Category Archives: Ethical

Uncommon Jewelry

Have you heard about Uncommon Goods? It’s an online marketplace that showcases unique items from artisans and designers around the world. I’ve shopped the Uncommon Goods catalog in the past because it’s a fantastic place to find gifts—especially ones that are handmade, recycled and organic.

I had a unique opportunity to work with Uncommon Goods and style a couple of pieces of jewelry from their catalog. I chose a cuff and a pendant. Finally something for me!

necklace and bracelet

Pendant and bracelet c/o Uncommon Goods

Artisans in Namibia made this tribal-inspired upcycled pipe cuff (yes, it’s made from actual plastic pipe!) I love it looks like ivory, but is cruelty-free. I learned that all of the Uncommon Goods items are green and sustainable and that they’ve never sold products made with leather, feathers or fur. You know how important that is to me!

Cuff from Uncommon Goods

The mini rock stack pendant on a silver chain reminds me of the cairns I sometimes see on hiking trails or by the beach. It’s so calming, and I love that I’m supporting artists with this piece. People should make a living wage through their work, and Uncommon Goods advocates for that.

Necklace from Uncommon Goods

As for styling these pieces, I went with a monochromatic look. The pieces were so nature-inspired, that I thought my black and white leaf-print skirt would work.

black and white outfit

Top: Swapped
Skirt: Nordstrom Rack
Shoes: Aerosoles

leaf-pattern skirt

If you’re looking for gifts for others—or treat for yourself—check out the Uncommon Goods site. Besides jewelry, you’ll find art, home goods, garden items, and things for kids.

Uncommon Goods jewelery

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Jeans and a Mayamiko Tee

I’ve had my eye on a few items on the Mayamiko website, so imagine my surprise when I had the opportunity to take one of their limited-edition Time for Tee shirts for a test run.

African-print Tee

Tee c/o: Mayamiko
Jeans: Suzy Shier
Pleather boots: Diba
Cuff: Boutique in NYC
Earrings: DIY

I was drawn to Mayamiko’s beautiful African patterns with a contemporary twist, and I was really wowed when I learned Mayamiko products are ethically made in Malawi. The brand is fair trade, and provides training, a trade, living wages, and steady employment without harsh conditions—exactly the things I strive to support!

Mayamiko Tee and jeans

I chose this bold red, black and blue design because I knew it would be a great top to dress up denim. It’s also going to look great with black pants, my red jeans, and my blue pencil skirt. I love that the fabric has a slight stretch to it, which makes it really comfortable. It’s sturdy but not stiff, and it keeps its shape well.

Red and blue look from Mayamiko

On the site, you’ll see prices in British pounds, but you can change the currency using the drop-down. Sizes are also UK, so be sure to check the chart before ordering. I’m usually a US 6 or 8 and I ordered a UK 12. While I was choosing my tee, I couldn’t resist the Mayamiko culottes that I found on the website, so you’ll be seeing this top remixed soon!

Mayamiko Tee

Check out Mayamiko and see which pieces you like!

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Gray and White Thrifty Look

I just came back from vacation in Germany and while I sort, edit and cull my photos, I thought I’d share a thrifty look I wore shortly before I left for my trip.

gray and white

Top: Swapped
Pants: Suzy Shier
Shoes: Swapped
Bag: Thrifted

I picked up this top at a clothing exchanges a few years ago. It belonged to my friend Andrea, whose style I admire. At another clothing exchange, my friend Kristin handed these awesome wedges to me. She knew they were my size and, since I love her style sense too, she knew I’d like these.

gray fabric wedges and cords

The shoes and top work great with my cropped cords. I’ve had these for years. And they were only $5 from the Suzy Shier outlet in Cambridge, Ontario, the town my parents lived in for a while.

flowy top and cropped cords

My Harvey’s seatbelt bag was thrifted, and was also about $5, making this one of the least expensive outfits I own. Reduce, reuse, recycle!

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Bermuda Shorts and Basket-weave Top

Seattle’s summer is showing no signs of slowing down—and I’m not complaining! I love the warm weather. In summer I gravitate toward dresses, but shorts are a nice change.

Bermuda shorts

Top: Damselfly Seattle
Shorts: Saltworks via swapped
Shoes: Aerosoles
Purse: Crystalyn Kae
Bracelet: Brooklyn flea market

Shorts are usually too short and casual for work, but Bermuda-length shorts are fine in creative and/or casual environments.

woven-pattern top

I wore these to work with a loose top. I was drawn to this pattern because it looked like a thick, woven fabric. It’s an illusion—the pattern is printed on the fabric.

I like the dark background and how the top incorporates so many colors. It means I can wear this with almost anything. I like it with denim (so the denim shorts are a good fit), but it will look great with any solid pant or short.

shorts and sandals

I met up with Crystalyn Kae at Urban Craft Uprising this past July and I ended up with a cute lime green cross-body purse. Adorable, isn’t it?

Crystalyn Kae purse

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Floral Pants and Shooties

Okay, okay, I know. “Shooties” (shoes + booties) is a silly word like “jeggings.” But if “skorts” and “brunch” have staying power, maybe “shooties” will too.

floral pants

Cardi: Goodwill
T-shirt: Old Navy
Pants: Terra Cotta
Shoes: BHAVA Studio

I styled these floral pants on the blog last summer and the summer before, but the shooties are new. They’re by a vegan company called BHAVA Studio. These opened-toed booties are terrific for summer but will carry me through fall as well.

coral and floral

I’m looking forward to wearing my new footwear with shorts, pants, dresses—they’ll go with practically everything.

BHAVA

Another item that looks great with everything—especially bright colors—a simple white t-shirts. I don’t wear them often, but they’re  classic and don’t fight for attention with busy patterns. So I went with a white T this time.

semi-sheer pants

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Paisley Pants and a Monarch Tote

I’m wearing the paisley pants from Walla Walla again. I love how they’re a basic cropped white denim—with a special touch: velvety paisley. red, white and black I’ve always like the color combo of black, white and red, so I added a red top. Bonus, the color theme carries over to my new Cykochik tote. The tote is black and white with a red heart. And if you know your butterflies, you’ll recognize the pattern from the wings of the monarch. cykochic tote I had the pleasure of meeting Cykochik founder Nikki Duong Koenig when I was in Austin last month. I was so happy to see all her designs. Her cruelty-free, eco-friendly, and custom-made vegan handbags are made in Dallas. It was hard to choose just one, but I’d been eyeing this pattern online for a while so I grabbed it. cykochik Another awesome part of my outfit (if I do say so myself!) is that I’m wearing my new Nicora Johns Sally flats. I blogged about my Nicora Johns boots before, and I’m so in love with the company, the quality, and their mission, that I added these cute shoes to my collection. They’re handmade in LA and also vegan, sustainable, and eco-friendly. I enjoy shopping but when there’s a personal connection and I know I’m helping small businesses instead of conglomerates, it’s just that much better. tote and jeans I’m buying less these days, but when I do shop, I make sure I buy quality, and I support businesses whose values align with mine. It makes shopping so much more meaningful. Every piece has a story—and meaning. paisley pants and Nicora Johns shoes

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Striped Dress with Bell Sleeves

I picked up this dress when I was in Portland a couple of months ago. It has a neat, retro vibe. I got it at a used clothing store, so maybe it is vintage. Who knows?

striped dress

Dress: Crossroads Trading Co.
Earrings: DIY
Shoes: Arden Wohl x  Cri de Coeur

This will make a great go-to summer dress, although tights will make it a year-round item. In the heat of August, I’ll probably wear sandals. But for spring, a variety of shoe styles will work.

red shoes

I immediately thought of my Arden Wohl x  Cri de Coeur vegan suede shoes. The red shoes highlight the bold red stripes.

mismatched stripes

When clothes are made hastily and patterns don’t line up, it drives me crazy! I’ve walked away from purchased because of sloppy sewing. This dress, however is deliberately mismatched. In fact, there’s no seam down the center. It’s printed that way! This I can live with.

I wore this out to dinner with hubby and a couple we know. We went to a delicious vegan restaurant, Sutra. The menu is local, seasonal, and organic, and changes every two weeks! All the more reason to go back.

Oh, I’ve joined High Latitude Style, Penniless Socialite, Rachel the Hat, and Happiness at Midlife for linkups. See what all the others are wearing!

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Fashion Revolution: Who Made My Clothes?

Today is Fashion Revolution Day. This day marks the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, which killed over eleven hundred people and injured thousands more.

I’m joining others as we ask, “Who made my clothes?” Check out Instagram hashtags for #fashrev, #whomademyclothes, #fashionrevolutionday, and #whomadeyourclothes for lots of inspiring photos. You might see photos of people wearing their clothes inside out to show the labels–transparency in fashion!

who made my clothes?

I know who made my clothes!

Lois Eastlund label

Lois Eastlund made my dress. It looks fantastic (even inside out) because it’s handmade and she paid a lot of attention to detail. She’s a NY-based fashion designer and one of the founders of La Fashionista Compassionista–an awesome (and free) online magazine that you should get your hands on!

Lois Eastlund dress

Moses made my boots. They’re handmade in a factory in LA. The company, Nicora Johns, is helping to keep the US shoemaking industry alive. When I bought my boots, I got a photo of Moses in the shop where he made these. They’re also vegan–no animals or humans harmed!

Nicora Johns boots

Crystalyn Kae made my purse. It’s glazed fabric. Another great leather alternative. I met Crystalyn when she was located in Seattle. She’s based in NYC now, but you can find her amazing bags in stores nationwide and on her website.

Crystalyn Kae purse

Roque from Get Hell Bent made my cuff. It’s made from recycled bicycle tires. I have three of her cuffs. They’re so edgy and tough!

accessories

I made my earrings! It’s fun to create. My simple drop-chain earrings were easy to make and have become my go-to pair. They match everything!

I don’t know who made my tights. So it’s not a perfect outfit. But thinking about where my clothing comes from has opened my eyes. I heard 1 in 6 people is employed in fashion. But who are they? What are their working conditions like? How environmentally friendly is the factory? Animal skins require so many chemicals to turn them into leather and not decompose.

Fashion isn’t perfect, but I love knowing where my clothes came from and who made them. My goal is to buy exclusively from sustainable ethical companies. Sometimes that means things cost more. But do I really need thirty $8 tank tops? What if I had eight $30 tanks? They’d last longer, and I’d be putting my dollars where my values are.

Let’s start a revolution!

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Black and Red Maxi Skirt and Nicora John Boots

Today, I’m starting from the bottom up.

striped skirt

Vegan boots: Nicora John
Skirt: Fred Meyer
Top
: Gifted
Scarf: Herbivore Clothing
Faux leather jacket: Aeropostal

My new Nicora John boots are my favorite thing ever! They go with everything and are quickly becoming part of my “uniform.” These are handmade in LA, in an eco-friendly factory (solar panels anyone?). NJ is keeping the craft of shoemaking alive in the US, while working exclusively with textile leathers (meaning they’re all vegan). I can’t say enough great things about this company.

nicora johns noots

I found out Nicora John is doing a fundraiser to upgrade their factory, increase production, and lower costs.

Turns out there are next to zero shoe manufacturing facilities left in the United States available to emerging shoe companies, which forces them to outsource. The USA has lost 70,000 jobs in the show industry since 1979! And unregulated foreign-made shoes often lack animal welfare laws or labor and environmental standards.

There are so many reasons to support Nicora John. Plus, these boots are comfy! I’ll be getting the Willow boots next. So cute!

black and red

Okay, up to the skirt. This skirt looks red, but is actually a fine red and black striped fabric. I saw it on clearance and couldn’t resist (even though I’m trying to stick to my shopping goals of supporting USA-made and/or small businesses–it’s hard to break old habits and shop in a new way!).

I wore my new skirt with a scarf (purchased in a small shop), so maybe that evens things out. Scarves are my favorite way to dress up an outfit (and stay warm).

scarf and maxi

I think a faux leather jacket goes with just about anything. I wear mine all the time–with jeans, pencil skirts, dresses, and long skirts. This quilted version has a nice texture and is my go-to jacket.

skirt and jacket

I’m linking up with Style ElixirRachel the Hat, Penniless Socialite, and Rhea Etcetera–check out what everyone else is wearing!

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Safari Jacket with Scarf and Jeans

No, I’m not heading out on safari, but I am wearing a handy safari-style jacket. I found this in Vancouver, and as soon as I checked to make sure the sleeves were faux leather, I bought it.safari jacket

Jacket: Bedo
Jeans: Suzy Shier
Sweater: Express
Scarf: Bebenoir
Boots: Novacas
Tote: Crystalyn Kae

It works well with lots of outfits, but this time, I paired it with a bright sweater and scarf with a bird motif (Put a bird on it!).

bird scarf

I’ve been trying to shop locally, buy sustainably, and support fair trade brands. I find these types of articles last longer, even though they often cost more–so it evens out. Of course it will take a while to convert my wardrobe to the ethical closet I want it to be, but with each outfit, I try to incorporate such pieces.

For this outfit, my Novacas boots fit the bill. Made in Portugal, from green (non-leather) materials, the company prides itself in good working conditions and fair wages.

jeans and a sweater

My tote is glazed fabric and handmade by Crystalyn Kae, so it counts too (made in the USA, small business, sustainable, and ethical). I love her work and I’d encourage you to check out the line. She was one of the first brands to reach out to me to review a product, and I fell in love with her bags.

I’m joining the Penniless Socialite, Rachel the Hat, and Happiness at Mid-Life for link-ups. See what everyone else is wearing!

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