Let’s Talk about Faux Fur

Fur vs. faux fur. As an ethical consumer, faux is the obvious choice when one wants a little furry flair, right? In a 2017 article for the Los Angles Times, Janet Kinosian wrote that faux fur “offers you a chance to look festive … without the guilt.” However, the choice is a little more complex than Kinosian makes it out to be.

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At a glance, the option that doesn’t require the death of animal is the most ethical choice. Duh. But it turns out faux fur is just the lesser of two evils, so it is still, to some degree, evil. The synthetic material that fake fur is made out of is pretty much just plastic, meaning it’s likely to never biodegrade. (Real fur will eventually biodegrade even though it is heavily treated with chemicals to preserve it.) This is an issue in itself, but it is especially an issue when these faux fur coats are bought more for trend than for warmth. Meaning, when people buy them they aren’t planning on breaking them out every winter but, rather, to wear them once or twice for fun. They end up in a landfill in a jiffy.

This coat is made up of 34% polyester and 66% modacrylic. Both of these materials cause harm to ocean-dwellers as well as being toxic to us, as a 2015 study released in Scientific Reports revealed that these fibers were found in the bellies of fish being sold at markets in California. Growing research compiled by Patagonia shows that these micro-plastic fibers are released when we wash any clothing item made from synthetic material, but a coat like this, which sheds without any prompting, will release any especially large quantity of microplastic fibers.

I’m obviously not here to tell you that you need to avoid all faux fur because, as pictured, that would be a bit hypocritical. Instead, proceed with caution. I know my personal style well enough at this point to know that I am actually going to wear a crazy piece like this a ton, and not just chunk it after newness of it wears off. When purchasing, really think about if it’s just impulse or something you will wear a lot. Whatever you buy, buy second hand. It’s best not to contribute to companies creating cheap synthetic fur, as this just send them to signal to keep on creating more indestructible plastic coats. Just continue the life of an old one. I bought this one at Goodwill, and lots of other thrift stores have tons of wacky coats like it. When it comes to releasing fibers in the wash, Patagonia is one of the first companies to invent the “GUPPYFRIEND” Washing Bag–a bag to put synthetic clothing in that catches the little fibers. (This is useful for other clothing, as well.) I have yet to invest in one of these because, full disclosure, I don’t think coats need to be washed too often and plan on climbing that hill when I get to it.

Make whatever fashion statements you want, just make them informed.

The incredibly talented photographer who took these portraits is Kylie Atkinson, who you absolutely need to follow on Instagram this very minutes.

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I write a lot about where to and not to shop, but another side of sustainability deals with how much to shop as well. I’m often tempted to buy gobs of new cozy sweaters at Goodwill the seconds the temperature drops in the slightest. This season I’ve made it a goal to purchase as few pieces as possible while still keeping my look fresh for fall.

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Nothing about this look is tired even though every item except one is from AT LEAST a year ago. Getting the full use out of my items is a big part of creating less clothing waste. I kind of enjoy the creative challenge of restyling my old pieces into new outfits.

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Playing with accessories and layering is one of the best ways to make an old outfit new. I bought this vintage coat from Re-Runs in Kansas City and it is going to make my entire wardrobe feel like new. This coat is a 1960’s piece that probably originally came in a set with a matching dress or skirt. It is unexpected to pair it with some ripped jeans, but I love styling a vintage piece in a modern way. If you’re in a bit of a rut, try searching out one or two pieces that really intrigue you instead of getting a whole new wardrobe.

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These pictures were taken by my favorite creative collaborator, Andrea Schultz. If you want to see more of her photography, check out her new website https://andreaschultz.blog/.

Summer’s Last Hurrah

It may not be summer anymore but this is my last warm weather look for the season. It’s not actually getting cold, I am just trying to will the universe into submission by wearing turtlenecks.

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This post is mostly going to be a photo-drop, but if you’ll notice I’m taking a bit of my own advice from Daytime Disco Dress. This rainbow crop-top is 1980’s piece I picked up from the OKC Mod Swap. I balanced it out a bit by wearing jeans, but kept it fun with my Classic Sarah (TM) yellow beret and some bubblegum pink Keds.

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These photos were taken by my multi-faceted friend Andrea Schultz. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ve seen her fabulous work many times. She is launching her website soon, and you can (and should) keep an eye out for it by watching her Instagram.

This blog is about to turn one years old! What should I do for my blog-birthday post? Help me decide in the comments.

 

Daytime Disco Dress

One of my friends told me I looked like Hannah Montana in this outfit. No shame in dressing like a pop star every once in a while.

Often times, people will compliment my outfit and say something along the lines of, “I could never pull that off.” My response to this is always a resounding, “NOOOOOO.” Nothing makes me sadder than hearing that people aren’t dressing the way they want to simply because they feel that they aren’t the “right” type of person. You just need a little bit of courage and lot of sense of humor to put on that sparkly dress you want to wear even if you’re just going to brunch. The number one piece of advice I’d share about taking fashion risks is to understand that, unless you’re going to work, there is no reason to take fashion seriously. Play with it. Like I said earlier, people makes jokes about my outfits or say that I dress like a cartoon, but I don’t see that as a bad thing. If I put on something I love and it is a little weird, I just keep in mind that people will probably think so. For every person who doesn’t get your style, there will be tons more who are into your creativity and willingness to break the status quo.

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However, I did make some conscious accessory choices to help keep the outfit from being entirely distasteful. When I wear a really attention grabbing statement piece, I like to choose accessories that won’t compete for the attention. Sneakers and a denim jacket help tone this dress down, taking it from night club to casual. I still kept the beret and sneakers colorful because that’s my thing. It works even though the dress is so loud because the colors are in smaller doses.

Almost all of the items in the outfit were thrifted. Except the coffee.

Go forth and make fashion fools of yourselves. It’s a lot of fun.

Tulips in the City

Tulips are my favorite flower. I’ve always dreamed of frolicking through the enormous tulip farms in Holland. When in the middle of Oklahoma City, unexpectedly stumbling upon a planter of the beautiful bulbs does my heart just as well. I’m learning to bask in the glimpses of beauty around me, taking them for what they are without stealing my own wonder with comparison.

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This outfit gives me serious Madeline vibes because of the hat and tie. If you did not grow up watching or reading Madeline, you seriously missed out. She is the tiny, fierce, French little girls’ empowerment icon we all deserve. This outfit has a school girl feel but with a little more adventure.

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This spring I am fully embracing color. I am going to get as close as humanly possible to dressing like a clown while still feeling cute. A lot of people are scared to wear too much color because it is gaudy or attention grabbing, but it makes me feel vibrant and alive. Life is short; play dress-up as your favorite flower.

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My neck tie, previously debuted on this blog as a hair tie, is a vintage piece I bought along with this super unique button down from a thrift store in Springfield, MO. (I just have to brag for a moment that they each only cost me a dollar.) My mother’s impeccable taste strikes again, as she gifted me this sunny yellow beret. The jeans are old news, but the metallic is a lot of fun and makes up for the fact that this outfit is lacking any print. Interesting textures, such as my jeans, and interesting structures, such as this scalloped collar, can add a lot to an outfit that is solely color-blocked.

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My spring break was for friends, coffee, exploration of my city, and packing my heart extra full to last the rest of the semester. Once again, I have my talented friend Andrea to thank for taking these pictures and taking me to coffee shops. (This one is Clarity Coffee in OKC.)

Here is to finding our miniature tulip fields all around us.

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!