I’ve been been stuck in a creative block lately. I look back to last year when I was blogging weekly and posting frequently (if not daily) on Instagram. And here it’s been almost a month since my last blog post. I feel like I just haven’t gotten back into the swing of things. And I wonder why something that gave me so much enjoyment last year, is such a struggle now. I think perhaps I’m just going through a season right now; there’s been stuff going on in my personal life, and it’s not that I don’t have time, I’ve just given myself the permission to take a step back, and take a break. I don’t want something that is fun to start being a chore.
But even though I haven’t been feeling particularly inspired to write and blog and share lately, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been having fun with my wardrobe. I’ve still been experimenting with my clothes, and enjoying my summer wardrobe, and working on sewing one of the pieces from my #makenine list, even though I haven’t been documenting it all.
I’ve been going through a different season in my style lately too, and have been drawn to a more subtle and subdued palette lately. I’ve put some of the clothes that I used to wear in regular rotation to the side, as they just aren’t feeling very “me” lately. As much as I like bold vintage prints and styles, I feel more like “vintage mixing” right now. Most people would probably still look at my clothes and think that they are quite vintage looking, but to me they don’t feel authentically vintage, but more modern with a touch of vintage, and I’m enjoying styling my clothes this way for summer.
You all know that I’m an avid thrift shopper, and that I don’t buy very many new pieces, but I recently purchased this new straw hat, and these black pearl earrings. I’ve been drawn to classic, feminine styles lately, and both of these pieces felt very fresh. I love how they go with my existing pieces and add a bit of variety to my current wardrobe, such as this dress, purse and shoe combination which I’ve worn before. This is one of my favourite summer dresses, so I’m happy it’s the season to wear it again!
This boater is one that I saw in the window of a local shop, and popped in to check out…and then ended up buying the next day! (Placing items in shop windows really does work!)
And these lovely gold and pearl earrings are ones that I bought at a handmade art show. The artist is Andrea Shelley Designs. I saw the earrings, walked around the show thinking about them, and then came back to her booth to get them. Well, to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was really going to get them, but there were some other ladies looking at her jewelry- and when they picked them up, I felt that anxious “No, don’t buy those!” feeling, so that sealed the deal. (And those ladies bought some other items, so Andrea didn’t lose out on a sale!) She describes her jewelry as “minimal and feminine”, which is just what I am liking lately. I also just bought some of her tiny pink pearl earrings, and I’m excited to wear those soon too.
Well, look at that. I just said I was feeling a creative block, and here I have written an entire post. I’m not going to promise that I’m going to be posting regularly again….but I do have some other outfits, so we can always hope.
This is actually not the outfit that I wore for Easter this year, but it is the outfit I wanted to wear.
Easter Sunday (which I know was already a month ago…) this year dawned bright and sunny, and it would have been the perfect day to wear this straw hat, straw bag and lace jacket. Alas, however, I wasn’t able to wear this outfit, because when I went to get dressed, I realized that this hat was actually not in my closet where I thought it was, but was packed away somewhere (since I am temporarily living with my family). Sunday morning about an hour before you are to leave for church, is not the time to discover that almost all of your hats are packed away, that you have no idea which box they are in, and that all of the hats that are unpacked are winter hats, or ones that don’t work with short hair!
So, at the last minute I had to change the plan of what to wear for Easter Sunday, and ended up wearing this previously worn outfit instead. It was actually a rather nice thing to wear for Easter as it was the first Spring-like day we’d had, and that dress is so cheerful, but it was still kind of sad that I was unable to wear an “Easter Bonnet”!
However, I was able to find my hats during the next week, and so the next Sunday, I decided it was time to put together this “Easter” outfit to wear. It would have been the perfect thing to wear on our sunny Easter Sunday, but not so great for that Sunday, as we got snow that weekend! The weather took a turn for the worse the weeks after that, so I wasn’t able to get pictures…and then one thing after another…and here we are a month later, when I am finally sharing what I wore 🙂
Although, this isn’t exactly what I wore, because in the meantime I forgot that I had actually worn sandals and then I found a brown belt at the thrift store last week, which looked better than the original gold belt…so I guess I improved on the outfit! It’s got kind of a “New Look” vibe to it- at least that is what I was going for.
Anyways- I was finally able to get pictures this past week, since the weather has warmed back up, and the trees have leafed out in “new leaf green” in the course of a couple of days! Spring is finally here- and I am so ready for it! (That’s also why I have so many pictures of the new leaves in this post…this isn’t even all that I took- I was just so excited to see all the tiny leaves, that I was snapping pictures left and right!)
I never used to notice that Spring comes late to this part of the world (compared to other places in the world) until I started an account on Instagram, and follow people from all over the world. Now I see people posting pictures of cherry blossoms and crocuses months before we see any green here! Oh well- even though we live with cardboard brown for a lot longer than other climates, I still wouldn’t move away!
Well, it’s been so long since I last blogged, that I’ve almost forgotten how to, so I’ll leave this here. My plan is to start blogging regularly again, but we’ll see how that goes. . .
I hope you all have a lovely weekend- and a Victoria Day weekend, to my fellow Canadians!
Have you ever planned to wear a specific outfit, but then weren’t able to because a key piece didn’t work out? Do you like to dress up with an “Easter Bonnet” for Easter Sunday? Have you ever worn an outfit, and then improved on it later?
When I was about thirteen, I started saving clippings from fashion magazines- correction- at that time it was actually the Sears catalogue, but you get the idea. Ever since then, I’ve saved clippings of any kind of pictures that appeal to me in some way. Some have been from fashion magazines I’ve found at the thrift store, or newspaper advertisements, or even home decorating magazines.
Over time, my style has evolved, but there are still some constants. Earthy colours, nature and florals are all still present. Vintage styles are a more recent addition- I started changing my style to vintage in 2012. Before that I was very into eclectic boho romantic, which is reflected in the pictures from that time period. I saved some of these because the clothing, or the style appealed to me- others because of the photography or atmosphere is unique or interesting. Anyways, I was looking through the scrapbook the other day, and thought I would share some of these images. Maybe you’ll find them as interesting and inspiring as I do!
I was almost hesitant to share these photos, and for a reason that isn’t readily apparent. It’s not because my hair wasn’t quite cooperating this day, my camera wasn’t focusing properly or because it was really warm in the house and I was eager to get this sweater off.
It’s because this outfit fails at ethical fashion.
If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, it won’t come as a surprise that I care about responsible fashion- I talk about it a lot. I take part in Fashion Revolution each year. The majority of my clothing is secondhand. I sew slowly and thoughtfully- I try to make sure that each of the items I make are ones that will add value to my closet. I don’t technically have a “capsule” wardrobe, but each and every item is chosen carefully and definitely worn more than 30 times.I very seldom purchase anything new, and when I do, I try to buy natural fibres, and search out ethical brands if possible.
I love fashion (no surprise there), but seeking to be purposeful and ethical in a world where fast fashion is the norm, can be hard.
And sometimes when you find a mustard yellow sweater, you buy it.
A few weeks ago, I was visiting a local clothing store with my mom and sister, trying to help my mom find a sweater, and as we were looking, I came across this mustard yellow sweater. I’ve been looking for a long time (a couple of years) for some mustard yellow pieces, since it is my favourite colour, but is extremely hard to find!
Since it was on sale, I bought it.
And then I immediately started thinking about the fact that it is made out of rayon and polyester, and dyed with a toxic mix of chemicals, and was made in China, and other than that, I definitely don’t know “who made my sweater”, and then I started regretting it, because this is not ethical fashion, and how can I call myself an ethical fashion proponent, when I just made a very unethical shopping choice?
But I’ve been doing some thinking lately, and I would like to share a few of thoughts on whether it’s possible to be completely “ethical” in your shopping choices.
I participated in a course that Fashion Revolution was offering a while ago. It was an interesting activity, but the one thing that stuck out to me, was this response by the founder of Fashion Revolution, Orsola De Castro to the question, “Is it possible to have a 100% sustainable or ethical wardrobe?”
I don’t think it’s possible to have 100% clothes that were designed or made sustainably or ethically. I think that is going to be very difficult, but it is possible to make sustainable and ethical choices about all of the clothes you have in your wardrobe. So, somehow, you can refresh with love and turn them into something they weren’t originally. . . You can do things like shop at Primark and H&M, but with the same respect if you were shopping somewhere like Gucci. You’ve got to treat your fiver like it was $500, and choose that piece not because you are “stress shopping at Zara”. We are not stress shopping at Zara: we are “deep love shopping at Primark” or Zara or wherever. . . Because, if we were to commit to 100% not putting one foot wrong, we would be damaging ourselves and our wardrobes immensely, and also the people who actually make our clothes, because there are an awful lot of people making clothes who are waiting for the industry to ameliorate, and what are we going to do in the meantime?Boycott them all? As consumers, we still buy that product. We just buy it in a different way, so we can give a really strong message to the brands. This message might be “Slow down”. This message might be “No, we don’t want five for the price of one; we want one well made piece for the price of five”.
This past year I have started going zero waste in my lifestyle. At first, I thought the concept of “zero waste” was to try and produce no garbage at all. We’ve all seen the pictures of people’s “trash jars” where they are able to fit all of their garbage from the past year (or more) into one glass jar. It’s inspiring to think about living a life that doesn’t result in garbage, but it’s not completely realistic for most people.
I live in a small town, and there is no bulk store. Cauliflower comes wrapped in plastic. I recycle or compost everything I can, but still end up with garbage at the end of the day.
As I’ve been reading more, and started following several zero wasters on Instagram, one thing that keeps coming up is the fact that we are currently living in a culture that is designed to result in garbage. “Zero waste” doesn’t mean that you are producing zero garbage, but is rather a name for a movement that is trying to restructure our global economy to one designed to be circular, where garbage isn’t part of the cycle. Today our products (whether it’s clothing, or food or other things) are designed with waste. It’s impossible to create “zero waste” as a consumer. And even if you think that you are doing a fairly good job, there is garbage that has been created before the product even reaches you. (I work in a shop, and the amount of packaging garbage that is thrown out before a product even reaches the shelf is astounding.)
But again, this quote by Instagrammer Andrea Sanders (@bezerowastegirl) has been bopping around in my head for a while:
“Zero Waste isn’t easy because it’s an infrastructure that doesn’t exist right now. Access to bulk stores, fresh markets and the like are not accessible to most. Everyone makes trash. Period. Do what you can. Never feel guilty because you can’t do something. There is no absolutism.”
And so, it makes me ask: Was this sweater an unwise shopping decision after all? Am I “failing” at ethical fashion?
Our current fashion culture is one that is driven by the need to buy more and more, regardless of how much we already own, but when I purchased this sweater, I wasn’t buying it from a fast fashion perspective.
I have been searching for a mustard yellow sweater for a few years, so it was not a spur of the moment purchase. It was “deep love” shopping, not buying for the sake of buying.
It is estimated that wearing a garment at least 30 times, reduces the carbon, waste and water footprint of a garment by 20%-30%. I wear all my clothes at least 30 times, and despite the fact that this sweater is not made of completely natural fibres, it is well sewn and will last me many years. I also take care of my clothes, and will be hand washing this one to help increase it’s lifespan.
It’s a tricky issue. I can’t say that I’m completely convinced that I should have bought it. Maybe if I had waited a while longer I would have come across something in mustard yellow that would have ticked all the boxes, but then again, maybe not.
I want my wardrobe to be 100% ethical, but that’s not really feasible right now. If 95% of my wardrobe is ethical fashion, then is the 5% that isn’t ethical, OK? Where do you draw the line? Is there a line? How do you balance want vs. need, especially with something as “frivolous” as fashion?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue. How do you decide for your own wardrobe?