Day 176

June 24th, 2016

# 6 Mend your clothes: The  art of fixing: on the verge of extinction?


Outfit: Black dress worn forward, ribbon lace applique basted onto neckline, Miz Mooz wedges (fave shoe right now). Pearl bracelet, hoop earrings.


How many people do you know that will discard a garment because a seam came undone or a button fell off? A lot of people consider the problem a manufacturing flaw rather than simple wear and tear. Having worn the same garment for weeks on end I came to a realization I hadn’t had before. When you wear something often, it requires repairs! There’re tears from getting caught on the dog’s gate, the hem came undone at one point, and points of strain are getting worn. Suddenly I knew why the pioneers would spend the evenings around the fire with a pile of clothes to mend! They were rebuilding their clothing. This is one of those things we take for granted in our society, because sometimes we don’t wear the same blouse for weeks. Then the wear and tear is not as obvious to it. I truly believe that in spite of saving us hours of alterations by the fire, we’ve lost instead of gained. I fear that by not having to fix our everyday clothing we’ve lost a connection to the creative process. We lost the pride and feeling of accomplishment that comes from solving a problem to a very real dilemma. We’ve also lost that connection that came from spending time with others performing small tasks. This is very similar to the knitting circle article (Day 38), where we talked about how the human element to crafting together actually is beneficial to your well-being. Who knew?

I cannot tell you the amount of people who’ve told me, they can’t buy something because it’s too long or the sleeves are the wrong width, or it is just a bit too big? Ever considered altering? Here’s the thing…and I say this with love… (again in retail), when you get people complaining that the garment at hand does not fit them properly so they will not buy it because shortening it is too expensive, I often find myself thinking “Are you kidding me? Let me get this straight, you are all for mass-production, ready-to-wear-cheap clothing but you want it to fit you and your friend perfectly because you are both a small, never mind that she’s 5’1 and has a 36” bust and you are 6’ tall with a 38” bust.  And you want it all for $19.95?!”

We are a society of oximorons. We want it cheap, unique and perfect fit. Unfortunately we can’t have all three at once. So, when I suggest a simple alteration like shortening the sleeves. Often I hear a ‘Oh…I never thought of that!’

How about it? Wanna give it a try? Wanna learn how to hem your pants so the edges won’t fray from dragging on the floor (can’t even imagine the amount of stuff that collects there). Wanna learn how to sew a button back up so you can do up your jacket? How about learning to darn a hole or re-stitch a seam? It seems daunting when you didn’t learn from the get go. Maybe your parents didn’t know the skill, or maybe you had no interest in learning it. But right now, we are approaching a time where the skill of sewing is disappearing and I feel it is crucial to bring it back. It is not only a life-skill like learning to cook or do laundry, it is also beneficial to basic motor and hand eye coordination, which is good for your brain!

To prove my point, check out this article from the Guardian, in the UK, “The rise of mending: how Britain learned to repair clothes again” acknowledges the need to bring back mending to society and encourages people to pick up the habit.

There are many ways to learn to mend clothes. You can take a local class or simply go online. Lots of tutorials on Youtube, but I realize that can be overwhelming. I found two great resources. The first one is ifixit.com they have lots of guides to repair almost anything. They’ve partnered with Patagonia to teach consumers how to mend their product line.

The other website is called Love your Clothes, and it is a UK campaign to reduce the impact of clothing on the environment. I LOVE this site. There are so many great resources in it, but their mending tutorials especially, are great.

I wanted to leave you with an example of how easy it could be to learn to sew a button: Here’s a picture of Victoria my youngest, sewing a button on her teacher’s gift. Now, if a 9 year old can do this…so can you!

P1110449

Day 174

June 22nd, 2016

#4 Support better companies: Buy ethically made


Outfit: Black and white sun dress worn with LBD as a blouse, knotted at the waist, black sash as scarf, watermelon wedge sandals, silver circle earrings. 


If everything came with an instruction manual things would be so much easier. But unfortunately clothing does not come with a history of the supply chain or instructions on end of life disposal. Wouldn’t it be great if instead of a fancy logo, the labels on our clothing had something like the food labels where they tell you the ingredients and percentages of things like carbohydrates? Clothing labels could say something like: “Made in a factory with good ventilation, proper bathrooms, no overtime and no child labour.” But instead they say Made in ________. And you are left to wonder how it was made or who made it. It gives no background check, no insight.

There are companies out there that are trying to go that extra mile, to become more transparent about their practices and processes. Some certification is available although it is not always obvious to the consumer. Things like B Corp certification (Day 51) or Cradle to Cradle are certifications that take a look at the triple bottom line: Planet, People and Profit. Or companies like Eileen Fisher who adhere to SA800 certification which deals with human rights in the workplace. Day 167

There are many more because we are at the turning point. This is the generation that will take things into account. This link to The Good Trade gives you 35 options on companies with an ethical mandate as part of their vision. Companies like Patagonia, Eileen Fisher and others.  The link is organized so you can see what country the label is from, and what are their priorities with regards to responsible production. Two of them caught my attention. Zady, I’ve encountered before and love their principle (“The New Standard”), I talked about them day 99. And My Sister, which provides t-shirts with a message against sex trafficking and donates a portion of their profits to make a difference in victim’s lives.

Just like it takes more time to read labels at the grocery store, it may take a bit of homework to find brands that make clothing with a conscience, but they are out there. We just need to invest the time and start to expect it from our local suppliers. And if we can’t get it from them, then we go and look elsewhere. The point is, where there’s a will, there’s a way. And when it comes to ethically made clothing, you just have to look.

 

 

Day 156

June 4th, 2016

Comfort wins today.


Outfit: Mickey and Minnie Mouse t-shirt worn under dress worn as a jacket. Jeans and green heels. Red purse.


Today I need to be comfortable because it is about errands and transporting children to sports fields. One of those things that I wish we could get there by biking but it is just logistically impossible. So we’ll do our best to conserve energy in other ways today.

And yes…heels can be comfortable if you have the right ones on!

Day 148

May 27th, 2016

Good read: Fashion has become the wearable equivalent of empty calories…


Outfit: Black dress worn backwards, red plaid scarf worn as a wrap skirt, black chunky boots, long socks, chandelier earrings.


Now don’t go making fun of me today because I look like Braveheart, I happen to like this. Lets just say it’s…interesting.

Today here’s an article from Australia sent to me by another friend (thank you friends). It is a bit long -but oh, so good!

With a title like,  “Fashion has become the wearable equivalent of empty calories”, I can completely relate, because I’ve come to hate empty calories in food. I call them ‘why bothers’, and I take them very seriously. She gives a ton of facts and most of them are relevant for Canada too (very similar situations). So go ahead, read through because at the end she gives a few recommendations to incite change.

http://www.dailylife.com.au/dl-fashion/dl-shopping/fashion-has-become-the-wearable-equivalent-of-empty-calories-20160503-gokviy.html

Day 128

May 7th, 2016

Turn, turn, turn…


Outfit: Black dress worn backwards, brown skinny wrap-around belt, brown sandals

Carmen’s items: White wide-legged crinkle cotton pants.(These are supposed to be Capri length!!!)


Sometimes I long for the boring days. The days were we didn’t know what to do and we’d spend half of Saturday arguing on whether to go downtown for a walk or to the movies. I haven’t had one of those days in so long I couldn’t even tell you if it was in this decade.

I’m not trying to sound like this generation’s typical mid-range (I refuse to say middle age) person and tell you that life is ‘busy’ just as my standard answer. But somehow life is. I don’t know if it’s just that we over-commit, over-schedule, over-achieve or if it’s just a natural part of this stage in life that happens when you have a family and a house and jobs. There are 5 people in my house with different exciting (sometimes not so exciting to others) things to do and now there’s a dog! So everyone has an agenda. I know that there will be a time when I might long for these days too, so I’m trying to enjoy every stage for what it is. Like the song says…”Turn, turn, turn, To everything there is a season.”


 

Day 117

April 26th, 2016

Time out for clean up.


Outfit: Black dress worn backwards, striped multi coloured raglan sleeve blouse, brown belt, brown boots. Gold embossed earrings.


After a couple of weeks of fully immersing myself into my presentation, it is now time to get back into normality; at least my version of normal. The fridge is bare, the rooms resemble a hoarder’s house and there is enough laundry to fill a Laundromat –not my clothes by the way since I am using the least amount of stuff.

I just need a little bit of pixie dust, is that it? Oh if only I could! Oh well. Let’s see what can be accomplished today and then back on the saddle!

Day 111

April 20th, 2016


Outfit: Dress worn backwards, gold and pink layered necklace, cashmere wrap sweater, gold earrings.


I’m leaving on a jet plane…and I’m still working on my talk. So no time to add to this post today.

Day 109

April 18th, 2016

The zombie fashionista


Outfit: Black dress worn over tangerine ¾ sleeve t shirt, indigo scarf, straight cut jeans and chunky boots.


As I get down to the wire preparing for the talk at SFU, I wonder if muscles can actually start hurting from looking at a computer. This picture truly reflects the state of my brain fog at this moment. But, I am happy with the results so far. Three more days of burning the candle at both ends, and then maybe I can get a reward!

 

Day 107

April 16th, 2016

First Annual Bishop’s Dinner


Outfit: Black dress worn backwards. Silver and glass handcrafted earrings.

Jen’s 14 Plus Items: Glittery purple point hem sweater, appliqué flowered heels.


Ok, can you see the shoes? Check out those beauties! Aren’t they fabulous? I actually won’t be able to wear these either, because I just realized they are 1 size too big. But don’t they look great for the picture? Some lucky lady can come in and get the shoes and sweater as is, to wear to a great evening.

And speaking of great evenings, today is the day of our First Annual Bishop’s Dinner. Very excited about this, because this year’s recipient for the funds raised through the dinner is the Masterpiece Campaign for St. Joseph’s school. The evening promises to be a great night of incredible dinning and awesome entertainment. I will be volunteering (no surprise there) in one way or another. Are you coming? Hope to see you there!

For more information about the event you can go here. Bishop’s Dinner

Day 106

April 15th, 2016

The rest of the story…thrift stores.


Outfit: Black dress worn backwards, skinny wrap around belt.        

Jen’s 14 Plus Items: Large metal pendant, A-line tan skirt with embroidered motifs, black sandal wedges.


Love this outfit too! The skirt is too big on me, so if you’re eyeing this one, come and get it because I won’t be able to.

Two days ago, I talked about the pros and cons of Consignment, here are some pros and cons of Thrift stores.

 Thrift store Pros:

  1. Price: Because thrift stores rely on donations they can set their prices really low in order to move more merchandise through the floor faster.
  2. Surprise: Often during the sorting of the garments that make it to the floor, certain ‘gems’ get mixed in with the regular clothing, which means that you may find some designer piece marked at $5. Depending on the store, these pieces are marked the same price as anything else in their category so whether it was a pair of True Religion jeans or a pair of Reitman’s jeans, they would still be the same price because they are both jeans.

Continue reading “Day 106”

Day 105

April 14th, 2016

Look who’s talking 2…


Outfit: Black dress worn backwards

Jen’s Items: Off-white high low sweater, black pleather leggings!, chain and wood necklace, black and tan flats. 


I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this outfit by the way! Even the pleather leggings. When Shelley first brought them for me to try, I was like…not. But it just shows once again, that you don’t know unless you try.

I got a call from Molly checking up on my progress! It’s good to know I’m still going strong. Have a look at the article she wrote. KelownaNow article

 

 

 

Day 104

April 13th, 2016

What is the benefit of buying consignment?


Outfit: Black dress worn forward, boyfriend jeans, green glass earrings.

Jen’s Items: Black crocheted vest, multi-coloured large rock necklace, fab suede pumps, plaid fedora.


So what do you think of Jen’s items so far? Pretty nice eh? I love the hats, and the shoes. There’s even more in stock, I just couldn’t take the whole store. That probably would’ve been frowned on.

I have talked about thrift stores and now I want to talk about consignment stores. Some might not think of them as different but they are. Just in case some of you don’t know I will start with the basics. I’ll split it up into two posts, for those of you who get tired of reading.

A consignment store is a private business, run by the owner who ‘consigns’ clothing from clients. The process is simple and if you ask me, quite brilliant, there’s no investment in inventory, it almost works like an art gallery where the gallery picks the pieces and gets a commission for showing the work. So in the consignment model, the owner gets to decide what garments she’ll take from the client, and then gives the items a determined time period. In some stores, the longer the item sits on the floor, the cheaper you can get it for, as the price decreases per week. If it’s sold the store keeps a commission and the client gets the rest. It usually works on a 60/40 split with the store keeping the 60 percent –hey they have the overhead right?

A thrift store is usually run by a charity such as the Salvation Army or Good Will. They depend on donations of clothing that gets dropped off to their door and then sorted through in order to go on the floor.

Here are some of the pros and cons of Consignment:

Consignment store Pros:  
  1. Quality: Because the store owner wants to get the best bang for her buck, they are generally quite picky about the quality of the garments she takes in.  Garments that are soiled or worn out won’t be accepted and in some cases they won’t even accept garments that are cheaper made sources. So you are assured that what you buy will be well made and in good condition
  2. Designer brands: Often a consignment store will focus on providing only higher end designer brands. They won’t accept fast fashion sources . The designer brands that they provide will be available at a fraction of the cost that they would be brand new, so you are getting great quality and fit at a bargain.
  3. Merchandising: Some consignment stores pride themselves in their merchandising and style, their focus is in making the experience feel more like a regular retail boutique.
Consignment store Cons:
  1. Price: Because the point of the consignment model is for both the client and the store owner to make a profit, the price point of consignment is higher than a thrift store. Even at second hand prices you may have to pay $50 for a jacket or a dress, but if you consider that the dress originally may have sold for $200 then it’s still a deal. This is where you need to make a decision of whether or not the item is in fact worth the 50 dollars. Often I hear people say ‘Well for $50 I could go to the mall and get a new dress”. What you need to remember is that a 50 dollar brand new dress is more than likely not made with the same quality as the 200 dollar dress so in fact you’re not comparing apples to apples.

 

Day 98

April 7th, 2016

Everybody could use a stunt double!


Outfit: Black dress worn backwards, pinstriped blazer, chunky wedge boots, red chunky necklace, readers with red handles.


I am trying something different for this week. Meet Judy, she’s my stand in for the next little while. We’re practically the same size! Although I wish I came with dials that could be adjusted to shrink my measurements too.

My husband thinks this is a terrible idea, that the pictures are better with me in them. I say, let’s give the model a break and simply post the outfit that will be worn. I’m interested in your opinion. The truth of the matter here is that I was too busy and exhausted today to do my make-up and hair, so I couldn’t take pictures of myself, but I really needed some new looks to post, so the answer came in the form of visual merchandising. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.P1110018

In other news, I’m shuffling pieces around, changing it up a bit, trying to use up some warmer pieces but getting ready for spring. Hoping it does not get too warm yet. Not sure how the dress will hold up in 30 degree weather!

I know I still owe you the post about cost-per-wear, so check back tomorrow, I’ll post it then!

Day 97

April 6th, 2016


Outfit: Black dress worn forwards, black elastic belt, tights, black high boots, handmade silver earrings.


Officially ran out of pictures before I could take more! This was in my back up pile. So I’ll be wearing the dress like this but probably add a scarf or a sweater too. I’ll post a picture of it later on today.

On my to do list first thing: Take more pictures!

Day 96

April 5th, 2016

Thanks Kelowna Women’s Shelter Thrift store!


Outfit: Black dress worn backwards, high heeled booties, black and gold rope necklace, hoop earrings.


I want to send out a huge thank you to the ladies at the Kelowna Women’s shelter thrift store and administration! Your store items were a wonderful complement to my dress and it was so much fun looking through your store for great finds. You will see me again!

 

Day 94

April 3rd, 2016

What a haul!


Outfit: Black dress, black tights.

Kelowna Women’s Shelter Thrift store items: Turquoise belt, shoes and bangles.


If you are a millennial, you know exactly what I mean by a haul. If you were born in the last century (like me),  let me explain. A haul, in fashion terms especially, is any time you go on a large shopping spree and make a video showcasing your finds. Generally they have to do with getting a great deal so often they include items mostly bought at fast fashion stores and they became very popular in the mid 2000’s. In the mid 2000’s I was up to my neck in diapers, so I had not heard about them until I read about it in “Overdressed”. In this book, author Elizabeth Cline talked to some bloggers who specialized in hauls, some of them had become YouTube celebrities who were so popular they would get endorsements to showcase brands and merchandise on their videos.

This is all true, I’m not pulling your leg… go ahead ask your children, they know. Then come back and read the rest of this blog.

Continue reading “Day 94”

Day 92

April 1st, 2016

NO joke!


Outfit: Black dress worn backwards, coral wedge sandals

Kelowna Women’s Shelter Thrift store items: Coral belt, amber round bead necklace, red bracelet.


April fools!

Oh man!!! I am so upset. I had the perfect picture to post for April’s fools day and somehow I think it got deleted. I just wanted to check if you were paying attention…I guess now we’ll never know…So you get a picture of the dog…

Anyway, what’s not a joke is the belt I found at the Kelowna Women’s Shelter Thrift store that matches my coral sandals perfectly!  It even has the tags on still. It’s a Sandwich belt worth $79.99 retail. Really love it!

For those who’ve asked where the thrift store is, here’s their address and other useful info. Check tomorrow’s post for more insights about why and how the store operates. P1100948

Day 90!!!!

March 30th, 2016

Half way there!


Outfit: Dress worn frontwards, black tights.

Kelowna Women’s Shelter Thrift Store Items: Pink French cuffed retro shirt, brown skinny faux reptile belt,chunky plastic necklace, fabulous cheetah print pumps!


Did you hear that?

It is day 90 and I honestly can’t believe I’m half done!

I’m not even bored yet. I was telling a friend that this is one of those things that I will look back on in my old age and be so happy I did it. I truly can say that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the journey so far.

I want to wholeheartedly thank all of you who have taken the time to comment and follow the progress. I also want to thank those who’ve donated to the cause so far. I am very confident we’ll meet the goal by the end of the challenge.

On this milestone day, I am very excited to share a new feature on my website. My web guy has been busy slaving away for me (by the way, it is very handy to be married to the web guy when you want something done fast!).When you go on to the home page, you will now see a list under ‘Categories’, this list will take you to posts based on their content. So for instance, if you are interested in Sustainability Tips, you can click on the category and it will show you all of the posts that talk about that topic. It lists them by date and you can simply scroll down the page to see different ones. One post may appear on more than one category depending on what it talks about.

Hope you enjoy this little feature, I think it will make it easier to browse based on information and not just pictures/days.

So as the countdown grows shorter, I hope you will continue on this trek with me and I look forward to what the next 90 days bring!

Day 88

March 28th, 2016

Welcome to the Challenge: Kelowna Women’s Shelter Thrift Store


Outfit: Black dress worn backwards, Black tights.

Kelowna Women’s Shelter Thrift store items: Black wrap around belt, black and white necklace, black wedge booties.


This week I am so excited to announce, I’ll be wearing items kindly provided by the Kelowna Women’s Shelter Thrift Store!

I hadn’t been in their new location yet, but I was really impressed because it is full of fabulous finds, like take this belt I’m wearing today, still has the original brand label on! Love it! Might have to keep it.

I will be talking in more detail about what the store does later on a post.  For now, stay tuned and check out the great stuff I found and be assured, you can come in and get it when I return it at the end of the week!

Here we go…

Day 85

March 25th, 2016

Outfit: Grey dress pants, black turtleneck, dress worn over. Black stretch belt, silver medallion from Spain (from my brother).

Soccer season is on!

Today is one of those days that the dress gets in the way. I have two completely different things to do, soccer tournament and Good Friday service. One is outside for 5 hours and the other is inside not quite as long (I hope, Fr. Pat!) So my dilemma is how to wear the dress??? I have lots of pictures with new looks, but they don’t work for today, plus, I told you there’s something else up, and I want to do it for a week. So let’s see if I can find a good alternative. (Gone to look through my files…)

OK! Decided, this is my look for later on this afternoon, and for the morning I might simply wear it with jeans. Solved!

Day 84

March 24th, 2016

Outfit: Black dress worn front wards, blue light houndstooth ¾ sleeve blazer, skinny jeans, paisley scarf, brown chunky heels (might have to switch depending on weather!).

It’s picture day today. Keep tuned in to see what I have in store for next week! Very cool stuff. Very exciting to share.

Day 83

March 23th, 2016

Outfit: Black dress, gold embossed earrings, brown boots. Check poncho borrowed from Carol…thanks Carol!

Self-care is equal to peace of mind?

My brain has gone blank. I literally have no thoughts as I write this. All I want to do is go and sit on my couch and do some crocheting…did you read my post about knitting? It’s good for you! I find it fascinating. It relaxes me; and we all know that’s the number one self-care thing we can do in order to have less stress. Relax, they say. Do some self-care, they say. Easier said than done. But with the mountain of things piling on to my to-do list, I think I better listen and go ahead and do some self-caring at least for now.

Day 76

March 16th, 2016

Outfit: Lace t shirt, skinny jeans, dress worn as jacket, red shoes and red necklace.

This is what happens when I don’t have all my ducks in a row. I lose continuity! I am supposed to be showcasing Renée’s borrowed items this week, and yet I ran out of pre-photos. So I have to go to some of my previous extra images and break up the week. Oh well, it is picture day today and I should have enough to last another week. Then it is out to search for more ideas!

Since it is supposed to be a balmy 9° C today, I decided to go with these red pumps. Thrifted. Have had them forever. Love them. But they truly are getting to the end of their life. So after this challenge I might be on the look out for a replacement red shoe.

 

Day 69

March 9th, 2016

Outfit: Black dress worn backwards, dark slim fit jeans, mary-jane shoes.

Unless items:  Neck accessory is designed and handmade by Ella Berry Designs. At Ella Berry, every item is unique. https://www.facebook.com/EllaBerryDesigns/
– The beautiful bag is designed and made locally by Cay’s Creations. She uses machine embroidery to add elegance to her handmade accessories and home décor.
https://www.facebook.com/cayscreations2015/?fref=ts

I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

Loving this week and the different pieces I get to show case.  But I want to hear what you think. Your homework today is to check out the links.

I also want to know if you’re liking the looks or not. I would invite you to vote for your favourite looks and then, what do you think about pledging $1 for each outfit you like? It would be fun to see which outfit gets the most pledges. You can do this for the remaining of the challenge, not just this week. And know that I totally appreciate the donations and am very excited to see how close we can get to our goal. This is just a friendly competition to make things fun.

Day 68

March 8th, 2016

Outfit: Black dress worn backwards, black tights, black thin belt, black boots. Rose antique earrings

Unless item: Pink poncho by GreenBean.Reloved. Upcycled materials. Website: www.greenbeanreloved.com

Well…? Did you look at Unless?

Did you check it out? What did you think? Isn’t it cool? Now, you might not get the full gist of what the store has to offer unless (no pun intended) you actually go down there and browse. A lot of artisan items need to be seen up close, touched and in the case of personal care, smelled!

What I find awesome is the connection with the makers of things. I realize that not everything we buy can provide this. It is not always possible to talk to the person who made your socks for instance, or find out where and how they came to do that for a living. But whenever possible I like to buy items that tell me the story of who made them. That’s what I like the most about Circle Craft, and that’s what I hope you’ll experience if you go down to Unless Market.

I leave you with a post from their Facebook page that says it better than me.

artisan_story

Artist bio (from their facebook page):

GreenBean.ReLoved
Unique Repurposed Upcycled Accessories & Clothing Items
All made from ReLoved Materials

“I’m just a little ol person looking to get my creative side out without hoarding all my creations for myself.
I started creating scarves from old scarves and any interesting materials I could find. I always like to add a little colour to my outfits! 
Recently I’ve started to expand and create more clothing items!!!! So much FUN!!!
………….. in the end, it’s basically that I need to take my thrift store shopping obsession and turn it into something constructive!!!”

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/greenbean.reloved

Day 65

March 5th, 2016

Outfit: Mauve skirt (Made -in house), purple tank top, black dress worn over, thin grey belt,  black chunky boots. Pink antique earrings.

 

 

Day 62

March 2nd, 2016

Outfit: Black stretch point skirt, white tank, black belt, dress worn as a jacket, black knee high boots, glass rock necklace.

I get my haircut today! No grandpa, not just one…all of them. (Inside joke) I guess I’ve done all I can on my own and it’s time to let the professional fix my hacking.

I told you I was going to mention the skirts I’ve made, and this is one of them. It is a simple stretch skirt, with point panels, it is super comfortable, and super easy to wear. It is about 3 years old though! Funny how time flies and yet there are your clothes…still in the closet.

Promise tomorrow I’ll have more interesting insights to share. There are lots of posts in the works still. I want to start talking about the three pillars of sustainability separately and give you some tips on possible options for more informed decisions.

Day 61

Mar. 1st, 2016

Outfit: Black dress worn over a mock wrap skirt. Black elastic belt. Mary-Jane shoes. ‘Faith’ necklace.

The Skinny on Polyester

Polyester is not the first thing that comes to mind when aspiring sustainability.  And I am not going to try to tell you otherwise, but I am going to try to put a few things in perspective.

Consider this; I believe Polyester and other synthetics may have their place on the garment chain. Synthetics, when used in moderation can be quite helpful. Their development involves a combination of technical design mixed with intense science that is quite fascinating. Synthetics add durability to cloth and make it easy to care for. They make it stain resistant and it does bring down the ultimate cost of material. Lately they have been designed to be performance driven, giving the fabrics and garments they are used in, the ability to wick away moisture, be waterproof, elastic, and colorfast. How else would you expect a sports bra to perform the way it does? Or a rain jacket to provide warmth and dryness at the same time? Technical fabrics like Gore-Tex® and Luon® expand the life of a garment and give it function and purpose. However, as I’ve mentioned before, synthetics and polyester in particular, have been exploited to the max. There’s an overproduction of it that leads to shoddy manufacturing because there’s more product coming up and the consumer will change its mind soon enough. So all of the low quality garments end up being tossed and (as we all know) if they end up in landfills, they will be there for years to come.

Here’s the thing though, I believe synthetics, like cars for instance, are here to stay (at least for a while). I don’t see any of us lining up to buy a horse and buggy. But just like we can improve our gas consumption by carpooling or riding our bikes more often, we too, can improve the sustainability of cloth by buying polyester more responsibly, intentionally and in balance.

I think the answer, would again, be on a one to one basis. I would tend to pick synthetics that are not trendy. Something that I plan to keep for a very long time –because it will last a very long time whether we keep it or toss it- and therefore I don’t want to be bored of it. Natural fibres will eventually break down and deteriorate, so they will need to be replaced much sooner and often. However, the process is much more eco-friendly so choosing natural may be the best way to go, for the majority of things. But don’t be so quick to dismiss things based on face value, evaluate the choices, confirm the quality of things and make an educated decision. The more of these choices we make, the more it will resonate with those in charge of making things available to us. And eventually we may begin to see a shift towards responsible production. Who knows? Stranger things have happened.

Day 60

Feb. 29th, 2016

Outfit: Black dress worn backwards, wrap denim skirt (upcycled from old jeans) worn over, green boots, blue/green beaded necklace.

1/3 done, 2/3 to go

Did you hear that????!!!! Day 60, that’s 1/3 of the way down! Yes, you bet I’m excited. Can’t believe I made it this far. I was watching a movie about a woman who went on a very long hike…and at the point she was on day 58 I realized my day 58 was nothing compared to hers! Nonetheless it’s been an adventure and will continue to be so until the end.

To celebrate this week, I am featuring SKIRTS. All week’s outfits will be accented by skirts of different shapes and lengths. I’ll let you know which ones I’ve made. Today’s for instance, was one of my first attempts at up-cycling.

On we go to the next two thirds.

Day 59

Feb. 28th, 2016

Outfit:  White strapless high-low dress, black elastic belt, strappy heels, black dress worn open.

…and the Oscar goes to:

It’s Oscar night people! When I was young I loved staying up to watch the Academy Awards just to see the dresses. I have to admit, I haven’t even watched the movies nominated this year, but I still enjoy watching the beautiful display of couture dresses on the red carpet. Plus, now I get the jokes from the hosts, unlike when I was little. So I’m going to an Oscar Night party and we’re supposed to dress the part. I don’t have anything close to evening wear, or at least not something that would go well with the dress. So this is my take on it. I’m thinking black and white like that iconic vintage dress Julia Roberts wore a few (ahem) years ago. I know I don’t look anything like Julia Roberts, but it’s the inspiration for this look anyway.

I might play around with the belt some more. I might have to wear it on the outside. I’ll post a picture of the red carpet final look.  juliab_wdress

Day 58

Feb. 27th, 2016

Outfit: Black dress worn to the front. Black belt with stone buckle, glass silver earrings, red flat shoes. One of Shelley’s scarves.

Scarves party!

Since I borrowed a large array of scarves from Shelley, I wanted to end her week by showcasing a few ways of wearing one scarf. You can find many tutorials on YouTube and or Pinterest. Just the other day there was one on my feed on Facebook! So this is nothing new, however it is nice to see one thing work in your own personal style and with your own stuff. So here it goes:

 

P1100700 P1100732 P1100745 P1100751 P1100755 P1100761

Check out this link for some other ideas: scarf ideas

Day 57

Feb. 26th, 2016

Outfit: Dress worn backwards, boyfriend jeans, black wool T, black short booties.  Shelley’s grey with metallic thread scarf. Tied up like a braid.

Online options.

When buying fabric for making your own clothing, there are of course some choices online. Many online fabric stores carry the more high-end qualities and rare fabrics that may not be available at your local fabric/craft store. I have bought from them before. They have decent prices and it seems like you can spend all day clicking on pictures of options, so the selection appears endless. I find it hard though, to look at a screen and determine whether or not that’s the fabric I need.  Continue reading “Day 57”

Day 56

Feb. 25th, 2016

Outfit: Black dress worn backwards, black long sleeve wool T, black short booties. Shelley’s iridescent striped scarf, tied like a bow.

How to deal with disappointment…

One thing that I’ve realized on this journey towards becoming sustainable is that you will encounter roadblocks. It is not an easy feat, and sometimes it will feel like you are climbing an uphill battle. I found such roadblock when I went to buy the fabric for my second dress. The only option I had at the store was a polyester knit, and although it may not have been my ideal choice, I had to make a decision based on other factors, mainly time frame and availability.

The fact that more choices are slim at our local fabric stores is a reminder of the shift in the industry. The lack of availability of these fabrics at our fingertips is a reflection of the slow and painful death of the craft that used to be a staple in every household. The fabric stores are not carrying the fancy materials because people are not sewing them and people are not sewing because those fabrics are not available or if they are, it is at a cost too high for most people to justify making the garment.  Talk about a vicious circle! Now, when I say people are not sewing, I refer mainly to sewing clothing for every day purpose, there are still a lot of hobby sewers, but they tend to do more project based pieces like home-décor or novelty items like costumes. But to sew for your family like it used to be done, is something that’s very foreign to most people. For more insights on that, check this link. ingoodfashion 

I think in order to keep going on a path like this, one must not let ourselves be bogged down by the amount of negatives and difficulties, be it financial or simply out of our control like supply and demand or even production. One needs to remember that every little choice matters and that sometimes, we can do more than other times.

PS. Happy Birthday Gabe! XO

Day 55

Feb. 24th, 2016

Outfit:  Brown canvas skirt, cream lace top, dress worn as jacket, tan heels. Shelley’s orange iridescent scarf.

I love this graphic that I found on Pinterest. It truly has some basic good advice on a simple way to achieve sustainability. Hope you enjoy it too.sust_flowchart

Day 54

Feb. 23rd, 2016

Outfit:  Dark skinny jeans, dress worn as jacket, black pleather jacket, chunky black boots. Shelley’s pink and grey scarf and glass beaded pendant necklace.

Need a quiet day. Lots of posts on the go, but nothing finished yet. So for today we just have the outfit. Which by the way I really like. What do you think about that beautiful pink scarf? I’m going to have a hard time giving this stuff back! But it is nice to play with stuff other than just yours.

Day 53

Feb. 22nd, 2016

Outfit: White long sleeve T, black mini skirt, black tights, dress worn as jacket. Shelley’s beautiful circle burnout scarf and muliti-circle pendant necklace.

How pretty is this scarf?

I know where Shelley got some of these scarves. She got them from the same place I got mine a few years ago. A few moms we knew from school and the people they knew, were selling them on behalf of  IWEN (Intercultural Women’s Education Network), a local organization that rescues girls at risk in Nepal and works with their families in order to improve their situation. The scarves are made by the women and they are one of the means by which they can provide a better future for themselves. How amazing to make a difference in someone’s life by simply purchasing something pretty they’ve made? For more information on IWEN click the link.

Day 52

Feb 21st, 2016

Outfit: Denim skirt, white T, black dress worn as shell, black tights, black boots. Shelley’s pink and blue scarf.

This is Shelley’s Week.

As I reach the bottom of my drawer and I realize the choices are getting sparse, I am sending an official callout to friends and family who would like to aid in this challenge. I feel that in order to keep the experiment fresh and interesting, it would be better to have different views or takes on what the dress could look like. I can only do so much with my own wardrobe, and if this was real life, that would be enough (and the sustainable thing to do). However, this is a challenge to see exactly how different one dress can be, so if I can keep it going, I will. I do not want to buy 180 accessories though, therefore, I enlist some help.

This week’s donor is Shelley. Shelley is an amazing woman with many talents and a beautiful heart. On any given day you could find her volunteering at our school in an assortment of positions, from lunch supervisor to costume director for our Christmas and special plays. Shelley has an incredible eye for colour and textures. That’s what makes her so good at picking the right look for our costumes and lately at her new job doing visual merchandising. So when she told me she’d look for some accessories for me to borrow, I was super excited. She didn’t disappoint! This week I will be sporting some of her scarves and jewelry and hopefully you’ll see a little of her in these looks.

If you would like a shot at ‘styling’ me let me know!

Day 51

Feb. 20th, 2016

Outfit: Dress worn frontwards, tights, short black boots, black/grey “Gru” scarf, wool Wallaroo fedora, hoop earrings.

Wow Wallaroo…a B Corp?

Last day of accessory week! I think I did well wearing the dress plain, and simply using basic accessories. What do you think? I get that I don’t have many out of this world wild hats or necklaces that would have been a lot bolder. But I think today’s look is pretty bold. I’m actually wearing my husband’s scarf. The kids and I laugh because he used to wear it with a grey turtleneck sweater, so he really looked like Gru, from Despicable me.

The hat is actually a Christmas present that I sent my husband to get specifically. I told him “My Christmas present is at Davidson Orchards and it looks like this…and that…”   Hey, you gotta be detailed if you want to get what you like.

It is a wool hat by Wallaroo Hats. I didn’t know when I got it, but this hat company is amazing. They not only have beautiful UPF 50+ crushable fabric hats, they are also a B Corporation.

B Corps are a fairly new certification that started in the US and has quickly grown to be all around the world. It is an amazing concept that truly speaks of a new type of business model, one that focuses on a holistic approach to business rather than a corporate and bottom dollar approach. In a B Corp, the focus is not only to make a profit (though it is a part of it) but it takes into consideration how it affects those who work for it, the community it lives in and the lasting impact on the environment.  Go ahead and call me a dreamer, but I really feel this is the new way of doing business. That our corporate world cannot continue to ignore what happens when the dollar is king and everything else is simply a casualty of doing business. If more companies adopted this business model it would then become the new normal , and that’s a “normal” I like to support.

Day 50

Feb. 19th, 2016

Outfit: Dress worn frontwards, black boots, ombre red/orange scarf, black beret style hat, pearl bracelet.

Closet Disclosure

Do you remember how I told you I started writing a blog about my sustainable journey a few years ago? At that time I had just finished reading Overdressed, by Elizabeth Cline (highly recommended read on fast fashion) and in it she had searched through her own closet to determine where most of her clothing came from, what it was made of, and precisely how much of it she owned.

I decided to do my own Continue reading “Day 50”

Day 49

Feb. 18th, 2016

Outfit:  Dress worn frontwards, black elastic belt, blue silk scarf, blue glass bead necklace, tights.

Finally figured out Instagram. Had to ask a ten-year-old!

You’ll have to excuse the lack of words today. I think I used them all up yesterday.

Day 48

Feb. 17th, 2016

Outfit: Dress worn backwards, grey thin belt, grey leggings, grey and white stripe scarf.

Textiles 101

The following is a mini lesson in textile science. Way back, in the days when fabrics were made at home and from the raw materials close to each community, people used to know what cloth was made of and the difference between their characteristics.  However, I find nowadays more and more consumers are not aware or even concerned about what their clothes are made with. I often encounter clients whom I ask if they prefer cotton/poly mix or poly/rayon mix and they look at me like I’m speaking a different language. And Continue reading “Day 48”

Day 47

Feb. 16th, 2016

Outfit: Dress worn backwards, thin black belt, wine tights, black pleather jacket.

Vegan leather?

This jacket was one of those pieces that I bought before my days of consciousness and I still have in my closet today. I bought the pleather jacket because it was cheap. It is not the best fitting piece, and the construction is aok, but since I don’t wear it everyday, it has held its own.

Wearing it today brings the whole question of what is better, fake leather or real leather to the surface. The vegan leather side will argue that it is animal-friendly and therefore better. The real leather side will argue that it is a natural piece and that as long as the animal was used to its entirety it is better to use it than to discard of pieces.

There are many more facts about the processes of manufacturing both that I don’t want to get into right now, but when it comes to leather or non being sustainable,  I feel it boils down again to consumption. Real leather tanning is extremely harmful to the environment and humans, but so is the production of polyester leather. So whether or not you prefer to save the animal, the point might be more about how many products do we truly need. If you keep that leather jacket for years on end, it may be more sustainable than buying a whole ton of vegan pleather. Or maybe it the pleather you bought is in a better made product and that will last longer. Also, you may consider buying something that’s been recycled leather or re-constructed using a previous garment. There are many ways of wearing a leather or leather-like garment and still be sustainable. I’ll just leave the animal rights issue to each person’s conviction

Day 46

Feb. 15th, 2016

Outfit: Dress worn backwards, silver necklace from Mexico, coil bracelet from my SIL’s trip to Europe.

Pieces that tell tales.

It’s interesting to me to realize that a lot of the jewelry I own has been given to me. I must be easy to please or people like my sister-in-law just understand my taste. What I love most about these particular pieces I’m wearing today, is that they were all made by artisans. The bracelet was brought back from a vendor in Budapest. Each piece of metal  fits into the next like a perfect puzzle and it all wraps around the wrist in a beautiful shape.

The necklace I’m wearing was given to me by my late great-uncle Charles or Carlos, like we say in Spanish. The last time I visited Mexico was in 2001 and I got to see him and his wife Carmelita in Cuernavaca. They were –as usual- amazing hosts and I have treasured memories from that trip. Uncle Carlos was an amazing human being who loved his family and life itself. I don’t think I ever saw him in a bad mood (though I’m sure he was human), he always had something kind to say and enjoyed each moment. When he ate, he used to make ‘mmm’ sounds just to show his appreciation for the food. Anyway, this necklace is silver from Mexico, most likely from the town of Taxco where the majority of Mexican Silver is exported. I am not sure where it came from or who made it, but I am certain it was handmade by someone. It has that imperfect perfection about it.

Wearing clothing or accessories like these bring getting dressed to a whole other level, as you take a moment to think about the story behind what you have on. Putting on the necklace today makes me think of my early years spent in Mexico with an extended family too large to count. The bracelet takes me to Europe, a place that I would love to explore sometime before I can no longer carry a back pack.

Do you have jewlery that tells a story?

Day 45

Feb. 14th, 2016

Outfit: Dress worn backwards, ‘20’s Cloche style hat, brown boots, drop glass earrings, glass bracelet, brown boots.

Welcome to accessory week!

In the attempt to keep things interesting, I have decided to give this week a theme. So for the next seven days I will change the look of the dress simply with accessories, mainly jewelry. Let’s see how it goes.

I was thinking that with it being Valentine’s day today I should have probably worn something red, but I goofed. So my best solution is to add some Valentine’s theme feel to the picture! Cut me some slack please, I am just learning photoshop on the fly.  Hope you enjoy.

Day 44

Feb. 13th, 2016

Outfit: dress worn backwards, black elastic belt worn on hips, green scarf, green boots.

Murphy’s Law

Today we are going to an Irish pub night fundraiser. Its purpose is to buy equipment for the new school. There is so much to be done and so many people willing to lend a hand! We are blessed to have this community and to have everyone working towards the same cause.

I thought the green was appropriate even though it’s Valentine’s day tomorrow. And tonight serves as Valentine’s date and fundraiser night all in one. I guess I’ll celebrate St. Valentine like the Irish!

Day 43

Feb. 12th, 2016

Outfit: Black crossover crepe top, skinny jeans, dress worn as a jacket, green boots. Long charm necklace.

Perfection is elusive.

If I was 10 years younger I probably wouldn’t dare to post this picture. I should totally photoshop those bags under my eyes. But one thing that I realize comes with ‘maturity’ is that sometimes you just don’t care. Or maybe it is that you don’t have time either. I don’t have time to take this picture a hundred times over or to sit and fiddle with photoshop. I value my time much more; I’d rather spend it doing something that makes me smile. Also, I like the fact that this is all true to form. This is what I look like on any given day. Some days are better than others. Some days the bags under my eyes are witnesses to a long night catching up on chores, or homework or even staying up with a child who is sick. Sometimes, when I don’t have those circles there it means I actually got a good night sleep and things are looking up! In today’s society we have so many pressures to be perfect and look perfect and have all the perfect stuff, it gets perfectly exhausting. Those bags remind me that I am not perfect and that I don’t have it all figured out. It is a good exercise in humility.

Day 42

Feb. 11th, 2016

Outfit: Multi-colour knit dress with cowl, black dress worn as jacket. Birthday Fly London shoes

Me love my shoes.

One thing I really love is beautiful shoes. I mean beautifully carved and crafted shoes. It is very sad that the last statistic I read said that between 60-70% of shoes globally come from China! Who knew they had such a monopoly. Some shoes are still hand made in Italy, Denmark and sometimes even Canada, but for the most part they are Chinese.

That is not a deal breaker if the shoe is made with quality, but in most cases they are simply garbage. I once bought a pair of pointy heel boots that lost their heels quite quickly, so I took them to have re-soled and the cobbler refused!!! He said the boots were crap and they wouldn’t be worth fixing! I was horrified. I told him I knew that they weren’t expensive shoes but that I was trying to do my best to be conscientious and not simply throw them away and buy a new pair, but it seemed he didn’t care. I can’t remember if I convinced him to do it anyway or if I found a new cobbler, but in the end I did have them fixed. The truth though, was that he was right. The shoes were not really worth it and although I did extend their life span by re-soling them, they died soon after.  Ever since then, I decided that I’d rather spend more money on a well made and quality crafted shoe, than in more cheap and not so comfortable ones. So each birthday, I go out and get myself a pair of fab shoes. I cannot say that I have a large selection of these great shoes (I could never compete with my friend D, she’s got a very impressive shoe closet!) but most of the ones I’ve gotten so far have endured the test of time. These Fly London shoes for instance, I bought at least four years ago. Love them. And although really high, I can wear them no problem for at least a morning. I cannot kid myself, I am no longer an all-day heel wearer, but for once in a while, I do ok.

Day 41

Feb. 10th, 2016

Outfit: Taupe cowl neck with pleat in front top, dress worn backwards, thin black belt.

Canadian designers are still there…

This outfit might end up with boots instead of flats, to accommodate for the weather. Otherwise, I absolutely love this top! I got it –you might have guessed this- at Circle Craft from a Canadian designer from Montreal.

I cut out the care label a while ago because I’m ‘sensitive’ to itchy labels (all) but I’m pretty sure it is a cotton/bamboo combo and super easy to wear. I did not think much of it on the hanger mind you, which is a great lesson in ‘never judge the book by its cover’ or in this case, the garment by the hanger. There was no way the hanger could do this top justice, you simply had to try it on and see how it felt. The result, was me trying to explain to my husband that this, once again, was for the purpose of ‘research’. Which it’s not entirely a stretch (my story…sticking to it!).

Day 40

Feb. 9th, 2016

Outfit: White ruffle tank top. Mauve scarf, jeans, Merrills.

So talk about quality…I’ve had these Merrill shoes since my son was born over 14 years ago. I took them on my trip to Mexico when I went to visit my grandmother in 2001. Still going strong. Only thing is I had to replace the insoles. Not a bad investment when you think of the miles I’ve walked in them.

Day 39

Feb. 8th, 2016

Outfit:  Black dress worn backwards, black narrow belt, black tights. Silk black and white Chinese writing scarf.

Happy New Year!

It’s Chinese New Year today! So I thought the scarf would be appropriate. My brother G brought it for me on one of his trips to Asia. I love it when people bring me back lovely, usable souvenirs. Keep travelling Uncle G and Auntie J, you know I love your taste!

Day 37

Feb. 6th, 2016

Outfit: White long sleeve T, black stretch skirt, black tights, dress worn as coat, glass hand made heart (made by yours truly on a trip!)

The things I don’t even know about!

Look what one of my viewers did for me! It’s a Listly page. You can go in and vote for your favourite outfit so far! I was so impressed that someone took the time to do this! I definitely encourage you to test it and let me know which are your fave’s. I wonder if they’re the same as mine.

http://list.ly/list/zzL-180-style-challenge

Day 36

Feb. 5th, 2016

Outfit: Skinny jeans, ruffle sweater worn under dress, black mary-jane ‘Alegria’ shoes.

Today I’ll be doing lots of walking! So hopefully these shoes do the trick. They are supposed to be 12 hour shift shoes. At least that’s what they claim. We’ll see.

Day 35

Feb 4th, 2016

Outfit: Dress worn open, skinny jeans, white tank top, cozy hand-made scarf. Woolish (not many are 100% wool anymore, so I’m guessing some acrylic here) socks.

Unveil the dress!

I’d like to welcome to the project, my recently-completed new dress. Same design lines, with the exception of the hidden placket at centre front. This dress is made in a knit.  And it is made this way on purpose as a further experiment in comfort and ease of wear. So I’ll talk about how this pseudo-science project pans out in a few weeks, but for now, I’m happy to have some relief to my laundering needs.

In the mean time you may note that this dress appears to drape more and have a smoother line, all thanks to the knit fabric. The reason for not including the hidden placket was that I was afraid it would stretch the fabric too much, so the smaller overlap works better for this choice.

Let me know what else you notice about this dress! More conversation to follow on this.

Day 34

Feb. 3rd, 2016

Outfit: Wine shirred dress, wine tights, brown boots, dress worn as coat. Brown multi texture purse. Drop antique rose earrings.

Dress for success…even if it’s just running errands.

Today is one of those days where I wish I could cheat on the dress challenge. I have tons of errands to run in the morning and I have to work in the afternoon. So really, I would have dressed more casual for the errands and wear this for work. But I find that sometimes when you dress up a bit, it changes your attitude and posture, and you end up doing everything a little more consciously and aware. I’ve noticed that when I work from home. It is way better to dress up than to wear your jammies, somehow it is like your own body and mind know that jammies are for relaxing and therefore it stays sluggish while working. I make much more progress when I’m dressed as if I was at an office.

So off we go to run some errands. At least I didn’t decide to wear heels!

Day 33

Feb. 2nd, 2016

Outfit: Skinny jeans, brown boots, paisley denim georgette blouse, black dress worn over.

How can you tell if it’s sustainable?

Ever since I started learning about sustainability, I’ve come up with questions like “How do you know what is the right thing to buy?”, or “What makes something more sustainable than something else?” I find that there is not one cookie cutter answer and the best thing to do is to keep educating ourselves.

It is hard to define sustainability in a short answer. But I don’t want to bore you with long winded explanations. It is still a learning process for me and many others who are on this journey. To quote Wikipedia:  “Sustainability implies responsible and proactive decision-making and innovation that minimizes negative impact and maintains balance between ecological resilience, economic prosperity, political justice and cultural vibrancy to ensure a desirable planet for all species now and in the future” Continue reading “Day 33”

Day 32

Feb. 1st, 2016

Outfit: Burgundy ruched top, black stretch skirt, black tights, dress worn as jacket, skinny multi rose scarf.

It’s a new month!

And it’s a short one too!!! If I made it to today I think we have this in the bag. Keep checking the next few days for some new posts about how to determine if your choice is sustainable or not. Also, I’ll talk about what’s in my closet and hopefully show you a couple of practical suggestions on how to make sustainable choices.

We are ready February…bring it!

Day 31

Jan. 31st, 2016

Outfit: Black dress worn backwards, wine tights, striped long cardigan, brown boots.

The boys are ice fishing today! Whoever gets the biggest fish, wins the ‘king’ title and trophy. That’s one activity I don’t ever want to come along to.  As much as I like going outdoors, I don’t think I could stand around an ice hole waiting for my line to move. I’ll just dress warm instead and get on with my day in town. Hopefully they won’t bring me back a pile of frozen fish for me to gut. The last time my son did that, we put them on the kitchen table to take a picture, and about one minute later they all started to jump!!! I jumped and screamed too! Did not expect frozen fish to come back to life. I was not trained in the art of beheading fish and I do not wish to learn…

Day 30

Jan. 30th, 2016

Outfit: Black dress worn backwards, multi-colour boat neck blouse, brown boots, square gold earrings from One Thousand Villages.

Almost a sixth of the way!

Happy to report, I still have some pieces left to mix and match, the second dress is almost done and ready for trial, and a routine has sort of been established to be able to continue on this process.

Thank you to all who have been so great in expressing your support. Thank you so much to the donations that have come through already!

If we continue this way, it should be a piece of cake…or at least pie!

Day 29

Jan. 29th, 2016

Outfit: Black dress worn front wards, jean blazer, green boots, brown purse (which my daughter purchased for me for Christmas at the school’s “green sale”).

It’s gone viral!

In this day and age I really shouldn’t be surprised that news travel fast. But I still can’t get over the reach that the internet has! I am so technically un-savvy I only switched to a smart phone a couple of years ago!

Everywhere I go people are saying they saw me here and there, and honestly I’m not used to this kind of notoriety. But it’s all for a good cause and it’s what we want. The more people know about the project the better the conversation will be!

Today I got my first comment on the website and a comment from an eco-fashion blogger from Austria! Sooo exciting! Thank you for taking the time to read my site and check out my project.

If you’d like to see the press we’ve been getting, here are the links:

Global Okanagan

CTV News Vancouver

Castanet

KelownaNow

CBC Radio

Kelowna Capital News

Day 28

Jan. 28th, 2016

Outfit: Grey shift dress with ruffle hem, black dress worn back wards, red chunky necklace, black heels.

…and then she asked me if I’d washed it!

What was I supposed to do? You can’t lie on live radio… I’m pretty sure that’s illegal. Apparently the issue of washing the dress seems to be the number one concern on everyone’s mind. Which leads me to believe that once we deal with that we can concentrate on other topics.

Well, let me assure you that the dress has washed and dried beautifully. First though, I must mention that it did not NEED to be washed direly. Trust me, my family would have been the first to tell me if I there was a problem (they are not shy)! The dress is made of 100% wool suiting, which is a natural fibre. Some of its characteristics are that it breathes and is stain resistant. Link.

Nevertheless, Continue reading “Day 28”

Day 27

Jan. 27th, 2016

Outfit: Black dress pants, white pleat neckline blouse, dress worn as jacket, pearl bracelet.

Sustainable does not equal hater.

I just want to be extra clear about one thing before we go forward…I still LOVE fashion. I’m more of the technical fashion nerd though. I have been known to look inside more than one garment and drool over a beautifully finished French or bound seam. I have a weakness for beautiful draping and I love the use of textures and style lines in perfect proportion. I also LOVE new technical garments and those that meet a need such as performance or industrial wear.

So just because I’m trying to become more sustainable does not mean this is a boycott against fashion per se. Also, please know that I would never give anyone the evil eye when they tell me where they buy something and I’m very cautious about commenting when not directly asked. However, this project is meant to be a catalyst for thinking and exploring some of the issues regarding sustainable fashion or rather the lack of it.

Also note that this is not meant to be how we live in real life. This challenge is simply aiming to show one way in which we can use what we have to the most potential. I am aware that wearing the same thing for six months is not necessarily realistic. In fact, the project is already interfering with some of my daily activities like the day I went skating! On a regular day I wouldn’t have worn the dress, but because this is the pledge, I have to abide. So yes, there might be some god-awful outfits and I apologize in advance for putting you through them, but I hope that most of the time I am successful in portraying a well put together look that is a fashion pass.

I am thankful for the opportunity I have to have a say and do it for a good cause. So with that in mind, I go onward and forward, searching for answers and looking for practical ways to becoming sustainable.

Day 26

Jan. 26th, 2016

Outfit: Mauve knit maxi skirt, surprisingly perfectly matched scarf, black dress worn front wards, brown hipster belt, favourite green boots.

Wowzers!

Guess who made it on to the evening edition! Check out KelownaNow

So incredibly flattered and humbled by all the support and comments from friends and strangers. Thank you. Hope to do your comments justice in the coming weeks. I also want to thank the first donations on gofundme! So exciting to see it come together!

Now, on to rack my brain and closet to keep things interesting…stay tuned.

 

Day 25

Jan. 25th, 2016

Outfit: Black dress worn basic front, black tights, brown basket weave belt, tangerine/purple scarf, brown knee high boots.

Website, check. Gofundme campaign, check. Facebook page, check. Now I just need to learn how to ‘instagram’ (note to self, ask children) and we should be good to go!

Day 24

Jan. 24th, 2016

Outfit: Black sleeveless T shirt, boyfriend jeans (not a real boyfriend), black chunky boots, dress worn open. Drop green bead earrings.

Say cheese!

Today is picture day. Just in case you were wondering how I manage to get pictures done in the morning while making breakfast before the kids go to school, let me burst your bubble and let you in on my little secret: I don’t have a live-in photographer (well, I guess you can call him that for this, buy not professional) or stylist and I can’t simply get up and pick an outfit on a whim. I am far too analytical for that! I can hardly weave two words together in the morning without having coffee first…ask my family, they can vouch. So I plan the outfits in advance, take pictures in my living room and simply pick the one I feel like wearing on the day. So far, this system works. I’m not sure if I will continue with it for the full term of the project, but for now that’s how it is. I have a couple of ideas of what I may do to keep this interesting, so that may change the way we do it. In the meantime, this is my best solution. Thank you to all of you who have commented on the pictures… you are too kind. That’s ok though, I don’t mind kindness.

Day 23

Jan. 23rd, 2016

Outfit: V neck coral tunic, black ‘riding’ pants, dress worn as a jacket, nude 3″ heels. Turquoise necklace.

Who wears those?

Just a disclaimer here…I won’t be wearing those stilt-like heels all day today! I have to work, so I’ll probably wear my flats. I’m a sensible girl. Nonetheless, I’ll probably finish the day with the look as is, when I go to my friend’s birthday. You gotta dress up sometime!

Day 22

Jan. 22nd, 2016

Outfit: Palazzo jeans, dress worn front wards, tweed vest, beaded green/blue necklace, drop bead earrings. 

Let me explain…

Now that I have your attention, it may be a good time to explain how exactly I got to this (almost) insane obsession with sustainable fashion.

It all started a long, long time ago…just kidding. About four or five years ago I was teaching a design class and I came across the original Uniform Project from Sheena Matheiken. I actually cried when I first saw it. Yes, I know, I’m lame. The point is, it really hit me. Around that same time I went to my first Circle Craft fair, and I was hooked, it was awesome to see so many local designers selling their pieces on an even level, without having to compete with big box stores. Ever since I came out of design school and watched all the production jobs disappear slowly, I felt there was something un-authentic about my industry. I loved the process of making clothing, but I didn’t love the cost it seemed to have on our culture and others. I always felt there was something not quite ‘fair’ with being able to get a blouse made for less than $5.00. Continue reading “Day 22”

Day 21

Jan. 21st, 2016

Outfit: Black knit dress with wide turtleneck, black dress worn back wards, short black boots.

So the secret is out!

The website is live!  There’s really no going back now. And I don’t want to, I’m just too excited to find out what will happen along the way. Welcome to my new adventure (aka moment of crazy).

 

Day 20

Jan. 20th, 2016

Outfit: Black tank top, striped chevron knit skirt, short black boots. Round silver earrings.

It is what it is…

I really wish I had something witty and brilliant to post today, but the truth is that I’m exhausted. On top of work and a regular day, I had an extra long work out today – I’ve committed myself to train for a triathlon  in the summer and I’m not even close to being ready for it! No, I don’t wear the dress while training -that’s like pj’s for sleeping- and yes I’m half crazy for coming up with this idea. But hey, that’s just the way it is and for now, I’ll just deal with things as they come.

On other days, when I have it all together (probably few and far between) I will start posting about issues regarding sustainability in fashion and how I’ve become incredibly addicted to it. I had a previous blog a couple of years ago where I started exploring this whole movement, and it’s really cool to go back and see how far I’ve come. I might even recycle a couple of those posts here, since I already did the thinking! So tonight, on the eve of this site going live, I say an early goodnight and see you tomorrow!

Day 19

Jan. 19th, 2016

Outfit: White peasant style blouse, dress worn front wards, wine leggings, chunky boots, antique earrings.

Ahoy Matey!

My daughter told me I look like a pirate today! The funny thing is, I had already thought that too. So I started to think about it, and wondered why would I care if I do look like a pirate? What exactly makes me think I do? Is it the blousy sleeves on my top? Or the boots/tights combo and all of it together? The thing is, sometimes we let things like that inhibit our ability to try something new. Far too often I hear friends say to me, “oh I could never wear that!” Why not?

Where is it written that Continue reading “Day 19”

Day 18

Jan. 18th, 2016

Outfit: Black dress worn basic, black and white geometric leggings, black and white scarf.

They can’t all be 10’s

I hate this picture! But it is a good reminder that sometimes things don’t work out and that’s just the way it is. I could take the time and re-shoot this picture, but with 180 of these to go, I really can’t be that picky! You can see the outfit, and accessories, so what if my face looks like a flattened donut. Tomorrow will be a better day.

Day 17

Jan. 17th, 2016

Outfit: Low waist denim skirt, black tank top, black V neck sweater, black and white geometric leggings, black chunky boots. Silver medallion from Spain. Black dress worn as a jacket.

This is one is another favourite again. I realized so far that I really like my jeans. I would wear these every day as a uniform too.   I’ll talk about the medallion the next time I wear it, promise.

Day 16

Jan. 16th, 2016

Outfit: Straight palazzo jeans, striped black and grey long sleeve shirt, hoop earrings. Black mary-jane shoes.

It’s hip to be square?

I really shouldn’t admit how much I love these pants! I love the feel and look of this whole outfit. But since they are not skinny jeans I know I’m dating myself. Yet, there are some things that just look better and a pair of straight cut pants tend to elongate the legs. I just love the comfort and ease that comes with them and somehow I feel a little bit hip in them. Not hipster. More like Hippie.

Day 15

Jan. 15th, 2016

Outfit: Black dress worn backwards, wine leggings, black chunky boots, grey portrait puff jacket, rose/antique drop earrings.

Fashion as Art

I got so many compliments on this outfit today! People don’t even know that I’m wearing the dress yet, but they comment on the outfit and the style. Love that. I really have to lower the neckline on the dress! I know I said it before, but I really have to get it done. I just don’t want to get stuck doing it and not have anything to wear the next day! Must plan well.

Every now and then, especially when I start to run into ‘repeats’ of my favourite looks, I would like to talk about the accessories I wear, because most of the pieces I own have a story. Continue reading “Day 15”

Day 14

Jan. 14th, 2016

Outfit: Black dress worn backwards, knee high boots, black pinstripe blazer, clear large rock necklace.

I’m starting to get comments about how I look. Not necessarily that they like my dress (nobody has actually noticed the dress yet) but that they like what I look like that particular day. Today was one of those days. I wonder if the dress simply makes everything just more put together. It seems like a striking piece on its own and anything you add, is simply a bonus. This is exactly what I mean when I talk about having style vs. being in fashion. The word fashion in itself as a verb implies something that changes, something that is fleeting. Being stylish, in comparison, is classic. Always beautiful and appealing. This is the essence of sustainable fashion. To be stylish, beautiful, decorative, appealing without being a passing fad.

Day 13

Jan. 13th, 2016

Outfit: Black dress worn backwards, nylons, plaid black and white jacket, black knee high boots.

It’s getting really close to the deadline I set for myself to launch this project. I have told too many people to back down now. I am hoping that I can get everything together and start blogging in real time by next Monday! It is nerve-racking to think whether or not I can pull this off, but I am very confident that I’ll learn lots in the process and hopefully inspire others. Get ready, set, go!

Day 12

Jan. 12th, 2016

Outfit: Black dress worn backwards, black cardigan, long chandelier earrings, long chain necklace, burgundy tights, black hiking boots.

Love this outfit! It is comfortable and I think it looks really trendy. The earrings really pop out thanks to the black background and courtesy of my newly self-trimmed hair.

I have a confession: I have a problem with stray hair and scissors. My hairdresser Z hasn’t seen me in over six months and it’s all because I think that I can cut my own hair with the clippers and a bit of ingenuity. Truth is, I’m not half bad, only certain sections where I can’t quite reach or see are a bit chunky. I have thick hair and it hides a lot of errors. Sometimes better than others, but nothing I can’t survive.

 

Day 11

Jan. 11th, 2016

Outfit: Long sleeve white T, St. Joseph Elementary T shirt, boyfriend jeans, hiking boots, black dress like jacket.

St. Joe’s Rocks!

Today is the day to show our school spirit! It is the start of Catholic Schools week and the kids have all kinds of activities planned. Our Parent support Group sponsored mass and a morning coffee/tea, so yours truly got there early to make sure the coffee was ready to go. I love being a part of this community and love all that our school does for my children.

Day 10

Jan. 10th, 2016

Outfit: Black dress, white off the shoulder t-shirt, boyfriend jeans, black boots.

Today was a work day at the Uhrich household. Also fit in a soccer game and putting away Christmas stuff. So I needed to be casual but presentable.

Day 9

Jan. 9th, 2016

Outfit: Black dress, grey tights, light grey ruffle collar sweater, gold hoops, brown boots

I had to work all day today and this outfit proved to be extra comfy! So far not many comments about why I’m wearing the same thing every day. Maybe no one has noticed yet.

Day 8

Jan. 8th, 2016

Outfit: Black dress, tank top, black tights, camel long cardigan, brown hip belt, brown boots, paisley cashmere scarf, gold square earrings.

Ironing out the kinks!

Well I did it! I cut out the lining! I cut from the waist down and took out the pockets (also made in cotton lining) and replaced them with Bemberg (rayon) lining! So much better!!!! I haven’t decided if I will re-line the skirt portion of the dress yet. It seems to lay pretty nicely without it right now. If I do, it will be in the same Bemberg lining again.  It is amazing what a difference the right finishing makes to the comfort and proper fit of something.

Despite what my children may say, Continue reading “Day 8”

Day 7

Jan. 7th, 2016

Outfit: Dress worn backwards, long grey cardigan belted at waist, black boots.

Today was my second class. This group knows all about my project and they are eagerly anticipating what I’ll come up with. I say eagerly because I suspect in some ways they want to see if it can be done. He he.

This outfit proved to be great except that it got too hot in that classroom and I had to drop the sweater. There’s one more thing I keep noticing with the dress though. The neck line is too high on the back and it feels a bit choky when worn this way (not a good plan if I lean forward, don’t need to pass out for the sake of the project). Also, I am realizing I made a mistake when I chose the fabric. I lined the dress with cotton lining. This sounded great at first for breathability sake but in reality it has made the dress bulkier than it needs to be and stick to anything I wear with it, so if I wear it with tights or jeans, it tends to bunch up and not lay flat. I definitely need to do something about this, if I’m going to wear it for six months.

Day 6

Jan. 6th, 2016

Outfit: Grey wool sleeveless shift dress, black dress worn as coat, black boots. Long pewter necklace, long steampunk earings.

Today was my first day of teaching this quarter. New group. Half way through the class someone asked if I had made my coat. Perfect segway to talk about my project. So I started with… “I’m wearing this dress for 180 days”, to which I got the usual question…”why?”

And then I get into it. A lot of the times I end up with blank expressions looking back at me as if I’m out of my mind. And some other times, I get great feed back and excitement on what a great idea this is and how they’d like to hear more. It is all part of the process and I’m looking forward to being able to report and document the ups and downs that I’m sure I’ll encounter along the way.

Day 5

Jan. 5th, 2016

Outfit: Black dress, skinny jeans, black wool long sleeve under dress, grey cable sweater, green (lantern) boots.

I love this sweater because it’s so cozy. And I love my boots! I feel like a super hero in them. This was the perfect outfit to be warm and comfortable at work today.

I’m starting to realize that the feat of coming up with 180 different outfits will be more difficult than I anticipated; especially given the fact that I like wearing certain things because they are my favourites. Take this grey sweater, for instance, it is my go-to cozy up sweater. So how am I to balance the challenge of wearing something fresh each day with the fact that I like my basics. Herein lies the true experiment. In addition, I am reflecting that if I am to be truly sustainable, then I must be able to include ‘repeats’ into my weeks ahead. After all, it is about looking fresh and in style, not necessarily new each time.

Day 4

Jan. 4th, 2016

Outfit: Black dress, tank top, black tights, upcycled grey cropped sweater. Black long boots.

Upcyle and Recycle

First day back to school and to our normal routine. I am wearing one of my most  favourite sweaters in the whole wide world. It is a one-of-a-kind piece made by Precocious from Toronto. It is made from used sweaters that have been re-cut into a new shape. This type of re-cycling is called upcycling and it is way harder than it seems. I tried it and trust me, my project did not look as good as this.

I bought it a few years ago when I went to Circle Craft in Vancouver, on one of my ‘research’ trips. I think it’s fair to call it research even though I mostly go to get inspired and drool over the beautiful stuff they have there. If you want to read more about Circle Craft and Canadian Made products, check out this link Ingoodfashion.

Day 3

Jan. 3rd, 2016

Outfit: Black dress worn as a coat, black/white tights, turtle neck, skinny mini skirt, black chunky boots.

Finally! A day where I can wear the dress as I had intended in my initial photo shoot. This is one of the most comfortable ways to wear the dress. So far not many people have noticed that I’m wearing the same thing. Only a few that I’ve told in advance are asking if ‘this is it’. I am sure it will come up soon.

Day 2

Jan. 2nd, 2016

Outfit: Black dress, skinny jeans, tank top, wool long sleeve shirt, light zip up jacket.

And today we went skating! One of the coldest days so far too. So I really needed to layer up. I wore my winter coat over the whole thing, but for the rest of the day this was my look. We lasted all of half an hour at the rink and soon cowered over to the house to have ho-cho and food.  That’s two for two on the difficult days to manage this challenge.

Day 1

Jan. 1st, 2016

Outfit: Black dress, skinny jeans, tank top, wool long sleeve shirt, wool light tan sweater worn on top.

With best laid plans…

On this first day of the challenge, we happen to go to a bon-fire. Are you kidding me? I thought I’d get to wear the dress with heels or something to mark the occasion as a special day. But no, family and real life dictated that we go and stand in the snow while roasting hot dogs. So off I go and practically cover the whole dress in layers, so I wouldn’t get cold. Disclaimer: I did have to wear a winter coat and boots…and I took the dress off for the duration of the fire, because I didn’t want it to end up smelling like smoke. But I wore it layered for the rest of the day. On days like this the project will prove to be a true challenge!