thrifted

How to Start Dressing Ethically

How to Start Dressing Ethically, the artyologist

I have only been consciously dressing ethically for five years now (since 2012) but in that time I have picked up a few tips. Making the decision to start dressing ethically can be both exciting- as well as completely overwhelming when you start to look around you and see only fast fashion, or sustainable fashion brands that you cannot afford to buy from! The first step to dressing ethically (yay!) is not in completely overhauling your entire wardrobe, but in taking small steps starting from this point on. So, continuing in the spirit of Fashion Revolution Week, today I am sharing both a completely ethical outfit, as well as my tips on how to start dressing ethically yourself.

How to Start Dressing Ethically, the artyologist, shoes and purse

My purse was from a vintage store, and the scarf and shoes were thrifted. 

Shop Secondhand 

Secondhand clothes make up a large portion of my wardrobe, because they are a really great and affordable way to dress ethically. Because used clothes are already in existence, whatever history and supply chain they may have had previously is given a second chance at life when you add it to your wardrobe. There are so many textiles already in existence, and unfortunately many of them are sent to the landfills. (11 million tonnes each year in the USA alone!!!) This is obviously unsustainable, and one of the best ways to combat this is to wear secondhand clothing. For my fellow vintage lovers, we’ve already seen the value in wearing “old” things 🙂

While shopping second hand may be time consuming- and might not be the best option when you need something very specific, if you treat it like a treasure hunt, you might be surprised at what you can find. Some of my favourite pieces in my closet are thrifting finds: one man’s trash is certainly another’s treasure.

How to Start Dressing Ethically, the artyologist, outfit

My shirt was “thirdhand” as it originally belonged to my aunt, who then passed it on to my sister, who finally passed it on to me! 

Some easy ways to start wearing secondhand clothing would be by thrifting and shopping at vintage and consignment stores. If you don’t have a thrift store in your area, consider having a clothing swap with friends, accepting hand me downs from others, or buying online through places like Etsy or ThredUp. (ThredUp is an online thrift store. I’ve never purchased from them before- but I know plenty of other people who have had great success shopping there.)

How to Start Dressing Ethically, the artyologist, outfit

I upcycled my skirt from a thrifted extra large wrap skirt.

Handmade

Another great way to way to dress ethically is by making your own clothing or accessories. Learning to sew, if you don’t know how to already, is a great life skill and can really help you to appreciate the value of clothing (and the hard work that goes into making it!) By making your own clothing, you are escaping the “fast fashion” trend and instead creating thoughtful, slow-fashion pieces.

Although, one of the downsides of sewing your own clothing can be in not knowing where your fabric is sourced from, one of the best ways I have found to sew sustainably is in refashioning and upcyling. This is second hand and handmade combined in one: the best of both worlds 🙂 Some of the projects I have upcycled (including this dutch wax print skirt) are featured in these posts here, here and here. Even if you don’t want to get involved in time consuming refashions, second hand textiles such as linens or extra large maxi skirts give you a lot of fabric to work with to cut new things out of, and some thrift stores even sell yard goods!  That being said, I do still purchase new fabric from time to time, if I have a specific project in mind. I would love to one day be able to source all of my fabric from sustainable textile mills, but in the meantime I am glad to be able to hand make slow-fashion pieces for my wardrobe.

And, even if you don’t want to sew for yourself, have you considered the handmade pieces other people are making (both clothing as well as accessories)? Check out your local craft fairs and farmer’s markets, or search on Etsy. There are so many talented people out there who are selling lots of beautiful handmade items. Some of them even take custom orders- so you can get exactly what you want!

How to Start Dressing Ethically, the artyologist, belt detail

My belt is from the Canadian company Brave Leather, and as well as being fair trade, it is also made of vegetable-tanned leather byproducts sourced from the food industry.

Ethically Made

Another way to dress ethically is in buying from (and supporting) companies that are producing sustainable and ethically made goods. When it comes to finding ethical fashion brands, keep in mind that it’s like getting a grade in school- if you get a good grade you tell everyone, and if you get a bad grade, you tend to keep it to yourself. Ethical fashion companies usually have easy-to-find information about their practices and supply chains. If a company doesn’t have that information for you, they probably aren’t an ethical company (although that’s not always the case.)

The best way to find ethical fashion companies I’ve found, is simply by searching the internet with keywords like “ethical fashion brands”, “fair trade fashion companies”, “ethical leather purse”, “fair trade jewellery” “sustainable fashion” etc. This will bring up tons of companies for you to choose from, as well as sites dedicated to sharing ethical brands, such as this one. I shared a post a few weeks ago listing some ethical jewellery brands, here.

How to Start Dressing Ethically, the artyologist, bracelets

My fair trade bracelets are engraved brass, copper and mother of pearl from India, which I purchased from Ten Thousand Villages. The Pearly Bracelets and Etched Bangles are currently still available.

I find buying ethically made clothing to be out of my reach at the moment. I don’t feel confident in purchasing clothing online, because I am never sure if it is going to fit how I like it (and since I don’t live in the USA, where many of the companies are from, I don’t qualify for things like free shipping and returns). And unfortunately I don’t have any local ethical clothing shops to buy from. However, once thing that I do like to purchase from ethical companies is accessories. Things like jewellery, belts, and purses are a great first step to buying ethically. You don’t have to “try on” a necklace, so it is easy to purchase things like that online. I also do have a Ten Thousand Villages store a couple of hours away from where I live, so I’ve bought plenty from them over the years. Investing in ethical companies is a good option, because it sends the message to the fashion industry that this is something that is important to you- and by helping fair trade companies to succeed, you are helping to shape the future of the fashion industry too.

How to Start Dressing Ethically, the artyologist, jewellery details

My necklace was from Ten Thousand Villages. The Engraved Choker is currently still available for sale. My earrings are vintage and second-hand from my mom.

Well, those are my tips for some ways to start dressing ethically. It can seem overwhelming at first, but small changes make big differences over time! I hope that wherever you are on the ethical fashion scale, that these few tips can help you, and, if you have any other tips, please do share!

What are your favourite ways of shopping and dressing ethically?

Fashion Revolution Haulternative (aka: Recent Thrift Finds)

Fashion Revolution Haulternative (aka Thrift Finds) the artyologist

This year, Fashion Revolution has suggested several ways to get involved, one of which is sharing a fashion “Haulternative” . The purpose behind the fashion haulternative is to encourage people to find ways to refresh their closet, other than buying new clothes. Today I am sharing a combination of their ideas: Broken but beautiful, 2hand, Vintage, Fashion fix (mended), Swapped and Slow fashion. 

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I always love a good thrift haul, don’t you? I am always surprised by what people get rid of- and am so happy that they do! One person’s trash really is another persons treasure. So, in honour of Fashion Revolution week, here are some of my recent thrifting finds, or should I say, haulternative, and ways in which I plan to refresh my wardrobe without buying new. 🙂

Fashion Revolution Haulternative (aka Thrift Finds) the artyologist, fur coat

Fashion Revolution Haulternative (aka Thrift Finds) the artyologist, fur-detail

First up might be my favourite find of all time: this gorgeous cropped grey persian lamb fur coat. My sister spotted it for me, and I was seriously having a “start the car” moment! I got it in February, but I have still had a few chances to wear it before putting it away for Spring. (Well Spring is an illusion lately- so maybe I will get lots of chances to wear it before Summer arrives!) I don’t have too many grey tones in my wardrobe, but I do have plenty of navy, which this pairs well with, and the grey has a bit of warm tone to it, so I think it might pair OK with browns too. I am working on creating a more cohesive wardrobe, and I think this coat will fit in well.

Fashion Revolution Haulternative (aka Thrift Finds) the artyologist, bedjacket

Next is this adorable little bed jacket. Now when I lounge in bed reading magazines and eating breakfast on a fancy tray, I will be all set. Now if I can just get someone to bring me breakfast in bed. . . . 😉

Fashion Revolution Haulternative (aka Thrift Finds) the artyologist, velvet skirt

This velvet skirt is an interesting one. I promise you that is a velvet skirt hanging on the wall- not a skirt shaped black abyss (do you know how hard it is to photograph black velvet!!??!!) This box pleated skirt was missing a button, but I thought- no problem to fix that, so I got it. I replaced the button, and then went to wear it on a Sunday morning. As we were headed out the door, I noticed a thread hanging from the hem, so I went to trim it- only to notice that a piece was chopped out of the hem! I have no idea why the previous owner did this- and it is even funnier that I didn’t notice it before. Well, because it is velvet, you can’t tell from the front, but obviously I will mend it. The skirt has room to be hemmed up an inch or so, so it won’t cause any problems. But, it is still so odd; who thinks, “I need a small scrap of velvet. . .  oh I know! I’ll cut it out of my hem!” ??? The joys of thrifting 🙂 I think that this skirt will work well with plenty of items in my current closet, so it was a rather good and versatile purchase.

Fashion Revolution Haulternative (aka Thrift Finds) the artyologist, belt

Fashion Revolution Haulternative (aka Thrift Finds) the artyologist, belt-detail

Next up is this cute little metal belt with an interesting clasp. I haven’t worn this one yet- but I’m sure I will find a use for it. Accessories are such a great way of changing up your wardrobe without getting all new outfits. You can completely change the look of an ensemble, just by switching out the accessories. I love adding belts to an outfit to add both an interesting detail, as well as helping to create that 1950’s silhouette.

Fashion Revolution Haulternative (aka Thrift Finds) the artyologist, skirts-to-upcycle

Now this is a project. I know I said I hate buying thrifting projects, but it is an addiction or something. I do have a plan for these though, so it’s OK right? Both of these skirts are rayon, and they work well together- in a clashing/quirky kind of way. I want to turn them into some kind of sundress or playsuit combination, using the dark fabric for a top, and the light fabric for a skirt. I don’t have a defined plan of action yet, but if it ever stops snowing, it would be nice to have some more summer outfits, so I’d better get cracking on it! Even though I don’t particularly love refashioning, I do love diverting textiles from the landfill, so I am excited about this project. I will try to remember to take photos this time, of my process for making it- and then create a blog post for sometime in the future.

These next few items were from a clothing swap. I do love a good clothing swap, as it’s basically a free way to get some fun new items for your wardrobe.

Fashion Revolution Haulternative (aka Thrift Finds) the artyologist, white top

This white eyelet top kind of reminds me of a Victorian/Edwardian style corset cover, when it’s tucked in. I think it will be nice for the hot summer days too.

Fashion Revolution Haulternative (aka Thrift Finds) the artyologist, leopard sweater

I love leopard print, but surprisingly I don’t own very much of it. I think that this cotton sweater will be a nice neutral for Fall and Winter. I like the colour combination of this one, and the way it looks tucked into a simple black skirt. I hope to be able to style it with a 40’s/50’s secretary sort of vibe.

Fashion Revolution Haulternative (aka Thrift Finds) the artyologist, scarves

Lastly here are some scarves- I love scarves! Especially since I started tying them as turbans. The one with the beaded piece makes an interesting sort of 20’s style turban (picture of that here). I haven’t tried the coral or green scarves yet. You might be able to see that the bottom of the coral scarf is faded. I think it was factory folded, and never used and unfolded, as it was perfectly faded in a square and around the edges! I got this scarf for free, so it doesn’t bother me, and as I will always be tying it, it will be hardly noticeable.

Well. There are my recent thrifting finds. Some of these are a bit out of season, so they probably won’t be making it into outfit posts until next season, but I wanted to share them now anyways.

Have you had any good thrift finds lately? What ways do you like to refresh your wardrobe, without resorting to buying new clothes all the time? Are you planning on taking part in the Fashion Revolution Haulternative?

Easter Sunday’s New Look

Easter Sunday's New Look, the artyologist, looking in purse Vogue 1950's cover

I hope you all had a lovely Easter weekend, dear readers, wherever you are. If you are located in Canada, or many other parts of the Northern Hemisphere, you might just have experienced what I did this last weekend: SNOW! Yes, we got a snowstorm last Thursday, and it didn’t let up until Saturday night. I was glad when Sunday dawned bright and clear but, alas, the sun was not warm enough to melt all of the snow away, and we still have snow covered ground out there. All of my visions of Easter bonnets, and flowers, and easter egg hunts and just Spring in general, were quite hopelessly dashed! My visions of a lovely Easter photo set outdoors, were also dashed as well! I didn’t feel like doing supposedly “Spring” photos in a snowdrift! (Especially as last year was so sunny and bright . . . )

So, in order to avert a small blogger crisis, I decided to take a page from Vogue, and many other photo shoots of years-gone-by, and create a set in the living room (by literally moving all of the furniture, opening doors, putting pins in the wall and generally tearing apart everything in sight. . .  don’t worry- it’s back in order now). This minimalist backdrop (aka: a white bed sheet) worked out fine in a pinch, and as this outfit is rather “New Look” in style, it lent itself well to the very minimal background and gave me a chance to try out some fun 1950’s poses. Most of these poses are based off of Vogue covers from the 1950’s, or other famous poses (such as Dior’s bar suit)

Easter Sunday's New Look, the artyologist black and white

I originally planned to wear something bright and colourful and well. . .  “Springy” for Easter Sunday, however, that didn’t happen. Of all the days in the year, Easter Sunday is the day when you just have to wear an Easter Bonnet, right? Since none of my more colourful dresses had coordinating hats, I decided to forgo the brighter colours in place of a hat and ended up with this cream coloured straw, which is probably my best hat, and this new-to-me vintage dress, which coordinated nicely with the cream tones.

This dress is the one I picked up last fall from the thrift store. It is a true vintage piece, but it desperately needed some work before it was wearable. It is made out of some kind of synthetic material (which creases terribly, I discovered!), some of the dye has faded in places, the bow on the front was rather limp, there were rips under the arms that had been mended very poorly, and the hem was about two inches too short. I was able to bring the side seams in about 1.5″ on each side, to fix the holes, as well as fitting the bodice better, I reshaped the bow, and also let out the hem. I believe that the dress had been hemmed by the previous owner, as the hem was hand sewn- but with three different colours of thread! 🙂 It is too bad that, whoever she was, she trimmed her hem, as I wish that there had been one more inch to let down. It turned out rather nicely though, despite not having that extra inch in length.

Easter Sunday's New Look, the artyologist, gloves detail

After I had let down the hem and altered the dress, I realized that what the dress really needed was a petticoat, in order for it to hang right- as well as giving that nice “New Look” silhouette. I didn’t have a petticoat that worked with the dress, though, as mine was much too full to wear with it, so two days before Easter Sunday, I got the crazy idea to start “Operation: Save The Petticoat”. I managed to alter my existing one – in the process sewing 17 yards of netting into submission – and finished it just in time. (ps. I will have a post in the future about how I altered the petticoat.)

It was rather fun to wear such a recognizably vintage outfit like this on Sunday- with the hat, shoes, purse, gloves and full skirt. I don’t usually go all out like this, and instead wear more “vintage inspired” outfits on a day to day basis. It was kind of nice to break that mold and do something new- or rather – should I say “old”? 😉

Did you get snow for Easter this year? Do you like to wear an “Easter Bonnet”? And do you like to dress in a more recognizable “vintage” styles, or do you dress in a vintage/modern hybrid – or do you even dress in vintage at all?

Outfit Details:

Dress: Vintage

Hat: Vintage

Purse: Thrifted

Jewellery: Gifted and thrifted

Gloves: Vintage

Belt: Vintage

Shoes: Gabor

Easter Sunday's New Look, the artyologist, portrait

Easter Sunday's New Look, the artyologist, back and dress details

Easter Sunday's New Look, the artyologist, on a chair

Easter Sunday's New Look, the artyologist, outfit details

A Spring in My Step

spring in my step, feature, the artyologist

This may not look like it to some of you who are living in significantly balmier climes, but Spring is in the air! The pussy willows are out and the tulips and crocuses, and even our peonies are starting to poke their brave little heads up out of the dirt. The day we took these photos didn’t really feel like spring; in truth it did feel more like a crisp fall day, because it was overcast and rather chilly, and everything is still brown, but nevertheless I know that it is indeed spring. And that knowledge is indeed cheerful, after the many months of winter! I love my winter clothes, but I am more than ready to ditch the tights and the wool and the scarves and the many layers.

I think we might be wearing some of the warmer pieces and layers for a while yet, but I have been attempting to lighten up my colour palette a bit the past couple of weeks. This outfit I wore last week looks a bit more fall inspired than spring inspired to me, now that I look at, though. Maybe it is because of the mustard yellow, which is a bit more of an earthy colour. Oh well! I felt a lot more seasonally appropriate than I have felt for a long while. Changing seasons can be a rather awkward time for ones wardrobe. . .

This week I am planning to rotate my wardrobe to more seasonally appropriate attire. Mainly that means just putting my thick wool skirts away, and moving my winter coats to the extra closet and switching out my winter hats for my straw hats. It is so nice to switch things up and revive for the season. Because even if it doesn’t quite look and feel like it, Spring is definitely here!

Do you switch out your wardrobe seasonally? How do you transition for the seasons in your dress?

Outfit Details:

Pinafore Skirt: Made by Me

Shirt: Thrifted

Sweater: Thrifted

Necklace: Gifted

Tights: HUE

Boots: Thrifted

a Spring In My Step, without sweater and branch, the artyologist

spring in my step, tree, the artyologist

crocuses-2, spring in my step, the artyologist

a spring in my step, the artyologist, pearls

branch-and-pussy-willows, the artyologist

shoes, spring in my step, the artyologist

walking and peony, spring in my step, the artyologist

crocuses-coming-up, spring in my step, the artyologist

walking away, a spring in my step, the artyologist