Wednesday, November 27, 2013

An Ethical Alternative to Black Friday: 175+ Green Gift Ideas from My Fair Vanity

7 cover for issu

As you mentally prepare yourself for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I offer you a tasteful and ethical alternative: a catalog chock-full of eco-friendly, made in America, and fair trade gift ideas that will empower and inspire you to make thoughtful gift choices for all of the loved ones on your list.

Settle in with a cup of tea or a mug of cocoa and see what you find-- you may discover a few surprises, especially since I've enlisted the help of a few of my favorite green lifestyle bloggers to help me curate the coolest and kindest gifts around!

Alden from Ecocult put together a collection of covetable gifts that are 100% made in New York. Dominique from Let's Be Fair has golden, sparkly treasures from afar, and Juliette from spades + siLK will share her uber-cool knowledge of all of the hippest, newest sustainable designers. Yoga teacher and blogger Carissa Ciuca curates for the yogi in your life, and surface designer Aaryn West has enough patterns and colors to keep even the most eclectic person on your list intrigued and impressed with your artsy street savvy.

Happy shopping, happy holidays, and happy thanksgiving! It's such a pleasure to write and post about sustainable style for you here on My Fair Vanity each week, and I hope you'll accept this guide as my small way of saying thank you so much for reading. If you find it helpful, I hope you'll choose to share it with friends and loved ones, so that this year, they can join you in giving on-trend, stylish gifts that are kind to the earth and the people on it.

With gratitude and love,


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Baby it's Cold Outside

la kaiser snakeskin earrings knit hat aviators

The temperature is dropping and I'm starting to live in my cashmere beanie, which is the perfect frame for my new earrings. This snakeskin and sterling silver pair came to me courtesy of a small line called La Kaiser. Each piece is handcrafted here in the U.S., and at prices ranging from $60-$210, they make a great gift option for the holidays. What's more, a portion of La Kaiser's profits are donated to a scholarship foundation in Zimbabwe.

2 la kaiser snakeskin earrings knit hat aviators

Below are a few of my favorite pieces-- I like how the designer mixes metals, prints and other precious stones to create simple, geometric pieces.

3 la kaiser snakeskin earrings knit hat aviators

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Eco-friendly Holiday Gifts Under $30

The time is upon us, my friends: office holiday parties, friends-giving, actual Thanksgiving, secret Santas, and so many more reasons to start hunting for little somethings to give here and there.

And since you're already poised to purchase, why not buy gifts that were made in the USA or use organic ingredients? When you buy eco-friendly or buy American-made, it's like two gifts for the price of one. Mother Earth wins, American jobs win, you win, everybody wins!

3 eco-friendly gifts under 30 dollars

Voluspa and Archipelago are two of my favorite candle companies, and both are made in the USA. Archipelago goes the extra mile and uses soy wax, which burns a little cleaner than traditional parrafin. These are my go-to "emergency gifts." Inevitably, someone will slip my mind or I'll have an unexpected holiday visitor, so I like to keep a few of these on hand so no one leaves my home empty-handed. Besides, I know I will use them if I don't end up gifting them!

The Deep Steep scrub is also a new favorite of mine. Made with all organic ingredients, the grapefruit bergamot scent is the jam. And, a lady can never have enough lotion for her hands during the cold months, amiright? The ginger scented lotion from Origins is fresh but still a warm winter spice, with the added bonus of it being made with botanical ingredients, as opposed to harsh chemicals. Check out what's not in it-- it's a satisfyingly long list.

Last but not least, I've always thought that nail polish (I would pick two or three fun colors) makes a great gift. I like receiving it because it's fun to experiment with shades you wouldn't pick for yourself. I love this rich, hunter green color, and Zoya goes the extra mile of being a "five-free" nail polish, as opposed to the traditional three: it contains no formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, dibutyl pthalate, camphor or toluene.

12 eco-friendly holiday gifts under 30 dollars

All of the hostess gifts above are made in the USA. The napkins are hand-printed on organic cotton and the cherry wood cutting board is handmade from sustainably harvested Wisconsin wood. I strongly recommend looking through more of the 63 different napkin prints in Oh Little Rabbit's Etsy store- they have nautical themes, Russian nesting dolls, and so many others I love!

4 eco-friendly gifts under 30 dollars

To see more eco-friendly holiday gifts under $30, follow my Pinterest Board! I'll be pinning my affordable eco-finds through December.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Primary Colors {Easy and Eco-friendly Weekend Wear}

primary color blocking vegan bag oversize sweater boyfriend jeans

3 primary color blocking vegan bag oversize sweater boyfriend jeans

2 primary color blocking vegan bag oversize sweater boyfriend jeans

As you've seen here and here, oversize sweaters and rolled up jeans have have become one of my favorite uniforms to fall back on this season (if you'll excuse the pun), and today I'm using them to do a little color-blocking.

The colors I'm wearing also signify a red letter day: today (Sunday) is the last day you can enter to win your own red bag like the one I'm wearing. If you aren't the lucky winner, you could also buy one to have as your very own over at Modavanti, and take 15% off of your purchases through November 30 with special code MYFAIRVANITY

And, I'm pleased to report that today, I'm wearing a 100% sustainable ensemble:

Shop the look (sustainably):

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Linked up!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Battle Gear {Eco-friendly All Black Everything}

10 alexander wang jacket botega venetta skirt

There is something very satisfying about wearing all black. Everything just feels more put together and I'll be honest-- it makes me feel like a badass ninja.

9 alexander wang jacket botega venetta skirt

This outfit is also my ninja-style way of sharing with you the power of aggressive second-hand shopping. The jacket is Alexander Wang, the wool skirt (super heavy and super soft) is Bottega Veneta, and the shoes are Stella McCartney.

6 alexander wang jacket botega venetta skirt

Let me be clear: I work at a non-profit organization. I am not someone who can just drop a thousand bucks on an "it" bag, even if I want it really, really badly. But I can still wear well-cut, well-made clothing because I am willing to wear things that someone else might have worn, too. I am willing to provide a loving home for those beautiful garments that someone has cast off. I am a safe haven, and you can be, too!

Check out the detail of the shoulder of the jacket above, for example. It shows there's something special about it, and it's those little details that you want to watch out for when you shop second-hand.

5 alexander wang jacket botega venetta skirt

You also want to go with your sense of touch-- if it feels cheaply made or the fabric seems scratchy, it's probably not worth even pulling the item off the rack to look at. Keep sifting.

When I feel cashmere, silk, or wool, I stop to see what I've got my hands on, and often it turns out to be something worth trying on. I should also add that more than half of my latest finds have been due to the eagle, editorial, and exacting eye of my friend and photographer, Ms. Victoria Corkhill. That girl can sense designer treasure from several feet away, I swear to god.

2 alexander wang jacket botega venetta skirt

Sidenote: I also want to highlight that I'm wearing another handmade ring from Alitas Jewelry. I last wore my favorite Alitas rings in this post, but this time I'm rocking the key ring. Get it? Key ring. Genius.

But let's get back to your battle plan. The next time you find yourself in a consignment store, remember these three keys to success (see how I did that there?):
  1. Fabric - High quality? Scratchy? Look for wools, silks, and cashmere.
  2. Details - does anything jump out at you? In a good way or  bad way? Are the seams neat and even? If they aren't noticeable at all, that's a good sign. 
  3. Label - you don't want to buy something because it's made by a certain label, but many high-end lines simply make better quality, longer-lasting clothing than the more affordable mass market brands, so brand is still something to consider. But that is only a generalization: I've seen plenty of badly made, cheap crap with a designer label stuck on, so #1 and #2 are much more important.
Last but not least, it wouldn't be fair if I didn't share a few of my favorite consignment resources, would it? If you're ever in DC, be sure to stop into Ella Rue, Secondi, and Reddz Trading (a new fave of mine). If you have no plans to visit our nation's capitol, then in no particular order, I would recommend checking out:

Poshmark (I've never tried it, but people seem to love it)

Shop the look (eco-friendly style, of course). Each item is either made in the USA, vegan, sustainably made, or all three:

P.S. The bag giveaway ends this Sunday-- if you haven't entered yet, how will you win?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Fall Back into Vintage {Brocade, Bag, Necklace}

vintage brocade top, bell sleeves, my fair vanity

It's been a little while since I've donned a vintage find here on My Fair Vanity, but when I found this stunning brocade top in Secondi the other day, I knew before I tried it on that it was coming home with me. The fact that it has pockets only adds to the perfection of its elegant pattern and rich detail. 

vintage brocade top, bell sleeves, my fair vanity

Maybe it's all of the Project Runway reruns I've been watching, but this top makes me wish I could sew. The fabric would look beautiful in a robe, an ankle length trouser, a pencil many options!

vintage brocade top, bell sleeves, vintage black bag, my fair vanity

I paired the top with a "vintage-inspired" necklace borrowed from a friend and a vintage bag that was my husband's grandmother's-- I think it's so fresh and modern even though it's from years ago. Each time I look at it I am impressed by her classic style.

2 vintage brocade bell sleeves my fair vanity

If I had a powder room, I would wall-paper it in this fabric. But since it only exists in the form of this top as far as I know, I've found a few vintage options on Etsy to get you started on your own personal vintage vision quest.
6 vintage brocade top my fair vanity

7 vintage long chain necklaces my fair vanity

Vintage long-chain pendant necklaces: 1 , 2 , 3 and 4 (not pictured, but a great option)

Photography by Victoria Corkhill.

Linked up to DCinStyle

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Nordstrom Half-Year Sale Round-up: coated denim, smoking slippers and more

Nordstrom is having their half-year sale, and I see a lot of investment pieecs,  staples and a few trendier items that should be on your radar. The coat is expensive (and beautiful--admit it!), but there are some steals in this round-up as well, such as dressy track pants by WAYF for $29 and a graphic houndstooth sweatshirt by Bobeau for $32.

Scroll on through, and shop with a clear conscience-- each selection is made in the USA :)

Psst....have you entered my bag giveaway yet? It's pretty sweet and you can submit extra entries once a day.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Shop My Eco-friendly Style Collection at Modavanti


I recently collaborated with Modavanti to edit the best of their Fall/Winter '13 sustainable style collection (just in time for holiday shopping, ladies!) and to answer a few questions about My Fair Vanity. Check it out here

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Punky-Goth-Sci-fi: It's a Thing, I Swear {Kelly Wearstler}

7 kelly wearstler cage shirt made in the usa mesh cut-out

4 kelly wearstler cage shirt made in the usa mesh cut-out

I found this badassical Kelly Wearstler top at Secondi, and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was made in the USA. I was even more pleasantly surprised to learn that is the case for the vast majority of her edgy offerings, from clothing to accessories.

3 kelly wearstler cage shirt made in the usa mesh cut-out

I'm not exactly sure how I would classify this shirt: punk? graphic? goth? sci-fi? It's sort of all of those things mashed up into one awesome mesh wonder, and when I tried it on, it just felt right.  It's appropriate for many of my dream occasions, such as dinner with my favorite sci-fi writer or drinks with Patrick Stewart. And one should always be prepared for dreams to come true, yes?

Below are some of my favorite made-in-the-USA pieces by Ms. Wearstler-- I really love her aesthetic, but of course I love her commitment to manufacturing here at home all the more.

5 kelly wearstler cage shirt made in the usa mesh cut-out

Clockwise from top left: dress, earrings, bracelet, shirt, earrings

Photography by Victoria Corkhill.

And remember: you still have time to...

8 PROMO angela + roi vegan messenger bag modavanti giveaway

Linked up to DCinStyle.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Perfect Red Cross-body Bag {Giveaway}

angela + roi, vegan messenger bag, modavanti giveaway, red cross-body bag

I'm in love, love, love with my new red messenger bag by Angela + Roi (c/o Modavanti). It's that perfect color of poppy red that can work in every season, but it really shines against dark winter and fall coats. Bonus: it's 100% vegan.

angela + roi, vegan messenger bag, modavanti giveaway

I gave it a test drive for a day of shopping last weekend and I really liked how the boxy shape allowed enough room for my camera, make-up, keys and wallet, with plenty of space to spare.

angela + roi, vegan messenger bag, modavanti giveaway, red cross-body bag

I'm deeply grateful to each and every one of you for joining me in my efforts to build a kinder, more sustainable wardrobe, so I'm pleased to be partnering with sustainable retailer Modavanti to give away one of these beautiful, bright, cheery bags to one lucky winner. It's my own small way of saying "thank you."

angela + roi, vegan messenger bag, modavanti giveaway

Of course, if you have to have the bag right now, you can order one from Modavanti, and be sure to take 15% off of your total purchase with code MYFAIRVANITY. 

You can also feel good about your purchase: for each bag they sell, Angela + Roi donates $5 to a worthy cause. In the case of their red bags, for example, $5 from the purchase of each one will support the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.

Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wearing a consigned coat and cashmere sweater dress with AGL brogues and an Angela + Roi vegan cross-body bag

Photography by Victoria Corkhill.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

On my Christmas wish list (and on sale!): House of Hackney

house of hackney, made in England, pattern mixing, 90s trend, sustainable fashion

Confession: I've developed a bit of an obsession with House of Hackney.

Right now felt like the perfect time to confess because I've discovered they are right in the middle of a mid-season sale, and they're a little pricey. I realize that the prints are also a little insane, but that's kind of what I love about them. I don't know why, but I want to put on that carpet-print sweatshirt and sweatpants and go...I'm not really sure where, but I have to put them on.

House of Hackney began as an interior design label with a mission ‘to take the beige out of interiors’ and an emphasis on quality, design and Made in England. Later, Opening Ceremony noticed their awesomeness and proposed an exclusive line, and I assume the rest is history.

I first came across the line on ASOS Green Room, and I won't lie, I was like "WTF is going on with that sweatsuit?!?" but I clicked. And then I went back and gazed at it another day...and another, and another, until I realized that I was in love. I have spent huge chunks of time looking through every single item in the House of Hackney sale section to decide which one(s) I would put at the top of my Christmas wish list.  I narrowed it down to the sweatshirt, but I think I want the mod-style dress, too. And the sweatpants. And maybe a pretty silk flowered shirt. And one thousand extra dollars to burn.

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