I’m certainly not the first to take on this challenge. The Compact, a group of 7 friends in San Fransisco committed themselves in counteracting “the negative global environmental and socioeconomic impacts of U.S. consumer culture [by] reducing clutter and waste in our homes…[and] simplify our lives”. They went about achieving this goal by not buying anything new, except food, medicine, and toiletries. Angela Barton, writer/editor/blogger joined the movement for a year and decided to continue with it indefinitely. You can read her journey on her website www.myyearwithoutspending.com.
I’ve decided to join the cause and I’ll blog about it here. Of course, I’ll be putting a fashion and style spin on it. I hope to find the time to share new ways I put my own clothes together, and new additions from Goodwill, Value Village and other second hand shops around town. I might give up on buying new, but not on looking cute.
Here are my reasons for taking this challenge on.
1. Consuming doesn’t make me happy, but sometimes I spend money like it will. I’m going to disrupt this pattern in my life and hopefully grow in the process.
2. I am a small local business, and I want to support other small local businesses. It isn’t cheaper, but it is better. It feels good to put my money directly into the hands of people who imagine, design and create a product or service I use.
4. I don’t want to contribute to a global garbage crisis. I strive to be frugal and creative in other areas of my life, but because of my love of fashion, I have over-indulged in new clothing far beyond what I need.
5. Money! I’m on semi-maternity leave and since I own my own business I’m receiving almost no income. I had a blast shopping at Goodwill last week – and I spent $36.00. Tally up another $24.00 in alterations and cleaning costs and you get a grand total of $50.00 for a few pieces that inject life and personality into my closet. And hey, they’ve already proven they stand the test of time by making their way to the thrift shop. I also feel good knowing that I supported a local tailor who runs her own business, and the Goodwill corporation that works to support and employ people with disabilities. It feels a lot better than cramming 4 paper tote bags into the recycling bin after a shopping spree at the mall.
1. I will not purchase anything new for myself or my family in the way of clothing or housewares until October 1st 2013 with the exception of consumables. For clothing this includes underwear, undershirts, tights and socks. These items wear out quickly and are difficult to find second hand. Also, I just can’t get my head around wearing another person’s underwear.
2. I will allow myself to purchase “new” clothing made from recycled material that is locally designed and crafted. Putting money into the local and handmade economy feels good!
That’s it. I hope you’ll follow my journey and let me know what you think!07.11.10
I don’t believe in spending a fortune on jewelry (I don’t believe in spending a fortune on anything, actually) because you don’t have to! The cheaper varieties last as long as you need them too. I get bored of most accessories after a year or two, with the exception of a few pieces, so I like to purchase some inexpensive things each season to keep it interesting. Many clothing retailers have started carrying jewelry over the last few years, and besides being relatively cost-effective, the jewelry that you’ll find in the store goes with that season’s selection of clothing in terms of colour and style – which totally simplifies your life, and simple is always good.
I often like to shop in the mall for several other reasons, one of the main ones being time! I just love that I can find most things I need under one roof so I can be really efficient – which is a necessity for me. Luckily,Â this seasons bejeweled accessories can be found in many stores at your local mall. For some great deals on summer jewelry be sure to check out The Bay, The Gap, Zellers (yes, Zellers) and H&M. Don’t be afraid of going into a store that you don’t normally shop in. Even though the clothing might not be your taste, often the accessories are more varied in style. For example,Â Alfred Sung does a line of fashion and jewelry for Zellers that is completely affordable and totally cute. Department stores are wising up about fashion these days and realizing that there is a market for inexpensive designer clothing, so you can find some really great stuff at discountÂ stores. While I’m on the subject, check out Joe Fresh Style at Superstore too. If you don’t already know about it, you’re going to love it! They have the best kid’s clothes too.
Right now I’m also loving Reitmans selection of necklaces and cocktail rings because of the wide selection of bold blue and silver pieces. Turquoise is one of my favorite stones, partly because the fake stuff looks almost as nice as the real thing. I often pair a neutral outfit, like a navy shift dress, with a turquoise bracelet and earrings. It makes everything pop, and you can switch out the accessories for something more neutral if you want to another day. You don’t have to match your jewelry perfectly or wear items together that come in a set. Try to think in terms of a colour palate or feeling that you want to create and mix and match with other pieces. The result will be much more fashion forward, and more individual, than if you wear all the same set of jewelry.
Another great store for easy casual jewelry is Aldo Accessories. IÂ love this little Annex to Aldo Shoes mainly because of the HUGE selection. Most things under $20 make it easy to stock up on pieces that make your outfit pop. I particularly love the bracelets they have in right stock now. You can find some great knock-off charm bracelets in various plated metals, stacked wooden bangles, beaded strands in beachy colours, and tough looking leather with studs and rivets. Can’t decide what your style is? Get one of each! This season multi-stranded and miss-matched is the way to go. The idea is that you look like you didn’t try very hard. Ha! We all know being stylish isn’t as easy as it looks! One piece of advice with the cheap jewelry is to avoid wearing plated metal bracelets in the heat. Unless you want green wrists and peeling bracelets that is! When hitting the wading pool or walking around in the heat, stick to wood, plastic or solid gold. Aldo has a great selection of earrings right now too. Be it dangly or stud, make sure to top off your outfit with earrings. Studs are really in style right now, so no worries all you moms with small babes! You don’t have to subject your ear lobes to the grabbing hands of an infant.
Here is where I got some of my inspiration. Remember, you can always find knock-offs at the mall. As always, have fun, be creative and enjoy your summer with some bling!
Waxing poetical aside, I also love the new revival of summer fashion! Kids and moms out in full bloom.
My one piece of advice for summer fashion is donâ€™t be afraid of color! I generally find myself drawn to the oatmeals, greys and other comfy neutrals of fall and winter. But come summer, I shed the cozy knits and soft colors for the vibrant prints and shades of summer flowers. I might be a bit premature in announcing the arrival of summer in Calgary, but the fashion shows have already moved on to fall so I think Iâ€™m allowed to jump ahead a bit.
This summer, as the recession shows signs of ending, hemlines are rising! The hems of skirts this season, though not as mini as they could be, have risen from last year and youâ€™ll see finger tip skimming skirts parading in the parks and on the avenues of Calgaryâ€™s hippest districts. Donâ€™t fear ladies of less-than-perfect legs (um, the majority!) leggings are also still in style. My recommendation is to pick up a couple of super light full length leggings in grey and black to wear under a shorter dress. Though some stores are still selling the cropped legging, I think that full length is more current and more grown-up. Donâ€™t worry if the leggings donâ€™t â€œmatchâ€ the colors in the dress, its more fashion forward to stick a neutral under a printed dress than to match one shade in the print.
If short dresses with or without leggings arenâ€™t your thing, the maxi dress (ankle skimming length) is still out in full force in shops. I donâ€™t recommend this style of dress for the very petite, but if you are average height or taller, go for it! My one warning is that a slightly too-short maxi-dress comes across as a bit strange, so make sure it sits right at the ankle bone with shoes on. I think maxiâ€™s look great with flats, even flip-flop style shoes, because the longer length has a bit of formality to it regardless of the fabric. If you wear it with heels in the day time, make sure you keep the look casual with simple bohemian style jewelry, like wooden hoops and bangles. To dress it up at night, try a long multi-strand necklace and crocheted short-sleeved cardigan with bold earrings and a statement bracelet. Your friends at the bbq won’t stop gushing about how stylish you look, and you’ll still be super comfy!
For the classic dresser, a below the knee dress will always be the most flattering length of dress for pretty much everyone. Though it isnâ€™t on trend right now, this length of dress will always be in style because itâ€™s universally flattering. Being on trend isnâ€™t everything, especially if you arenâ€™t prepared to shop every season. So if you want your wardrobe to give you the most bang for your buck stick to classic, not trendy, summer dresses. A-line, below the knee, with classic patterns like polka dots, stripes or a nice bright solid will never go out of style. A great dress looks like you could have bought it 20 years ago, 10 years ago, or yesterday. If you canâ€™t tell what decade it came from, you can wear it for years to come.
Here are some of my inspirational outfits for this post. Although the items in the picture are quite pricey, you can always find knock-offs in the malls – I always do! Like I said I love color in summer, but I can’t resist a little black and white too…04.13.10
1.Buy new T-shirts each year. I know it feels good to pull an old favorite over your head, the cotton slides over your skin like silk, its stretched in all of the right places, and the list goes on. Whatever your reasons for hanging on to that 5 year old (or older!) T-shirt, they donâ€™t outweigh the fact that its likely pilling, warped, yellowing in the armpits, or even stained elsewhere with baby slop. Trust me, you can go out and get a better one for very little money, and its worth it. New t-shirts are great too.
2. Look for detail. The key to pulling off a great t-shirt look is detail, detail, detail! V-neck, scoop-neck, boat-neck (big this spring!), cap sleeve, blouse sleeve, bracelet length (not for petites), below the hip, Empire waist detailing, ruffles, rouching, pattern â€“ the list is endless. All of these little details make a Tee look more grown up. Also, for those of us with a mommy tummy, an Empire waist, clever pattern, and longer length camouflage that little bulge with ease. Sometimes, however, the wrong kind of detailing can make you look like a teenager, or worse, highlight the areas you want to disguise.
3. Make sure it fits. A too-tight tee only works on the uber-fit. If you have washboard abs you should show them off! However, a tee that is tight all-over can look a bit juvenile. To grow up the look a bit, try a tee that is a little baggy in one area, like a bloused sleeve. Also, Your husbands and man-friends should wear their own T-shirts! Menâ€™s shirts are cut to flatter their physiques â€“ they donâ€™t generally look good on women. The arm hole is too large to flatter a womanâ€™s chest, the neck is too high, the cut is too boxy to lay nicely over hips and they donâ€™t show off a waist.
4. Accessorize! Just because you are wearing a simple t-shirt doesnâ€™t mean you canâ€™t add a scarf, earrings, bracelet or broach. Any of these easy add-ons really complete an outfit. Donâ€™t be surprised if you try out this tip and get a heap of compliments, even though youâ€™re only wearing a t-shirt!
5. Try out seasonal trends. Donâ€™t be afraid to be trendy with t-shirts. They are inexpensive and a small commitment because they donâ€™t require any tailoring (although tailoring a t-shirt is an easy thing to try out yourself at home). So this spring, have fun with your t-shirts! Try out a nautical stripe, boat-neck or a large bow-accent on the collar. Youâ€™ll be on trend, on budget and still be wearing your favorite wardrobe staple â€“ the t-shirt.
Check out these ideas for spring, with these four t-shirts you can get at least 20 different outfits for day, weekend and evening just by switching up jeans, skirts and pants. Mix and match accessories too! Belt it, tuck it into a high-waisted skirt, clip a bow on the neck, throw on some chunky bangles (totally kid-friendly jewelry), wear a vest over it, pull on a boyfriend blazer – the list is endless. Have fun ladies!