I came across this amazing jumpsuit pattern from Merchant & Mills the other day + it sparked some thought in the direction of autumn. (I'm in love with this worn-in denim version!) A few minutes later I'd gathered this little collection of makes that feels cohesive + oh, so inspiring! Are you dreaming of cooler days yet?
Starting out our fairdare favorites series with the first + most everyday layer seemed appropriate. It's also the easiest category of favorites for me to choose. Most of the favorites here are tried + true...and highly recommended. :)
What I'm looking for :: organic cotton or natural fibers/materials (as much as possible), fair labor, traceable origins, durability, wearability
Considerations :: Thrifting doesn't necessarily apply to the category of intimates, so having a fair favorite or two in this category is helpful. I'm willing to take special care to hand wash (bras) as needed + to line dry (as usual). This prolongs the life of these beauties + keeps them out of the landfill (or preferably the compost heap) for as long as possible.
Pansy :: organic cotton grown in Texas + milled in North Carolina :: rubber/cotton elastic made in South Carolina :: sewn in San Leandro, California :: non-toxic dyes
These beauties (above) are my top pick for sustainability. The fabric + elastic are traceable + biodegradable (the 100% organic cotton ones). I've collected mine one by one + on sale. :) Pansy has added a more supportive bra to their collection, which I'd love to try.
Arq :: organic cotton :: made in the USA :: environmentally friendly dyes :: children's too
I love these high waisted bottoms + comfy tops that accommodate a range of sizes. I find the tops supportive enough for everyday wear + like that the straps are pretty enough to be on display. I would be comfortable in a set of Arq pieces at the beach (one less thing to pack). Again, I collect these lovelies slowly over time.
For the whole family :: Pact :: organic cotton :: fair-trade labor :: budget conscious :: men's + children's too
We have lots of these in our house. I would wear them too, if they had a higher waisted version. Pact underwear are soft + long lasting + can be found locally (where we live).
For periods :: Lunapads :: organic cotton :: made in Canada :: boxers, bikinis + briefs
I have four of these + they have eliminated my need for liners. They feel like a light, reassuring hug. I just wash these along with the other dark laundry.
For Europeans + for a back closure bra :: The Nude Label :: organic cotton :: made locally in Valencia, Spain
I would love to try one of Nude Label's bras, when I need a new one. I like the back closure, because it allows one to tighten the fit as the bra stretches out. I also like that I wouldn't mind these straps being visible when wearing spaghetti straps.
Again...this fairdare favorites series will highlight a very few fair brands to maybe start a search with...when a wider search feels a bit daunting. For more (+ lots more) fair intimates including supportive bras + sports bras, right this way. There are new players in the fair intimates category all the time, which is very exciting! I'll keep my eyes out + will keep updating our fair intimates lists (which is searchable toward the bottom of the ethical brands page). This post will be searchable both there + toward the bottom of the fairdare page. Feel free to add your fair favorite intimates in the comments! :)
I enjoy keeping + adding to our ethical brands list...and I enjoy doing more in-depth clothing category posts (see the bottom of the ethical brands page). Sometimes, though, it can feel a bit daunting to search through so many fair brands when it comes time to shop (what an incredibly, amazingly, fantastically exciting problem to have though!!). I thought it might be nice to narrow things down a bit + compile a little collection of fairdare favorites...a not-so-comprehensive list of places to start the search when a new pair of socks or not-so-casual pants is necessary. As a sort of introduction, let's define a few things that will carry through these posts:
What the fairdare is :: It's a commitment to value farmers, garment workers + the environment through the choices we make regarding our clothing. We strive to know "enough". We understand that the goal is to wear + wear out what we already own. We mend, repair, refashion first...thrift, make...and buy fair when necessary.
What I'm looking for in a "favorite" :: Fair wages. Traceable origins. Natural fibers. As little pesticide + pollution as possible. Durability. Styles to wear over + over. Some of these brands will be my + my family's tried + true favorites. Some will be the ones I might choose to try when the need arises. I live in the USA, so while I know that there are many fantastic ethical brands based elsewhere around the globe (too many for me to investigate all of them...yay!!), I will often choose brands based/sold closer to my home.
Obviously my favorites may not be your favorites. Let these lists inspire lists of your own in the notes on your phone or in another memorable spot. Add your favorites in the comments here as a reminder you can revisit +/or to share with others. If these lists are helpful + you'd like to revisit one when a need arises, there is a link to these posts toward the bottom of both the fairdare page + the ethical brands page. The link leads back to this post (where the categories will be added as posted) in order to keep things a little more uncluttered. Let me know if you have any requests too. :)
We can't shop our way to sustainability. ~Céline Semaan
Such a good reminder! The very best thing for our planet...for sustainability...for the use of resources...for the reduction waste...for fair fashion...is also the cheapest action...wearing our clothes! Wear them with joy + love, when it can be managed. So simple.
I love the idea of versatile dresses that can not only be worn on their own, but can adapt to many uses, occasions + seasons. The images above come from Richer-Poorer, + I think they've captured this idea to perfection!
A classic, black, slip dress is always the first versatile dress that comes to my mind, but there are so many other options as well. There may even be a dress or two in one's closet with possibilities previously untapped. Here are a few less-basic dresses that would be just as comfortable with trainers as they'd be with strappy sandals...a sweatshirt or a blazer...a cropped tee or a cashmere cardigan.
When looking for a versatile dress I think of all the pieces that could work with a dress + then I consider if they would layer well with the dress I'm considering. A few things I keep in mind:
-a non-waisted or raised waist dress will work well with shorter + longer tops...a dropped waist limits these options
-a sleeveless dress has more potential to layer over + under well without any extra bulk or bunching at the shoulders
-look for dresses that would be breezy summer options on their own as well
-a little wiggle room in fit is good for layering over other pieces
-keeping the neckline from being too high increases the ways that things can layer on top
-natural fabrics layer best...no static cling
A carefully chosen dress can be layered under + over lots of the things already in one's closet...over a slim tee or merino turtleneck...or under any number of things. I love the versatility of layering a dress under a tee, sweatshirt, tunic or even that same slim tee, so that dress becomes a skirt without any extra bulk or tightness at the waist. I've tried to stick with some basic layering pieces here, but trying not-so-basics like a flouncy sleeved top or smock could be great layering options as well.
I love that a single piece can wake up so many other piece already in one's closet. Suddenly many of those pieces can be appreciated in a whole new way.
All lovely photos via links.
Last week I mentioned growing, eating + wearing plants. Today I thought I'd add making with plants...linen specifically. Again, linen is a natural fiber that is breezy + cool in the summer. It is sturdy + long-lasting...gets better with age, time + wear...resists odors, so can go a little bit longer between washes ...and looks best a little rumpled.
Of course, linen can be used for a wide variety of garments + in conjunction with any number of sewing patterns. The patterns collected here were chosen to mirror the readymade, fair pieces in the previous post + to inspire a few linen basics that could constitute a lovely, simple, summer wardrobe. A few breezy tops, a pair or two of versatile pants, a pair of shorts + a lovely dress could be all that's needed to make it through the hot months to come when used in combination with a few existing pieces in a wardrobe (or not).
I'm never advocating making or buying a whole new wardrobe...just showing a few pieces that could inspire seeing what might be "enough". If I like the idea of the pieces here, I might take out all of the warm weather pieces in my own wardrobe...see that I have all that I need to complete this formula...all but one or two tops...now I have a shopping/making list. :) I might then feel much better about letting a worn out piece or two go (or sewing it into a produce bag, sachets to fill with lavender from the garden, or a new top...scraps saved for patching).
Here are a few of the linen basics I've made and worn over + over in the past few years.
All lovely photos via links. Lots more linen-compatible, indie sewing patterns to be found here a post that can be accessed at any time from the bottom of the ethical brands page.
It's almost that time of year again in the northern hemisphere...time to figure out how to get as cool as possible. Shorts can be as simple to "make" as cutting off a pair of jeans or hemming a pair of swingy pants. They might also be a low risk project to sew. Shorts require a relatively small amount of fabric + can be downplayed by a cute top, if necessary. :) I love simple, elastic waisted shorts for lounging at home + for sleeping in. The ones above even include a pair that can also be made for men/boys (elbe) + one that also comes in smaller girls' sizes (purl).
It's easy to think that shorts can be made from any pants pattern...and they can. It's just not always as simple as shortening the pattern. The shape often benefits from a little a-line shift of the outer thigh seam. Patterns made with shorts in mind take this into account for us. Most of these patterns also include a pants or skirt pattern as well...bonus.
When it comes to choosing fabric, a pair of shorts could easily be made from a thrifted, swingy skirt or dress (or one from our own closet or from that of a friend), a remnant from another project (or project never made), or a small amount of beautiful, new, natural fiber fabric.
I started this post the same day I dusted off the ceiling fan out of necessity...but now I'm finishing it on a rainy, cool day...dreaming of sunshine + legs that don't glow in the dark. ;)
More of my favorite independent sewing pattern designers. All lovely photos via links.
For years I've had the goal of having just one pair of trainers (yes, the privilege is ringing in my ears). It makes total sense in my mind that one pair of comfy trainers would be all that I need to work out, walk around town, or go sight-seeing. When the totality of reality rains down, however, trainers that are supportive enough for workouts, rugged enough for yard work, cool enough for a concert, and cute enough to wear with dresses + shorts is a tall order.
Three years ago, I bought a pair of trainers for working out. They are very comfortable + supportive, but they are also pretty chunky + clunky. Two years ago, I bought a fair pair of trainers to wear in my everyday life. They aren't workout shoes, but are cute with jeans + leggings...and are leather. So when we went to California this past autumn, I bought a pair of trainers that would be more breezy...that I could wear for hikes + museums + lots of walking in the city...that would be cute + functional.
The hope that fueled the purchase of the last pair of trainers was that they would prove to be the ones that would replace the others as my perfect trainers...but...I already knew they were not as sturdy as my original pair + not as fair as my second pair. Ugh..."less but better" is complicated. I returned from California with bloody rubs on the back of my ankles. The next week we went to a concert where I stood + bounced + danced in those trainers for hours + ended up with holes starting in the fabric above each big toe...not cute or functional. Fail.
"Less but better" implies...like any good advertisement...that there is always something better out there. If we find it, our lives will be better + we will be happier. This concept continues to fuel our consumption impulses. The idea of "less but better" is prevalent in the simplicity community...but this concept often conflicts with or confuses the idea of lessening our impact on the planet...or really even the idea of simplicity.
This spring I decided that having one pair of trainers is more of a choice than a find. My original trainers are three years old, but still sturdy + functional. They have held up to countless miles of wear + have a lot of wear still left in them. I sold the leather trainers (which I had not worn much lately) + was able to return the holey trainers.
There will always be something better. The trick is to be satisfied with + to want + to use well...what we already have.
This is the week we celebrate both Earth Day + the anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster. These events may prompt us to bring a little focus onto how we can care for our planet + garment workers. One of the foundational issues that we have all the power to address is finding + recognizing "enough" in our own wardrobes. Here are a few of the ways that I've found to engage in this practice of awareness over the past few years. :)
--I loved the experience of traveling with only what fit in my modest backpack. It helped that our destination was warm + lightweight fabrics packed small...but I loved the few things I had to wear + the lack of decision making involved in getting ready each day. I took only my favorite things + wore them instead of trying to keep them from harm. Both of my girls came home surprised that they hadn't worn lots of what they brought. They chose to wear the same few, favorite things over + over. I did too. I repeatedly wore the same short jumpsuit I'd worn most days at home, but layered it in different ways. A trip can be a great time to see how just a few pieces can be enough.
--My journey towards "enough" started in earnest with my monthly wardrobes. I was able to see how 15 pieces or so could be enough...how to choose well...what I liked to wear...and what I was happy to wear over + over. The monthly format allowed me to switch out one or two pieces at a time for variety + climate. These modest, yet adequate, stacks helped me know that I would be ok (+ could be happy) with less. I realized what pieces I only wore a couple of times per year. I learned what only worked during certain weather that almost never showed up...and that when it did, I'd probably rather wear something else. The practice let me see what pieces were most + least versatile for my preferences, circumstances + climate.
--At the end of each season, and before I move on to the next...I take notes on what was worn the most, favorite outfit formulas, what I like to wear at home, at work/school, special occasions (+ what ones happened). I make a list of all of the pieces in that seasonal wardrobe...let the pieces that did not earn their places go (responsibly)...and make a maybe-for-next-year list (with reasons). This process of reflection helps me get to know what I really need + wear. I find these notes very helpful in providing direction for my shopping + helping me not to overconsume the following year. I've realized that otherwise I overestimate how many items I will need...still.
--A list of clothing categories (sweaters, tees, pants...) along with each + every one of my pieces listed accordingly helps me to see how much I have. Looking at this list, there is no denying just how many things I have...and it's easy to see where I may have not only enough...but excess. From here, I think about how many pieces in each category might be enough...and I can take appropriate action. This may involve testing out my guesses by packing a few things away for a period of time before letting them go responsibly.
--One good way to think through what we need is to write down all of the circumstances we find ourselves in...work/school, after work/school, weekends, parties, formal events, snow shovelling, exercising, etc. This can help us to keep what we really do need (one multifunctional pair of gloves...not three pairs)...and not to get rid of things that we wish we didn't need + don't really bring us joy (snow boots).
--I find it useful to consider "enough" in terms of bare necessity...like what if we lost everything + we had to start over. What would I absolutely need to be appropriate + warm? This list doesn't mean I can't have more than that, but does help me to accept that I have everything I need. When I can make + look at this list, it is even easier to see that I do have "enough"...and I will most likely be able to have enough in the future. I can let the scarcity mindset go.
--After learning from the monthly wardrobes for a year, I stepped back to take a look at my wardrobe as a whole. I could tackle concepts like: maybe I don't need the perfect dress for a summer wedding + the perfect ensemble for a winter holiday party...maybe the same thing could work for both (+ more).
I can't overstate the fact that none of these practices focuses on shopping. Finding "enough" is about taming our consumption...the demand for resources to be grown, sprayed, extracted, dyed, manufactured, transported...purely for our consumption. Finding "enough" is about decreasing our disposal of partially used goods, goods that may be transported across the globe to clog other country's economies...goods that demand more + more landfill space...goods that will exist on our planet far longer than their usefulness merited.
It is possible that through these exercises a need might be revealed, but in most cases we will find that we already have more than enough. When our goal is to rightly value farmers, garment workers + the environment, we endeavor to step away from consuming and to fully embrace + use what we already have. When we assemble monthly or seasonal wardrobes, we are shopping from our own closets. When we make our list of necessities, we can pull these items from what we already have. We are looking to expose "enough" + internalize it. We are looking to find + confidently walk forward in the enlightened, exuberant, liberating joy of enough!
on a journey toward zero-waste, simplicity, + compassion :: daring to choose fair one choice at a time