Spring Break – Handmade Fashion

IT’S SPRING BREAK, FOLKS. Well, it’s almost spring break, at least. Today’s outfit is reflective of the care-free times and sunny weather that I am wishing for all of us.

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This bright yellow and peach top is a result of me experimenting with pattern-free sewing. The style is mega simple. It is just a straight tank with no darts of any kind. Seriously, this tank was laughably simple to make. However, I’ll admit, being hecka flat-chested made this project much easier for me than the average girl, as this fabric has no stretch. This fabric was bought second-hand from a vintage shop in Siloam Springs, AR. I love vintage florals; they are so much more vibrant than a lot of the floral prints in stores today.

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Say hello to my favorite shoes of spring. Can you believe these dreamy rainbow pastel shoes are so wearable? My mom gave me these Rocket Dog sneakers as a gift, and might I add, she has fantastic taste. My mother has always encouraged my fashion escapades, no matter how wild, and I am eternally grateful. Whether or not her keen eye for style was passed down to me, her appreciation of the strange and beautiful has made me the person I am today.

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I have owned several slightly different variations of these John-Depp’s-Willy-Wonka-esque glasses over the years. I am honestly not sure why I keep buying the same glasses, but they are still working for me. Also, I know you are coveting my high-end “aesthetic” bracelet. Too bad for you. It is one of a kind, made for me by my sister. I only wear the finest jewelry. 

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Since this fabric has such little stretch, I needed to create a way to actually fit my head through the collar. I used this as an opportunity to add a cute little bow detail to the back.

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There are not too many different hairstyles for short hair. On most days, I do not mind this at all, but when the weather is warm it is nice to get the hair out of my face with some little buns. It seems that this hair style is being referred to as “space buns” on the internet, although I have no idea where the name got its origin. My brother once referred to these buns as “the biscuits on your head,” so that works, too.

I hope you all have a fun (and safe) spring break!

Pop Art Style

It does not take a sleuth to realize that I am into retro fashion. I love the whimsical and bright styles of the 1960’s. Rather than wear these pieces in the exact fashion one would have 75 years ago, it is so much more fun to mix old-school pieces with more modern pieces to create a collision of style.

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Almost none of these pieces are actually vintage, just vintage-inspired. The only vintage piece is my blue scarf, which I picked up at an antique/vintage shop somewhere in Springfield, MO. This top is from Victoria Beckham’s amazingly mod 2017 line from Target. These cigarette style pants (they are high-waisted underneath my top) are several years old from my Forever 21 days. Since I wear these saddle shoes in at least 99.5% of my outfit posts, I no longer feel the need to divulge where they are from anymore.

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I decided to bring this outfit up to date with my denim jacket. It meshes well with this outfit because it has the same playful and colorful vibe, due to all the pins/buttons. Yet, it also tones down the in-your-face style of the bright orange and stripes.

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One of my favorite details of this outfit is the way the scalloped edge of the tops peaks out below my jacket.

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I know wearing tons of pins may be an over-used trend right now, but I say to heck with it. No one should stop wearing a certain style that they like just because it has become popular. Wear what you like and let the trends come and go. Almost all of these pins where given to me by various friends. I love this jacket because it allows me to carry a little piece of a bunch of people who love me with me everywhere that I go.

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Spring weather is the absolute best, no contest. I am super excited to be posting tons of colorful and sunny outfits soon, so be on the look out. Thanks for all the positive feedback on my previous post, even though it did not exactly have much (or, anything) to do with fashion. I enjoy writing a lot, so a post like that may sneak its way on here every once in a while. Have a great week, and good luck to all who are studying for or recovering from midterms!

 

Dear Women Who Feel Like They are Doing It Wrong

There is a phenomenon that comes with being a girl that I have never been able to explain to those who do not experience it– the feeling that you can do no right simply because you were born a female. Some will say this is exaggeration or that it is not worth talking about, but I would argue that it matters more than we can ever realize.

Growing up, I was very classically feminine. I liked to sew and cook. I decorated myself with bows and glitter. I was a girl’s girl, the kind who would make any mother proud. I thought that displaying all of the attributes that I was supposed to exhibit as a girl would make me feel whole, would make me the best version of myself that I could be. However, I began to notice that while I was encouraged to be all of the things, I was also treated like I was lesser because of them. Whether by peers, the media, or older women, I was told to be feminine–to be delicate, cover my mouth while I ate, and worry about what boys liked. Yet, I was treated like I was shallow for being exactly what I was made to believe I should be. I was a “silly girl” caught up in trivial girl things that did not really matter. I started to notice all that I was not allowed to do, like have body hair, or pray in church service or serve communion (lest God get distracted by the fact that I have boobs). I had things to say, questions to ask, and songs to be sung, but I felt like there was no place for me. I felt like being born a girl was a disability, like it started me out with less choices and talents.

Beginning to notice the lack of respect I received for being the “good old-fashion” girl I was supposed to be, I gave it up. At around age 13 I stopped wearing dresses, I stopped painting my nails, and I stopped associating myself with anything considered girly, even something as arbitrary as the color pink. My mother begged me to paint my toe nails and wear something other than camp t-shirts. I had always been “funny…for a girl.” Second class funny. At this time, I just accepted that girls were not allowed to be as funny as boys. I guess something about having higher pitched voice made my jokes lose some kind of punch. Still, I held onto to the misguided hope that if I made myself a little less female, my humor might be more highly respected. I played the classic “I have more guy-friends than girl-friends” card whenever I could, claiming there was “less drama” that way. (This was a total lie. I had maybe two guy-friends.) Almost every girl you know has played this card at one point or another. I was disassociating myself with women in an attempt to raise my status. Praying that if others thought I was cool enough to be “one of the guys”, they might take a moment to listen to what I had to say the way they listened to boys. I thought I had discovered the secret to success: pretending to be care-free by shedding my femininity, the former image that made people consider me too soft to have something powerful to say. I found it to have the opposite effect. Instead of gaining power by rejecting my femininity, I gained glances of distaste. I was thought to be messy and immature. I was a disgrace. Something had gone wrong.

This is the feeling that burned inside of me, yet went unactualized for years and years: you cannot be a girl in the “right way” when the society around you has set you up to fail. If you become the pink, glittery girl of dreams, you are considered shallow and weak and incapable of depth. If you ignore the “rules” of being female by cutting your hair and leaving legs unshaven, you are a failure, unwanted and undesirable. I felt like I was destined to be a second class citizen of any community of which I was a part. I felt like no matter how smart I was or pretty I was, it did not matter. I felt like, because I was a girl, because of something I had no power over, no one would ever listen to me. There is no such thing as being a girl the “right way” when the world wants so desperately for you to feel wrong. So many industries profit off our insecurity and self-hatred that it is enforced at every turn.

So, women—whether classic or unorthodox or somewhere in-between—this is for you. You are enough. If you feel like you are doing this whole “being a woman” thing wrong, that is because there is not just one way to do it. When you decide that you love yourself, whether delicate or harsh or somewhere in-between, you become something dangerously beautiful. You are something the world does not know how to handle. You are uncontainable. So, instead of trying on all the versions of womanhood that you are told you should, put on whatever makes you feel confident. Put on gorgeous and smart. Put on care-free and strong. Put on funny and wild. Put on logical and quiet. Put on confidence in the face of a world that wants to see you doubt. Whatever you are, whatever you have been taught is a deficit, you are enough. And beyond being good enough, you are powerful and strong and radiant. It is okay to define these words differently than the way you were taught.

Happy International Women’s Day to all women of all different walks, colors, and battles of varying degrees. Thank you for continuing to fight for a world in which I do not have to make myself smaller to feel like I belong.

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!

Tips and Tricks: Taking the Ethical Fashion Plunge (3 of 3)

Want to take the ethical fashion plunge, but not sure where to begin? I have compiled a list of my tips for getting started. If you have been following the series, you’ll know I wrote two informational posts about fashion’s effect on humanity and on the earth, which help explain why you should start being more conscious of how you’re handling clothing. Now that you know why, I thought it would be helpful for me to provide a how, as well. It may not be plausible to make all of these drastic changes immediately, but I’d challenge you to pick a couple of these to implement in your daily life.

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How to Start the Ethical Fashion Journey

  • DONATE your old clothes rather than just tossing them.

    • Take clothing to a trusted thrift store. Many of those drop-boxes on the side of the road can be misleading. They often end up throwing a lot of the items away, rather than actually reusing them. (This is not true in all cases, but try to look into it before you toss the bag.)
    • Let your friends look through your old clothes. I bet you’re pretty stylish. You know your pals would love a free blouse.
    • Pay attention to the people in your community, and give hand-me-downs to those that can use them. When I was in high school, there was never a shortage of junior high girls at my church who would happily receive the items which I had outgrown.
  • MAKE something new out of something old.

    • One of my favorite youtubers and biggest ethical fashion inspirations, Annika Victoria, has a TON of tutorials for sewing and clothing DIYs. She has varying difficulty levels, so there is something for everyone.
    • If you can’t sew your old clothes into something you’d like to wear, you can easily create dish rags or re-usable grocery bags out of them. Even if you aren’t much of a DIY-er, you’d be surprised how simple it is to up-cycle. (Let me know below if you’d be interested in a tutorial on any of these, to help you kick-start your up-cycling.)
  • EDUCATE yourself.

    • Good On You app is a great resource to find out what stores you like to shop at are ethical. It is a super easy to keep this app on your phone and check it before you head out to shop or even while you are in a store.
    • This website has a lot of information on the transparency of popular brands.
    • We have access to infinite knowledge with the internet. There are apps, websites, and something as simple as a quick google search can get you farther than you think.
    • We need to show the fashion industry we won’t stand for the way they are conducting things. They want our money, and if they realize they won’t get it if they keep abusing their power, they’ll start to make changes. You can’t stop supporting bad companies if you aren’t willing to find out who is doing what.
  • INVEST in ethically conscious, well-made items.

    • Brands that are ethically conscious tend to be more expensive by nature. It takes more money to pay workers well and keep facilities up to code. We need to change our mindsets from expecting to buy tons of items for cheap to investing in key pieces that we can keep longer. In the end, the money evens out, we just throw out less poorly made items.
    • Big Bud Press is one of my favorite brands, currently. They may be a little out-there for some of my readers, but they are full of psychedelic color and all of their items are made in Los Angeles. They are totally transparent, and often post videos of their clothes-making processes on their Instagram story.
    • Miracle Eye is a 1960’s and 1970’s inspired clothing line, which is totally ethical from start to finish. I’m obsessed with their velvet mini dresses and jumpsuits. Getting into ethical fashion is a great way to start supporting small businesses and artists who are doing great things in fashion.
    • If you are into hiking, or pretending that you are outdoorsy, Patagonia is actually one of the most outstanding brands I have ever seen. They have TONS of information on their website about sustainability.
    • There are plenty of other ethical brands online. Searching Etsy is a pretty easy way to find some, if none of my suggestions tickle your fancy, I’d encourage you to search out the locally owned stores, vintage shops, and thrift shops  in your area.

(I am not affiliated with any of the brands or other resources linked throughout this post.)

If you are overwhelmed, simply pick one or two of these changes to integrate into your life. It may seem like we are too small to make a positive change with our personal choices, but a movement always starts with individuals. If you learned anything from this post, I hope it was that there are tangible ways to make a change on the world around us. We mustn’t be idle when there is so much good we are capable of accomplishing. Are there any tips you would add to the list? Let me know!

 

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.

Fashion and the Environment (2 of 3)

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In the first part of my ethical fashion series, I tackled how the fashion industry affects humanity. Today I’ll be explaining the fashion industry’s effect on the earth (which also, in turn, affects humanity). If you want a little bit of background on this topic before diving in, click here to read my first post. This issue is fairly complex, having different facets such as the production, materials, and us– the consumers. I am no professional, but we are all capable of educating ourselves, so read on if you’d like to raise your awareness with me.

Production & Materials

Every item of clothing produced uses up resources and, since we are buying more clothes than ever, companies are producing more than ever, and using up resources at a vastly unsustainable rate. One of the most prominent examples of this is the disappearance of the Aral Sea due to the vast amount of water necessary in cotton farming. The amount of water it takes to produce one cotton shirt is enough for a person to drink in over two years (about 27,000 liters) according the World Resources Institute. In the process of drying up the Aral Sea, around 60,000 people lost jobs in fishing. Not to mention the water and air pollution caused by pesticides used in cotton farming which release carcinogens and toxins, causing sickness and death in the surrounding areas. Humanity cannot afford to farm cotton at the rate that fast fashion companies are producing items.

(Other materials, such as leather and fur, have a big impact on the environment, but for the sake of this article’s length and the fact that most of us are more likely to be consumers of cotton, I left them them out.)

Although the creation of synthetic fibers can reduce the use of natural resources in the process of making clothing, it ends up negatively affecting the earth toward the end, or lack thereof, of the clothing item’s life. Synthetic products, such as polyester, do not biodegrade. So, when it gets tossed out, it sits in a landfill basically forever. When all human life, animal life, and the earth itself have passed away, there will just be millions of transcendent polyester mini-dresses floating throughout space. (Okay, that was definitely not scientific, but I was worried you stopped paying attention.)

Now what?

I know what you are thinking, “If natural fibers are bad and synthetic fibers are bad, are we just supposed to become nudists?” And the answer is no (or, yes, if you feel so inclined). Natural fibers, such as cotton, are definitely the best option, we just need to make sure we are supporting companies which source products that are organic (leaving out all those bad chemicals) and sustainable (paying attention to how they are using resources). The issue is not that we need to stop growing natural materials, we just need to grow less of it and grow it responsibly. This may sounds impossible, but if companies such as Patagonia can do a fantastic job of this, I believe other companies can follow suit.

Us

We cannot entirely place the blame on the industry, as we all have a shared responsibility in what and how we consume. According to the World Resources Institute, a regular shopper is buying 60% more clothing than they were less than twenty years ago, while only holding on to it for half of the time. A byproduct of inexpensively made and mass-produced clothing is the lack of quality. When the clothing we buy falls apart because it was cheaply made, we just toss it in the trash and head back to the mall, knowing that it won’t leave too big of a dent in our wallets.  If we throw away synthetic items, they will just take up space in landfills and even natural fibers will sit in landfills for a while before degrading, “due to lack of sunlight and oxygen,” according to EcoGoodz. The best way for us to partake in fashion responsibly is to wear our clothing for longer, reuse it when we can, and recycle it when we can’t.

I know I just dumped a ton of information on you, but the crazy thing is that I just barely scratched the surface. If you want to know even more about this topic, I recommend clicking on some of the articles that I sourced throughout. More than anything, my goal was to get the conversation started so you might begin thinking about your personal impact on the world. My next and last post in this series is going to focus more on what we can do to make our fashion choices more ethical, so stay tuned for that. I hope that we will all continue educating ourselves to the best of our abilities so that we might care for one another, and our earth, better.

Pink(ish) Everything

Surprise! I dyed my hair purple. Or pink. Whatever. I don’t need labels. What better way to debut my pink(ish) hair on my blog than with an entirely pink outfit?

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Listen, I know that it is frowned upon to wear an outfit composed entirely of one color, but it is secretly one of my favorite things to do. Maybe I just like to challenge myself to pull off an outfit that is kind of hard to pull off. Or, maybe I just like how extra cutesy I feel in head to toe pink.

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I’d like to offer some tips on rocking singular colored look, but it is pretty subjective. However, I do recommend making sure that the shades are very different. My sweater is very pale, while the roses on my shirt are hot pink, and my shoes are bubblegum. They compliment each other better this way than if they were more similar. If the shades are too close together, it just looks like you didn’t really know what you were doing, while choosing diverse shades of the color appears as a purposeful statement.

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To get my hair a lighter color, I used regular dye in a vibrant color which I diluted with hair conditioner until it was closer to the shade that I wanted. I have been having a reoccurring problem of hair dyes lying to me about their color. This dye is Punky Colors’ “plum” and it is a little pinker than I intended. I also tried the same brand’s “purple” and found that it was even more pink. However, I still enjoy the color and am finding that is staying in my hair fairly well through washes. Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches and rock it anyway. (Also, please note and appreciate that I am having a good eyeliner day in this picture.)

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My embroidered rose shirt was thrifted from Penny Pincher’s here in Joplin, which has since closed down, my baby pink cardigan is from Goodwill, and my pink Keds are from Goodwill, as well. The only non-thrifted piece of my outfit are these super comfy high-waisted jeans from Target. I like to keep it casual and cozy on days where I have to be in class most of the day. I keep it cute at the same time by choosing cozy pieces in my favorite colors, with fun prints and textures.

Today’s pictures were just taken around my campus because as school is heading into full swing, it becomes a little harder to find extra time to take pictures. (Not to mention the lack of cute locations in Joplin.) I hope you enjoyed my simple and slightly ridiculous outfit, none the less. 

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.