This post will be short and sweet. If you are like me, you try to avoid unnecessary chemicals coming in contact with your life as much as possible. Small changes to daily use products like shampoo, laundry detergent, lip balm, and hand soap can add up to make a big difference in the quantity of chemicals that your body has to process.
One of the largest offenders of hash chemicals in the beauty world is nail polish. Most nail polishes contain hormone-disrupting chemicals, including triphenyl phosphate, or TPP, which has been found in breast milk!(See full article from Huffington Post here).
But alas! There’s good news. well+Good, one of my favorite sites for all things related to healthy living, has just published their list of the Top 25 “5-Free” Nail Polishes. I will admit, as a resident of small town Indiana, I’ve only heard of (or have had access to) 2 of these 25 brands. But never fear, that’s what online shopping is for!
A “5-Free” nail polish is free from Toluene, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin and Camphor.
I’ve personally tried one of these brands, Butter London, which I’ve found works very well! The label on the bottle says that Butter is a “3 Free” nail polish, so maybe it’s not the best option, but it’s all I can buy in town. A bottle typically costs $15, but if you’re clever you can sometimes find a bottle at TJMaxx for $4.50!
I really like Butter nail polish overall. It definitely takes two layers, but I have found that it dries very fast. Butter nail polish also does not have a harsh smell, which I appreciate. typically my nails chip within 24 hours after painting, but with Butter I’ve gotten then to last up to 4 days without a single chip!
Minimize your daily contact with harmful chemicals for a healthier you!
We all want to be better. Look better, act better, eat better. But when it comes to fashion, American’s rarely think about what it means to dressbetter.
In this context, I am not using the word better to mean more designer brands, or clothing that fits well.
To me, “dress better” means:
Buy clothing with minimal environmental impact.
Buy from brands that give back in some way.
Shop from manufacturers who have a humanitarian supply chain.
Re use more.
Love every item.
For those of you who want a better understanding of what I’m talking about, watch this piece about Fast Fashion by John Oliver on HBO’s Last Week Tonight:
“In 2013 American’s purchased on average 64 items per person.”
So instead of buying 64 non-sustainable, cheaply made clothing items that won’t last, maybe this year you decide to limit your purchases to 24 items and to get all of them either second-hand, or from sustainable companies. That’s still two items a month! And instead of items that fall apart after 6 months, buying sustainable also means higher quality. These are things that can last a decade!
Brands that I love:
Swedish Stockings– Yes even stockings/tights can be purchased from a sustainable source. On average these cost $20/pair which is comparable to brands such as Banana Republic.
Nisolo – This is an amazing shoe brand that hand crafts leather shoes at a very reasonable price. Nisolo is committed to using local resources for their shoes, and every single shoe is made by hand. Price range: $90 – $250 on average for a pair of shoes. Nisolo means “Not Alone”. This brand is a constant reminder that our daily choices can impact others.
Pact– My lovely boyfriend bought me some boot socks from this company for the holidays. Pact makes socks, underwear, undershirts, camisoles, pajamas, leggings, and baby clothes from organic cotton! They have tons of styles, and even have socks for flats! Their motto – “We make clothes that don’t hurt people”. I’d compare prices to Express and The Limited, but the quality is much much better. No child labor, no sweatshops, no pesticides; shopping here is a no-brainier.
Cuyana – This isn’t the first time I’ve raved about Cuyana. I have purchased two tote bags from Cuyana and am so impressed with the company and the quality. For leather accessories there is no better brand out there. Every item is carefully crafted and look and feel way better than standard designer bags. A large tote costs about $160 and trust me, it’ll be softer leather than any tote you’ve felt from any brand at the mall. I’ve adopted Cuyana’s motto as my personal motto: Fewer, Better Things.
Everlane– This brand is all about Radical Transparency. So much in fact that the order page for every item comes with a Transparent Pricing guide that shoes you exactly how much each step of the process cost to make the garment.
Everlane is also transparent about their manufacturers. By partnering with small manufacturing shops around the world, and working closely with the owners of each shop, Everlane guarantees that the laborers who sew their clothes and farm their cotton are paid a fair wage and have safe working conditions.
For the holidays I bought three items from Everlane for my boyfriend: a cotton t-shit, a cotton long sleeve button down shirt, and a leather belt. All three items were wonderful quality and the fit is impeccable. My friend Theresa purchased two of their silk sleeveless button ups and we couldn’t believe the quality of the fabric. It’s the thickest, softest silk that I’ve ever touched!
To learn more about Consuming Less and Loving Everything You Own, check out my previous posts on living with aCapsule Wardrobe.
In the next post: I’ll reveal a way to re-use clothing that probably don’t know exists.
I received my third and final Stitch Fix “Fix” and I don’t think I’ll receive a fourth. It seems that the usefulness of using Stitch Fix has a lot to do with your lifestyle. If you are s busy mom that never has time to even glance in the direction of a clothing store to shop for yourself, Stitch Fix might be a huge aide to your hectic world. For me, it was a fun but unnecessary service that definitely was not a need in my life.
If you scroll back to my first post about Stitch Fix you’ll find a long rant about the appeal of Sustainable Fashion. It seems just bad luck for the Stitch Fix brand that I happened to find the Slow Fashion movement the exact same week that I found Stitch Fix. Unfortunately Stitch Fix does not offer (as far as I could tell) any sustainable brands. They do offer a few Made in USA items, but that’s about it. Furthermore Stitch Fix has its own brands (41 Hawthorne, Kut from Kloth, etc) which might be adding to the fast fashion issue.
Despite having these opinions, I decided to order a third fix, mostly because my friend Theresa had signed up and I had a $25 credit to use. Let’s see what they sent.
Item 1:Hanko Buffalo Plaid Vest – Pixley – $58
This item is probably an easy “yes” for most consumers but I’m just not a fan of vests. My arms get cold!
Item 2:Dean Skinny Jean – Just Black – $78
I liked the color and style of these pants, and I did specifically ask for colored skinny jeans, but unfortunately to justify adding them to my limited capsule wardrobe they needed to be one size larger.
I would have kept this sweater if the neck had been anything but a cowl. I already have a cowl sweater in my Fall and Winter capsules, and keeping with the “fewer better things” lifestyle I can’t justify buying another one, especially from a non sustainable brand.
This coat is a Stitch Fix brand and the fabric quality was terrible. It was not warm enough to be called a “peacoat”. Honestly this garment pisses me off and is the epitome of fast fashion in my opinion.
Item 5:Vance Henley Blouse – 41Hawhorne – $68
The good news: I asked for a colored blouse and I got one. The bad news: I gave color examples that are appropriate for winter, such as emerald or burgundy, and instead got cobalt blue. I already own a blouse almost identical to this and it’s in my summer capsule where it belongs. Oh and did I mention IT HAD A STAIN!!!
I was pleased by the packaging on Fix #3. I also had the same stylist as Fix #2 which made me happy. I think unfortunately that the stylist got my style wrong. Although I do like conservative clothing due to my professional workplace setting, I still want to look my age: 28. Often times the teams she’d send were things that I could see my mom wearing more so than myself.
And with that I say so long and fair well Stitch Fix. You were fun for a little while but ultimately not a service that fits with my lifestyle.
Just as the first, my second Stitch Fix arrived right on time in a beautifully wrapped package gleaming with promise and excitement. I had asked my stylist for a specific item this time around; a pair of mid-rise skinny jeans. Here are the items I received in my second Fix:
Item 1:Kamile Jersey Ruched Detail Dress – Gilli – $54
This item fit well, but I felt like it was too dowdy. This is the second time I’ve received a dress from Stitch Fix and felt like it was “too old” for my taste.
Item 2:Mariska Side Split Knit Top – RD Style – $48
This item is a tunic sweater with long slits up either side. I loved the fabric and color, but the fit was slightly too slouchy for me.
Item 3:Edgewater Knit Top – Loveappella – $48
This shirt was soft and fit well, but the price seemed high for a casual 3/4 sleeve cotton tee.
Item 4: Dayna Skinny Jean – Kut From Kloth – $88
Mid-rise black skinny jeans, just like I asked for! Well, almost. See more below!
Item 5: Marvin Jacket – Sanctuary – $138
This was the WORST item of this fix. It’s an outerwear coat that’s straight cut. The fabric was cotton, so not even close to being weatherproof. The collar and sleeves looked like the same style as on letter man jackets. Weird… The lack of a lapel also seemed odd to me. This was a total stitch fix fail.
What did I keep?
Well, although I was hoping for skinny BLUE jeans, I fell in love with the Kut from Kloth black skinny jeans that I received in my fix. I’ve been wearing them for over a month now (no not every single day…) and they are wonderful. Definitely mid-rise like I asked and the fit is perfect. The fabric feels thick which is how I like my skinnys.
I also kept Item #3. I hemmed and hawed on this item for the entire 3 days until my return package was due back in the mail. The shirt fits great and is super soft, but I was hesitant that it’s not special enough to warrant A) the $45 price and B) a coveted spot in my fall capsule (See Capsule Wardrobe: Narrowing Down the Options). In the end I kept it.
To recap, I kept 1 item from my first Stitch Fix and two items from my second. I’ll receive at least one more “Fix” before deciding whether or not to continue this service. Stay posted!
“A few weeks ago I received my second Stitch Fix and was shocked with what I found. Normally each box is nicely packaged. All of the clothes are neatly folded and wrapped in a piece of tissue paper with a little Stitch Fix label. My last box was completely disheveled. It literally looked like the person who packaged it tried on the items and then threw them into the box. One of the shirts was even inside out!”
–> Kimberly contacted Stitch Fix and let them know about the issue and her third box came with an apology note from her new stylist. Obviously no company wants to be represented in this way, but sometimes employees are disgruntled. If you ever have an experience similar to Kimberly’s post a message below. I’m curious to see just how often this happens.
The purpose of this post is two-fold: 1) To continue my journey into a life of “Fewer, Better Things”* and 2) To review my experience with the company Stitch Fix.
*The motto I’ve adopted from the amazingly socially reliable company Cuyana
I recently watched a movie on Netflix called The True Cost. The True Cost is a documentary uncovering the truth about the wasteful and harmful nature of the fashion industry. The“Fast Fashion”industry is the #2 polluting industry globally, second only to petroleum.
If you’re not convinced yet that buying 50 things on Black Friday is directly impacting our world in a very serious way, here are a few statistics that might pique your interest in learning more:
Fashion’s engine is powered by an estimated 40 million garment workers, most of whom make less than $1 per day.
The average American disposes of 80 lbs of clothing each year.
Fast fashion clothes are full of toxin chemicals including LEAD! (read more here)
Cotton farming is responsible for 2.6% of the world’s water use.
An estimated 17 to 20% of industrial water pollution comes from textile dyeing and treatment and an estimated 8,000 synthetic chemicals are used throughout the world to turn raw materials into textiles.
So what does all of this pollution and inhumane labor get us? A closet full of cheap clothes and pockets stuffed full of cash for the few fashion executives. So is it worth it? As part of my journey into defining and wearing a Capsule Wardrobe I cut down extremely on my fashion purchases. The first item that I bought was an amazing tote bag from a wonderfully sustainable company, Cuyana. I never realized that spending $160 on one bag could feel so good, but knowing that I put my money where my mouth is when it comes to buying clothing from responsible companies was outstanding.
Here it is in all it’s glory! If you haven’t heard of Stitch Fix and want to learn more, check it out here.
Prior to scheduling this fix, I filled out the lengthy style guide (which was very fun). I even included a specific note to my stylist regarding what I wanted to see in my first fix. I specifically asked for a black blaze, and not to include pants, shorts, or skirts. Not only did my stylist, Amber, follow the instructions to a T, she also included a lovely message regarding the items she chose and why. I created a Pinterest board filled with fashion pinsto help Amber understand my style. I highly recommend doing this. Amber even mentioned in her note that it was helpful
The fix also comes with a “style card” for each item which shows you how to mix and match it with items in your closet to have a stylish put together look. So let’s take a look at the items I received.
Item 1) Adrianna Circle Bib Necklace, by Zad, $34.00
Item 2)Dita Sleeveless Ponte Dress, by 41Hawthorne, $68.00
Item 3)Corinna Striped Dolman Top, by Market & Spruce, $48.00
Item 4)Kaylie Solid French Terry Blazer, by Tart, $128.00
Item 5)Liffey Button Down Top, by Skies are Blue, $58.00
After trying all of the pieces on, and mixing and matching with items in my summer capsule, I decided to only keep one thing; Item 3. I was also very close to keeping Item 2, and probably would of if it had been a brighter color.
I was also disappointed that 3 of the 5 pieces were Stitch Fix specific brands (41Hawthorne, Market & Spruce, Skies are Blue); meaning not something you can buy somewhere else. This wouldn’t bother me if they had a sustainability or eco-friendly statement on their website about their brands, but until I see that it makes me like this a tad less, but I still want to try it a few more times. This method of having handpicked items delivered to me should compliment the Capsule Wardrobe lifestyle well. It’s especially useful since I live in a smaller town without access to non “big box” clothing stores.
Pros: Everything fit, I’d score this a 7/10 for my style (not bad for the first try), a few items were very nice quality
Cons: Next time I will specify no jewelry, does not offer sustainable brands (that I’m aware of)
My take home message:
Stitch Fix, please add some sustainable brands to your lineup. I’d happily pay $30 more per item if I knew they came from companies dedicated to ending the “fast fashion” epidemic.
What is a Capsule Wardrobe. Caroline from Un-Fancy defines the Capsule Wardrobe as “A mini wardrobe made up of really versatile pieces that you totally LOVE to wear.”
I would like to expand on this definition by adding that a Capsule Wardrobe is a new way to refresh and minimize your daily outfit options in an attempt to better portray your style and restore energy. By committing to the use of a Capsule Wardrobe you are eliminating the amount of time and energy (both physical and mental) that you put into deciding what to wear day in and day out. I found that the process of creating a Capsule Wardrobe was very freeing and fun. Once I started to identify which items would belong in my spring capsule I noticed a true direction that my personal style was headed and this made me feel really happy and secure. Of course, as with any new challenge there were some obstacles. This post will focus on the hurdles I came across while creating my Spring Capsule, including the tools I used, and will tee up the next post where I’ll share my completed Spring Capsule.
To begin, I printed out Caroline’s Spring Capsule Wardrobe. Caroline is a master at Capsule wardrobes, fashion and photography. I wanted to use her spring 2015 capsule as a template for me to use. For each item that I decided to keep in my spring capsule, I’d find the item from her capsule wardrobe that is most similar and write a description of my item beneath. The idea here is that it’ll help make a well-balanced capsule; arguably the most difficult part of building a capsule wardrobe.
Caroline has GREAT style, but she also works from home. I work in corporate America and therefore have different needs in my capsule. I ended up substituting a lot of the t-shirt styles on Caroline’s spring capsule wardrobe with blouses. Caroline had one dress in her capsule, but I ended up with 5 because I love wearing dresses.
The point is: Make your capsule YOURS.
My friend Theresa pointed out that Caroline uses a very neutral palette. This would never work for Theresa because she loves wearing colors and patterns. I found that my capsule ended up being a mixture of neutrals for my work clothes and colorful patters for my weekend clothes. I don’t think that choosing a neutral palette is a requisite for living a capsule wardrobe life.
Caroline sticks to 37 items for her Capsules which includes 10 pairs of shoes. After two days of working on my spring capsule I’ve narrowed it down to 44 items, not including shoes. I decided to allow myself 5 extra pieces to account for the professional work wardrobe (mostly slacks and pencil skirts). I also will limit my shoes to 5 or 6 pairs so that I can have more dresses and skirts.
Another personal choice that I made is keeping only 6 tank tops. For my personal comfort and style I MUST wear a tank as an undershirt with almost every outfit. This is something I started in high school and find that it’s most flattering for my figure. Here’s the issue, how do I narrow a drawer full of 30+ tank tops down to just 6 that I will wear for the next 3 months?!
The solution was simple. I picked the ones that are most comfortable, pair well with the sweaters, jackets, and blouses that I wanted in my spring capsule, and I tried to pick the ones with minimal wear and tear.
Maybe for you tank tops aren’t that important, but you must have 10 pairs of flip-flops. The same general idea would apply.
Here’s another issue: “I have two shirts that are very similar but I can’t choose between the two!”
Both of these shirts are black, have silky accents at the neck, and are work appropriate. The difference is that the one on the left is lose and flowy (perfect for tucking into pencil skirts) and the one on the right is more fitted (better for wearing under jackets).
In a case like this where two things that you like are very similar, but you only have room for one in your capsule (remember capsule wardrobe don’t work if they have 100 pieces!) my suggestion is to wear both in the same week and pick the one that you enjoyed wearing more.
It’s that simple!
Ok, now go clean out your closet, whittle down what you will wear for the next 3 months, and begin living the simple and sophisticated Capsule Wardrobe life!
Getting rid of things is scary. I have total and complete FOMO when it comes to clothing. “But what if I go to a party where we all need to wear this specific shade of chartreuse? I NEED this shirt!”. Here’s the thing, you don’t need that shirt. And you don’t need that dress you wore to so-and-so’s wedding when you were 22. And you really don’t need the mini skirt you bought to go out dancing with your friends 3 years ago when you were single to show off how great your ass looks on the dance floor.
What we wear says something about who we are. Don’t get me wrong, during The Purge I held onto one mini skirt, but I let go of the other 8 I had (and opted to keep the least sexy of them all). Before we dive into the method behind the madness, let me show you what I was working with.
The Starting Point
This is my closet:
It’s massive, and totally packed. Along with the closet I also have a 5 drawer dresser brimming full of sweaters, camisoles, tank tops, you name it.
Sometimes these drawers are so full I struggle to close them. It even got to a point where I stopped trying to keep things neat inside the drawers. You know you have a problem when you don’t even fold tank tops.
You CAN NOT do this without removing EVERY PIECE of clothing from your closet.
Step 1: Take out every piece that you own
I mean it. Everything. I decided to go through my hanging items first one by one, not skipping over a single thing.
Step 2: Make piles
I ended up with seven piles. Each piece of clothing removed during step one would make it into one of these seven piles. Remember: no shirt left behind. You MUST categorize everything.
My piles were:
Spring Capsule (April-June)
Potential Summer Capsule (July-September)
Potential Fall Capsule (October – December)
Potential Winter Capsule (January – March)
Try to sell (clothes that are in good shape and recognizable brands)
Donate (clothes with some wear or minor stains or just way out of trend)
Costumes (a very tiny pile for clothes that will come in handy for your next 80’s party)
Step 3: Try it On
This is the worst step. It’s time consuming, exhausting, and potentially upsetting. But, I know that if I hadn’t tried on about 80% of these clothes last night my Purge would not have been nearly as successful. It’s ok if something doesn’t fit or you find a stain or is just bunches in a weird place. This just means that this piece of clothing is not for you and does not belong in one of your capsules. Sell it or donate it, but don’t let yourself keep it.
Step 4: Answer these 3 questions
For each piece of clothing that you decide to keep and place in one of the four capsule piles, ask yourself these three questions. It might sound silly, but I found that if I skipped this step I ended up keeping something that an hour later I’d realize really shouldn’t have stayed. By doing this step you’ll save yourself time I promise.
1) Does this piece of clothing still fit my style?
This question is important in making sure that you are wearing clothes that let people know who you are. By wearing clothes that fit our style back in college we might not be portraying the current version of ourselves which is confusing to the people around you and can also be confusing to yourself. Dress in a way that mirrors how you want to act and feel each day.
2) Does this piece of clothing flatter my body?
Certain styles fit certain body shapes in flattering ways. Why hold onto a piece of clothing that doesn’t fit right? If a skirt is too clingy for your body chances are wearing it to work will make you feel uncomfortable. There’s no need to put ourselves through that torture! Just get rid of it and find something that fits you better and gives you confidence instead of taking it away.
3) If I were in a store right now, would I buy this piece of clothing today?
This is my absolute favorite question. It is the easiest way to feel confident that you are making the right choice by keeping of discarding something. I believe that this question can extend outside of the closet as well. Next time you’re not sure if you need something, just think about it using this perspective, and voila! The answer is clear.
Here’s a picture of my closet now. I zoomed in on just the pieces that I’ve determined might make it into my spring capsule. Everything for the summer-fall-winter capsules were stored in a different location. (The clothes on the bottom are my boyfriends so those don’t count!)
It’s still more than I will allow myself in my final Spring Capsule, but that’s a job for tomorrow. In the next post I’ll explain how I narrowed down what items will stay in my Spring Capsule and how I made the decision.
After the Purge I am getting rid of over 50 articles of clothing and 10 accessories! (Shoes still to come)
Check back soon to find out how much cash I made on the items in my Sell pile and see what pieces make it into my Spring Capsule.
P.S. A special Thank You goes out to my boyfriend who sat and watched me try on clothes for nearly 3 hours and politely helped me notice when things didn’t fit as they should. We should all be so lucky to have someone around to help us in the way that he has helped me.
I often refer to myself as a “minimalist”, but then I see my closet and realize that what I actually am is a hypocrite. Can you be a minimalist in all aspect but your wardrobe and still self apply the title? Sure. But I felt like for me that would be cheating.
I live in a 1200 sq ft. house with my boyfriend, 120 lb. Great Dane, and a ragdoll cat (I’d add a picture but I doubt I’ll ever get one with both the dog and cat in it together!). When my boyfriend moved in I insisted on him getting rid of a lot of his stuff. To be fair I also did a fall-cleaning-purge. This included kitchen ware, household items, and yes, clothing. I try to keep little to no knick-knacks, stacks of things on shelves low, and nothing but personally hand-made magnets on the fridge (you know, for style). However, I have a huge double master closet with a bookshelf of shoes scarves, workout clothes and jewelry, a dresser packed to the brim, and a second coat closet full with jackets.
So why am I adamant about minimalism through the house except for in the closet?
I don’t actually know why, but what I do know is that it’s time for a change. Yesterday I began researching and planning my first ever capsule wardrobe and tonight I will execute. By tomorrow morning (the first day of the Spring quarter, and thus the spring wardrobe) I will wake up free of the clutter. I will no longer whine to my boyfriend “What should I wear to work today?”. Tomorrow I will wake up with a limited amount of options and will pick an outfit that reflects my current personal style, fits well, and makes me feel good.
Come back tomorrow to see how it went. Here goes nothing!
Recently I was asked to try a new cologne by Calvin Klein called Reveal as part of an Influenster product campaign. Although the sample I received is for the Reveal for Men, I decided to test it on both myself and my boyfriend. I should note that Calvin Klein also has a Reveal for Women fragrance but I have yet to smell that one.
This Vox “box” was really more of an envelope. Anytime that I receive something from Influenster I get excited and eagerly check the mail every day and then immediately take a selfie. It’s basic, but oh well!
The RevealMore package included the following as shown above:
1) Small sample of Reveal for Men by Calvin Klein
2) One small credit card holder from Calvin Klein
3) One informational post card with the VoxBox instructions and the Calvin Klein ad for Reveal.
So How Did It Smell?
For a Man: My boyfriend said “I like it. I’d wear it. It wasn’t too strong”. Maybe not a very through review, but it makes sense. I certainly liked the way that this scent smelled on him.
For a Woman: I wore this fragrance for two days. It definitely reminded me of a manly smell, but it wasn’t so powerful that I felt like that one smelly guy in the office that nobody wants to walk behind. Overall I’d say this is a very wearable cologne for women if you are into the muskier, manlier smells.
If you would like to joint the Influenster nation and get free products to review, follow this link.
I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.
Although in the website this little puppy fits nicely into someone’s hands, mine came out about twice as large! I did use size 6 needles as instructed, but my yarn must have been larger than what this pattern asked for. Here’s the correct yarn if you do want a small puppy in the chocolate color:
I was able to make this in two days. It is not overly complicated but does require a moderate amount of sewing.
As shown in this picture, the pattern instructs you to make all of the pieces separately and then sew them together (tail not shown).
As described in the modification I used one solid color instead of the “Pupster” pattern which has white face and paw accents. I also choose to use embroidery for the eyes instead of plastic since this is safer for infants (tutorial for face).
I definitely think that using the “sleepy face” from FuzzyMittens.com is a lot cuter than regular button eyes.
If you have never made a knit stuffed animal before I’m not sure if I would suggest starting with this one. The entire thing is knit by making flat pieces and then sewing up the seam. It can be difficult to make this look pretty if you’re new to working with yarn.
This pattern used about 50 g of yarn which made it a great project for “cleaning up” my clutter of half used skeins.
One more of my dog modeling with the sleepy puppy toy, because why not?