All lovely images via links.
Spring weather + spring collections are rolling in. Seeds are on my mind, rainbows play peek-a-boo (I received one of these little rainbow makers for my birthday) + new scents are in the air. A few of the things on my dreamy wishlist include fair-trade, organic cotton basics from Outerknown's new women's collection + a candle that transforms into a little plant pot (or whatever container) when the scent runs out. It's clear to see that I'm attracted to earthy tones + comfy, easy shapes this spring. Bring on the sunshine!
All lovely images via links.
"Acceptance of limitation, as a framework rather than as a hindrance,
is always proof of a productive mind." ~Anni Albers
Vegetarianism, minimalism, zero-waste + the fair dare are achieved by accepting some limitations. Working within the framework of each of these categories leads to choices which have amazingly positive outcomes.
The food we eat
The stuff we make a home out of
The packaging that contains stuff we want
The clothing we wear
...all of this offers the taste, smell, sound, sight, feel...of happiness.
Changing the framework to include less in each case...
less choice of foods (meatless, package-free)
less stuff in our house
less choice of stuff (package-free, fair)
less choice of clothing (fair to farmers, garment workers + the planet)
...requires a bit more creativity.
The positive outcomes of less rainforest being clearcut for cattle, less resources being used making stuff we don't need, less landfill waste, less plastic that will never leave this earth, less abuse of garment workers + farmers, and less pollution + degradation from the textile industry...create a deeper happiness...a happiness that lasts + extends to others.
I'd say this logic is proof of a productive mind...in action. ;)
Today I started a little bit of a wardrobe transition from winter toward spring. This involved a good closet cleaning + the consideration of each piece that went back in. I have a carry-on suitcase that goes in that space between the shelf + the wall that holds my out-of-season pieces (+ keeps my woolies air-tight in the summer). In went the gloves, hat + scarf. Out came the short sleeved tees. (It's optimistic, but I'm wanting to try the lighter layer under my pullovers.) In the closet go the parka + boots. Fingers crossed.
This is a really great time to think about what I wore this winter + what I didn't wear. I'm going to set aside the pieces that didn't earn their keep + see how my wardrobe functions without them...while it is still cold. I'm excited about this little learning experience...even if it involves only the tiniest of shake-ups. I'll reevaluate the set aside pieces' usefulness in a few weeks.
The sun is out + we're ready for spring! :)
After I made my imaginary small, fair wardrobe for work, I told Jo that I would make her one too. I finally made good on that promise. :) Since I know some of her preferences + her employer's dress code, this little collection is pretty customized. Almost all of the pieces here are secondhand (+ pretty awesome!). I very much enjoy trying to collect pieces that will mix + match + layer in so many ways. I used most of the same principals here that I did in my original post.
I like how every single one of the tops could be layered over the dress. A top + the cardigan would even work with the dress. The tee paired with the jeans + a pair of Vans (they didn't fit into the grid) could be quite casual. The cardigan could be layered on for cooler days. Another casual outfit could be made with the Vans + tee (tied at the hip with the knot turned under + the dress (tied at one knee). The button up can be worn tucked into the pleated pants, tied over the dress or layered (both under + over). That's just the beginning of the looks that could be created. Lots of choice. :)
Twelve pieces that could make up a very versatile work wardrobe for Jo:
All lovely photos via links.
Hope you like it, Jo!
Mama (Jane) :)
As a new season arrives, so do the clothing collections. We might start to think about what we'd like to add to our wardrobe collections...what needs to be replaced...what new shapes + colors we'd like to try. I like to look through some of the ethical brands' websites to see what they have to offer.
Dreaming is the main verb in play for me. Budget, need + enough loom large. I understand that clothing is not really cheap. Natural materials are grown, collected, spun + woven. Designing, pattern making, testing, cutting + sewing are involved. Transportation, marketing, packing + shipping matter. All of these add up to a labor intensive + costly process. Tara St. James says that there are an average of 80 people involved in the making of any garment. When clothing is cheap at the point of purchase, it is costing people somewhere along the production chain.
When new clothing is not cheap, it motivates thoughtful buyers to choose wisely...to value these pieces more highly...to buy less. I think this is a lovely, natural course correction for our fast-fashion-trained brains.
And while I adore these more ethical brands, my budget can still become a bit flummoxed at the cost. Just as many of our brains became acclimated to cheap clothing prices + the "ability" to constantly add items to our wardrobes (+ often debt to our lives)...the fair clothing industry can cause us to "adapt" to higher prices. Seeing bloggers + instagrammers in their new, high end, fair outfits day after day...posts with beautiful, "regular" people wearing fair pieces in golden dessert + beach photos...even sparkly ethical statements...make us want a piece of all this for ourselves. I think a lot about my own contribution to this push toward pricey ethical brands...the guilt, the triumph, the elation pushed. Yuck. In the end it is still a piece of clothing meant to cover our bodies, keep us warm or cool, allow us range of motion, comfort...and yes, some style + personal expression.
The main conclusion I've come to lately is that my clothing must be worth the price...to me. There may be times when I choose to purchase a more expensive piece that I will wear for a very long time, and it will be worth the price. There may be other times that I search for a less expensive fair item, an inexpensive thrifted piece, sew a less expensive version or decide to admire a style from afar. I do not want to get drawn in to spending more than my rational brain deems wise for something that is more about a hazy ideal than a functional piece of clothing to wear in my everyday life. I've added to (rather than constructed anew) my personal manifesto of clothing purchasing + it has come in handy during the last few months.
The clothing that I add to my collection must:
-be a replacement, necessary, useful +/or long-term joy enhancing
-not harm those who grew or made it...or the earth, as much as possible
-be bought with the idea of using it up + seeing it through to the end (wear, mend, repair, refashion, reuse the fabric...rags). Reselling is less desirable, but ok too.
-have the strong probability of being worn over + over (comfort, won't get sick of, appropriate, not too trendy)
-have value that, in the end, matches or exceeds the price tag for me personally (this is not a reference to resale value...wear, usefulness, versatility + longevity = value)
Each of us gets to decide how to clothe ourselves + our children. I love that there are so many fair choices. I also really like how buying second-hand, mending + repairing, refashioning, + swapping even the playing field a bit. They are not a last resort. They are choice. Compassion all around. :)
It's not the waking, it's the rising
It is the grounding of a foot uncompromising
It's not the forgoing of the lie
It's not the opening of the eye
It's not the talking, it's the doing
During the past year I decreased my wardrobe...and then made some silly purchases trying to create excitement + style. Of course this is about more than just clothing. It's about contentment. It's about what I'm trying to say with my clothing rather than my life. I'd like to focus on contentedness + living life outside of a focus on clothes. I do like fashion, but I am feeling the need to forget clothing a little more...in order to stop always looking for more.
One of the tools that has come in handy on this journey has been my list of pieces that I've decided is enough. I compiled the first list during a year spent trying to buy only replacements. I found it helpful to have a list of things that I'd deemed worthy of being replaced...a list of highly scrutinized "necessities". Over the past year + a half, I've continued to consider the necessity of each item on that list. I've observed what is truly necessary during each season that passes + made note. Obviously we would each come to different conclusions for our basic simple wardrobes. I'd encourage taking weather, activities (work, lounge, weekends, events), style + comfort into account. My list includes daily clothing...but excludes outerwear + intimates. I could lounge, sleep + workout in the pieces I've included on my list.
My base wardrobe now consists of the 20 following items:
1 jumpsuit or dress
My current preferences break down like this:
-layering tanks + long-sleeved tees (counting these as 1 item, bc I don't wear them alone)
-2 soft pants
-2 fitted pants
-1 layer-able dress or jumpsuit
When I have these wisely chosen items + they mix well...I have enough for all the seasons + all the situations I anticipate finding myself in. I can add pieces to this list, but I don't need more. The idea is that I can find rest...contentment...a break from the desire for more. I'd really like to get back to having long periods of time when I'm not thinking about my clothes...and short periods of time when I reassess what I need + shop for those specific pieces.
The way I composed this collection of pieces in the first place was just to shop my own wardrobe. There is no reason to go out + purchase a whole new "capsule wardrobe". I've found one trick to making "less" work in various situations is to choose pieces that aren't too casual or too dressy. Depending on the events for which one needs their wardrobe to function, pieces might be chosen accordingly (choose a black rayon dress + dressier flats or boots instead of pieces like those shown).
The images above are not the pieces I have in my simple wardrobe (those might be getting a little redundant around here). :) They are a mix of thrifted + fair pieces that just might fit the bill. All lovely photos via links.
February was month four of real winter. I cannot remember a winter with as many ice days, snow days, and sub-zero temperature days as this one. I heard that the children in my hometown had had sixteen snow days this year...by mid-February! I know that never happened when I was growing up. February had me dreaming of spring...hard. I doubt I'm alone in that!
End-of-season sales + peeks at spring collections came along + for the most part, I didn't even really try to resist "window shopping". The above fair leggings...a great addition to the dark ones I've been wearing since November were purchased with money received from selling some pants. A jumpsuit was made in attempts to stave off the temptation of a designer version. A dress was thrifted...and is folded away ready for warmer days.
February is my birthday month, so a gift was searched for. I decided on a cardigan-like layer...found on deep discount + tailored to my liking (hemmed shorter). I feel like I added quite a lot to my wardrobe in February. In hindsight, I wish I'd skipped the jumpsuit (but I will reuse the fabric).
On a positive note, my simple wardrobe has proved itself functionally in this cold weather. I have this dream that there is a single pair of boots that would be enough for every function...but I have not located them yet. This year, I purchased a pair of thrifted slim Uggs (deeming them satisfyingly off-trend enough to adopt). :) I don't feel exceedingly stylish, but they close the gap between my preferred slightly cropped pant length exquisitely. When it is wet (snow, slush, freezing rain), I wear wool socks + leggings with my wellies. My feet + ankles have not been cold this year (a frigid memory that sticks with me from last winter). Two pairs of boots is not too many.
Last month, I shared that I had made a little plan of a few pieces I'd like to add to my wardrobe this year. This month I tried a piece on the winter portion of that list (supposed to be my birthday gift) + found that it doesn't really suit me. This provides a bit of a frustration, in that, I can't shop for fair pieces locally. I'd love to be able to go to a shop, gather a few pieces to try, see if they flatter + which size suits. The postage + delivery involved otherwise is less than optimal. It causes a whole lot more feelings than simply hanging something back on the hanger + leaving it at the store. Now I need to reevaluate my plan + feel a little less settled, but I'm trying to remind myself that simplicity is not necessarily easy. It takes work to be a good editor, so I might as well try to enjoy the process as much as possible.
For accountability's sake: (February)
made :: jumpsuit (resisted an expensive temptation)
thrifted :: dress (patience rewarded)
purchased fair :: leggings (bought with profits from sold pants) + coat/dress (birthday gift)
sold :: pants
This was a good library week (+ I still have a few more for next week)! :)
Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport :: After reading a few articles about + hearing a few interviews with Cal Newport, I'm excited to get deeper into this one this weekend. A couple of favorite quotes so far: "In my work on this topic, I've become convinced that what you need instead is a full-fledged philosophy of technology use, rooted in your deep values, that provides clear answers to the question of what tools you should use + how you should use them and, equally important, enables you to confidently ignore everything else."
"Because digital minimalists spend so much less time connected than their peers, it's easy to think of their lifestyle as extreme, but the minimalists would argue that this perception is backward: what's extreme is how much time everyone else spends staring at their screens."
Rise & Resist by Clare Press :: I really looked forward to reading this book. Part way through the first chapter I stopped reading to see how much it cost to buy, because I was sure I was going to want to own this one. It went down hill from there for me. This book is written from an outsider's perspective. Press seems to come to conclusions about leaders in various movements by watching a single video or reading a single article about them. The opinions are extremely misinformed in at least a few cases. By failing to truly engage with any of the issues addressed, Press fails to learn that one of the most important revolutions these causes stoke occur in our own minds, hearts + souls. We are the ones changed from the inside out by intersectional feminism, plastic-free thinking, zero-waste living, minimalism, meditation, tiny living, etc. I did not end up liking this book.
This is Home, the art of simple living by Natalie Walton :: Beautiful photos of a variety of differently styled homes.
People bought more work hours rather than more leisure time.
Looking forward to her next pattern release...soon!
The immigrant facts.
"We choose to limit our scale, because in doing so, we limit our impact."
There's a pattern for that.
Hope your weekend is lovely, friends!
on a journey toward zero-waste, simplicity, + compassion :: daring to choose fair one choice at a time