I read a research paper that depended on consumers keeping a "consumption diary". The researchers were trying to understand what motivates people to buy clothing.
Something I've been "consumed" with for many years, I decided to try one myself. I will be keeping a log to document all the clothes and shoes purchased during a period. I’m going to keep it for three months. The reason you ask? To better understand why I purchase things and also how much I buy. It's easy t forget the run by "The Gap" to pick up one item (or more) so I will document and log the purchases of what why when and how. Like in the case where my daughter had no more knee socks and I went looking for places to get them and ended up purchasing items for husband and myself too. Why? So my experiment begins.
Perhaps you are trying to pare down your own wardrobe and making due with more quality pieces?
In my world, buying more has been replaced with replace with quality, not quantity; and only when you need it. And I feel good about that too.
A few years ago the term bloggers, fashionistas and sustainability-lovers were using was “capsule wardrobes." Today we just call it the new normal.
If you are overwhelmed with closet chaos or just curious about the benefits of dressing with less and simplifying your wardrobe then we have some simple ways to get started. But first, we want to caution not to worry too much about “doing it right”. Instead let it be messy at first, as you figure out what works best for your body, and your lifestyle.
In my own closet, I have about 30 items.
I’ve been working on this for 10 years, so each year I either replace, save, or recycle. Most of the items have a normal life span of 5 years. On average though most of my clothes are 10 years or less.
Once you’ve started down the path take some time to figure it all out.
Keep only those items that add value to your life, look good on you and provide multiple uses.
I’ve found that before shopping I focus your attention on seeking out top-quality, long-lasting pieces. And I work hard to curb my emotional spending habits.
Keep a journal of your shopping habits for 3 months. See what lesson’s you can learn from that time.
Here are a few tips on accessories:
Clothing is one thing and accessories are another. They are usually smaller and less expensive (although some purses are as much as down payment on a car!
Nevertheless, accessories can add splash, shine or just simply change the look. Which is one reason why we are so jazzed about our eco collection. Quality pieces that update your look with a smaller footprint.
A scarf vs. necklace, a hat or purse that takes attention away from what you are actually wearing.
We can't say it enough that accessories should be treated in the same manner as quality vs. quantity so don’t go crazy on 100 different necklaces to update your look. Instead concentrate on getting accessories that accent your style.
By being alert to what you need, get the best bang for your buck by being as concise as possible. I can happily spend hours putting together an outfit, but I need my accessories to go with pretty much everything in my wardrobe and be ready to be grabbed at a moment's notice.
I find that I generally opt for shoes and bags in neutral colorways—such as black, brown or white. They also need to be practical, so that means shoes need to be comfortable and bags roomy enough to fit my life in (check out Lancaster)
PICK A METAL (OR MULTIPLE!)
When it comes to accessorizing your capsule wardrobe, jewelry should be your first stop. Just like you built up your capsule wardrobe, build up your jewelry chest with pieces in your favorite metal (think gold, silver & brass).
Here are the perfect jewelry pieces to add to your capsule wardrobe:
- Simple stud earrings, think a faux (or real) diamond or round metal beads.
- 16 or 18′ inch necklace in gold or silver.
- One sleek bangle.
FIND THE PERFECT HANDBAG
You have a closet full of essentials, but what about the essentials that you have to carry on the daily? Dig in deep and pull out the handbags in there now:
Here are the best handbags to add to your capsule wardrobe:
- One good place to start is adding a large, versatile tote for the workweek.
- A small, crossbody can get you through the weekend (or a night out).
- If you’re feeling a little more daring, try a handbag in a bright color—like cobalt blue, mustard yellow or even, fuschia!
ADD A SCARF TO YOUR COLLECTION
- Take a cue from the French and add a Letol scarf that adds vibrancy to any outfit.
- Scarves can be belts too! Take a silky thin scarf and thread it through your belt loops of your favorite jeans!
When it comes to accessorizing a capsule wardrobe, look for accessories that either add color to your capsule wardrobe or blend in seamlessly!
Ever wonder about how your favorite clothes are made? Do you examine labels to learn the makeup of fabrics? Maybe you do this in the grocery store and don’t realize that you should be doing it for clothing and other textiles as well. Unfortunately in clothing, shoes & accessories, like food, you get what you pay for.
In earlier blogs I’ve done a deep dive in organics and I wanted to continue the education. Maybe you've heard of “tencel” but didn't really know what it was? More and more you can find bathing suits made of a lycra fiber created from recycling water bottles. I had to find out more. Wouldn’t finding ways to curb the environmental pollution caused by textile production start with finding new ways to produce fabrics that don’t require toxins and large amounts of water, and which minimize harm to the local ecology? Could recycled water bottles do that? I first had to parse out the different options.
First off, lets categorize the array of available fibers.
1) Grown naturally in Nature:
Under this category you’ll find wool, cotton, hemp, bamboo, silk. They are natural but can be found in a wide availability of quality. Some can be grown “sustainably” or grown in clear cut forests that actually denigrate the environment. For example, cotton is the most pesticide intensive crop in the world so most of the t's and jeans you wear are killing bees. The development of genetically modified cotton adds environmental problems at another level. That’s why 100% organic cotton is so effective in eliminating these issues.
Linen is made from flax plant and usually always using natural nontoxic dyes. That makes it a good choice for clothing. But ofcourse it wrinkles.
Wool on the other hand derived by animals can cause environmental damage and lead to poor treatment of animals. So what are you to choose from?
2) A human made fiber: Rayon, Nylon and polyester
Recent studies have shown that polyester, nylon and acrylic fabrics give off thousands of tiny plastic microfibers when they are washed. These fibers travel through our sewage systems and end up in the ocean where marine species can ingest them. The irony is that now we are finding that these plastics can be found in the fish that we eat – meaning we are consuming tiny bits of plastic that came from our clothing. Gross.
Also, made from petrochemicals, these synthetics are non-biodegradable, so they are inherently unsustainable on two counts.
Rayon (viscose) is another artificial fiber, made from wood pulp, which on the face of it seems more sustainable. Non sustainable practices however, such as clearing of old growth forest and/or subsistence farmers are used to make way for pulpwood plantations. Often the tree planted is eucalyptus, which draws up phenomenal amounts of water, causing problems in sensitive regions. To make rayon, the wood pulp is treated with hazardous chemicals such as caustic soda and sulphuric acid.[i]
Derivatives of Rayon are Acetate Acrylic & Lycra.
Acetate replaces silk in lower priced items. There are a lot of benefits to the end use of the garment (water resistant, wrinkle free, price) that has made it so prevalent. Acrylic replaces wool. It’s non-allergenic, dries quickly, draws moisture away from the body and is washable. Lastex developed in 1949 by DuPont Chemical and found under the brand name Lycra is weaved into many products to make them “better fitting”. Say hello to your athletic-wear funding the Koch Brothers who now own the brand. [ii] Also, after too many washing's the fiber breaks down and it is often just thrown into landfill.
Nylon is used for netting, carpets & of course hosiery and also found in bathing suits & fleece. Unfortunately, Nylon manufacture creates nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 310 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Essentially, making these fibers uses large amounts of water for cooling, along with lubricants which can become a source of contamination. Both processes are also very energy-hungry. Think about that when you go to buy your 10th fleece item.
3) Sustainable and Recycled fibers
Lyocell or brand name TENCEL® is a sustainably grown wood product. Because it is a proprietary fabric it is only made by one company in Germany. The company earned Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. Additionally, the chemicals used in Tencel are non toxic. [iii] For a fabric that has the smallest possible ecological footprint, choose brand-name or another lyocell fabric manufactured in Europe or the United States.
Fabrics found in bathing suits and winter fleece such as rayon, nylon and spandex can also be made using recycled fibers. These fibers are made from recycling plastic beverage bottles. The process is energy intensive but the finished fibers are soft and strong polyester thread that is then woven into fabric. Same fabric as before but keeping those pesky water bottles out of the landfill and oceans is a smart choice.
My research also found out that bleach and chemical dyes (used to color fabrics) are toxic using a combination of man-made dyes and dioxin-producing chlorine compounds. I had to google “dioxins” and was horrified with what I found. On the World Health Organizations website “Dioxins are highly toxic and can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and also cause cancer.” [iv] Turns out that dioxins don’t ever degrade and they collect in fatty tissues of animals. (That’s you and me) Ok, so even natural fibers can be tricky to navigate.
Also consider the other materials used in clothing and shoes & accessories like
Leather (with polluting tanning and dying processes, as well as intensive farming impacts and animal rights issues) and PVC – a notoriously toxic material.
Fun stuff. Ultimately, what we put on our bodies have as much as an impact as what we put in it so treat your body like the temple it is and look for those brands that use environmentally responsible and nontoxic materials and use processes & treatment of workers and animals with respect. You can count on the belts, scarves, hats, jewelry and other products at One Savvy Mother has been chosen for the lowest environmental impact. You can trust us. Shop Now
Well, we aren't actually advocating you drop Pinterest but we got your attention didn't we? This month's blog is about pairing your style with the right accessories. We've all bought something on a whim only to find that it goes with nothing in our closets. Here are 8 styles and how to get the best look from your accessories.
You're confident in simple tops & basic slacks. This is your style for work and play and you stick with low patterns, light hues & basic cuts.
Pair this style with a cuff bracelet and a trendy purse of coordinating colors.
You dress with exotic flair and you're leading the pack. The look is bold, mysterious & eye catching.
Choose accessories that have tribal or animal looks. It will give the look without all the fuss.
If your closet holds girly blouses, A-line skirts & cable sweaters you fall into the preppy style. You don't have to dress like a school girl though.
This style doesn't have to be plain. Choose pops of color & classic designs.
4. Bohemian (Boho)
This style is created with intricate patterns & exotic textures.
Choose accessories with fringe that can compete with the patterns or wear neutral that won't compete.
Good news! This style is trending for fall. So pull out your jeans & tees and pair it with a plaid shirt. Boots are optional
Don't forget the hat!
6. Girl Next Door
This look pairs classic design without the rush to be trendy. You don't go wild or exotic and the focus is on simplicity, stripes & tennis shoes.
Choose your accessories from classic designs but added flair for a little eye turning attention.
The polished and sophisticated look is a mainstay. You're an overachiever and your closet is no exception.
Pair your smart and snazzy blazers and pencil skirts with handbags as polished as you are.
This simple and modern look is not like shopping in the boys section but you won't find any lace or frills around. You're more likely to be wearing a graphic tee, straight leg loose fitting slacks and a pair of flats. Now that's how you do it girl-style.
Add a polished look with a belt.
Our favorite alternative to leather is cork handbags. With nature-inspired details and functional designs, these pieces were made with sustainable methods and materials that you can truly feel good about.
The Material: Cork
The high-quality cork fabric is made from the shavings of Cork Oak trees. Cork can be harvested every nine years without harming the trees. This makes cork a renewable, biodegradable and altogether sustainable material. What’s more, cork oak trees grow naturally without the use of any pesticides, watering or pruning. By buying cork you are supporting the continued value of these old growth forests.
The shavings are then made into a fabric by compressing a thick slice of cork with a natural fabric like cotton. In addition to being environmentally-friendly, it’s extremely durable, waterproof, stain resistant and easy to clean. Portugal is the number one producer of cork, as Cork Oak trees are native to the region.
The Production: Artisanal and Innovative
One Savvy Mother believes its brands should go the extra mile for the sake of the environment. That’s why the sourcing of cork is not the only material that makes the products sustainable. Other materials used are organic cotton, kelp-based “leather alternative” and leather. There is also an emphasis on facilities where all employees are treated fairly.
Not only are the workers paid a fair wage but with attention to detail and expertise of the artisans that we work with most of the production is handmade. Using methods that ensure that craftsmanship is learned and repeated we are dedicating the future to sustainable methods.
Functionality Inspired by Nature
What drives inspiration? Given that cork is the basis of the products, brands get inspired by nature and the fields of cork trees seen throughout the Mediterranean countries. Nothing short of the beauty of Mother Nature can be seen in all the designs. But don’t expect perfection; natural flaws are what make cork so beautiful.
Another design goal? Creating products that are truly useful. And then adding a dose of style. Handbags are lightweight, full of pockets, and the natural look of cork is so stylish.
Shop all Cork Bags (link)
By now you've heard of capsule wardrobe. Bloggers, fashionistas and sustainability-lovers are going crazy over small, curated closets that are rotated seasonably. The idea of it is to pare down your wardrobe to a designated number of mix and match items. Every season, you can purchase a few high-quality pieces to incorporate into your rotation.
There are quite a few tips out there on which shirts, jeans and booties to incorporate into each season’s wardrobe, but how does the wannabee-capsuler incorporate accessories?
Some sources say that when it comes to a capsule wardrobe, jewelry, bags, hats and scarves should be limited. Others argue that changing up your accessories is essential to adding excitement to go-to styles. The choice is really up to you, but here are a few things to consider.
If you are going to limit your accessories….
Caroline Rector, the blogger behind un-fancy, is a huge advocate “the rule of three” when it comes to her capsule wardrobe. What is “the rule of three,” you may ask?
Let’s say you decide to limit your jewelry to three of each kind of accessories: three necklaces, three bracelets, three hats/scarves. Of the three necklaces you own, one could be a statement-making piece, one a simple piece and one is something in between.
For example, imagine how these three ethically-made necklaces could be incorporated into a capsule wardrobe:
If you aren’t going to limit your accessories…
You should still clean out cheap accessories that you’re not 100% crazy about. Capsule wardrobes are all about only wearing high-quality pieces that you’ll love. You want thoughtful pieces with stories behind them – not some trendy costume jewelry you bought on a whim.
Adding something new…
With capsule wardrobes, you’re only buying a few pieces every season. These pieces should be wardrobe-changing essentials that you’ve thought long and hard about. Accessories are the perfect item to update for multiple reasons: a single accessory can transform any outfit, it won’t add much bulk to your closet and it’ll take you into new seasons. After all, who doesn’t want to rotate between bold summertime necklaces and cozy winter scarves?
Of course, capsule wardrobes are much better for the environment than overstuffed closets. To make your wardrobe as green as possible, make sure that any accessories or garments you incorporate are sustainably sourced.
I got to thinking about why purses, handbags, clutches, totes, etc. were so diverse and how each one serves different purposes. How did fabric, leather & metal come together so we could move around better? When did this happen? What I wanted to know was how it all developed. When did our appetite to carry all our stuff in a handsome carryall begin?
Here’s a brief history. It’s simple really. Ever since men began needing to carry coins there has been bags & purses. Originally worn from the belt they provided a means for carrying personal items. In the early 1700’s people began sewing pockets into trousers and ever since then the purse has been a women’s domain.
From the 1700’s up until the 20th century women continued using bags made of metal hung from the waist. They were small and didn’t hold much. Even for traveling, women’s bags were often heavy and ill suited. In the 20th century the handbag was born. Until women began doing their own shopping, carrying items that were formally done by servants did the supply and demand meet up. Of course it was a woman who picked up on the early shifts in need.
Coco Chanel was credited as the marketer of the handbag. Her first designs called 2.55 (flap bag) out in 1929 was one of the first to market. It was designed to free up hands by adding a shoulder strap, inspired by the straps found on a soldier’s bag. The major luggage manufacturers followed with Hermès, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior all launching handbags in the ‘40s and ‘50s.
As women worked, owned their own property and took on more and more responsibility, the uses and designs of handbags grew. We now have satchel, sling, tote, backpacks, duffel, baguettes, miniaudiere, bowling, buckets, doctors, hobos, messengers, saddle & envelopes to name just a few.
Originally bags were made from metal and as they grew larger, fabric and leather was used. Now a days we use cork, vegan leather, leather, fabric, metals and upcycled materials such as ReWilder's beer cloth.
So next time you want to buy a new handbag, think about the need because there is a bag for you and you can put it down to a celebration of equality. And we can never have too much of that!
Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22 to demonstrate support for environment protection since 1970.
DID YOU KNOW?
- In 1970, Gaylord Nelson, (a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin), built a national staff of 85 to promote environmental events across the land.
- The first Earth Day was held on April 22,1970 when, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies.
- In 1990, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage.
- Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
WAYTS TO GET INVOLVED
- 1. March for science in National Hall, Washington DC, April 22, 8 am.
The day’s program will include speeches and training's with scientists and civic organizers, musical performances, and a march through the streets of Washington, D.C. as well as 514 Satellite Marches in many other cities across the U.S.
- 2. Things to do around your neighborhood
- Plant a tree
- Clean up a local park
- Educate people about environment protections
- Talk to your representatives about environment protections
- Buy green and sustainable apparel, food & household goods
- Read your labels
- Take a tech break, unplug and smell the roses instead
- Turn off your lights
- Go vegetarian or eat less meat
3. In Boston, MA Join One Savvy Mother on April 24, 2017
Earth Day & Fashion Revolution actions: Join us as we celebrate the efforts of #ecofashion community and beyond. (LINK TO RSVP & more information.
Sign a postcard that asks your representatives to give environmental and fair working conditions a voice. The postcards are preprinted and you just need to add your signature and address. We will send them to your representatives seeking equitable pay & fair working conditions for garment workers in the U.S. & abroad.
This post was written by Ningjing Lui, Student at Babson College, Wellesley, MA
There is a tremendous stigma about older clothes that needs rethinking.
|Making garments last should be a source of pride|
Even paying for repairs by professionals is (most of the time) more economical compared to replacing items.
- Try learning to repair socks and getting shoes resoled. By doing this, you can make those clothes you love and wear regularly last longer, reducing the chances of buying new pieces of clothing that have a future in the back of your closet.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in 2014, more than 16.2 million tons of textiles were generated, but only 16 percent of clothing and shoes were recycled.
If all else fails and repair is out of the question then here are a few ideas to keep those items out of the landfill.
- Use old handbags for your daughters dress up time or as a bag for extra toiletries.
- Repurpose leather belts into a dog collar or fill an old pair of boots with sand and use it as a door stopper. Be creative with how you can use them. Etsy is also a great source of inspiration.
- Support local businesses in your neighborhood like tailors & cobblers. Not only do you extend the use of your items but bring valuable dollars to these mom and pop stores.
Finally, many of us have a closet full of old handbags, leather jackets & shoes. If you are like me there are some that have been repaired more than once. Sometimes the item is just too far gone. What can you do?
- Donate to artists and DYIers so they can "reclaim" the leather into new functional items. A quick google search will yield local donation centers.
- Have you seen Palomino Jewelry? Katie uses reclaimed leather & hardware from old handbags to create her jewelry designs. Check out Palomino Collection here
Do you have old furs that are taking up space in your closet and you want to rid yourself of them? Donate between January and April 22 (Earth Day) those furs to Coats for Cubs that use them in the rehab of orphaned animals around the U.S.
This project was a lot of fun to do. The point was to dissect outfits that I wear. Who made the apparel? How long have I owned them? Is it a good outfit? It's not that my closet is anything great mind you. What if it was like Barbie’s dream house closet? Now that’s a closet! But mine, well, just an ordinary closet unfortunately.
But that’s the point right? To show, to encourage, to teach how your closet can be more “green”. Right now, the apparel & fashion industry is the 2nd most polluting industry on Earth. Yes. Right up there with polluting oil and gas industry. The only way to change that is through the choices you and I make about how we dress & adorn.
So what are my takeaways?
- Quality over Quantity - When buying clothing, accessories & shoes buy the highest quality you can afford.
- Shop in your closet – Strive to wear what you already have at least 30 wears.
- Ask for better standards – Talk to your favorite store and let them know you care about how your clothes are made and from what material they are from. i.e. Ask for organic and no sweat shops.
- Buy less – If you shop less, you’ll have more money to buy quality (see #1) but don’t feel guilty when you do shop just buy “right”. i.e. Shop OneSavvyMother.com because you know the products are made right and stylish.
- Support Eco fashion – Put your money where your mouth is and move away from luxury designers until they change their dirty ways. Support the young industry of Eco fashion designers & retailers instead.
- Buy Consignment – Go thrifting for jeans, jackets & shoes. You can buy great items for a fraction of the cost of new and you'll be supporting #30wears.
Leave us a comment about how you'll make a difference and opt in with your email address so we can stay in touch. We’ll give you $25 towards a purchase at One Savvy Mother.
Thanks for reading #greenyourcloset and shopping onesavvymother.com.
Be sure and check out @slowfashionmom on Youtube or catch the first four blogs in this series: