Category: Related

August Break

This I Wear | August Break

Dear readers, though it feels as though summer just began yesterday, we are nearing the end of July already! It is time for play, being outside, eating watermelon, and doing nothing but sitting still when the heat is just too much. And that is exactly what I do each August when I take a little break from writing here to enjoy the warm weather.

While I strongly advocate that you too take some time away from your screen, I have a few ideas if you are looking for entertainment in the meantime:

01. Listen to the podcast “A Few Things with Claire and Erica”, the two friends behind the amazing site, Of A Kind. Their newsletter filled with spot-on recommendations was so wildly successfully that they’ve turned it into a weekly radio show with special guests. I love last week’s episode with tips on how to not just “throw away” your stuff if you’ve been inspired by the Marie Kondo craze. I also love love the episode on your 20s vs your 30s – it’s just too good.

02. Sign up for the Tradlands newsletter. I love a good, curated article list as much as I love an ethically made button down shirt. Sadie at Tradlands offers both to her email subscribers, and I currently can’t get enough.

03. Join me in counting down the days until Matt & Nat’s Fall ’15 handbags are released, and we finally get the beautiful red (vegan, ethically made) handbag of our dreams. See the sneak peek on Pinterest!

04. Find a hammock and settle in to read these two stunning articles that will have you questioning if any of us really know what we’re buying when we shop: “Online Grocery Shopping” via NYTimes and “The Myth of the Ethical Shopper” via HuffPo.

05. Revisit some oldies-but-goodies from the THIS I WEAR archives. Here are a few of my favorites:
I’m not a Fashion Omnivore
The Myth of Dry Cleaning
Sashiko: Finding Beauty in Mending
3 tips for recognizing quality clothing
Style Story: Yvette (my epic interview with my mom!)
The Black Silk Tunic & My Alter Ego

I also have a small favor to ask of you. I’d love to hear from you by email or in the Comments section below to know what you’d like more of here once I’m back next month. Are you wanting more style interviews, ethical brand recommendations, natural/organic beauty products, ethical home décor, tips on mending and investing in your clothes, sustainability career advice, or just good old stories of what I’m up to? Perhaps you are just hoping for a hit list of other bloggers, brands and communities to learn more about responsible fashion? Let me know.

See you in September!

Related No.6

This week, despite having multiple finished posts ready for your reading pleasure, I’m going to keep you in suspense just a little longer. Why? Because this week, I’m feeling a little bit more interested in being inspired than sharing. There’s something about the changing of the season that makes me feel more like listening than talking or writing. So here’s a few things that have been lighting me up lately, and I hope you’ll share what’s inspiring you in the comments.

1. Read Essential Ayurveda by Subhra Krishnan. I picked up this book at my yoga studio and it was the perfect introduction to Ayurveda. I’ll be talking more about why I loved it very soon, but why not get a head start on all of the lovely beauty and health tips about staying balanced year-round?
2. Adopt a plant. I just bought a little rosemary plant to add to my apartment’s greenery, and I have to say that buying a plant really brings out your inner optimist. Now just to find the perfect container for it…
3. Sign up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share! April and May are prime time for securing a farm share and getting delicious, freshly picked produce every single freaking week from summer into winter. Have no idea what I’m talking about? Read this. Then look up what’s available in your community on LocalHarvest.org.
4. Email me your career questions. I’ve been getting quite a lot of requests for career advice from many of you interested in working in sustainable fashion or a CSR department full-time. I will be putting a post together on my experience, so please email me if you’d like to make sure your question is answered.

*A little extra: Attend the book discussion of Maria Eugenia Girón with Kate Black on April 7th at the Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator. The event will celebrate the launch of Girón’s new book, Sustainable Luxury and Social Entrepreneurship: Stories from the Pioneers, based on her experience in the luxury world.

Want more? Follow me on Twitter for more favorite reads and stylish finds.

Get Your Style Straight

This I Wear | Into Mind WorkbookFinding your personal style is perhaps a lifelong journey, but working through Into Mind’s “Personal Style & The Perfect Wardrobe” workbook was only 5 months long, though it was 4.5 months longer than I expected it would take me.

When this minimalist wardrobe workbook was first released in fall of 2014, I purchased it and shared excitedly about the journey I was going to embark on. But I didn’t realize then that it would take me so long to complete. Nor did I realize it would be so hard. However, now that I’m at a happy place with it, I can tell you that it was worth it.

Some quick context: Anuschka Rees founded and writes a popular blog about creating a minimalist wardrobe, Into Mind. Her posts are expert lessons in garment quality, intentional living, creating a signature look, and so much more. The workbook is no less intensive – each section is an in-depth and reflective exercise to get you closer to finding your personal style and how to manifest it in your wardrobe, but it requires focus and time.

Initially, I found the workbook overwhelming, and I frequently found myself skipping pages after the initial closet dissection and preference finding sections. Yet the further I got into it and the more times I kept coming back to it, I found it easier to answer the questions. In fact, by the time I really had let it settle in (months later), I suddenly had a very focused Pinterest inspiration board that represents my style aspirations, and it felt really easy to explain my style. In “Section 6: Style Concept”, I felt proud to be able to write a single sentence summarizing my style, define the color palette, and identify the essential elements. That might sound silly, but it felt like an achievement.

That said, I don’t think you need to fill out every one of the 85 pages. I also think you should give yourself a long span of time to work on it, knowing that you’ll want to do some work, and then go back to it later to see if your answers hold up.

I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in experimenting with the capsule wardrobe idea that is so popular these days. I would also recommend this to anyone who like me has a disconnect between what they like and what’s in their closet: perhaps you know what you like but still can’t understand why it’s so hard to get dressed in the morning, or you keep buying the same “wrong” thing over and over without realizing it. Or perhaps you have an overflowing closet with many personalities and you’re trying to find the one that feels most right at this point in your life.

If you’re trying to make a wardrobe change and you’re willing to put in the time, I say go for it! Buy the workbook, put a nice printed copy in a binder, and get out your colored pencils and old issues of Vogue. And please tell me how it goes if you try it too.

P.S. Just to be super clear, I paid full-price for the workbook and do not receive any commission if you purchase it. I just think it’s a great tool!

On an unrelated note, I will likely not be posting next week as I’ll be traveling to visit family. See you back here the following week!

Onward

This I Wear | Onward

I love the fresh start of a new year, and this year in particular, there were so many things that I was glad to leave behind – probably more things than I could say that about in quite awhile and many of which left me exhausted enough to where writing wasn’t in the cards for the last few weeks! Gratitude, possibly the most overused word of 2014, seems like a burden more than a blessing after such a strange year for me. But actually once I gave it a moment of thought, I realized I was grateful for something this year. Not little “write a thank you note” level of grateful, but more like exploding fireworks levels of grateful.

What could inspire such levels of gratitude?

Well, this year, I’m grateful for what others might mistakenly call competition.

As I look back over 2014, I am filled with gratitude for something that I don’t talk about enough here: the other amazing writers/thinkers/doers that are making sustainable and ethical fashion and more thoughtful living and consuming an accessible and easier way of being for truly everyone.

I’ve written about it before, but for a long time I felt alone in this – looking for sustainable and responsible alternatives to what I was finding in stores as well as thinking differently about buying things. There have been other small movements – trends in buying secondhand and vintage clothes, the DIY movement, etc – but I’ve been waiting for the movement that emphasized quality and responsibility without compromising on aesthetics. The movement that was more about a lifestyle change than a small shift.

And looking back over this year, I feel like it’s arrived.

So for my moment of gratitude for 2014, I want to personally thank the people whom I think are doing an amazing job in this area – some of whom I know personally, and others I have only admired from afar; some of whom I agree with completely, and others that bring a different perspective but share a similar vision. These are my go-to visionaries and I am so grateful for what they’re adding to the conversation.

Susie, Style Bubble – for introducing ideas of sustainability in a brand new way to her fashion-focused audience. While the ideas might not seem revolutionary to those of us who have been exposed to sustainability for awhile now, Susie’s coverage of these ideas feels truly groundbreaking given her high fashion audience and her voice in the industry. I’ve become a huge fan over the last year.
Vanessa Friedman, NYTimes – for being bold enough to use an incredibly powerful position to shake some shit up in the fashion industry and question fashion’s seemingly untouchable modus operandi.
Bruno Pieters, Honest By – for being the best example of what real transparency is, and bringing authenticity to a historically inauthentic industry
Natalie, Alabama Chanin – for teaching everyone what’s actually possible for a fashion company to do. From fair wages to growing your own organic cotton, it might sound easier than it is in practice, but Natalie has shown us it’s not as impossible as it seems.
Danielle Vermeer – for her incredible passion for connecting people in sustainability
Anuschka, Into Mind – for breaking minimalism down for us so that simplicity is suddenly accessible
Courtney, Be More with Less (whom I recently discovered) – for showing that minimalism isn’t about stripping away everything, but bringing more meaning to what you have
The Ethical Writers Coalition – for taking the competition out of fashion blogging and showing that making eco-fashion the only kind of fashion is going to be a group effort.
Rita, The American Edit – for using her background in manufacturing to introduce us to the brands and people who are actually doing “Made in US” the right way. I’m not a “Made In USA” adherent but I really appreciate Rita’s perspective and wisdom.
Shannon Whitehead – honestly is there anything this woman is NOT doing? From teaching startups how to manufacture responsibly in the US to teaching us all more about sustainability in fashion, Shannon is killing IT on the ethical fashion education front and we’re all reaping the rewards.

This is a big list, but I would encourage all of you to check out these individuals and their work and be inspired. I think fashion is seen as a competitive field, and maybe blogging is too. But when I think about sustainability and the shared vision of a world that will be here and livable for future generations, there is no place for competition, only collaboration.

And I am so incredibly grateful and inspired by the people who each day use their voices and influence to promote a different vision, a different world where people are more happy, more content, living in sync and with respect for our earth, and not drowning in stuff.

Photo Sources (clockwise from top left): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

Goodbye Summer

This I Wear | Goodbye SummerPerhaps you know it’s Fall when your latest Vogue looks like they cut down an entire forest to print it, you’ve run out of vacation days, or just because you are finally ready to retire your jean shorts for the year.

Well, I know it’s Fall because my blog vacation has come to an end. It was such a lovely break for me, so thanks for hanging tight. As you can see above, my trip to Glacier National Park in Montana with Climate Ride was pretty epic. I’ve heard that they are going to host another hike next year, so if you’re interested in hiking, meeting other environmental enthusiasts, and fundraising for amazing environmental nonprofits, you can let them know by filling out this form! I imagine the next trip will fill up as soon as it is announced.

Coming back online has been slow, but I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. I am also looking forward to trading my jean shorts and hiking gear for some cozy sweaters and coats. And since I’m in San Francisco for work this week and it is cold and grey, Fall does feel within reach!

While I was away, I kept up with my reading and I have to say that there were a lot of hardworking folks this summer, creating some amazing stuff. Here’s a few:

– I just purchased and downloaded Into Mind’s Personal Style & Perfect Wardrobe Guide. I cannot wait to work through this book as I’ve been loving Anuschka’s minimalist take on wardrobing via her Berlin-based blog for the last few months. Let me know if you’ve tried it yet or if you’ll be working through it with me!

– I still have a lot to learn about leather and this interview with the Horween Leather family on the Distance was really informative. A few really great tidbits on quality and how the leather industry works.

– If after reading the Horween article, you are craving more “heritage” brand stories, Alabama Chanin’s look into the history of the Scottish cooperative, Harris Tweed, is so good and perfect if you can’t get enough of textiles.

– Last week was an amazing week for books about women (and men) and the stories behind their clothes. Not one but TWO books – “Worn Stories” and “Women in Clothes” are now out. Read a review of both books here.

– On September 21, thousands of people will march in NYC to demand an international climate change treaty as the UN convenes to discuss the issue. I’ll be there and would love for you to join me! More info here.

Looking forward to catching up with all of you soon!

P.S. What’s on your Fall shopping list? I’ll be doing a few “if you need it” posts and would love to do a little shopping research for you. Tweet @thisiwear or email me with what you’re looking for.

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