Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Three Polished Ways to Wear Plaid, Embrace your Inner 90s Grunge Girl, and Stay Eco-friendly

9 the reformation plaid shirt upcycled sustainable fashion copy

Now that I've introduced you to my favorite new hat, it's time you met my favorite new shirt. The dream of the 90s is officially alive in DC.

11 the reformation plaid shirt upcycled sustainable fashion copy

This rockin' plaid shirt is made from upcycled dead stock flannel by a company called The Reformation. I looooove them.

5 the reformation plaid shirt upcycled sustainable fashion copy

In fact, not only do I have three ways for you to wear this tartan treat today, but I also have three reasons that you, too, should fall in love with The Reformation. 
  1. They're an environmentally sustainable fashion brand that repurposes vintage and surplus materials to create on-trend, limited edition collections. Waste not, want not.
  2. They make all of their clothing in New York and Los Angeles. 
  3. The clothes are really edgy and cool. I think of them as the eco-friendly version of Nasty Gal. 

7 the reformation plaid shirt upcycled sustainable fashion copy

I mean...look at that collar. The shirt has a sweet, polished silhouette, but the plaid keeps it tough and a little masculine, which is super important to me. The cut is roomy but clean, and it's really, really warm. Like this is the real deal flannel, people, not some thin polyester crap. The material is so soft and yummy that it feels like wearing pajamas, and isn't that the ultimate win in grown-up dressing? If only all of my favorite clothing could feel like pajamas but read like "fashion."

I know I'm not alone on this one, as my girl The Glamourai went on a bit of a pajama rampage during her recent travels through southeast Asia (see here, here, here), and I want to put it out there that I fully understand and support her new jammies-in-the-daytime lifestyle.

All pajama discussions aside, I do hope you will take a minute to check out The Reformation. I think they are the jam. And no, they didn't pay me to say this. I just like sharing awesome things with you, and I think they are awesome.

Photography by Victoria Corkhill. She is also the jam.

12 the reformation plaid shirt upcycled sustainable fashion copy

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Easy DIY Halloween Costume from Your Closet: Courtney Love

2 diy courtney love costume with kurt cobain copy

I love make-up, I love trying out new looks and I love costumes (I mean, I kinda grew up in them), so Halloween is by far one of my favorite holidays. And of course, I prefer to keep things eco-friendly by pulling together a costume from items that I already have in my own closet.

The 90s have been coming down the runways non-stop, it seems, and all of the flannel and slip dresses got me inspired to pay tribute to one of the most badassical, iconic women of the 90s: Courtney Love. And let's face it, dressing up like Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain brings a level of creepiness that Halloween demands.

4 diy courtney love costume with kurt cobain costume from your closet

I have been doing a lot of closet editing this year, making donation bags and consignment bags galore, but my purple Doc Martens will never, ever hit the donate pile, and I felt like they brought that 90s vibe.

Once you have your shoes (strappy mary janes would also work), all you really need is a lot of eyeliner, torn up tights, and a slip dress. I added some black laciness underneath to keep it edgy, and a sparkly pink headband to reference the tiara Courtney so often wore, but these are all touches that are up to you. It is very important, though to smear that lipstick and eye make up around like you just don't care.

5 diy courtney love costume with kurt cobain costume from your closet

Last but not least, I always begin a DIY costume by collecting inspirational images like the ones below:

6 diy courtney love costume with kurt cobain costume from your closet

If you're looking for more DIY Halloween costume inspiration before October 31, check out my DIY Fortune Teller costume and my DIY Princess Leia costume, both of which are super easy, super fun, and super recognizable.

The most important ingredient to any Halloween costume, however, is commitment. I had a lot of fun acting like a drugged-out crazy lady, and you can, too! ;)

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Sustainable Splurge Alert: Trina Turk & Suno Sale

suno plaid ethically made

Suno is a line that grew from founder Max Osterweis' and designer Erin Beatty's idea that great fashion could sustain positive growth in developing countries. I found an interview in New York Magazine with their head of production, Nadiyah Bradshaw-Spencer, and I liked what she had to say about what "ethical" production means to her, and to Suno:

You said it's ethical. That's something we hear about often now.
All the time. Meaning how [the workers] are sitting. How it's not a sweatshop. There are fans in the room. There are ACs in the room. They're not sitting on top of one another. There's not water dripping on the walls, and slime, and people with their heads down. For Suno, "ethical" means I can sit, as head of production, at a sewing table and sew a garment and feel like I am comfortable. That's what it means for us.

It's refreshing to hear this kind of thinking, and I wish more fashion company employees could practice the simple act of treating others as they would like to be treated. Ethical fashion doesn't have to be complicated, and it begins with awareness and intent. Suno takes other steps as well, such as regular factory visits that build strong relationships, and hiring staff in-country whose job it is to ensure the quality of the work and the working conditions.

I'm kind of hypnotized by the highly structured, short-sleeved, high-low shirt above. I want to tuck it into high-waisted black skinny jeans and studded ankle boots, then hop on the motorcycle I would never ever own and drive into the sunset.

Up next are some affordable basics from Ms. Trina Turk.

2 trina turk sale made in the usa

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Trina Turk is having a HUGE 60% off sale right now, and I rounded up the the basic blacks that we all need to build into our wardrobe. We have a little black dress, a jumpsuit, a statement skirt, and conservative dress for work, and pajama-style track pants, and each piece is made in sunny California.

Below, I've put together a few more of the sale highlights for you to shop, and just FYI that easy jumpsuit is $91.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Easy Weekend Style {Rag and Bone}

2 rag and bone plush legging jeans, made in the usa, sustainable street style

I recently discovered the softest and thus most wonderful jeans I've ever worn. Technically, they're called leggings, as in Rag and Bone's The Plush Legging Jeans, so I'm a little concerned that I might be wearing jeggings, but if I am, ya know what? Totally worth it.

3 rag and bone plush legging jeans made in the usa outfit of the day

Rag and Bone jeans are made in the USA and although this color seems to be sold out,  they are still available in dark brown/moss and in black from Shopbop and Nordstrom if you're interested. They're a nice length that tucks easily into low boots with no gap of skin, but can also be rolled up without too much bulk because the material is so thin.

Wearing: Rag and Bone jeans, consigned cashmere sweater from Secondi (similar here made from upcycled cashmere, AGL oxfords.

Photography by Victoria Corkhill.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Bailey Hat Company for J.Crew: The Perfect Fall Fedora?

jcrew collaboration Bailey felt hat made in the USA

Fall leaves are finally on the ground, so the time felt right for a new hat. This fabulous felt fedora is by Bailey Hat Company for J.Crew.  I was so pleased to discover this hat in a store where I wouldn't expect to find a single 'made in the USA' label, and I hope that J.Crew will to continue to add more American-made products to their special collections.

2 jcrew collaboration Bailey felt hat made in the USA

Bailey's hats have been made in the USA since their beginnings in 1921, and their decades of experience are clear in the simplicity, clean lines, and easy wearability of their products.

6 jcrew collaboration Bailey felt hat made in the USA

They got their start as a go-to milliner for Hollywood's elite in the 1920s: Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, Bing Crosby and Gary Cooper were all fans, according to the J.Crew description. While I love the company's glamorous roots, what I love most about this hat is that inside notes it's packable and water repellent. I require a high level of hardiness from my hats, since I tend to wear them to death and bring them absolutely everywhere. 

3 jcrew collaboration Bailey felt hat made in the USA

I kept things simple with this outfit and left most of my jewelry at home, but I had to add my favorite rings to toughen things up.  Both rings are stainless steel and handmade by my buddy David at Alitas Jewelry out of Baltimore, Maryland.

I've been a huge fan of his work since discovering it a street market in DC years and years ago, and was so happy to see him set up an Etsy shop. You should know, though, that his online shop represents only a tiny fraction of his full body of work, which you can see towards the bottom of this post from last Christmas.

4 jcrew collaboration Bailey felt hat made in the USA

Wearing: silk button down shirt (conventional); vintage Christian Dior skirt from Secondi; Reiss heels from Secondi, hat by Bailey for J.Crew.

Styling and photography by Victoria Corkhill. 

Linked up to IFB Project #121

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Stella McCartney Sale on The Outnet {Sustainable Splurge Alert}

the outnet, stella mccartney sale, sustainable fashion

Sustainable designer fashion alert! There are some beautiful Stella McCartney pieces on sale for more than 60% off at The Outnet right now.  As I've discussed here on MFV, Stella McCartney's entire line is vegan and she strives to use sustainable materials in her clothing and even in her physical stores, so I always feel good supporting her work.

Fair warning: things tend to go VERY fast on this site, so if you fall in love, pull the trigger!  For example, those underwear are already in my cart. They're actually cheaper than a similar and much more shabbily-made Victoria's Secret set I've had my eye on. Race ya to the check out!

Shop my sale round-up (plus a few extras that didn't happen to be black, white or taupe):

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Green Carpet Challenge: Why Emma Watson and Livia Firth Are Super Awesome

emma watson green carpet challenge net-a-porter

Green Carpet Challenge

I mentioned in my sexytime post that the U.K. is way ahead of the U.S. when it come to sustainable fashion, and the Green Carpet Challenge is yet aonther example of the Brits doing us one better. This past September as part of the challenge, Livia Firth's Eco-Age partnered with Net-a-Porter to create an exclusive capsule collection featuring five British designers. Christopher Bailey, Victoria Beckham, Christopher Kane, Erdem, and Roland Mouret all embraced sustainable style by designing two pieces each, in accordance with the GCC® ethical benchmarking.

The designers used planet-friendly materials like Oeko-Tex-certified French lace, tulle, and silk; Newlife fabric derived from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles; traceable wool yarn from Australia; and lead-free Swarovski crystals. To top it off, Anna Wintour helped to unveil the collection during London Fashion Week.

The dresses are available for purchase right now and 20% of proceeds will be donated to (RED) ™ which finances Global Fund grants in Africa, with a focus on eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

What I loved most of all was reading what Emma Watson had to say about it all. Having designed the first few collections for eco-friendly line People Tree, Emma is no stranger to sustainability, so it wasn't surprising to see that she modeled the collection for Net-a-Porter's The Edit:

We don’t support slave labor in this country, so we shouldn’t support those conditions in other countries,” Watson said. “I can’t wrap my head around why ethical clothing is a specialty and not a base standard. Why is it special to have something you know wasn’t made under terrible conditions by a 12-year-old girl for 20 pence an hour?”

Preach, Emma. Preach.

While the price tags are high at $2,695 to $7,450, a few of the gowns could work well as winter wedding dresses, and wouldn't it be cool to say your dress is not only beautiful but kind to people and the earth, too? Just sayin. ;)

Shop the Green Carpet Challenge collection:

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sultry, Sexy and Sustainable: Eco-friendly Pajamas and Lingerie

Today I'm sharing a few eco-friendly examples of sleepwear, underwear, and-- let's be real-- sexwear. Knowing that some of us are more adventurous than others, and that one of my friends might break out into hives at the thought of reading this post, I've divided up your sustainable slumber party options into neat little categories of sexpertise.

6 sustainable and ecofriendly underwear and pajamas

I'll be the first to admit that my collection of pajamas is woeful. I have only two extremes: sweatpants + old t-shirts, and a solid collection of the lacy stuff you'll see farther on down on this page. So, I'm in the market for jammies that will make me feel comfortable, warm, and presentable without having to resort to come-hither wear.

The piped robe is made ethically in Peru of organic cotton by Only Hearts, and the cheery chevron print set is also made of organic cotton and available from the ASOS Green Room.  The color blocked, art deco, silk pajamas are made by hand in New York by Ari Dein, and while they are pricey at $495, I have no doubt they are worth it. I discovered this line over on Ecocult in this post, and I haven't looked back since.

sustainable, ecofriendly underwear, organic pajamas

The cotton tank set with lace insets is made in the USA and the piped nightshirt is ethically made in Peru using organic cotton, both by Only Hearts. Bonus: the tank set is on sale right now for 40% off. The chevron jumper shows a little more skin than the one above, so I thought it should go in the "intermediate" section (ASOS Green Room). 

And now, for the grand finale...

sustainable and ecofriendly underwear, pajamas, ari dein, lingerie made in the usa

Let's start from the top. The silky little bows are actually cuffs with "extra-long" ties. Both the cuffs and the sleepmask (blindfold?) are made in the UK by Ayten Gasson. She also has a beautiful eco-friendly collection made with organic peace silk, should you be interested. In general, I have found that the UK is wayyyy ahead of us here in the States, when it comes to sustainable apparel. I'm thinking of doing a follow up post solely devoted to British labels. Google "lingerie made in the UK" and you will see what I mean...but I digress.

Both the sheer red bra and panty set on the left and the black lacy camisole and briefs set on the right are by Only Hearts, and I have to say they win the prize for having a variety of options, occasionally using organic materials, employing fair labor, and keeping to a reasonable price point

Those briefs in the top right are made in the USA by Hanky Panky, and yes, the bottom works the way you think it does.They're called the After Midnight Open Gusset Hipster. Yup. They come in a thong and a tassled version, too. Natch.

Last, but not even close to least, is the stunning navy negligee at the center, which is handmade in New York, again by Ari Dein. It was a bit of a struggle not to make this entire post about Ari Dein. I want to own every single thing she sells because it is all so beautiful and so lovingly well-made. These are investment pieces for the trousseau, ladies! I mean, I don't have a trousseau, per se, but if I did, it would be filled with Ari Dein, with a little Ayten Gasson thrown in for good measure.

5 sustainable and ecofriendly underwear and pajamas

This collection would not be complete without briefs. I think it's super important to have fun with your underthings and to be comfortable. And ecofriendly, of course. Briefs and boy shorts provide ample options for all three.

The palm tree bikini briefs are made with eco-friendly material by human hands in the New York garment district. They're called Hotcakes and they're the result of a collaboration between Don't Blow The Illusion, Lisa Jackson Swimwear, and photographer Robin Walters. This is one of the tamer pairs-- others depict cereal, candy, and...you should just go see for yourself. Let's just say that Hotcakes are so hip that the only appropriate place for them is your hips.

The coral lacey boy shorts are by Only Hearts (and they're on sale for $12!), and the skulls n' roses pair are made in the USA by Commando.

I'm pleased to report that it was actually quite difficult to cull this collection down to a reasonable size for all of you lovely people. That means that we really have no excuse when it comes to filling our dressers with frothy, fun, lacey and ethical undies or sleepwear. So go forth, and may the eco-friendly shopping force be with you!

Shop the post (and more!):

Monday, October 7, 2013

Super Sheath: Made in the USA dresses for fall weddings, galas, and work events

6 vera wang made in the usa what to wear to a fall wedding

4 vera wang made in the usa what to wear to a fall wedding

8 vera wang made in the usa what to wear to a fall wedding

It may be unseasonably hot now, but before you know it, it will be time for fall weddings, winter galas, and myriad other events that require The Perfect Dress.

Enter the sheath. A sheath silhouette dress is one of the most important articles of clothing any woman can own. I've written here a few times about the importance of investing in well-made clothing that will last you for decades as opposed to something that might fall apart (or out of fashion) after only a season, but the point bears repeating. From lacy to strapless to color-blocked, when you find a sheath dress that fits you well and makes you feel confident when you put it on, buy it. Owning a few for day and for night makes getting dressed in a hurry 10000% easier, and the shape is timeless.

Months ago, I very happily invested in the gold Vera Wang sheath dress I'm wearing above, and I'm still so pleased with my purchase, as well as the fact that the dress is made in the USA.  I know that I can give it some edge and a more casual vibe with black ankle boots and a sleek ponytail, or glam it up with heels and loose waves.

That said, I don't want you to think I'm advocating that everyone run out and buy a sheath dress right this second. It could take some time to find your perfect investment piece, and there is an easy, eco-friendly way to experiment without committing called Rent the Runway. And it just so happens that my Vera Wang dress is available to rent right now, should you like to try it out for yourself.

In fact, there are so may great options available to rent or to own right now, so I've put together a few of my latest faves.

10 vera wang made in the usa what to wear to a fall wedding

If you have several evening events ahead of you, I think something with lace or a little shine will always hit the right note. The smokey grey lace dress on the left comes in several colors and is made in the USA by Diane von Furstenburg , and the strapless navy number is available from Rent the Runway. I also like that the arms are long on the shorter dress, and the length just touches the knees on the strapless dress. I'm a big believer in choosing one area to expose and covering the rest, although all of that gets thrown out the window if you're planning to be all up in da club. ;)

9 vera wang made in the usa what to wear to a fall wedding

These three sheath dresses are perfect for work events, galas or dinners, and any other occasions for which you need to be professional, polished and (of course) stylish. Each dress above is conservatively cut with a teensy bit of edge, whether it's the sharp shoulders, the graphic color-blocking, or the leather piping, and each one is made here in the USA:

For me, one of the hardest things to find is eco-friendly eveningwear and workwear.While there is nothing better than buying clothes that not only have a light carbon footprint, but also support American jobs and craftsmanship, it would be great to see stateside manufacturers pay more careful attention to the materials they import, for example. But until all of my eco-dreams come true, my go-to brands for made in the USA super sheaths are Milly, St. Johns, Diane von Furstenburg, Nicole Miller, and Vera Wang. What are yours?

Shop the post (all dresses below are made in the USA):

Friday, October 4, 2013

Aviators and Wayfarers and Cat-eyes, oh my! {Eco-friendly Sunglasses}

4 eco-friendly sunglasses

It may not feel like sunglasses time, but I'm a big believer in protecting your eyes (and the delicate skin beneath them) year round. Everyone should be prepared for the ill effects of snow-sun reflection, which can be worse for your eyes than a day at the beach! Besides, statement sunglasses are having a serious moment in fashion, and just like with the oversize sweaters trend featured earlier this week, there is no reason we can't embrace this trend in a sustainable, stylin' manner.

There are all kinds of options when it comes to sustainable sunglasses, but the top three are bamboo or wood lenses, a vintage or used pair, and shades that are sustainably or locally made. Thats what I looked for in putting together this collection, I have to say I was overwhelmed by the variety!

The reddish cat-eyed tortoise-shell glasses are among the most expensive of the bunch because they're by Stella McCartney. You can always count on Stella to keep a close eye on materials, and although I wish she would push just a little harder, I think it's good to support a high-end designer that is making such a conscious effort to be kind. All of her glasses are made from 50% natural sources.

The other two pairs are vintage oversize sunglasses are from Etsy (available here and here), and they're both under $30.

5 refelective lens eco-friendly vintage sunglasses

Every single one of these reflective, futuristic (and majorly 80s) sunglasses are vintage from Etsy, and they range from $12 to $200. From top to bottom and then right they are:

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

And now for the Raybans. If you absolutely must have a pair, I'd recommend a vintage pair. Unlike the modern Luxottica models, vintage Raybans by Bausch & Lomb were made in the good ole' USA, like each pair below (1 / 2 / 3 / 4 ). 

7 eco-friendly handmade bamboo sunglasses 8 made in the usa rayban vintage sunglasses

The wooden sunglasses trend deserves its own special section (below). There are many versions (and copies) of bamboo glasses out there, but I like Panda bamboo glasses (bottom left) because of their promise to provide a free eye and exam and glasses for someone in need for each pair sold.

6 eco-friendly handmade bamboo sunglasses

I also want to highlight two pairs of sunglasses from Shwood, although I was tempted to just make a giant collage out of every pair they have. Handmade in Portland, Oregon (where else?), these glasses are pricey and incredibly beautiful. I respect that the folks at Shwood seem committed, nay, obsessed with creating something really special in each pair. I love their experimentation with stone and salvaged wood, for example. When you are making short films about each pair of sunglasses you've lovingly handcrafted, it's clear you're not just an artisan, but an artist.

Last but not least are the eco brand sunglasses. They are the only eyewear brand in the world made of 95% recycled materials. Add to that the on-trend shape and edgy, fall colors on these two pairs and you have my favorite sunglasses on the whole page. You can find them at several local eyeglass stores nationwide.

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