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.

Make It Last: How to Mend Your Own Clothes

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Sewing is a practice of sustainability. You probably forgot sewing was an actual skill-set and not just the punchline of sexist jokes. However, producing, consuming, and throwing away fewer pieces of clothing all hinge on one habit– keeping your clothes for longer. When you dance a little too hard and a hole materializes in the armpit of your favorite top, don’t just throw it away. That’s your favorite top, darn it. A lot of people are held back by the assumption that they are not skilled enough to fix their clothing or that it is a skill that older, more feminine humans are supposed to learn. I do not care how old you are or what your gender identity is, you can and should learn how to mend your own clothing. Emphasis on can.

I may tell you some things that would make my mother’s professional-seamstress-heart cry, but it will get you through. I’m not going to make my own tutorials because there already so many great ones out there, so I will just link you to think ones that are most helpful.

Create a small kit.

This shouldn’t cost more than seven dollars, and should last a long time. Items on this list can be purchased from your favorite craft store, Walmart, or stolen from your grandmother’s house.

  • scissors
  • a package of needles (I always get the widest eyes to make threading easier.)
  • black and white thread (You’ll almost always sew from the inside, so they won’t be seen anyway.)
  • a cheap pin and cushion set
  • a good attitude (You got this!)

How to repair a hole in most garments.

This video from youtuber Koumori No Hime Cosplay is so clear and simple, you’ll get the hang of it in no time. This can go for any hole, not just one in a seem. The ladder stitch makes the thread almost invisible.

How to repair a hole in a sweater, specifically.

This video by Professor Pincushion is a bit similar to the first video that I linked, but it contains some important information pertaining specifically to sweaters. When a clothing item is knitted, a hole could cause the entire garment to unravel, so sewing up a hole takes just a bit of extra care.

How to sew on a button.

I love that giant button. Also, Nicki Callahan’s dolphin simile: 10/10. Anyway, everyone needs to know how to sew on a button. This video makes it super easy to see how it is done.

Ending thoughts: security over beauty. When you’re repairing a garment, you’re usually going to flip it inside out, so you’re not going to see the stitching anyway. Don’t worry about perfection, your clothes will appreciate the TLC nonetheless. If you’re getting frustrated, take a break.

If you’re financially secure enough, you can just pay a tailor to do it. They’ve got to put bread on the table too. It’s important to know how to fix something in a pinch, but it’s no less sustainable to pay a professional if you can afford it.

Hot Take: Is H&M Recycling a Scam?

H&M has been advertising a program in which the buyer donates their old clothing to their local H&M for recycling in exchange for 15% off of their next purchase. Sounds pretty awesome, right? Is it, though?

No? Maybe. Kind of.

I’d advise a healthy dose of suspicion toward fast fashion companies in general, but especially when they suddenly advertise their image in a way that is contrary to their entire system of functioning. Being “sustainable” and having a new display of clothing every week is just not compatible. It is important to ask what H&M’s motive is and even to question our own motive in participating.

This fast fashion company has gotten in trouble in the past for the mass shredding of never before sold or worn clothing. The recycling program, which has been going on for a couple of years, if my memory serves me correctly, is part of an attempt to shine up the store’s sullied image. Trying to clean their image is not a problem necessarily, but it is not entirely genuine.

The 15% off coupon is a huge incentive for most people, considering H&M’s already low prices. If a person drops off one bag of clothing and leaves with three new bags, has anything good truly been accomplished? It seems like one step forward and two steps back. It has the potential to create more waste than it eliminates.

It is also important to consider that clothing recycling is not magic. The act of shipping the clothing around and breaking it down for re-use is also a use of resources. A good use of them, but maybe your clothing could have a second life on a friend or in a re-sale shop before needing to reach its final demise. It is a fairly new practice that is rigorous and in need of more research for efficiency.

Recycling is always better than throwing away, but it is not better than not creating or consuming excess in the first place.

The final decision and conclusion is in your hands. Mostly, I urge you to never stop thinking critically.

 

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.

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!

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.