Fashion

Slow Fashion Tips & Tricks

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Hi there! I want to continue with my series on ethical fashion by sharing some tips & tricks that I’ve found helpful when it comes to ethical shopping. It can be a bit overwhelming to commit to this lifestyle change, so I wanted to share some things that have made it easier and more practical for me so far.

Wear What You’ve Got

This tip is probably the easiest and the hardest to do at the same time.  It’s easy because the most ethical decision is to wear the clothes you already own, without buying any more! It’s hard because we want to shop for something new. I recommend doing a closet purge (does anyone else get immense joy from cleaning out their closet?) and gaining an understanding of what clothes are working for your current lifestyle. Try to find clothes that are cohesive with one another and begin building your wardrobe with items you already have. You may be surprised by what you find in the back of your closet! It’s also a good idea to take the clothes you no longer want and sell them online or donate them—so they aren’t going to waste!

Keep a List

This is something I’ve found helpful for the past few years. I read an article a few years back in Verily Magazine that discussed the importance of developing a capsule wardrobe with classic pieces that are made to last and it spoke to me! I think it is helpful to take a look at your closet and remove any pieces that are not necessary. Keep items that are both beautiful and practical. Then, make a list of items that your closet is missing. When you are shopping you can look specifically for these items. This really helps minimize impulse buying! Be thoughtful about what your closet is missing, and picture these pieces with the items already in your closet. Will it go with clothes you already have? Can you mix and match it with several other pieces? These are all questions you should ask yourself before buying an investment piece to ensure that you will wear it often and it will be worth the money spent on it as well as the effort it took to make it.

Buy Secondhand

Buying secondhand is not something I’ve always been comfortable with, but for someone who wants to avoid contributing to the fast fashion world, it’s really an excellent (and affordable!) choice. You may be wondering how buying secondhand is ethical, especially when it is buying a clothing item from a store that may not be a particularly ethical brand. Well, the thing is—this garment already exists. It is already manufactured and created. You are not able to prevent this item from being created. By purchasing something that is pre-owned, you are avoiding contributing to the massive manufacturing of more, new items, for which the people behind the clothes are treated unfairly. It also prevents the already worn item from ending up in a landfill, and you are also loosening the grip of advertising by making it difficult for large companies to track your purchases.  I love shopping secondhand for items from brands I love like J. Crew & Madewell that aren’t considered ethical brands because of their lack of transparency with how their fabrics are sourced and how their clothes are created.

Mix & Match

This tip goes for everyone, all the time! Mix & match your clothes! I tend to buy clothes that will go with one another so I am able to multiply my outfits while using the same pieces over and over again, in different ways. The best way to begin to mix & match is to develop a cohesive color scheme for your wardrobe. You probably find yourself gravitating toward certain colors naturally, I know I do! I tend to go for neutrals as well as blue tones!  This way, when I go about creating different outfits, most of my pieces tend to go together and I’m able to mix & match them.  Also, get creative! Sometimes I’ll throw a sweater over a dress and now the dress is able to work as a skirt as well. Little tricks like this can really expand your closet of fewer, carefully chosen items. I actually love this part about fashion, and I think it says more about our style with what we’re able to create using what we’ve got—rather than what we go out and buy.

Reach Out

One thing that has been huge for me is contacting shop owners and stores I like in order to find out more about their business ethics. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by smaller, online boutiques, and I’ve been a little disappointed in some of my favorite stores that aren’t as transparent. With social media at our fingertips, we actually have the power to reach out to business owners and advocate for positive working conditions and business ethics that value human life. This has been a game changer for me and has encouraged me to shop at businesses that prioritize ethically made clothing!  I’ve been able to speak directly with shop owners of boutiques here in the US, and a few of them have reassured me that many of their items are made in the US and that they make an effort to work with manufacturers who share their values.

Save Up

I saved this tip for last because it really should be the last thing you’re doing when it comes to slow, ethical fashion. If you’ve looked into ethical companies, you’ll know that their pieces are understandably a bit more expensive. If there is an item of clothing that you’re willing to invest in, take the time to save up for it if it’s a bit on the pricier side. I promise you, it will be worth it if this is a classic, timeless piece that will last you for years. For items like this, I tend to ask for them for my birthday or Christmas—otherwise I will wait a little while and find a way to work it into the budget. You appreciate things far more when you have to wait a little bit for them anyway!

I hope you enjoyed my tips & tricks on slow fashion and shopping ethically. Please let me know if you found this helpful! I’d also love to know if there are any helpful tips you have, as I’m still new to this world and learning as well! Please share them if you’d like!

Faith, Fashion

A New Year + An Ethical Fashion Resolution

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Happy New Year, friends! The start of a new year is so exciting—I love all of the possibilities that come with a fresh beginning. For many years I came up with lists of way too many resolutions that I would have loved to keep, but most of them never stuck. Last year I only made one resolution, which was to find a new hobby + grow in my faith, which has manifested in this blog! It’s not lost on me that the beginning of the New Year is also the Solemnity of Mary, so I want to be intentional with any resolutions I have and strive for holiness in a new way at the beginning of each year.

This year there is something a little different has been on my heart for quite some time. In addition to it being a resolution, it’s also a bit of a lifestyle change. My 2019 resolution is to make a shift toward shopping intentionally + ethically. Thanks to the influence of some lovely friends online, I’ve become interested in seeking out shops and businesses that share my values and uphold the dignity of all human beings, especially those who make our clothing. 

While I’ve never been someone who chases every new trend on the fashion scene, I’ve definitely contributed to the world of fast fashion in more ways than I’d like to admit. As I’ve learned more about the fashion industry, I’ve been heartbroken by stories regarding how the people who make our clothes are treated. This is certainly not something I’d like to participate in. Additionally, I’ve developed an interest over the past several years in shopping for classic, versatile pieces that remain timeless. Developing a capsule wardrobe is something I’ve been indirectly trying to do, and I hope that this year I can really bring this idea to life.

In this next year (and for years after!) I hope to find shops that share my values and embrace the ethical fashion movement. I also hope to detach from materialism and consumerism in a big way by buying less overall. In doing this, I hope that I can grow closer to the Lord by detaching from worldly things and witness to my faith by upholding the dignity of human life with each purchase I make. Lastly, I hope to build a capsule closet of clothing that is sensible and classic, with quality items that I am proud to wear. I think it will be an especially fun + challenging time to begin this pursuit due to how my body is sure to change in this upcoming year with a baby coming in June! 

I hope that you’ll join me in this pursuit of shopping ethically + intentionally while building a capsule wardrobe! This isn’t a fashion blog, and I’m no fashion expert, but I have gotten questions about where I shop and what I like to wear, so I think this will be a fun way to incorporate this into the blog! Along the way I’ll be sharing some of my favorite finds, tips + tricks for navigating ethical shopping, and sharing about shops I love to support.  Above all, I hope that this resolution + life style change can help me grow closer to God, strengthen my faith, and be a witness through the choices I make and what I put on my body.

 

Faith, Fashion

Time & Prayer

 

 

Happy Monday, friends! I want to tell you a little bit about prayer, something that has been on my heart recently and something I’m really trying to work on in my life. Dom snapped these photos of me on a couple slow Saturday and Sunday mornings when I had the chance to enjoy a cup of tea, pray, and lounge in my favorite pair of women’s boxers, made by My Liliana’s. Before I go any further, I have to tell you about this awesome company. A friend of mine started this company with the pursuit of creating ethically made, environmentally friendly cotton boxers (with pockets!) for women that are both comfortable and stylish. They’re perfect for watching movies at home on Friday night, personal prayer time on Saturday morning, or really any other time you want to be comfortable!  I was super excited to hear that they’re ethically made with environmentally friendly organic cotton. I’ve been trying to switch to ethically made items, and these came at the perfect time.  There’s a bunch of beautiful patterns to choose from! I’m really loving my blue and white polka dot pair. I tend to wear a lot of blue and the polka dots were too cute to pass up. They arrived wrapped in the nicest yellow bow with a note from my friend who owns & runs My Liliana’s. I think you should check them out on Instagram & Facebook because I think you’ll love them too!

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Back to prayer, this is something that’s been on my heart to share for a while now because it’s something I’ve been working on in my own life. Our prayer lives are a part of our faith that will always be evolving, often determined by what our lives look like in the present moment. We’ve had a crazy year navigating life as newlyweds, starting new jobs, buying a house + farm, and now renovating it. Initially, my prayer life was suffering because I was struggling to find time for personal prayer. I didn’t feel myself growing closer to God, and this weighed heavily on my heart. When we finally moved into our new home, I decided to make a commitment to daily prayer time, despite how busy my days felt. It’s amazing how peaceful my days have become since instilling changes to enhance my prayer life.

In our new home, I’m actually working on creating a prayer corner. This idea was given to me by one of my friends in a small group I attend. I had confessed that my prayer life had suffered since college. During my college years at Seton Hall I made time everyday to stop inside the beautiful chapel on campus in between classes for truly fruitful prayer time. That chapel became a special place for me, and it really inspired me to embrace my faith, grow closer to the Lord, and pray fervently. Once I graduated and no longer had access to the chapel every day, my prayer life suffered. I struggled to find the right time, and the right place to pray. My friend mentioned that I create a space in my own home to inspire me, the way the chapel did.

I’m in the midst of creating this special space for prayer, and I was going to wait until I finished it to share a little bit about my prayer life on the blog. I decided against that because I felt it is equally important that I make time to pray now, instead of waiting for the perfect time and place to pray. We can’t wait for the perfect timing or the perfect location. We can’t wait for the moment when God will fit perfectly into our lives. We need to make the time to pray now. We need to put God first in our lives, despite how hectic our days are. It’s amazing how when we do this, God honors our faithfulness and brings peace to our days.

So, how exactly do we find time for God when we’re in a busy season of life? The answer is simple, but not easy. We don’t find time; we make time for the Lord. I currently have a long bus ride to work. It’s not fun or glamorous. It’s long, and it can be really dreadful. I like to pray in the morning, so the first thing I do every day on the bus is pray the rosary. I like to listen to a recording of it on my phone so that I can meditate on the mysteries without worrying about what bead I’m on. After I pray the rosary, I do some spiritual reading. Yes, this is prayer too! I alternate between a few books. I really love my Blessed Is She journaling bible, The Diary of St. Maria Faustina, and Searching for and Maintaining Peace by Father Jacques Phillipe. Once I get off the bus, I attend daily mass at a church near work. Either before or after mass I’ll pray for specific intentions and have a few minutes of contemplative prayer time to let the Lord speak to me. I’ve learned it’s really important to listen to the Lord, rather than doing all of the talking ourselves. When I get to work I usually read the Blessed Is She daily devotional, because they’re tied into the readings from mass that day. The devotionals are written by other women and their reflections usually speak right into my heart. After work, I’m back on the bus. I’ll usually pray a Divine Mercy Chaplet, listen to a spiritual podcast or some praise & worship music. Podcasts I love include anything recorded by Father Mike Schmitz, The Catholic Feminist, Fountains of Carrots, and Thriving in the Trenches. For praise and worship music, I really love the album Heaven’s Light by Saint Paul’s Outreach, go find them on iTunes! Before we go to bed, Dom and I like to pray together. We try to say the rosary together every night, and we really love this little tradition.

I hope that this post is able to inspire you in your own prayer life. I certainly don’t want my routine to overwhelm or confuse you, but help you and encourage you in your own prayer life and routines. This prayer routine has developed after I had a year of very little prayer. I felt so empty by this, which cause me to make some radical changes. I decided to take advantage of my time consuming commute, and make the best of it. It’s also not seamless and perfect every single day. Sometimes, I really hate waking up early to take the bus. Sometimes, I’m tired and fall asleep on the bus instead of praying. Sometimes, my bus is running late and I miss daily mass. Sometimes, I listen to a podcast about the Bachelor instead of one about Jesus. What I’m really trying to do here is show you how you can take any moment of your imperfect, hectic life, and make time for God. He wants to meet you where you are, in whatever season of life you’re in, no matter how busy or tired you are. Let Him.