make-believe: springtime wardrobe.

May 9, 2013
I’m a creature of habit. If you’ve been reading these tea leaves for awhile, you know this. I relish in creating rhythms and routines, but in general it doesn’t take much for me to decide that something that I’m doing needs shaking up. When I went off to college, I took a few classes that touched on modern agriculture and I decided to change my food purchasing habits. I read an article (or four) about parabens and phthalates and I started paying closer attention to the stuff I put on my body. Watching this documentary was all I needed to convince me to curb my reliance on single-use plastics.  I worked on a sustainable farm and decided that eating animals–even ones that are happily raised–isn’t something I want to do. Those Green Mountain Energy guys? All they had to do was look my way and I signed right up. Okay, you get it.
Coming around to slow fashion has been a harder pill to swallow. It’s not for lack of interest or understanding, but where I’ve been able to absorb the additional costs of organic food and natural beauty products, buying into sustainable fashion has been more difficult. First there’s sticker shock and then there’s my perpetual desire to “get something new.”
Sometimes it is hard to break habits. The clothes above are what I’d be wearing this spring if money wasn’t an object. They aren’t all made here in the United States, but from what I can gather they’ve been made thoughtfully, without overt exploitation of people or the environment. This year I’m hoping to finally go in for a few investment pieces; beautifully-made clothes that will last and last. I’m also taking a page out of the book of my French friends and not giving a damn if I wear the same pair of jeans every day of the week. Quality over quantity. Michelle has the right idea.

*There are a few links to stories on slow fashion in this post from last week. I’m still waiting on someone to return this book to the library.

PS. This just in.

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  • Reply lisaathome May 9, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    this is something i struggle with too. while i'm all in when it comes to local, organic foods, the price tag of clothing like this has been difficult. I'm conscious of it and working towards purchasing items like this moving forward, especially since i'm increasingly minimalist when it comes to clothes.

  • Reply Brittan Amber May 9, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    These are beautiful pieces! I especially love blouse number one! I can't afford to buy sustainable clothing either, so I try to make up for it by buying thrift store clothes as often as possible. I also "hide" clothes that are off season and get them out 3-6 months later, tricking myself that I have new clothes, haha!

    I love that article by Michelle, though I'm shocked she had kittens in her closet for weeks without knowing!

  • Reply Lani May 9, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Quality over quantity, yes! What a great group of clothing items.

  • Reply Angel Y. | Static-Romance May 9, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    These are great options! I would love to dabble a bit more into slow-fashion because the more quality over quantity is a better motto to have when it comes to clothes. Great finds! Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply Anonymous May 9, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    It's a tough battle to dress sustainably. I find that if I need a quick fashion fix I head to a second-hand boutique for some recylced clothing.

  • Reply Anonymous May 9, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    In Ireland we stopped getting plastic bags a number of years ago. No grocery stores have them, no shops, no restaurants…if you want one you must pay 22 cent for it. Everyone I know keeps reusable cloth bags in their car boot (trunk). It is not at all difficult to do and yet I cannot understand why countries with huge populations, huge countries have not taken this simple step yet. If little Ireland can do it, so can your country.

    • Reply Erin May 9, 2013 at 5:57 pm

      Yes, so great! Hopeful the US will follow suit!

  • Reply Inge May 9, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    The path to slow fashion has been longer for me, too. I really like not having many clothes, so wanting many new things isn't the problem. It's just that at this moment, I can not afford the conscious option when I really need something new (like when I only had one pair of pants). Aside from that, I just don't buy anything. I've started making my own clothes, which I'm not very good at yet, but is the best way to know where your clothes come from (if you care to look into your fabrics as well and choose sustainable ones). And after all the work I put into those handmade clothes, I know I'll wear it to death!

    • Reply Erin May 9, 2013 at 5:58 pm

      I know it. I don't really make very many purchases at all…but that doesn't keep me from *wanting* to! Making your own is such a laudable solution!

  • Reply emily @ cabin fervor May 9, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    I too am going down this road, or at least starting. My work is in international development, and as I renovate my own home and clothe and feed my family, the burden of my own wastefulness and excess by comparison is getting heavier.

    However, in addition to the cost of slow fashion, another prohibitive factor for me is just sourcing more responsible clothing. Where to find it? Then, how to choose styles with more staying power? It requires much more thought than I've previously given it. I guess that is the point, though, right?

    Another challenge: children's clothing. Ack. Time to dust off the sewing machine.

    • Reply Erin May 9, 2013 at 5:57 pm

      I totally hear you. I'd *love* to make some of my own clothes!

  • Reply Erin May 9, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    I had no idea J Brand fit into this category – pricey but I can wear them for a week without a wash!

    • Reply Erin May 9, 2013 at 5:56 pm

      I know it! Made in the US!

  • Reply Chase @ The Smell of Summer May 9, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    I definitely agree that sustainable fashion is a tough battle as it can be pricey. Nonetheless, beautiful clothes. I especially love the dress. Thanks for posting!

    Chase Miller
    The Smell of Summer – A Boutique Surf Lifestyle Blog

  • Reply Libby May 9, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    It's definitely a shock, moving over to ethical and sustainable fashion. It's something I really want to get into, but on a teenager's budget it's easier said than done. I don't see any point in chucking away everything I own and spending thousands on an all-new, all-ethical wardrobe, but for the past few months I've been making a concious effort to buy either new clothes from ethical companies, or second-hand clothes.
    I've heard good things about People Tree, and their sales are pretty good, as well as having a 10% student discount, so if I can actually snap up something in my size that would be great! There's American Apparel too — I'm a little iffy about them, as Dov Charney, their CEO, seems a little bit creepy and I'm not sure if I want to be supporting him — but their t-shirts are what many people on Etsy use to screenprint on, which I like because you get to support small businesses on Etsy whilst also getting an ethical tee.
    I'm looking forward to reading more about your experiences with ethical clothing!

  • Reply Diana @ Brooklyn Atlas May 9, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    I'm about half-way through "Overdressed" and it's been really eye-opening so far. (Actually, I first saw it on your Week in Objects post.) When the author breaks down the cost of producing a piece of clothing in the US, including materials and labor, it becomes shocking how we can get clothing so cheaply at all these chain stores. I've also been finding it hard to completely ween myself from nonsustainable clothing, but crossing my fingers that over time it'll become easier. Over the last 10 years or so Americans have become more used to the idea of well-made, pricier denim as investment pieces, so hopefully over time we'll apply the same quality-over-quantity philosophy to other items as well.

    • Reply Erin May 10, 2013 at 12:35 pm

      Glad you got your hands on a copy! I can't wait to read it. Excellent point re: jeans!

  • Reply Lexie May 9, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    I know I commented last week, but thinking some more, one of the easiest ways to move get around "fast fashion" is by shopping at second-hand stores. I can give myself lots of credit for doing that! šŸ™‚

    • Reply Erin May 10, 2013 at 12:34 pm

      I agree. Though I fully admit that thrift stores overwhelm me…so much to sift through! I leave empty-handed from sheer option overload more often than not (same goes for the big chains)!

  • Reply Mags Pomichowski May 10, 2013 at 4:24 am

    I love that shirt dress! Super cute and comfy.


  • Reply Emily May 10, 2013 at 5:16 am

    Hi Erin,

    I'm one of those, "I've never commented before, but…" folks, crawling out of the woodwork on this one. I appreciate your blog for the consciousness that you combine with aesthetic appeal. There is a lot of emphasis in the lifestyle blogosphere–which is increasingly a visual spectacle–on consumption as a path to cultivating taste and social capital. This primarily occurs via product endorsement, often from suspect sources. You set yourself apart by establishing taste as less a matter of consumption and more a matter of finding beauty and gratitude in everyday settings. And when you do put in a plug, you do so thoughtfully.

    I am like you in that I want to reconcile my aesthetic values with my social and political values. The older I get (I'm probably your age and as I consider it, very demographically similar to you) the more I relent that I live in a material world. I'm letting go of the material aestheticism I have ascribed to in the past, letting myself buy beautiful things occasionally, yet I still want to maintain consciousness of sourcing. It's a difficult balance. A balance that I think you've been getting at eloquently on your blog through your themes of simple living, gratitude, minimalism, social consciousness, while recognizing for yourself and your readers the beauty and satisfaction that thoughtfully sourced material things can also provide. Well done.



    • Reply Erin May 10, 2013 at 12:38 pm

      Emily, thanks for taking the time to write such a thoughtful note. Finding the right balance in blogging can be tricky. Sometimes I really think about scrapping any post about consumerism at all, but I'm so grateful to hear your thoughts on the subject. I'm hopeful that I can always keep this space filled with things that I personally admire and appreciate. Thanks so much for reading.

    • Reply Emily May 10, 2013 at 4:57 pm

      And thank you, Erin, for taking the time to respond. Cheers.

  • Reply mymomentsofbeing May 10, 2013 at 9:57 am

    I guess this post and last Friday's answer my questions from a few weeks ago. Thank you for all this information!
    And to join in with Emily's eloquent writing, thank you for the constant inspiration you give us to try and be more 'conscious' in many aspects of our lives.

    • Reply Erin May 10, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      Oh gosh! Thanks for your note. I'm not recalling your question at the moment…I hope it wasn't one that I missed in shuffle!

    • Reply mymomentsofbeing May 10, 2013 at 7:16 pm

      Oh it's the last comment in the 'week in objects' of 29.03 – I was actually curious about you thoughts on clothes… Now I know!

  • Reply Celestial Times May 10, 2013 at 11:02 am

    What a GREAT Post! I stop in here a lot because I love your thought on living in a small space. I love your make believe posts and the things you like and just take photo's of.

    I am one that trys my best to purchase used items through thrift stores, craigslist or even ebay. I can't imagine paying a lot money for clothes or items for my home. My husband and I wear our clothes till we honestly can't wear them anymore.

    I went and looked at the Bag it link and wow! That will forever make me more aware and and more inclined to take my bags to the grocery store now. I have a few and do take them on planned trips because their easier to handle up to a 3rd floor walk up and I get tired of a couple items in one bag. And often do through small purchases in my purse (cuz it's that big). But I'm hoping to rent Bag it tonight to hopefully motivate my husband to use those bags.

    Thanks again for such a informative and inspiring post!

    • Reply Erin May 10, 2013 at 12:42 pm

      Laudable efforts! Bag It is terrific…both on questions of plastic bag use, but maybe even more compellingly about the issue of single-use plastics in general (think ketchup and shampoo bottles, take-out containers, etc.) Eye-opening stuff on the reality of recycling, too!

    • Reply Celestial Times May 13, 2013 at 10:50 am

      Yeah, I was truly shocked about the recycling, or really the facade of recycling.

      I actually just purchased some reusable produce bags on etsy and I'm presently thinking about how to reduce the use of throw away items in my home.

      Right now my biggest quandary is the doggie poo bags. I've been using used news paper bags for many years but when I saw the part about the plastic floating in the ocean and the fish and sea turtles eating it and then us eating the fish, and the fact that I struggle with my weight and well you know, you saw the movie. I just decided it is time to look for something different. And I'm thinking hard.

  • Reply midwesternmusing May 14, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    I know that when I watch one "green" themed flick, it will inevitably snowball into a mass film viewing session for the remainder of the evening (once you pop, the fun don't stop). After seeing the movie sitting on my instant queue for months, I finally devoted the time. It was well worth it. If I wasn't already sold on bagging the bag, I am now!

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