piece of clothing, even it is from a place I no longer support, I am going to keep wearing it until I am actually done with it. There is enough clothing waste in the world to begin with, and I cannot undo my past mistakes by being wasteful with the clothing items I have now. The only purpose ridding myself of the items would serve now is to make myself feel better without actually doing any good but adding to landfills and thrift store piles.

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We may want everything to be black and white, but sometimes the best solution is truly a nuanced one; a solution that takes more thought to arrive. Instead of being ashamed when someone asks where my top is from, I think it could actually be a great opportunity to spread awareness of ethical fashion. I can take the opportunity to briefly explain why I no longer shop there anymore.

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Living conscious of one’s effect on the world is not about rigidity and perfection. Being legalistic will ultimately cause frustration and failure. I am doing my best to hold myself to high standards without creating an atmosphere for disappointment. Have you been able to find a balance in your attempts to be conscious? Let me know your thoughts on this conversation, even if you disagree.

Let’s keep learning together and challenging one another!

Baby Blue – Handmade Fashion

This blog has been up and running for several months and, yet, this is the first time I have featured a clothing item that I made myself. This is mostly due to the fact that this blog has only ever known fall and winter, and 95% of my sewing projects are dresses. So, without further ado, brought to you by an unexpectedly warm day in the middle of February, I present to you one of my own creations.

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This dress was made from a reproduction of a vintage 1960’s pattern. 1960’s mini dresses are one of absolute favorite pieces of clothing, ever. They are so cutesy and whimsical and wearable. I love how the 60’s style is very doll-like. These dresses are versatile, easy to style, and do not blow up in the wind like most dresses, which is a pretty huge plus if you ask me.

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I picked up this vintage, baby blue fabric from a second-hand store in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. One of my favorite places to buy fabric is at thrift stores and vintage shops. Not only is it more inexpensive than buying new, but I can always find unique patterns and colors that I wouldn’t be able to find somewhere like Jo-Ann’s or Hobby Lobby. These colorful buttons were found in one of the many, many jars of my mother’s button collection. Having a sewing teacher for a mother has its perks. The button details add a lot of character to a dress which would otherwise have a lot blank space.

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My friend Charity took these super fun pictures for this blog post. I am infinitely thankful that I have so many friends who have an artistic eye and are down for impromptu photo shoots. Also, Charity told me I had to pose by this because it matched my yellow button.

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This was my first attempt at using a decorative zipper, and I love the way it turned out. I usually opt for an invisible zipper, because they are easy and unnoticeable, but, like the buttons, this zipper is an example of how small details can make such a huge difference.

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I started sewing my own clothing mostly because I was having a hard time finding clothes in styles that I wanted. Vintage shopping can be expensive and time consuming, and sometimes the pieces I have made up in my head just don’t exist yet. Sewing gave me a creative outlet; a way to put the inside of my brain on the outside of my body. Now that I am learning about ethical fashion, being able to sew my own clothes is a great option because I know exactly where every piece comes from. I’m looking forward to spring so that I can post more of the pieces I designed and made myself.

I hope you are all staying warm these last weeks of winter.

Coffee Shop Blues (and Other Colors)

Sometimes the stars align when I walk into a building and my outfit matches the interior design so well that an impromptu photo shoot is necessary. On those days, I am thankful that my favorite coffee shop buddy is a killer photographer like Andrea.

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These photos were all taken at Hank’s Coffee and Wine in Midtown, OKC before I left to go back to Joplin for school. It was such a cozy hangout spot with great coffee. There were almost always dogs there, so that is also a major plus. I am definitely missing it after being back at school for a week.

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The lighting in Hank’s was gorgeous, not to mention the mixture of this pastel couch and the muted tones in my outfit. I used to cringe at the idea of indoor photo shoots in shops and restaurants. They were so public and embarrassing to do in the middle of everyone. Let me tell you, I have pretty much lost any fear, barely even flinching when Andrea jokingly told me to pose like a “sexy librarian” in the middle of a busy coffee shop.

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This bandit style scarf is the closest to cowgirl that my style will ever get. I love tying my square scarves like this because it displays the print much better than when I tie them ascot-style. This scarf has the cutest little fruit print (apples? oranges? I honestly have no idea) so it is a total injustice not to wear it this way every once in a while.

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This outfit is composed of a second-hand scarf, a sweater stolen from my sister’s closet, and a jumpsuit I bought at target my senior year. So, good luck finding any of these pieces. Layering is my best friend. This wide-leg, denim jumpsuit is one my favorite 70s’ vibe pieces I own. I love layering over and under it so that I can get as much use as possible out of such a unique piece.

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Once again, might I point out that socks are the single most underrated accessory? Capri length pants are my favorite because I get a little room to peak my socks. These sheer,  lacy socks were a Christmas present, so I couldn’t tell you where they are from. They seem like a small detail, but their addition makes a difference, tying in the ivory background of the scarf.

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I pretty much consider this couch as a part of my outfit. So, I thought I’d end this post with a picture of my completed look.

I am making a goal to post much more consistently this semester to force myself to take some regular time off from school to create, so you can look forward to that. Unless you hate this blog, then sorry. Why are you reading it? Also, I am still working on my second post in my ethical fashion series, so don’t loose faith in me. I put a lot of effort into them to make sure they are as accurate and well-researched as possible, so hold on a bit longer. It is coming. Here is a link to my last one, if you missed it. I added a few more pictures than usual to this post, so thanks for scrolling through them all.

I am wishing you all a peaceful beginning to the semester.

Pastel Dream

Happy 2018, friends. Today I am kicking the garbage fire that was 2017 goodbye by bringing you a fresh and bright photo set from my New Years Eve (one of the outfits I wore, at least) taken by my dear friend, Andrea Schultz.

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If you will pardon my bragging on my friend for a minute, I was super blessed to be shot by Andrea this week. Her photography improves this blog post by like 400%. Plus, she was willing to freeze her fingers off to take these. If you want to keep up with her (and you should) you can follow her on twitter and instagram.

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This outfit is a pastel dream. I had a lucky day vintage shopping and found this orange creamsicle colored vintage jacket and this chunky, colorful statement necklace at one of OKC’s best local shops, Bad Granny’s Bazaar. I cannot stress enough how excited I was to find this necklace. I had been picturing a colorful, pastel statement necklace just like this for months and, at this point, no one can convince me that I did not will it into existence with the power of my mind.

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The silver metallic overlay of these jeans add a lot of character to this casual outfit. The idea that an outfit can have style while still being casual was a concept I did not understand for a long time. Recently, I have been having a lot of fun making my casual outfits just as playful and interesting as my more extravagant ones.

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Statement necklaces are an easy way to add some fun to an every day t-shirt, like this one. They are everywhere these days, but I have a hard time finding them in my style. Vintage shops and thrift shops are the perfect places to find more unique styles, so you look a little less like a suburban mom while wearing them (unless that is your thing, then by all means). This one gives me some Iris Apfel vibes, although it obviously does not hold a candle to her queenly style.

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This year was rough for most of us, and there is not a huge chance that 2018 will be without pain or trouble either. But I hope you all still find joy and light within it, find time to make art, and find time to love one another and allow yourself to be loved. I know it does not have much to do with fashion but, like the nerdy English major I am, I want to ring in the new year with a quote of a poem.

In his poem “The Mower,” Philip Larken writes, “We should be careful / Of each other, we should be kind / While there is still time.”

Happy (or, at least, better) 2018, everyone.

The Most Perfect Dress in the Whole World (Probably)

Look at that dress twirl. Have you ever seen something so magnificent? For today’s outfit, I dress down this ruffly dream-dress because a dress this great deserves to be worn on a daily basis.

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This dress is from Target’s (ethically conscious) Who What Wear line. It comes in a millennial pink too and I was so in love with it that I bought both colors. It’s ruffly, frilly, girly, and comfy. The way it moves with me when I walk makes me want to dance. A dress that makes you want to dance is a dress worth wearing every day.

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Shoe choice is everything when it comes to dressing an item up or down. Choosing these lace up boots with my (admittedly ripped) pantyhose makes it perfect for everyday. Even though my thrift shop boots are casual, they harmonize with the dress because they have the same kind of vintage vibe. I’m all for frills on frills, so if I could ever find a pair of lace socks high enough to peak above my boots, I’d wear them with this for sure. If I were to dress this up, I’d wear a pair of heals or Mary-Jane flats.

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My favorite part about any black and white outfit is that I can wear whatever color lipstick I want. This lavender lipstick paired with my frilly black dress has a little bit of a gothic-lolita vibe that I dig. Also, tell me those sleeves aren’t beautiful. I dare you.

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When it comes to accessorizing such a statement dress, less is more. This heart broach was the perfect choice for me, any less or any more would have been overkill. It is the perfect sweet and quirky match for this girly dress. If you pay close attention to these last two pictures you can see that I am wearing two different earrings. I’d like to say that this is on purpose, but these are honestly just the only two I could find. However, I like the affect and think that you can wear whatever the heck you want.

And with that, I hope you all have joy filled holidays.

One Dress, Three Looks – Fall Fashion

I got a little carried away while planning an outfit this week and couldn’t pick just one. So this week I bring to you, not one, but three unique outfits that I styled starting with one simple black and white dress. It is easier than you’d think to layer your way into a diverse wardrobe without buying tons of different pieces.

Outfit # 1

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This first look is the most out of the box and it is definitely my favorite of the three. Wearing a turtleneck underneath a collared dress may sound a little goofy in theory, but it looks a lot more put together than one might imagine. I love the quirky combination of my second-hand Who What Wear brand dress and my favorite cozy turtleneck. Don’t knock it ’til you try it.

Outfit #2

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For this look, rather than wearing the sweater underneath, I pulled one over the top. This allows the collar to peak out from over the sweater in cutesy way. It also creates an allusion that one is wearing a skirt and shirt, rather than a dress, which causes the outfit to be even more versatile. Any sweater or long sleeved shirt could be worn over a dress like this, but I love the playful vibe this ruffled sweater gives this look. If you’re feeling a little more risky, you could venture beyond solid colors and wear a sweatshirt with a graphic or lettering to create something more fun and casual.

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I’m not huge on accessories – I like to let the main pieces of the outfit do the talking. However, I am big-time into socks. This one pair of socks worked well with all three of my looks, creating a color blocking effect. (Also, I majorly dig the Wes Anderson vibes from this backdrop.)

Outfit # 3

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Last but not least, the simplest of the three outfits. By just throwing on my favorite cardigan, I let the dress itself be the main focus of this outfit. When it comes to choosing cardigans, the length makes all of the difference. Because this dress is a loose-fit, a longer cardigan was more appropriate. A shorter sweater would have hit in an unflattering place on my body. If you are not sure, try on a couple of them.

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Whether you are thinking about starting a capsule wardrobe, participating in Dressember,  or just trying to save space in a suitcase this holiday season, it is possible to create several unique looks with just one staple piece. Wear your sweaters over, under, or open – the possibilities are endless. I hope this post was helpful to anyone in a style rut this season.

Stay kind!

100% Thrifted Fall Layers – Fall Fashion

Contrary to these deceivingly sunny pictures, it was a fairly chilly day when I wore this outfit. The key to getting away with wearing dresses in the brisk fall weather is layers.
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This outfit brought to you 100% by thrift shops. I have layered a black collared blouse beneath a yellow long-sleeved shirt and threw my favorite 90s’ overall dress over the top. One of the best ways to transition your wardrobe into fall is to keep all of your short-sleeved, collared blouses around to wear under sweaters and long sleeved tops.

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Okay, so I may have lied slightly. My outfit is more like 99% thrifted. The pin I am wearing, my all-time favorite pin, is from the Sparkle Collective’s Etsy shop. It says “baby cats” around the edges, which are a little rust-stained because it has been through the wash a few too many times. (It hardly ever leaves this dress.)

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My good friend Ryan from Ryality blog took these pictures for me. She was a huge help and inspiration in the process of setting up this blog, so check her out if you have a second.

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Per request, I will be working on a thrift-shopping guide full of all my tips and tricks, so sign up to receive my email alerts if you want to know when that comes out. Or don’t if you hate knowing how to find inexpensive, ethical, stylish clothing. That’s cool too.

Peace and blessings.

Professional Doesn’t Mean Boring – Fall Fashion

As a future teacher who will have to integrate business-casual into my everyday life sooner than I’d like to think, I have made it a goal to find a way to make it my own.

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About a week ago, I had to attend an honors ceremony at my school. To my dismay, they gave zero dressing guidelines. I decided to play it safe and test out my professional styling skills. DSCN0347 (3)

For the first time in a very, very long time my outfit contains zero thrifted items. It is a strange feeling to be wearing items that others could actually purchase in a store if they wanted. Both items are purchased from stores committed to having strictly ethical factory  regulations, so fear not!

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This ruffly sweater is from Target’s new line called “A New Day” and I am obsessed with it. (Although it reminds me slightly of Pennywise the clown.) I think the key to making a professional look stylish is by not losing your personality in it. This sweater is girly and a little weird, so it still represents my personality. These yellow ankle pants are from the gap. Simply choosing an ankle cut pant takes this look from being frumpy to being clean and youthful.

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This outfit is simple, but the details make all the difference.

Fear Not the Beret – Fall Fashion

Did you think that one could only pull-off a beret if she were some sort of Parisian painter or mime? Think again.
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This beret is undoubtedly my favorite accessory right now. It adds a little bit of a cutesy-quirky vibe to the simplest outfits. Berets are perfect to wear with a simple collared blouse or any patterned t-shirt, like the one I’m wearing. (Although, I am definitely risking a bit of a mime-inspired look with the black and white stripes.)  I wore this outfit for a day of coffee-shop-studying with friends, as inferred by my trusty Fjall Kanken backpack, pictured below. This backpack is the most expensive item I own (running about $50), but it was one-hundred-percent worth it. I could talk about my Kanken all day, so let me know if anyone is interested in hearing a review.

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This outfit was almost entirely thrifted! My shirt is an ultra comfortable Foxcroft brand top. Foxcroft is known for having non-iron tops and this one is a soft and breathable lyrca material. I scored this at my local thrift shop along with these Refuge brand skinny jeans. These Keds were hand-me-downs and I have owned the beret and jacket for a long time so I couldn’t tell you where they were from. However, berets are coming back into style and so they can be found in many stores. Etsy.com features a lot of vintage berets, so I recommend searching there.

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I am finding as I do research that only larger name brand have information released on their factory policies and practices. I mainly do google searches about businesses along with “ethical” or “factories” to see if there is any news, if they do not have the information already on their website. How do you guys reconcile this when shopping? Have you ever tried contacting a business directly to find out this information? Let me know what your experience with this have been.

Until next time!