Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Polar Vortex Style Formula: Black leggings, fisherman sweater, chambray shirt

ace and jig button down fair trade shirt what to wear in winter

WEARING: Ace and Jig shirt, vintage sweater from Klåd, conventional leggings and JCrew boots I've had since 2004. I have to hand it to JCrew: their leather shoes (made in Italy) last forever. I've resoled the heels once and replaced one of the zippers a few times, and the leather is still beautiful and shines up like new.  PHOTOGRAPHY: Victoria Corkhill

8 ace and jig button down fair trade shirt what to wear in winter

PSA: No beach south of the Mason-Dixon line should ever have to look like this. (The "beach" in question is really just the shoreline along the G.W. Parkway, but that's not the point).

3 ace and jig button down fair trade shirt what to wear in winter

Since Christmas, I've developed a near-maniacal obsession with handmade fisherman sweaters. The combination of coveting others' sweaters (family members' holiday sweaters and E from District of Chic come to mind) with the sub-zero hellscape we've been experiencing ultimately combined to create a fever within me. A fever that could only be tamed by a big wool sweater. Over the last few weeks, I've been combing Ebay and Etsy for The One, and this one from Etsy vintage shop Klåd is pretty darn close.

7 ace and jig button down fair trade shirt what to wear in winter

Underneath the sweater is another new purchase: an Ace and Jig collared button down in sort of a plaid chambray, which I snagged on sale.

2 ace and jig button down fair trade shirt what to wear in winter

This thick, soft shirt made a great base layer. And as I've shared before, Ace and Jig clothing is woven  under fair labor conditions in a small factory in India. This particular shirt is sold out, but there are still several other pieces to be had at a discount if you scroll on down.

6 ace and jig button down fair trade shirt what to wear in winter

There's a little sparkle to the thicker vertical lines, which I kinda dig because it's unexpected (at least for me).

4 ace and jig button down fair trade shirt what to wear in winter

I can already tell that this shirt will be similar to my boots-- it will last for years and years, and the day collared shirts go out of style...well, I'll just continue wearing them. In my spaceship.

You can find more Ace and Jig goodness (including pieces for kiddos!) over on:
  • Of a Kind (this yellow, black and white jacket always catches my eye, and shouldn't ever little kid have a baja? Yes.)
  • Anthropologie (love this scarf and might scoop it up since it's on sale and perfect for early spring), or
  • Shopbop (this simple, loose sheath dress has a modern/minimalist cut that I dig)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Eco-friendly Valentine's Day Gift Ideas

red hots vs candy hearts eco-friendly valentines day gifts

Whether you want to be sugary sweet or red hot, there are plenty of ways to show your love ethically on Valentine's Day. From organic aphrodisiac cocktail mix and made in the USA undies for sexy times*, to handmade cards and a delicate coffee mug suitable for mom or friends, I've collected dozens of eco-friendly Valentine's Day gift ideas over this here Pinterest Board. I will continue to add to it through February 14th and I'd love to have you follow along. If you can't wait or can't be bothered,  you can shop a few of my favorites below.

****VDAY PSA: More ethical sexy times resources can be found in my 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Weekend Wear: Lace-up Brogue-style Boots, Lazy Weekends, Boy George

paul smith shoes grey jeans jcrew felt hat

Sometimes I like to dress up like Boy George and sit around in my Mom's backyard...kidding. Mostly.  I'm pretty excited to debut my new (but old) Paul Smith boots. I found them in Secondi and I only needed to have them on for about one full minute before I knew they had to be mine. Allll minnne.

4 paul smith shoes grey jeans jcrew felt hat

I don't know if the previous owner broke them in so perfectly or if this particular style comes this way, but I love these shoes. The leather is buttery soft and they feel like I've been wearing them for years.

5 paul smith shoes grey jeans jcrew felt hat copy

These magical boots and my grey jeans were a go-to uniform over the holidays when every day was a basically the weekend. I was pretty jazzed to have also found the brown bag on the same Secondi trip.

3 paul smith shoes grey jeans jcrew felt hat

When I got dressed this weekend, I was still under the spell of Kelly Framel's recent series on 10 Crosby Derek Lam's Liz Giardina and her signature oversize jewelry, so I pawed through my mom's rings and made off with her silver! (GET IT?)

7 paul smith shoes grey jeans jcrew felt hat

WEARING: Bailey Company for JCrew felt hat (made in USA); secondhand bag and Paul Smith shoes; screw ring from Alitas jewelry (handmade locally); diamond band by Brilliant Earth (recycled platinum and conflict-free diamonds from Canada); other rings borrowed; conventional jeans and sweater, both several years old.

Photography by Gail Mlinarchik.

Shop the look (fairly):

These Fortress of Inca shoes below would also fit the bill, and all Fortress of Inca shoes are handmade in Peru under fair labor standards (1 and 2).

7 fortress of inca brown ankle boots handmade in peru

Sunday, January 19, 2014

AHALIFE is Totally Clutch

2 ahalife wooden clutch and straw clutch handmade

I discovered ahalife when I was putting together my Christmas gift guides, and I found it to be an excellent resource for any genre of gift giving I was focusing on. From the beautifully designed cookies to sustainable watches to fancy, locally-made condoms (yuuuup!), it's become a go-to retail site for many of my ethical shopping and blogging needs, so of course I had to share it with you  ASAP!

Ahalife positions itself as part of "global community of conscious consumers" within "a generation that is shifting away from disposable goods and moving towards objects of quality, craftsmanship and meaning." Lovin' it.

The only problem I have with the site is that there isn't quite enough information in the descriptions about the products and how they are made, at least not enough for us "conscious" folks. Here, I've shown you a collection of clutches for which I could verify that they were handmade, made in the USA, had a social impact, etc., but there were many more I would have included if I were able to divine those important details.

It makes sense that the details aren't always there, though, becuase AHALife doesn't have an eco-focus, but instead aims to "empower designers, artisans and innovators to thrive online" in a world dominated by larger corporations. Much like Of a Kind, part of their appeal is their razor sharp curation. In the case of ahalife, that audience is made up of well-traveled, fashion-forward lovers of luxe, whereas the Of a Kind customer might be more laid back, and perhaps skew younger.

The similarities to Of a Kind don't stop there, though, since ahalife is also about promoting smaller, independent businesses, and capitalizing on the emotional connection customers can make with a product when they know something about who has made it, or how, or better yet, why. Their celeb-studded list of "curators" doesn't hurt either, and includes heavy hitters like Iris Apfel and Tim Gunn.

Scroll through the clutches below to see a few of my fair favorites. These little bags are priced from $35 all the way up to $945, which is a (sort of) a reasonable pricepoint considering the skill, artistry, and labor that went into a few of these babies.

But ahalife isn't just clutches-- it just happens that their clutch collection happens is ahhh-mazing.  Below are a few more of my favorite non-clutch items (at more affordable price points):

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Ebay Outfit Round-up: Skinny Jeans, Ankle Boots, Fisherman Sweater

ebay round up 2

Yesterday, I promised you a little Ebay round-up, and I'm happy to report I've got some sweet finds for you in a variety of sizes.  From pre-owned Lanvin and Marni ankle boots to an assortment of Rag and Bone jeans, there are shoes and skinny jeans for all at way below retail and even sale prices in some cases. You can click on the photo above or HERE to be taken to the full Ebay collection.

And what would jeggings and ankle boots be without a giant fisherman sweater? Hmm? They would be nothing. I've been obsessing a little bit about fisherman sweaters (which totally count in my New Year's Shopping Needs as a neutral sweater!), so I wanted to share some of my faves with you. Each one of these sweaters are either vintage or pre-owned, and most are made in Scotland or England of 100% wool. You can see the collection HERE or by clicking the photo, as above. 

ebay round up 3 fisherman sweaters

Follow me on Pinterest for more ethical style finds. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

{Style Formula} Strappy Givenchy Heels, Jeans, Sweater

5 givenchy shoes w rag and bone jeans ootd silhouette
 Wearing: borrowed sweater, consigned JCrew coat, second-hand Givenchy heels, and Rag and Bone "The Plush Legging" jeans. <---Soooo soft and comfy.  See this post for more fair jeans options.

Although I love fancy heels, my favorite way to wear them isn't with party dresses, but jeans and a very basic shirt (button down, t-shirt, sweater) in a neutral hue. I like to put the focus on the shoes, but it's also just a really easy, simple way to dress. Looking back, I can see that it's a formula I go back to again and again:  HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE, for example.

4 givenchy shoes w rag and bone jeans ootd silhouette

I got these Givenchy heels used (second-hand) for a song and I have to be honest-- I had no specific plan for them, I just loved them. I'm not usually a gold heels type of person, but the rose gold is little softer, and I like the architectural, modern detail of the half-moon thingie on the heel. I even thought I would re-sell them this spring on Ebay, but now that I've tried em out, I'm not so sure. Sorry folks.

3 givenchy shoes w rag and bone jeans ootd silhouette

I realize they are a bit impractical for the cold weather...or, like, walking, but it warmed up very slightly this past weekend, and they do work for an evening spent in taxis and standing/sitting at a bar.

2 givenchy shoes w rag and bone jeans ootd silhouette

When Victoria and I zipped out to the Memorial Bridge to check out the sunset, I discovered that I can even walk (very short) distances in them with no problem. Boom. ;)

givenchy shoes w rag and bone jeans ootd silhouette

And just to clear the ethical air: to my knowledge, there is nothing fair or sustainable about Givenchy's manufacturing processes or their shoes, with the exception of the possibility that they are very well-made and thus made to last. I will look more into that and update this post if I learn something to the contrary.

With that said, my purchase does exemplify a type of shopping that I do think is ethical, and that is second-hand or consignment purchases. Although the majority of my second-hand purchases are made in the USA, organic, or fair trade pieces, I have a weakness for a few favorite edgy, high-end designers, and this is how I get my fix. I'll be honest and say that it's not ideal to broadcast these brands by wearing them, but this is the middle ground I'm comfortable occupying. For now.

Last but not least, all of this secondhand shoe love got me thinking that I haven't done an Ebay round-up for you all in a while. Tune in tomorrow to see my favorite second-hand deals and steals (in various sizes) from Ebay, and perhaps from a few other consignment sites.

Photography (technically Iphone-ography) by Victoria Corkhill. 

Follow me on Pinterest for more ethical style shopping finds.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Perfect Pair of Black Skinny Jeans {New Year's Resolution Shopping}

As I mentioned in my last post, one of my New Year's Resolutions is to focus not only on the ethics of my purchases, but on the size and wearability of my wardrobe. 2014 will be the Year of the Great Purge at Chez Fair Vanity, and my closet is no exception. It's much easier (and less stressful) to get dressed every day when we have less choices to make, not more, so I'm aiming for lean and mean in 2014. You can use that. 

One way that I'm keeping myself on the straight and narrow is to keep a list of the items I need, which is vastly different than the items I want. I keep the list updated on my iPhone so that at any time of shopping temptation, such as amazing sales, souvenir shopping, etc., I can refer back to my list and stay focused on finding something that I need, and really have fun investing in the best version of it that I can find, both morally and aesthetically. Essentially, I want to fill my closet with items that I absolutely love and that I want to wear all the time.  I am taking a vow not to purchase anything that I feel the least bit unsure about. Not. One. Thing.

My current list includes neutral sweaters, black jeans, dark wash jeans, button-down shirts in neutrals like white, navy, and taupe (in silk or cotton), black chelsea boots, and black leather sandals (not needed till summer, but I'm on the hunt). Clearly my wardrobe is missing some key basics. And I like black.

I'm thinking that this strategy will allow me to stick closer to a monthly shopping budget as well, since sometimes, I simply will not be able to match anything at a sale or at my favorite consignment store with my needs list, and that's ok. That just means I will have more money to spend during the next month when I find that perfect pair of shoes or the perfect jeans. Which brings me, finally, to the subject of today's post: the hunt for the perfect pair of black jeans. 

Since I invariably find a few more fun items to choose from when I'm browsing, you'll find a bit more than jeans in my round up of finds from the latest ShopBop sale, but here are the items that caught my eye (nothing wrong with window shopping!). All of these pieces are made in the USA, and each one is between 30% and 50% off. Enjoy!

***If you'd like to shop more of my favorite, fair picks, check 'em out HERE!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sustainable Sale Alert: Ace and Jig at Of a Kind

ace and jig sale fair trade fashion blog

It didn't even take me a full day to cave when I heard that every item in the Ace and Jig collection for Of a Kind was on sale for 40% off. My dear sister-in-law informed me this afternoon and it was all over. But in the words of Edith Piaf, je ne le regret rien!

In fact, the only thing I do regret is how small my post-Christmas shopping budget is, or I would have snatched up all three of these instead of just one. Instead, I focused on my wardrobe needs (not wants) and invested in the classic shirt on the right.

Collared button-downs are on my "needs" list, and this chambray-esque one can be paired with black cardigans and sweaters in the winter, jeans in spring, and pretty much anything in the summer. I mean, you know how I prefer not to wear pants in balmy weather, if at all possible, and this shirt certainly fits my swimsuit cover up needs.

The shirt is on sale for $114, which might seem steep, but I know that it's made to last, so I'm thinking my cost per wear will be down to $5 by the first few weeks of pool season and neglible by the end of the year. 

You last saw me sport Ace and Jig in this post, in which I shared that their custom-woven, super soft fabrics are made in India under fair labor conditions in a very small factory. Learn more about the factory owner, his rainwater recycling system, and just how fair the labor conditions are HERE.

If you're tantalized by the proposition of scads of soft, comfortable, kind clothing at 40% off, check out the rest at Of a Kind.

Pictured L to R:

Update 1/8/14!
You can grab even more of Ace and Jig's stuff over at Ethica for 40% off by using code NEWYEAR.

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