In October of 2012, I decided to change my shopping habits. I’d learned that the fashion industry is one of the largest industries in the world, and is also notorious for human trafficking and forced labor.
Child workers, alongside exploited adults, can be subjected to violence and abuse such as forced overtime, as well as cramped and unhygienic surroundings, bad food, and very poor pay. The low cost of clothes on the high street means that less and less money goes to the people who actually make them. – Victoria and Albert Museum
For 31 days, I blogged every week day about the exploitative labor issues involved with “fast fashion.” For those 31 days, I wore ten items of clothing, and auctioned off my other clothes to raise awareness and funds for a human trafficking rescue organization. After that month, I felt incredibly free. I’d realized that I used shopping as an emotional crutch to cover insecurity, and my goal going forward was to keep 100 items of clothing in my closet.
For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out what I wanted for Christmas this year. The idea of getting lots of “stuff” just was not appealing. But gift-giving at Christmas is such a wonderful opportunity to be a blessing to others – not just just the person you’re giving a gift to, but also the companies and workers you support by your purchase.
In years past, I’ve shared gift guides for gifts that give back, but this year, I don’t really have time for that. You know those “what’s in my purse” posts? I thought I’d adapt that, and share what’s on my Christmas list this year.
1. Black Metallic Desert Wedges. I love, love, love every pair of TOMs I’ve owned, but I’ve never tried anything other than flats. I’ve also never ever worn ankle booties. I could really use a new black pair of shoes for work, and instead of getting another pair of flats, I’d like to add these shoes that give a pair of shoes to someone else.
3. #GIRLBOSS. “In the New York Times bestseller that the Washington Post called “Lean In for misfits,” Sophia Amoruso shares how she went from dumpster diving to founding one of the fastest-growing retailers in the world.” I think this is basically required reading for 20 something women these days, and it sounds fascinating.
5. Moscow Mule Mugs. Because, copper. I can’t get enough. Honestly, I could see myself drinking hot chocolate out of these. How cozy would that be?
6. Causebox by Sevenly. This would be like Christmas every few months! It’s a subscription box filled with ethically made, goodies that give back. It’s not cheap . . . so a Sevenly Giftcard to go toward a shirt or print would also be much appreciated!
Not pictured: a lot more books, and some Disney/Pixar animated movies – namely, UP and Wall-E.
For more gift ideas that give back, you have to listen to The Happy Hour Podcast’s Christmas episode. So many great ideas! And Jen Hatmaker. Seriously, it’s a gift just to listen in! And, I’ve got a Gifts that Give Back pinterest board for more inspiration.
How’s your Christmas shopping going? I have started … sort of. The problem I have, is that I find cool things, and then I want to keep them for myself. Anyone else? Let me know in the comments below!
I describe my style as classic, with a touch of romantic. Case in point, this chambray dress, that I wore to church last Sunday. E-shakti, a company that specializes in custom made clothes sent this frock to me to try out and share my thoughts. I picked this one, in part, because it bears a resemblance to one worn by my style icon Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday.”
There are several things I love about this dress:
The skirt. It’s so twirly! And it has amazing pockets!
The fabric is a lovely dark navy with a beautiful sheen.
The collar and buttons add nautical flair, which I love.
It arrived crazy fast after I ordered it!
But most of all, I love that this dress really fit me.
As a big chested, small waisted woman, finding dresses and tops that fit well and flatter can be a challenge.
I think for the average woman, buying clothes that are made to fit all body types, lumped into general categories of small, medium, and large, is frustrating. Since most clothes are made to fit such a wide range of figures, they end up not fitting anyone perfectly. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve loved almost everything about a blouse or dress. Except for those cap sleeves, or an awkward ruffle, or the skirt was too long, or too short.
I customized this dress by changing the cap sleeves to elbow length, and the skirt from below the knee, to right at the knee. It absolutely made the difference between an “ok” dress and a dress that I can’t wait to wear again and again.
e-skakti allows you to customize skirt length, sleeve style, and even the neckline on most garments. And the extra cost? $7.50, for any number of changes to a single garment!
Another one of my favorite things about this dress is that I know that the people who made it were fairly paid. Initially when e-shakti contacted me, I was concerned by the fact that they manufactured their dresses in India. But I discovered some helpful information on their website that put my mind at ease:
“No one who is not eligible to be employed under the Indian Government’s minimum age policy is ever employed by our manufacturing units. The Indian government has been progressive, and with India’s increasing affluence, they have been raising the minimum wage stipulation over time. And wages paid by eShakti are typically 50% to 100% over the Indian government’s minimum stipulation. The people who work to make eShakti’s clothes are typically the main wage-earners of their families, and provide for them, including education for their children. eShakti is proud that hundreds of families enjoy the advantages of such employment provided by it. Indeed, it is a part of our organizational ethos and goal to contribute to the welfare of society in India as a responsible corporate citizen and employer, just as we contribute in the USA by creating new jobs as we grow. eShakti’s covenant with its customers is this: we will never allow anything that is opposed to human dignity or the laws of the land where we operate.”
Plaid, leather, chunky knits, and delicious colors are just a few of things I love about fall fashion. I especially love these items, because each of them was made by someone earning a fair wage, someone who can now support themselves, afford to send their children to school, start their own business, and contribute to their local economies. That’s what fair trade is about.
Now that the New York Fashion Week is over, fall fashion recaps are flooding my bloglovin’ feed. I love browsing photos of beautifully styled clothes with cozy textures, rich jewel tones, and classic patterns.
Some of my favorite fall trends this year include:
Plaid – almost always a fall staple, this year we’ll see a lot of it. It’s classic, timeless, and versatile. The plaid skirt I wore over ten years ago would fit right into fall 2013. Depending on how you wear it and the colors involved, plaid can be western, preppy, or celtic.
Booties – I haven’t taken the plunge to buy a pair of booties myself, but I do like how they look on other people.
Coats – These were popular on the runway this fall. Trench coats, fur coats, military style jackets, and menswear coats were a few of the trends.
Hats – Particularily the humble beanie.
Colors – The Pantone colors for fall are a mix of colors I would expect, like dark purple, red, orange, moss green, gray, and emerald, paired with unexpected colors like pink, almost-neon green, royal blue, and coffee brown.
Fur, leather, and knits – The best part of fall fashion for me is the textures. Leather is still in, fur is popular, and thick chunky knits are back.
Just to review, the ethical fashion movement is a response to the abuses that are a part of the fashion industry, such as environmental damage, excessive waste, and human rights abuses. So, in today’s post, I’ve created a few inspiration boards highlighting fair trade and sweatshop-free products that fit the fall trends.
So, let’s talk about shopping. I have discovered that I really don’t enjoy shopping at a mall, most of the time. There’s so many options, so many stores, distracting loud music and large crowds – it makes it hard to think clearly. I’ve recently collected a few helpful websites that pertain to shopping and style that I’m really excited to use! So for this week’s Beauty Find Friday, I’m sharing them with you!
OutfitPosts.com – I discovered this blog a few weeks ago. The author posts almost daily pictures of her outfits, usually business casual, with some weekend outfits too. I love that it’s REAL style – totally wearable, affordable, and looks good on real women’s bodies, not just super model types! I also enjoy her posts about how to pack everything you need for trips in one suitcase. Since I’m trying to maintain a capsule wardrobe of 100 items or less, having the visual inspiration different ways of combining pieces is great!
KeatonRow.com – I discovered this website from reading about it in Real Simple. It provides you with a personal stylist, who will create 5-7 looks for you based on your style, or even a specific occasion, for free! The stylists are paid a commission if you purchase the items in the looks they create for you, but there’s no obligation or pressure to buy anything. I’m seriously considering trying this, just to get some new ideas and a better vision for my wardrobe.
Hukkster.com – If you have your eye on a particular item that’s out of your price range, this tool will altert you with an email when it goes on sale! I’m planning to use this for a few investment pieces I’d like.
ShopItToMe.com/threads – Similarily, this site creates a customized list of what you’re looking for that’s currently marked down. Here, you can pick from broad categories, like “brown riding boots under $100” etc.
ZenDeals.com – Sometimes when I’m checking out online, I’ll do a quick Google search for the store name and “coupon” or “discount code.” Sometimes I’ve found some great discounts that I didn’t know were going on! Other times, the codes didn’t work. ZenDeals verifies all the coupon codes on their site daily to make sure they’re still current.
Have you used these sites and tools? What did you think of them? What makes shopping easier for you? Share your thoughts with the rest of us in the comments!
Since I’ve been all about the beach lately, I thought I’d show you what I carry in my beach bag today!
Starting left to right: my sunglasses. These are from Target, purchased almost immediately when we first arrived in Arizona, almost three years ago. They’ve served me well. More about my sunglasses pouch in this post. I’ll bring my wallet, and also a colorful zippered pouch for holding make up. For the beach, it will probably just hold chapstick with SPF.
I’ll also bring some cocoa butter lotion. This tube is from Target, and I love that it’s small enough to carry onto planes. Cocoa butter has a lovely light scent, and there’s nothing better for maintaining a tan. Seriously, it will make it last for weeks.
Headphones, for plugging into my iphone and listening to beachy background music. Sunscreen, SPF 30. A bottle of water, and my sandals, which I actually bought at Disneyland.
My trusty beach towel, which matches my swim suit. I love to bring reading material, and also a notebook and pen to jot down any ideas that come to me while relaxing. My swimsuit is from Ron Jon’s Surf Shack, and I love it. The shorts are great for people like me who are self-conscious about their legs. Plus, for youth group swimming activies, the girls usually wear shorts and tees over their swimsuits, so these surf shorts are perfect.
That’s that! It all fits into this beach bag.
This bag has a story behind it. It’s handmade by the artisan business partners of Indego Africa, a social enterprise that lifts women-owned businesses in Rwanda toward sustainable economic independence through access to markets and education. They partner with over 400 women-owned business to give them access to markets for their jewelry, accessories, and home decor on their online store and over 80 retail locations. They also collaborate with major design brands like J.Crew, Madewell, and Nicole Miller.
Indego Africa’s profits go to fund training programs for their artisans taught by Rwandan university students on business management, entrepreneurship, literacy, technology, and health.
Many of these women are survivors of the 1994 genocide, which not only destroyed their country, but left them widowed. Many are the sole providers for approximately 5.5 dependents, and many struggle with HIV/AIDS. With little education, these women made less than $2 a day.
Indego Africa has several objectives for their artisan partners:
WOMEN GENERATING SUSTAINABLE INCOME. Women consistently earn more than $2 per day through their own initiative and oversee households that are entirely free of hunger, inadequate housing, and school absenteeism.
WOMEN LEVERAGING VALUABLE LONG-TERM SKILLS. Women deploy new high-value skills to earn supplemental income in their own community – whether at a cooperative, another employer, or their own business.
WOMEN RUNNING PROFITABLE EXPORT BUSINESSES. Women manage cooperatives that are fiscally responsible, effective in product design and delivery, and dynamic contributors to the community – all while engaging the global export market on their own terms.
WOMEN FEELING HOPEFUL AND CONFIDENT. Women translate their experiences of financial success and increased productivity into a lasting sense of self-worth and pride, knowing that anything can be accomplished by working together with others and relying on their own strength.
Indego sent me this Color Weave Beach Bag to review, and I can’t recommend it enough. It came signed by the woman who made it! Not only is it beautiful, it’s huge! I’m amazed by how much I can fit comfortably inside. Plus, the handles are the perfect length to carry it all comfortably on your sholder, regardless of how full it is, and it’s extremely sturdy.
Today, Indego Africa is giving away $50 to one of you lucky readers towards anything in their online shop! To enter, visit Indego’s shop and leave a comment about your favorite handmade item. After that, there’s several more ways to enter to increase your chances. The giveaway ends Friday at Midnight!
This month I participated in Hillary Rushford‘s Instagram style challenges! I enjoyed interpreting the prompts to use things in my closet that might not get worn as often, and having some direction each morning when I stand in front of my closet.
Here’s a few of my favorite outfits:
This shirt came from Savers, and my polka dot ring is from Selby Lane.
Beg, Borrow, or Second Hand:
You might remember this top from my ten things for Fashion for Freedom! It’s really long, so I’m experimenting with tying it up for a different look.
Seeing Double Pattern:
I mixed patterns by pairing this cream striped tank with the plaid top. The cream and beige color is common to both, so it ties it together well.
GAP had a lot of great sale stuff. I tried on this blazer and a few other tops, but didn’t end up actually buying anything. I’m really picky when it comes to blazers, and this one wasn’t quite long enough, and the sleeves were too long.
Oh La La Vintage:
I layered a tee over this sleeveless blue dress for a more casual look. I love this swingy skirt and the pockets!
Orange You Glad:
I bought this shirt for working at Target, and once I brought it home, Brian informed me that it was orange, not red. I wore it to work anyway, and no one said anything about it, except to compliment it. I decided that it’s red-orange, but the more I wear it, the more orange I think it looks 🙂
For solid, down to earth style advice, I recommend Hillary’s blog, Dean Street Society. And if you’re interested in seeing more pictures of my life and style, I hope I’ll see you on Instagram!
Linking up with:
Do you ever find yourself in a style rut? Let me tell you, Instagram challenges and link ups like the above are great ways to break out of it and find new ways to wear what you own!
Today is my first day of unemployment (or re-unemployment, since I was unemployed after graduating too). So, I tried to take a serious contemplative picture. But that didn’t last long.
hoodie:c/o Evy’s Tree, bracelet: c/o Uganda Community Project, tank: Target, shorts: Old Navy
First, I’m thrilled to be wearing an Evy’s Tree hoodie! I discovered Evy’s Tree soon after I began blogging, and Amy’s adventures making embellished hoodies have inspired me for years. I especially appreciate her honest and real approach to sharing what goes on behind the scenes of having your own business along with a family and a ministry. Reading her posts about doubts and fears gave me courage to write about my own.
Evy’s Tree sent me the Simple Hoodie in Black, and I’ve been wearing it almost non-stop. Luckily we had some cool weather last week! There’s something distinctly special about an Evy’s Tree hoodie. It’s supremely soft and cozy, and the ruffle details make it dressy enough for church (where I wore it with a dress yesterday) and casual enough for every day. But also, that ruffle makes me feel put together and stylish even when I’m just wearing it with a tank and shorts.
Secondly, I’m upbeat because of my bright yellow bracelet! I rarely win giveaways, so I was ecstatic to win this handmade bracelet from the Uganda Community Project, an organization that works with schools and churches to create community centers that provide education, vocational training, and technology to empower Ugandans to rise above poverty.
Thirdly, I didn’t realize how miserable I was at that job until now, when it’s finally sinking in that I never have to go back!
So here’s my plan going forward: I’ll split my time between Scribbles, which includes blogging and my Etsy shop, and volunteering at church, which includes youth group, design projects, and possibly secretarial work. Once I complete the church projects, I may look for other volunteer opportunities. I know of a few that I’d love to get involved with, but there’s plenty to keep my busy with the church right now.
I’m so excited to be able to spend time planning youth group events again, which I haven’t been able to do since the Christmas party. And I’ll have time to paint! And craft! And write!
I’ll drink to that!
And another reason to celebrate – Evy’s Tree is giving all of my readers 15% off! Use the code: SCRIBBLESFROMEMILY to take 15% off of your new favorite hoodie. Be sure to check out the Diana wraps and children’s hoodies too.
I have a playlist of happy music that get’s me pumped up and motivated, and this song by A Fine Frenzy been one of my favorites lately.
I’m planning a more in-depth post about this Spring’s trends and where you can shop for fair trade and ethical clothing to fit the trends, but Saturday I went thrift store shopping with a couple friends, and I’m super excited about what I found! Using Pinterest for inspiration and to narrow my focus, I came home with two tops that are exactly what I wanted.
Stripes are a major trend this spring! As you know, I’m addicted to stripes, so I’m looking forward to seeing them everywhere. After my last closet clean out and reading The No Brainer Wardrobe e-book, I’ve been hunting for a black and white striped top. I pinned these to my style boards, and kept my eyes peeled for something similar:
When I saw this BCBC tee on the rack at Savers, I snatched it up.
However, after trying it on and debating with myself for some time, I decided not to get it. Mainly because then I saw this:
It’s a little too big, unfortunately, but nothing I can’t fix. I’m going to use a similar alteration method I used on my bridesmaid dress last summer, and use a well fitting tee as a guide.
The fabric is in perfect shape, and although it’s a little thick, I think I’ll be able to wear it a few times before summer, and then all through fall and winter. I’m positive it will become my new favorite top.
Another popular trend that I LOVE this spring is lace. I’ve been pinning lacy dresses and tops like crazy, which was the inspiration behind this DIY Embellished Lace Dolman.
I also pinned these lacy items on my boards that I wanted to find something similar at Savers:
This gorgeous New York & Company sweater caught my eye:
I loved the color and the lace right away, but I was a little unsure about the puffed sleeves. In the end, I decided they didn’t bother me enough to not get it. It will be perfect for a date night with skinny jeans and my blue ballet flats, or adding a pop of color to a little black dress.
Totally unrelated to spring trends, I also found these:
Total spent: $19.54. I call that a success!
Use Pinterest to save your style inspiration. Identify aspects of your pins that you like, such as color, sleeve length, pattern, fabric, etc.
Shop your thrift stores with an open mind. Does this fit some of the aspects of your pins? Does it fit well enough to be worth it, or will it just sit in your closet unworn? If it needs minor alterations, are you willing to do it yourself or take it to someone who will? Ask yourself these questions to avoid bringing home something that might be a good deal, but you won’t actually wear.
What spring trends are you excited about? What have you recently scored at your thrift store? Share it in the comments!