I highly recommend this podcast series on "men"...from the people who brought us the standout series, Seeing White.
The big takeaway was something called standpoint theory that was coined by the philosopher, Sandra Harding...and the theory basically says that people on the receiving end of oppressive systems..people at the bottom of social hierarchies...will see things more accurately than people at the top...the ones benefiting from the system. Black women, for example, will share a general body of knowledge about how society is...about how it works... because of their common experiences. And according to Sandra Harding that shared understanding won't just be distinctive, it will actually be better knowledge, more true, than the collective picture of the world that privileged people, like me, will soak up from our surroundings. ~John Biewen via
I highly recommend this podcast series on "men"...from the people who brought us the standout series, Seeing White.
Wearing what is in our closets is the most important element of zero-waste, fair fashion. It can also be the hardest part, because many of us are constantly searching for something new...something that will make us feel more beautiful, more stylish, more worthy, more unique, more like we belong, more...something.
I don't pretend to have the answer to overcoming all of that...but something that has helped me find connection with some of the pieces in my closet is making them "mine". Of course a piece becomes mine when I purchase or take possession of it. It becomes my responsibility...my responsibility to care for, wear, repair, + pass on thoughtfully. What I mean here by "making it mine" is adapting the piece to my preferences.
Sometimes a piece speaks to me in shape, but not in every detail. Sometimes the proportions are a bit off for my frame, but I can see my way to making it work with a well-placed dart or a raised hem or some volume taken out. Once I have made these changes...picked the stitches + restitched them...looked closely at the craftsmanship + participated in it...I feel a deeper connection with the piece. It is often this connection that can inspire a commitment to increased use + wear.
Connection is a tricky beast. On one hand it can make us hold on to things that we don't need...but on the flip side of minimalism...when we have purged down to the essentials...we need to nurture connection again...so that we can stop the cycle of waste.
So here I am...making a labored decision to invite a pink jumpsuit to be part of my wardrobe. (An essential, no?) :) This one arrived with long sleeves, upper flap pockets, low narrow pockets, + longer pant legs. Those rolled up long sleeves look best...but as such, the opportunities for wear are narrowed down significantly in my circumstances. It's too hot for long sleeves half of the time + they were too bulky to layer under a sweater the rest of the time. Short-sleeves will allow me to wear this piece during the summer + autumn...as well as layering under a cardigan better. Flaps on the pockets added volume where I don't need it. This jumpsuit seems to have been proportioned for someone taller, especially with the placement of pockets. The lower pair were too low + I prefer square ones, so I was able to use the sleeve fabric for new pockets + placement. The legs were shortened a little + now...this jumpsuit is "me". (I also have a little fabric left over for patching, if needed somewhere down the line.)
A large portion of the pieces in my closet have undergone some sort of alteration or embellishment. I think it enhances my connection.
P.S. Soundtrack playing in my mind for this post. :)
I was able to read Shia Su's Zero Waste as well as Alison Roman's Dining In this week. (I love our library!) Dining In is full of simple, delicious inspiration. It is not a zero-waste book necessarily, but the recipes are quite zero-waste friendly. It's interesting to see a new crop of zero-waste books coming out + the perspective of each author coming through. A few more include:
-Zero Waste Adventure
-Soon to be released Sustainable Home
-The original: Zero-Waste Home
What are you reading this weekend?
The soles of Jo's well-loved moccasins are cracked + coming away from the bottom of the shoe. She brought them to the cobbler in hopes of having them resoled. He said that Minnetonka used to offer repair services, when the shoes were still made in Minnesota... but now it would be cheaper to just replace the shoes altogether. Instead of replacing them, Jo said she would just continue to wear this pair on days without rain. (Maybe I shouldn't have asked her to walk around in the wet grass for these pictures.) :)
This amazing pair of vintage, Esprit shoes also belong to Jo. With wear over the last year or two, the soles started to separate from the bottom of both shoes. (I've had this issue with another pair of vintage shoes, so it just seems that the glue dries out over time.) One trip to the cobbler + less than $20 later...and these shoes are better than ever (because he gives them a little polish as well)! A good cobbler is a treasure.
Shoe making is an art. We all know the value of a well-fitted, comfortable shoe. Maybe it is an art that we can learn! Classes + kits are available.
Although most of the brands that made shoes in country even 10 or 20 years ago have moved production to China, there are a few places to find fairly made shoes. A few of the brands I have found are listed on the ethical brands page under the footwear heading. Please let me know if you have some favorites! I try to make sure to let companies know that I am grateful for their commitment to traceable production + fair wages when I make a purchase...so they will know that their customers notice + value this practice!
So...fair shoes :: 5 ways:
1. Wear what we have
3. Buy second hand
4. Make them
5. Buy fair
We find ourselves at an abundant spot in the season...especially as I've chosen to wedge myself between our garden + our CSA box. I've filled up all of my available jars (+ the freezer) with tomato sauce. I've put up a year's worth of pepper flakes. We've got a little stock of potatoes + sweet potatoes tucked away in a cool, dry spot.
Right now, I'm feeling most triumphant when we eat up some of our bounty. This meal did that alright...but it took some time to prepare. The process was easy + much of the time was spent simply waiting, after the initial chopping + mixing. Zero-waste meal preparation is often simple + straightforward...but it can also be a bit time consuming (which can be made a bit more so due to my minimal kitchen tools).
I'm not quite sure where I'm going with this line of thought, except to say that I don't spend too long in the kitchen every night. If I'm making rice, I'll always make two nights worth in order to save myself the time (+ dishes) another night. I make big batches of beans + chickpeas + then freeze them in jars, so that I have stock on hand. Greens get washed + stored once per week. Carrots can be chopped + stored in a jar with just a little water...ready to use. Pickled vegetables or kimchi can be batch made.
If I was cooking for fewer people, I would still make just as much + store the leftovers for lunches or quick dinners. Vegetables could be chopped + roasted once per week + tossed into salads, soups, or grain bowls as desired. I do think zoodles (spiralized zucchini "noodles") can be made as quickly as pasta though! :)
Zero-waste food may take a little more time to prepare than a microwave meal...but zero-waste food is much more tasty + healthy too! The connection we make with our food as we gather it + prepare it is beautiful + important. Food is one of the things that makes the rest of our lives possible...so we might as well enjoy the process.
Falafel + all the veg (measurements given for 4 servings)
from the garden:
from the csa box:
-2 zucchini, spiralized
from the freezer:
-salt + pepper
-1 tsp. cumin
-4 Tbsp. flour or besan
For roasted tomatoes + pepper :: Cut tomatoes in half (+ slice peppers), toss with a bit of olive oil + salt, spread in a single layer, and put in the oven at about 350F for at least an hour (checking periodically)...until roasted + a bit browned. (These are good for a few days in the fridge + tasted amazing on our avocado toast for lunch today.)
For falafel :: Mix chickpeas (I used about 16 oz. for 4 of us), onion, juice from 1/2 lemon, salt, cumin, pepper flakes, flour or besan in the blender. Form into patties + place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Cook at 400F for 10 minutes...flip + cook for 10 minutes more.
For zoodles :: Toss spiralized zucchini into hot skillet + cook for around 4 minutes.
For dressing :: Mix around 1/2 cup of yogurt, juice from other 1/2 of the lemon, dill, salt + pepper.
(I give measurements where they matter most + season or substitute as desired with the rest.)
Autumn is one of the times of year this tribe looks forward to most. Clothing-wise, it is just the best. The sweltering heat relents, + the cold is still at bay. Autumn is the glorious in-between. Bare legs under a dress or skirt seem just right. Long sleeves aren't too much + an extra layer in the mornings + evenings is welcome. Autumn colors are just so lush + lovely...and the textures too.
Spring + summer seem like the perfect times to thrift for sturdy linen + flowy dresses. Autumn offers the chance to layer up those pieces with a long sleeved button-down tied at the waist. Later that same button-down can slide easily under a sweater. A longer dress with sleeves might be just right for gathering all the autumn goodness from the farmers market. Add + subtract a linen, denim, corduroy, or velvet jacket as needed. Soft denim feels good again + light sweaters cozy things up just right.
Autumn is the perfect time to search for durable, second-hand denim, velvet, corduroy + leather. Resilient silk + cashmere are treasures to thrift as well. The pieces above look to show little or no wear at all. A piece or two could add a lovely touch of crisp autumn to what's already in the closet. Oh Autumn...we love you.
All lovely photos via links.
I made a list of everyday wardrobe items a little more than a year ago. My goal was + is to have a sort of system that helps me to know what I need + to stick to "enough". Less resources consumed. Less wondering what goes with what, because the goal is for everything to mix with everything. Less to mend + repair + care for...making it more manageable to do so. Less searching for second hand, sewing, or investing in a fairly made piece...again making it more manageable to do so when necessary. I'm not prescribing this list to anyone else...we each have our own needs, desires, circumstances + climates to contend with. This has simply been a personal process of experimenting + observing...and for some reason I find it quite interesting. :)
I'm happy to report that the list has worked very well this year. It gives me a bit of a thrill to know how few pieces are really necessary. I have long ago forgotten the aversion to wearing the same things day after day. I will not say that I have never been tempted to expand the list...but its existence has kept me from doing so. I know that the items on the list, when chosen well, are "enough" to keep me clothed appropriately for the vast majority of situations + weather in which I find myself. Straying too far from this list might signal that I've let my wants get a little bit out of control...or that I might want to take stock of what state my mind is in. Of course this is very personal...and I am gentle + kind with myself...while striving for restraint as well. I'm a work in very slow progress. :)
A few of the ways this list has been positive this year ::
-I like my clothes. Each piece serves a purpose + I know I'm prepared.
-This list is now tested (for my current life). I haven't encountered a situation this year for which I was unprepared ...clothing-wise. :)
-The list slows me down. I really need to consider if a new piece is better than what I already have...because something has to go to make space for something new.
-I know that I have enough...or that replacing just one worn out thing will still be enough.
-There aren't too many combinations to think through, when I want to make sure a new piece will match everything.
-I have a more cohesive, well thought out wardrobe.
-It keeps spending in check. Even if I were to replace a bunch of pieces in one season...there just wouldn't be that much to replace.
-I don't end up with things that I never (or seldom) wear.
-I've found my personal basics + that mixing in a few sprinkles keeps things interesting.
-Making fair choices is a little bit easier. Less to replace means I can spend a little more time thrifting or sewing...or a little more money buying something that provides fair wages.
-The guilt about using more than my fair share of resources is lessened.
-I feel like this is a system that helps me to live in tune with my values. Less. Enough. Fair.
-Laundry is easier. Less to wash. Things were worn more often before washing. I don't let the pile get too big, because I need my clothes back. :)
-My closet feels spacious + organized.
-I can get my seasonal wardrobes set early in the season + then just get on with living.
-Most of the year, I didn't think about shopping! This is huge for me + I want more of that!
-It has strengthened my faith + trust in "enough" elsewhere in my life.
Needless to say, I'm keeping my list...with a few tweaks...based on the things I've learned this year. I love learning. :)
I am a huge fan of leftovers. They feel like a gift from my past self. With a leftover half of an acorn squash, 1/4 of a can of coconut milk, some leftover quinoa, + a jar of beans...this was the result + it was delicious. There was no plan, but sometimes...one thing at a time...it just all comes together. :)
Coconut Squash Grain Bowl
1/2 acorn squash (cooked)
1/4 can of coconut milk
Blend all ingredients from squash on down. Pour over the others. :) Enjoy!
(We ate ours with the leftover half of a local honeydew.)
on a journey toward zero-waste, simplicity, + compassion :: daring to choose fair one choice at a time