Sunday, September 30, 2018

A Simple Fall Wardrobe

It's fall!  Although it hasn't felt like it here in Virginia, I have been slowly planning and shopping for my fall wardrobe. I am excited about the thoughtful things I have added this year and wanted to share my simple fall closet with you. First off, a very real peak into my half of the closet. I moved my summer things to the back and brought the cool weather pieces forward.

My closet

For the last several years I have been working on decreasing the size of my wardrobe.  When we lived in Nebraska I had a walk-in closet filled to the top, a dresser, and totes under the bed for off season clothes. Now I share a small closet with Chad and have my dresser which holds both on and off season clothes.

In the last twelve months since my fibromyalgia diagnosis I have needed to replace a good portion of my wardrobe because of weight gain. Most of my too-small clothes have been sold or donated so our closet isn't packed full with things that no longer fit. What I am left with is an edited closet of things I like and feel the best in. As I have been replacing things, I have focused on buying secondhand and from companies with sustainable and ethical practices.

Buying secondhand gives me many more options for making my clothing allowance stretch. I can buy higher quality without the huge out-of-pocket expense, brands I wouldn't normally buy, or whose business practices I disagree with. My friend, Karin, at Truncation wrote an excellent blog post about shopping secondhand.  There is more than one way to be ethical and sustainable in your clothing purchases, and thrifting is an excellent option for those who can't buy exclusively from ethical companies or small makers. This season, over 70% of new things added to my wardrobe have been bought secondhand.

I also have invested in some high quality pieces from companies with high ethical standards. While I would love to revamp my entire wardrobe with items from these stores, the cost is prohibitive. This fall, I chose three new pieces, one of which is leather that will not be affected by my ever changing weight fluctuations. The other two are loose/flowy, so it will allow my size to change in either direction and still fit.

My style is simple because I don't work outside the home.  I have a few nicer things I wear if Chad and I go on a date or have an event at the University, but the majority of my clothes are meant for my life working from home, running errands out in the community, and my occasional travel. I want to buy what's practical for my lifestyle while honoring my conviction to buy from sustainable retailers whenever possible.

So here is what I added and will be wearing this fall. These pieces, added to the few things I bought over the summer and last winter, makes a wardrobe perfect for my lifestyle.


My big purchase this year was Abera Crossbody Tote from ABLE. Yes, my changing weight has nothing to do with this purchase, but I have been lusting after the similar Mamuye tote since 2015 and I had a good coupon so........... This tote has a crossbody strap which will make it great for traveling. I already own this bag which I bought in 2016 and it has aged beautifully and I will continue to carry it. My new bag will be great for our upcoming trip to Phoenix and other times I need to carry more than a wallet. For those who knew me 15 years ago, I know, it is hard to believe I only own two bags........

ABLE provides economic opportunities to women in Ethiopia, Mexico, and Peru and is making it their mission to end generational poverty in these areas.  In areas where prostitution is prevalent, ABLE provides women with a way to earn a living and empowers them to end the cycle of poverty. I am proud to own two of these bags and to know I am supporting such a business! For those of you who haven't ever shopped with Able before, here is a $20 coupon

My next purchase was a silk top from Amour Vert in a pretty fall gold. Since it stays warm for so long in Virginia and we will be celebrating Thanksgiving in Phoenix, I decided to go with a short sleeved top for my "statement piece." It looks pretty layered underneath a cardigan as well for chillier days. It will be able to be dressed up or down throughout the season. This top was made in the USA and the silk was produced at a family owned, sustainable factory.

I usually buy a new sweatshirt every year or two and spend most of late fall and winter in it. This year I chose a cute slouchy one from Pact. I will wear it to yoga, for walking Mocha, and for quick trips to the grocery store, or rainy Sundays binging on Netflix. I spent less on this sweatshirt than if had I bought Nike or Under Armour as I did in the past, and Pact's cotton is certified organic and is produced with fair trade practices.

I had wanted to buy the Everlane Street Shoe, but when I decided on the ABLE bag as my big purchase, I decided to just wear my sneakers from a few years ago. That is until I found the a hardly worn pair of Street Shoes used on Poshmark for two-thirds less!  Finding an ethically produced item secondhand is exciting!

I bought three secondhand wool cardigans on eBay and Poshmark to replace my Target cardigans I've had since 2012. I also found the J Crew merino wool and linen sweater below on Poshmark. For less than the price of one new sweater I added these four high quality, almost new sweaters! That is thrifting at its best!

While I try to stay away from fast fashion as much as possible, I still occasionally shop there. Target's A New Day line has awesome t-shirts. I have tried tees from sustainable fashion retailers, organic cotton retailers, and many fast fashion stores. Target's beat the other hands down. They drape beautifully, wash and wear well and do not stretch out.....and you can get 2 for $14.  I am comfortable with these because I know how great they will wear and amount of use I will get out of them. I bought the rust and the gold color. I also own them in black and burgundy from last year. I'm still on the hunt for an ethical equivalent, so please share if you know one!

You noticed I didn't buy any pants.....Well, I did buy two vintage pairs of men's Levis on eBay, but I haven't decided if I can pull off the style so they may be resold. Over the summer I kept an eye on eBay and got a great deal on two almost new pairs of jeans.  I also bought two button down shirts at local thrift stores for $2 each. Those, with the few things I bought last fall/winter makes me mostly set for the colder months. The only thing I would like to add eventually is a pair of minimalistic rain boots, like these from Alice + Whittles. I have duck boots, but some rainy days you want to be dressier than duck boots!

This was a pretty hefty amount of clothes compared to what I usually try to buy in a season, but most of my colder weather clothes were either too small or very worn. Even my shoes were seeing wear as I only own a handful, so they are in constant rotation.  I took a big stack of too small clothing into the consignment store, so my out-of-pocket money will be less once they sell.  I also used coupons and sales to buy the new things I added, so nothing was bought at full price. I am happy and feel like this was a well thought out and well rounded investment.

I keep track of all my clothes, shoes, and bags on a spreadsheet, including those that no longer fit that I'm keeping...... (a handful of favorites and a few with sentimental value).  I make note when something needs replaced because it's worn out, new things I buy, where I get them, and what each item costs. This helps me get a better picture of what I need, how much I've spent and who I'm giving my dollars to.

So there you have it!  I encourage you to shop secondhand if you are wanting to dip your toes into sustainable fashion. It really is the most sustainable form of shopping! If you have the money to shop from ethical retailers, ABLE, Amour Vert, Everlane, and Pact are a great place to start.

I am planning a blog post on sustainable cleaning where I will give my all natural cleaning tips, cleaning tools, and how I care for my clothes. See you soon!

While this is not a sponsored post, the coupon links above will benefit me as well as you, should you choose to shop with the companies I suggest. Rest assured, I only suggest products I love and use regularly. 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Late Summer - 2018

Hi friends!

We are headed straight into fall here in Virginia, but other than a few trees changing color it still feels like summer with the heat and humidity.  I thought I would share a quick update on what has been going on over the summer and what lies ahead for fall.

My summer has consisted of a lot of painting. Chad's parents came in early July and we kicked it off with painting the bar.  I decided on navy to work with the vintage tile and think it turned out pretty nice! 

My mother-in-law also painted Remington's bathroom, which is off of our family room. Besides painting, Chad and his Dad worked on several other electrical house projects. We had a fun week and visited some wineries and breweries as well. 

They also brought us Chad's great grandparent's kitchen table. As most of you know I love antiques so I was thrilled to add it to our home.  It goes nicely with my Mom's tiger oak buffet in our eat-in kitchen.

After they returned home I continued painting for the next month. I painted the doors, trim, and crown molding in the family room. We are redoing the floors next month, so I'm leaving the baseboards until then. It is amazing what that finishing touch does to the brightness of the room.

Let me remind you of what it looked like before we moved in.......

I'm so excited to get the floors done and get a rug, and this space will then be finished for the most part.

Since Nakoma and Phoebe moved back to Tennessee we decided to rent the apartment downstairs to a couple who attend the university where Chad works. Before they moved in we painted the walls and trim in preparation for them.

We have loved having them as our neighbors.  They are both from Romania, so it's fun to get to know them and learn about their culture.

Remington started 11th grade in August. It is so hard to believe he has less than 2 years here at home.  He is leaning towards joining the National Guard once he finishes high school. He would also like to be a firefighter; so either way, a public servant, which we think is an excellent choice. As parents of a Marine, (and a Marine and Army man for son-in-laws) the military is something we are familiar with. In the mean time, he is trying to make it through Algebra 2, Chemistry, Economics, American History, and Edgar Allan Poe in English without losing his mind, in addition to working 20 hours a week. Poor kid...I don't envy him!

Phoebe came out to visit in late August for 5 days.  We had not seen her since she had moved and she had grown up so much over the summer. Her vocabulary is excellent and she is fully potty trained. We had a fun week baking cookies, going to the park and out for ice cream, playing with sidewalk chalk and going to the children's museum. When she went home I was thoroughly exhausted and it took me a week to recover!

My health has been so-so throughout the summer.  While I haven't had any huge flare-ups with fibromyalgia, I generally feel bad more days than I feel good. Some of it is likely added weight gain and lack of exercise, but it's hard to eat healthy and move when I don't feel good to begin with. I am hoping the cooler fall weather will entice me to get out more and walk with Mocha which should help both the weight and the pain.

I have been working on my organizing my fall wardrobe, which I may share on here, if you are interested.  I have had to replace almost everything I own the past 12 months with the weight gain I've experienced, but I am trying to be as minimalist and not consumerist about it as possible and be practical about what I need.  About half of it has been sourced through thrift stores, both locally and online, with the other half coming partly from ethical stores like Amour Vert and partly from conventional stores like Target, Old Navy, and TJ Maxx.  While I would like everything to come from a store with ethical practices, it isn't possible with my budget. Regardless, I am pleased with the progress I have made and the things I have added this fall especially.

Most of my outdoor plants have not done well this year.  I did not anticipate how shady our yard is, not to mention it has been an extremely wet year...about to get wetter with Hurricane Florence possibly dumping another 10 inches or more on us next week! My one exception has been this fern.....

It started the year frost bitten because I bought it too early in the year. I wasn't sure it would perk back up...but boy did it ever! I decided I am just going to buy ferns for the deck next year. This one only cost $7.50!

I am so looking forward to fall this year! My fall bucket list includes: 

🎃Going to a pumpkin patch with Phoebe

🍁Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway my birthday weekend to see the fall colors

🍎Going to an apple orchard with Chad

💻Taking an Enneagram test and going to a two day training conference on it

🐾Walks and hikes with Mocha


🍎Making Vegan Apple much better than regular

👷New family room floors and a visit from my brother and sister-in-law who will be laying them

🎊Family time in Phoenix for Thanksgiving

Stay tuned for my update next week on my minimalist fall wardrobe and fall touches I've added to our home.