Please tell us a bit about yourself and what makes you you. :)
I am thirty-two and a stay-at-home, work-at-home wife and mother of two daughters, ages five and two. I have a blog called Cedar & Bloom, where I write on a variety of interests centered around themes of minimalism and slow living. I also work as a nanny, caring for a sweet baby girl, in my home two days a week. I live in the Rocky Mountains and I wear a lot of grey! I love silk and linen.
In crafting my bags, I make an effort to source materials that are ethically produced and eco-friendly, hoping to create something worthy of Fairdare standards!
I think of fair as providing a living wage to the people who are constructing our clothes. I also see fair as taking into consideration the impact that excessive clothing production is having on the planet that we all share. I don't have a perfect, fair wardrobe, but I'm making an effort to be thoughtful with my purchases, moving forward. The Fairdare has inspired me so much!
This year, my approach is to thrift first for things I need and to buy ethically-made for a few special pieces, as the budget allows. As I've looked over my budget from last year and considered my financial priorities for this year, I've determined that if I thrift for most things, I can probably afford to purchase three or four ethically made items, if I find pieces that I feel will add value to my small wardrobe and work hard for me.
Yes. I've never owned mountains of clothing at once, but I think part of the reason for that is that, ever since high school, I've always been quite efficient at purging. I definitely remember spending a lot of time at T.J.Maxx and Marshall's in my late teens and early twenties and I also remember some of the crazy things I came home with that didn't have much staying power. Even though my closet was never anywhere near packed, I'm sure a lot of things were in and out too quickly.
Now, I'm attempting to think twice before throwing a t-shirt into a Goodwill bag; maybe I can get one more year out of it before buying something new. Maybe, even if I won't reach for that item when going out with a friend, it can still fulfill a need in my daily, messy, mothering life. I like to think that it makes a difference every time we can extend the life of an item in our own closet.
Also, one of the topics I write about on my blog is the Ten-Item Wardrobe. I've been using this concept, which I learned about from Jennifer L. Scott's TEDx Talk, for about two and a half years. You select ten core items for your wardrobe, give or take a few, and then additional items, like layering items and t-shirts, are counted as extras. The idea is to keep extras minimal, as well. I've found this to be an easy way for me to organize and minimize shopping. The goal is to only shop two or three times a year, to replace items as necessary. I've found that having a specific number of items to shop for is a helpful tool for keeping perspective. It reduces overwhelm in the face of countless purchase possibilities!
I feel the most like myself in clothing that is modest and comfortable. I love a t-shirt and jeans. Right now, I also love a pair of black, wide-leg, linen pants I have, paired with my favorite black, silk shirt. I feel put together and artsy in that outfit—and really, really comfortable.
The last couple of years I didn't thrift much, because I find it stressful to try to shop with my daughters running around and I feel guilty when I go out by myself just to shop. However, this year I have a pretty small, focused list of things I feel I need for spring and summer. It should be manageable.
In regard to buying new, I struggle in that I can really fall for beautiful design and marketing with an ethical angle. I only read a couple of blogs that market ethical fashion as a portion of their content, but that exposure is enough to, at times, make me want more than I can afford. I have to often remind myself to live in gratitude and be thankful for everything I have.
Yes! I really want to learn how to sew clothes, so I can make my own natural-fiber clothing at a fraction of the cost of buying newly-made, fair-trade pieces. Like I mentioned above, I've been learning to construct handbags and I've quilted, but I've never finished any clothes. A lot of the styles I've been drawn to lately actually appear to be really simple to make: simple lines and non-form fitting. I really should buy a pattern or two and give it a try!
Thank you so much, Heather! This is amazing! I so appreciate the time + effort that when into making this post, and I appreciate your generosity in sharing your thoughts with us in this space. Your photos alone elevate this space..not to mention your inspiring words! The internal struggle to focus on gratitude rather than desire is so often mine as well. Your dedication to thinking through your yearly list of needs + budget is something I truly admire. I hope you sew some clothing, and...I cannot wait to see more of your bags!! :) Please do visit Heather at Cedar & Bloom as well as at her lovely instagram page.