Where to Buy Ethical Special Occasion Clothing, Jewelry, and Cosmetics

Ethical Special Occasion Clothes


Did you enjoy yesterday’s post, Where to Buy Ethical Casual Clothing? Now that we know what modern slavery is, how ethical fashion fights it, and the fair trade difference, and we’re excited to make small changes to make a big difference, we’re discussing practical questions: Where can I buy a fair trade tee? Where can I buy ethical jeans? Dresses? Scarves? And how much is this going to cost me?

Today I’m going to share links for dressy, special occasion clothing and accessories.  Note that you don’t always have to spend a fortune to look good while doing good, although some classic, high quality items are what I consider “investment pieces.”

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25 Unique Ways to Wear a Scarf

Ever have trouble figuring out how to wear a scarf? I know I’ve shared another of my favorite “how to tie your scarf” videos, but this one from the FashionABLE stylists features some ways I’ve never seen before!

What’s a FashionABLE scarf? “Their stories are not uncommon, but their courage is.”

I have the Bezuayhu scarf. This is her story:

“I am now 19 years old. My parents had passed away and I used to live with my aunts and grandparents. They always wanted me to work and not to go to school. So, I came to the city, and there I came to this life of prostitution. Now, it feels so good to get up in the morning and say I am going to work. It feels so good to have a scarf named after me. I’m so proud to be called a scarf maker.”

I truly love this scarf. I wore it at the ladies’ retreat last weekend, and was surprised by how light and yet warm it is! Some of my other favorites include:

Abeba in Marigold
Etanesh in Cerulian Blue
I also found out last weekend that these scarves are very popular with kittens!
Oscar is more concerned about how it tastes than what it looks like…
Right after Brian took this picture, he took this video. Can you tell which of us hates cats? 

And, stay tuned for a chance to WIN your own FashionABLE scarf later this month! 
Read the whole series here.

Style Made With Love, and Fighting Trafficking with Lipsticks

Joe and Jessica just wanted to raise funds for their adoption by selling locally made fair trade jewelry, but God had so much more in mind. Today, NoonDay Collections helps numbers of other families afford adoptions, and provides families around the world with a good job and fair wage. Nicole left her dream job as a beauty editor in New York City to spend a year in Thailand, where amongst trafficked women and those trapped in commercial prostitution, she felt like she belonged. After returning to the states, she founded Radiant Cosmetics to fight trafficking one lipstick at a time.

You might have noticed their buttons along the sidebar, but in case you haven’t visited yet, here’s why I love Noonday and Radiant:

Noonday Collection

“At Noonday Collection, we believe every child belongs in a family. While the owner is no longer raising money for their Rwandan adoption (though they think more adoptions will come), the vision remains the same. We advocate for the orphan by:

  • Providing jobs that create a pathway out of poverty for families. A stable income means a family is less likely to abandon their child.
  • Help families raise money for their own adoptions. We give 10% of trunk show sales directly to the adoptive family when they host a trunk show.
  • Aside from donating 10% towards qualified adoptive families, Noonday Collection also gives towards orphan care and prevention. Watch the video to see one of our beneficiaries.
  • The dream: Take YOU on a trip to visit artisans and visit orphans in their distress.”

Some of my favorite items (although it’s really hard to choose just a few!) include:

Patchwork Clutches
The Dainty Everyday Neclace
And of course, my bracelet! 
Check out all of their products at representative Whitney’s page here. And stay tuned for a fabulous giveaway from NoonDay later here on the blog!

Radiant Cosmetics

Nicole says about Radiant Cosmetics: 

The cosmetics industry generates $170 billion annually. Women dominate this industry and of the over 2 million human beings trafficked each year, 80% are women and girls. My dream is to awaken a generation of women to not sit back and allow this injustice to happen to our fellow sisters. My dream is to set the captives free, one lipstick at a time.

20% of each purchase goes to Redeemed Ministries, a faith based anti-trafficking organization.

Nicole sent me this lovely shade of moisturizing lipstick:

I’m pretty conservative with my lipstick, so the Peony shade appealed to me. It’s almost the natural color of my lips, but with an extra touch of pink. 

I LOVE it. I’ve been wearing it everywhere. To see in in action, I’m wearing it in almost all of the pictures in last Wednesday’s post introducing what I’m wearing this month.

I’m also planning to try these products:

Perfect Finish Concealer
Mineral Loose Foundation Powder
And Keratin Mascara
In closing, I hope this week has encouraged you to take action. Caring for the orphans and widows comes down to making a choice. Sometimes that choice is as simple as switching to fair trade coffee or Radiant lipstick. Sometimes it’s harder, like spending less on myself so I can give more to others. 
Have you taken any action this week? If not, look back over this week’s posts. You can: 
1. Look inside your closet, finding out where your clothes are made. 
2. Discover your slavery footprint.
3. Choose fair trade items when shopping.
4. Download the Free2Work app to find the most ethical companies by industry. 
5. Shop with companies who put your money to good use. 
If you’ve completed some of the actions above, let us know about it in the comments!

What’s in Your Closet? {vlog}

So far in this series, we’ve discussed modern slavery and how to fight it, what ethical fashion accomplishes, and I showed you the ten things I’m wearing this month. This week let’s get personal, and practical. 
Every item in our closet tells a story… beyond where we bought it and what we wore it to. 
I decided to look in my closet to read the story behind the barcode of what I’ve bought. Note, I made this video a few weeks ago; that’s why my hair is considerably longer!
I was totally channelling that Capital One card commercial at the end.
Try it! I think you might be surprised by what you find! 
If you know you have a closet full of clothes, but still feel like you have nothing to wear, I recommend shopping your closet (the instructions are in the “homework” section). You might remember this from last year’s Fashion 101 series. I find it helpful to shop my closet once a season; looking at each item reminds me that it’s there, and inspires me to create new combinations. 
Have you shopped your closet recently? What’s the story behind the barcode on the things you buy?

Packing Light

There’s a perk to only wearing ten items of clothing: packing is super easy.

This weekend I’m heading up to a cabin by the lake for my church’s annual ladies’ retreat. I’m excited to  relax, take deep breaths of clean mountain air, make new friends, and just be still for a few days.

In years past, I made sure to pack my cutest clothes, accessories, and shoes for every conceivable occasion. I brought a bulging suitcase to a weekend in a mountain cabin. Looking at my puny bag for this year, I have to wonder, who did I think I needed to impress?


When I began wrestling with the idea of this challenge, the first thought that came to me was, “What will people think?” I worried that people would write me off as weird, radical, over-reacting, or self-righteous.

I thought about just not telling anybody I knew in real life what I was doing and just keeping it as a blog thing, but that seemed to defeat the purpose of raising awareness of human trafficking and mobilizing people to fight it.

A week before this series started, I had a moment of panic and thought about emailing all of my sponsors back, saying, “I can’t do this! People might think I’m weird!” I realized how ridiculous it sounded. But honestly, I’m still a little worried about what people will think of me when I show up to church wearing the same dress I wore the week before.

My need to impress runs deep. Packing for this weekend at the ladies retreat feels like ripping off a bandaid.

There’s going to be ladies there that I don’t know, and others that I don’t know well. I won’t be able to rely on an array of adorable outfits to make a good impression. Stripped of the option of people like me because of my cute clothes, I’m going to just have to be myself.

Honestly, that’s scary for me. I didn’t realize until this moment just how scary that is.

Technically with a 31 Day series, I’m supposed to blog every day, but I’m choosing to not post on Saturday and Sunday, to allow for some quiet and rest. So, that means I’ll let you know how it goes next Monday.

Pray for me?

Ethical Style: When It Clicked For Me

Stop Traffick Fashion interviewed me for their Everyday Abolitionists feature. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to share how I first learned about human trafficking and why I believe in ethical fashion. Although to a large degree, I feel unworthy of being included in the ranks of the other abolitionists featured, I’m truly honored.  
Read the whole interview here! And also, did you vote yet for my tenth item

10 Items, One Month: New Series!

I don’t care much about clothes. I’m not a super girly girl. I prize comfort over style. I’m fine with a simple uniform of a nice fitted tee layered over a coordinating tank top, boot cut jeans, and cute flats.

At least, that’s what I always thought. Then, I actually decided to count my clothes.

I almost had a conniption.* For someone who claims not to care much about clothes, my closet tells quite another story. In fact, it loudly screams “LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE!”


That’s AFTER taking two garbage bag loads to Goodwill. And that number doesn’t even include my underwear and sock drawer, which is crammed to bursting.

Who really needs 354 choices of attire? Seriously?

Here’s what really makes me sick: if I spent $10 per item, that comes to $3,540. But realistically, it’s more likely that the average is $20 per item, which comes to $7,080.

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
-Matthew 6:21

 So I’ve been saying, “I can’t help those people because I don’t have a lot of money,” while investing $7,080 in my closet. Something is wrong with this picture. So I’m wearing only ten items this month because:

  • I’ve got to change. Not just for simplicity’s sake. Not just for my peace of mind or to relieve my conscience. Not just because we’re moving to a smaller place. Because I’m called to something higher, a better way of living that values people more than things.
  • Deprived of the crutch of finding my identity through what I own, I want to learn to lean on my Savior for the things I look for from clothes: happiness, acceptance, and confidence.

But that’s only half the story of why I’m wearing ten clothing items this month.

After hearing two sermons back to back on James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows…”. I think of orphans and widows as being those who are most vulnerable in our society. I used to assume I was neutral towards them,  but then I asked myself the hard question: Am I participating in the exploitation of children when I shop at stores that oppress them by using child labor and forced labor? 

Because Biblically, that’s a big deal. 

I was pretty much terrified to look into it, afraid of what I might
find, afraid of having to change, and really, afraid of the inconvenience the
truth might create. Buying indiscriminately was so easy. However, laziness and complacency don’t mesh well with true
religion, and in the end, my desire to love like Jesus is winning out.
I’m so glad that I’ve taken the time to educate myself about
the issues, because what I’ve found is that it’s not nearly as hard as I
thought to make a difference.

This month, I’m doing a different sort of fashion series. I’m blogging 31 Days of Fashion for Freedom. The goal is to
raise awareness for human trafficking and encourage others to change the way
they shop by providing information, resources, and practical ways to make a
difference, followed by a charity auction of my clothes AND giveaways from several ethical clothing companies. 

Notice the stress on “practical.” Because you know what the research I’ve done on ethical fashion has shown me? It’s not that hard to make a difference.

Are you excited yet?! I’m bursting at the seams to begin! But first, I need to make you a promise.

I promise this is not going to be a big guilt trip. Although guilt can be a powerful weapon, its results aren’t long term. Plus, there’s no point in guilt tripping you, when I’m every bit as much of a mess (or more so!) than you are.

I can’t promise that this is always going to be easy. I can promise that it will be worth it.

“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done.We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.” ― Mother Teresa

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ -Jesus 

Will you join me for 31 Days of Fashion for Freedom? 

*This word does not mean what I thought it meant. Its not “heart attack,” but apparently, a fit of emotion?! Who knew?

Week 1: Be Informed
1. 10 Items, One Month: New Series! 

Week 2: Take Action

3. The Fair Trade Difference

Week 3: Where to Shop

Consumerism, It’s Time to Break Up

It started with a tension, a feeling that God was going to do something, soon. Then I read the book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker, which tore me up. Then two weeks in a row I heard sermons on James 1:27, which I talked about some in my post, the inconvenience of true religion. Then last night at youth group, what was the lesson about?

Money. The love of money, in fact. Talk about a gut check. We read and discussed these convicting passages:

Matthew 6:19-21
Luke 6:20
Acts 5:1-6
James 1:9-11

Matthew 6:19-21 really stood out to me:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Maybe you’re like me, thinking “I don’t love money that much.” Well, our lesson had a handy little quiz that shattered that illusion pretty fast.

  • If you had to give up all your stuff today, could you do it? 
  • If you lost or gave up all your stuff, how would it make you feel? 
And then the real kickers. On a scale from 1-6,
  • If you lost a twenty dollar bill, how upset would you be? 
  • When something newer and better comes out, how much do you want it?
  • How much do you feel success is determined by money?
  • How much do you depend on money?
  • How much do you like or enjoy having money?
My honest answers were not pretty. I couldn’t give up everything I had…I’d really want to keep my make up at least.  How much do I depend on money? I’d give it a 5. Let’s flip that question around, how much do I depend on God’s provision for me, verses depending on money? Probably a 2, if the amount I stress out over money is any evidence. How much do I like or enjoy having money? I enjoy seeing the numbers for my bank account go up. Shopping and buying stuff makes me happy, even if it is brief. So I honestly derive quite a bit of enjoyment from money, and that’s just sad. There are lasting, worthwhile, beneficial, and just plain better things to find joy in. 
This morning, I watched this video as the Bloom Book Club discussed chapter 3 of Seven. I thought it was crazy when Jen and her family were going to give away 7 things a day for a month for a total of 210 things, it sounded like a lot. But they ended up giving away more than one thousand, and not even missing them. 

Where you treasure is, there your heart will be also. 

Something’s gotta change. I’ve got to change. Not just for simplicity’s sake. Not just for my peace of mind or to relieve my conscience. Not just because we’re moving to a smaller place.

We had a great discussion at youth group, and it’s interesting how much the teens, even as young as twelve, honestly admitted to loving money, even though most of them don’t have jobs or a steady income. I don’t want to see them getting sucked into the “I want it” and “I deserve it” consumerism mentality. If I’m going to be a good example to them, I’ve got to change.

I’ve got to break up with my stuff.

And I’ve got an idea. What if I fasted? For one month. Deprived myself to drive me to my only true satisfaction in life, my loving heavenly Father. Weaned away from false promises of joy, how would my life change? How would I change?

So I want to fast, not from food, or even from TV, like I have in the past. A clothing fast, in which I’ll wear ten items of clothing, and only ten, for one month. (Underwear doesn’t count though. There must be unlimited underwear!).

So that means something like three bottoms, four tops, a dress, a jacket, and a pair of shoes. No accessories. No scarves (gasp!). And no shopping.

And what will I gain? I hope that I’d gain insight into why I buy as many clothes as I do. What do I hope to get from them? Confidence? Happiness? Self-esteem? All of the above.

Deprived of the shopping crutch, I want to learn to lean on my Savior. 

I haven’t worked through the specifics yet, like what exactly I’ll wear, but I think October will be the perfect month for it. It will also be a great segway into sharing what I’ve learned about fair trade and ethically made clothing. 

I challenge you to ask yourself the quiz questions above. If the Holy Spirit convicts you in an area, I pray that you won’t try to drown out His voice. 

Five Fall Fashion Trends, Yay or Nay?

I picked up a couple magazines in the airport for some light reading, and caught up on the fall fashion forecast while I was traveling back and forth to Iowa. Here’s some of the “in” looks we can expect to be seeing as September approaches, along with my rating (and yes, I’m aware that it should be “yea” and nay; the pun is intentional!).

Yay: Reverse French Manicure

Photos take by me of InStyle Magazine August 2012

I don’t know why this has never occurred to anyone before! Basically, switch out the colors of a typical French manicure with a dark base color and a metallic tip color. Another variation I’ve seen online is to paint a light colored half-moon shape at the base of the nail, instead of the tip.

I vote “yay” on this trend, because it’s a great way to incorporate another trend for fall: metallics, in an easy, fun way.

Nay: Wine-stained Lips

Photo taken by me of InStyle Mag, August 2012

Ok, folks. Apparently, fashion bloggers everywhere think this is AMAZING, but it’s one trend I’m definitely going to pass on. The “wine-stained lip” look is achieved by putting on a rich, dark lipstick and then blotting it off in the middle, achieving that oh so classy, I-just-ate-and-need-to-reapply-lipstick look. Except you don’t reapply lipstick.

The good thing about it is, that if your lipstick does wear off after dinner, you don’t have to bother reapplying because you’re right on trend! Last week I actually saw ladies at my farmer’s market sporting this look, whether intentionally or not, I’m not sure.

Another positive for this look: it’s perfect if you want to be a vampire for halloween.

Yay: Colbalt

Photo taken by me of RealSimple September 2012

I love any hue of blue, so I’m happy to see that cobalt is an “in” color this fall. Jewel tones are not only flattering colors for pale skinned people like me, but they’re also elegant and warm, perfect for fall.

Yay/Nay: Burgundy and Oxblood

Photo: SydneStyle.com, who got it from Style.com
I learned a new color term to add to my vocabulary, just like last year I added “camel.” This year’s term to know is “oxblood,” formerly known as burgundy. 
I haven’t made my mind up about this color yet. The last time I remember wearing this color was when I had a burgundy velvet jacket and culottes, somewhere between the ages of five and seven. I’m going to wait until it’s in stores and try it on, before I make a verdict. 

Yay: Equestrian

Photo taken by me of RealSimple

Equestrian is right up my alley: riding boots, plaid, structured, classic lines…what’s not to love?! RealSimple says that designers are inspired by the English Countryside, perhaps a natural result of the attention all things British are garnering because of the Diamond Jubilee and Olympics. For more British inspiration, visit my British wonderfullness in pictures post.

I can’t wait to dust off my English riding boots I bought last winter at Target, and my burgundy leather cross-body bag from PB&J Boutique. I’m always a fan of mixing up what you already have to make trends affordable. If you’d like more ideas for affordable fall style, most of my tips from that post are still completely applicable.

What’s your vote on these trends? Yay or nay?

Lessons From Loneliness on Unveiled Wife

Yesterday I had the privilege of guest posting on one of my favorite marriage blogs, Unveiled Wife. Here’s just a snippet: 

“I’m so alone.”
Tears stung my eyes, and two drops escaped. I wiped them away, but they fell even faster.
Did that thought ever cross your mind after your marriage?
Did you ever feel alone, abandoned? 

I went from full classes, hallways, lecture halls, football games, Bible studies twice a week, bustling cafeterias, one on one discipling, college ministry, weekly activities, coffee dates, and hanging out with friends, all in addition to weekly church services… to online classes, knowing one family in the entire city, and once a week church services. I went from being immersed in community to near isolation.

Read the rest at Unveiled Wife! Happy Friday!