My realistic minimalist wardrobe.

And so it begins. Fall essentials.

It's that time again. When new trends and products are identified as "musts" and "essentials", encouraging me to poke around many different "sustainable style" websites. I've actually purchased some stuff recently (almost all impulse buys) so I'm still trying to get a sense of how that stuff works in my closet. And pathetically, these new fall season emails from People Tree, et al are not helping me feel like I have enough. There is just always something in me - whether innate or cultivated by advertising - that's always looking for the next better "sustainable" "minimalist" thing. 

I think there's a lot of pressure on the perfect when we talk about minimalist wardrobes. I would like one. I'd like everything I own to fit me perfectly and to be exactly what I need. The reality of it is that not everything fits me perfectly, different days I feel like I need different things and my taste changes over time. I'll always have things I recently acquired that I'm "trying out" - to see if the fit, function and style work.

I need to come to terms with the fact that my wardrobe will always always be in flux -- but that doesn't mean I need to always be looking for things to add to it. It's okay to have an imperfect wardrobe and not continuously try to fill it with perfect things. (Seriously, I don't think it's possible.) I'd love to have a 33-item minimalist wardrobe but in reality it will be more like a 60 item love half || tolerate a quarter || am thinking of getting rid of a quarter type of wardrobe.

And that's fine. I just have to remember that.


Make It Good dresses - on sale.

Make It Good's tank dresses are my vision of a perfect summer dress. They're easy to slip on, shaped to be breezy and not clingy, a durable but breathable material and made by a conscious company that understands every piece of clothing has an impact but they do their best. These dresses are also made of a "pre-wrinkled" material, which makes them easy to pack and wear, even if they're not the most polished piece in your wardrobe. Since it's end of summer season, their tank dresses (and other dresses) are on sale.

All of Make It Good's stuff is made in their Portland space and they try to source their materials from the US.

Doing my best Sears stiff catalog model impression:

MIG tank dress in Shattered
Vera Meat necklace (made in NYC)
Cri de Coeur shoes 
(vegan brand, made in monitored mfg plants in China)



I'm finally remembering to wear the Bhava Percy flats I bought at Mooshoes before spring even sprung. Without sounding like an aging crone, I've been relegated to fake Birks for a while due to arch pain. (Never ever walk around both LA and NOLA two weeks in a row in the most thinly-soled shoes you own. Ever.) But thanks to both acupuncture and some stretching over the past few months, I'm back to wearing some semi-normal shoes. As long as they can handle additional insoles, anyway.

I like these guys because they're soft faux suede and work visually like oxfords but they're way more forgiving in the warmer months with the open toe and the porous material. The heel is wood but has a rubber bottom, which gives nice traction and helps absorb some of the crappiness of walking on cement and asphalt. And yes, I'm one of those people who wears all black in the summer.

Bhava is an all vegan brand and they state that the working conditions of their manufacturing partners have been personally vetted. You can find Bhava shoes at Mooshoes here, if you're interested in checking out the brand's options. For full disclosure, I'm interested in the Crosby (in black, obvs) for the fall if these work out well for me.



I don't know why but a recent Etsy email irked me, although I couldn't quite put my finger on it. I know it started with the email subject being "Buzzworthy" - and it didn't seem like something I'd expect from Etsy. I guess I feel like Etsy has stuff for everyone, all the niches, and everyone does their own thing. I get that there are trends but I felt like Etsy was kind of "for everyone".

So at first I thought, "It's Etsy. How dare they try to sell specific stuff they chose to me." But that's why I get these emails, right? To see stuff they feature, to introduce me to new Etsy sellers and products? If so, what's wrong with "Buzzworthy" as the title?  I think it's because it makes them sound more cool-hunting than I originally thought them to be. It makes them seem more fast-fashion than I think they want to seem. More cycles of stuff to contend with, just like regular retail. Like, I don't mind their staff picking out what they think is cool, or looking at an Etsy treasury (do those still exist?) -- but "buzzworthy" makes me feel like they're telling me what I should want to buy.

The truth of it is, they have been telling me what to buy with these featured product emails all along. I think this word just jumped out at me and made me finally realize how much Etsy is like so many other retailers. I know I have a post a while back about the holiday Buy Handmade pledge -- I don't believe handmade is always the answer for functional stuff, and sometimes the quality just isn't there with some newbie vendors but it gets celebrated anyway because it's handmade, which I think is BS. So while it's great to be buying handmade on Etsy, it's still more stuff and it doesn't get a free pass. It's still consumption. And maybe I forgot that for a little while.

The TL;DR: Etsy is retail and it tries to sell you crap.


Uniform: The Regulars (Summer Version)

I am freshly back to the USA from vacation abroad, wondering why Americans are such disgusting, wasteful and hateful people who let every block in NYC smell like urine in the summer. Basically, we're gross losers and we should be ashamed of ourselves.

As I mentioned in my last post, it's kind of hard to post about "ethical fashion" when so much of it is about just buying less overall. So I have less to post about when I'm wearing the same stuff all the time. But I can at least post about that stuff. Maybe less stuff to post means I'm finally winning at this stuff? Or I'm just forgetting what I bought because I've been too lazy to post about it.

This is actually a new-ish dress but it's already one of my favorites. It's by Make It Good, materials sourced in the USA and also made in the USA and I got it in two patterns - the abstract shapes and the splattered pattern. (You can see both of them on my Stuff I Bought Pinterest board.) Along for the ride is my trusty Baggu recycled cotton duck bag in leopard print, which was also a favorite in my last post about stuff I wear/use all the time. Baggu's stuff is made in a monitored manufacturing plant in China.

^ I should have handcuffed myself to this resort and never left ^

Most of the summer I've been wearing cut off jean shorts (they're old True Religions that I got from a local stoop sale, pretty sure they were US-made but they seem to only have general corporate responsibility stuff on their site right now). The challenge has been to try to find "tops" (not t-shirts) to wear them with that are cotton but yet don't make me look like I'm in "I just cleaned out my garage" jean shorts and t-shirts. This one is a Mata Traders top that I've posted here before.

^ this is some adorable Singapore mascot ^ 

This weather is making it challenging to want to look presentable anyway so I've had a pretty low bar. Also, 'tis the season for facial masks. (Those pores. Man.) This is the one I liked best from all the vegan beauty boxes and whatnot:

^ I swear the label looked like this when I got it ^

It's by Jacq's Orangics and is called Green Smoothie but it's got charcoal and clay in it and is therefore awesome. "Green Smoothie" is kind of a misnomer for this one. 

And I finally broke down and spent $30 on a face creme (creme!) - Blissoma Peace Evening Calming Creme. I received a sample in a Petit Vour Beauty Box and really loved it so, I'm really that kind of person, I guess. As penance, I donated a few hundred dollars to sponsoring vet care for rescued outdoor cats. We all win!



Remember blogs? Reading blogs. Writing blogs. Ah, those were the days. If you're reading this, I guess you're still out here sometimes too, in some way. High five.

I'm not one of those people who transformed their blogs into an Instagram account or another microblogging platform. I just kind of went away for a while. It had a lot do with with getting back on my feet post-illness, then with dealing with unexpected weight gain and struggling with how to dress myself at a different size, then being out of the habit of blogging and also both sloth and IRL stuff getting in the way. Even if that IRL stuff is a lot of work and also watching all seasons of The Wire and bringing up Omar Little in every conversation possible. Also I got kind of into Jamberry manicures?

necklace from our apartment building's free pile
shirt by Mary Meyer, made in Brooklyn

Also, the increased sexual harassment that happens in the summer months really makes me just want to wear a giant flour sack at all times and smear war paint on my face. Even though nothing ever actually provokes the comments and it just happens anyway because some dudes are dicks -- like, I can totally envision the "Hey, nice flour sack! Let me see your tattoos!" crap that I'd get anyway.  But thinking about what I look like reminds me of who looks at me and it's a total fucking bummer. When will we invent a cloak that only lets non-assholes see us but makes us invisible to the jackasses? What the fuck, Science. Posthaste.

And it's kind of hard to write about ethical consumption when the answer is almost always LESS LESS LESS. The task of finding the "better-made" is interesting and sometimes fun but the focus really should always be on less. I still haven't gotten there, convinced that some other piece of apparel will make me feel more like "me" in this new skin. I do have some emails in to a seamstress regarding making some dresses from patterns I bought...again. I'm hoping that will actually pan out this time and that I'll like what I ask for. (Or ask for what I'd like.)

There you have it. My state of the union.


5 Ethical Style Things I Did This Month: April

I cannot, in good faith, say I've been all that great in April. My spending kind of went on unchecked after vacation. Maybe before? Who can recall? Part of my justification was that I am still a bigger size and half my wardrobe is useless. But how I find this out is that I randomly try something on, it fits or it doesn't -- and if dares to not $#@$# fit, I go into a pissed-off buying spree of "Treat yo' self"-ing. (Except the "fine leather goods" and "MIM-oh-sahs" parts.) So, I basically need to be cut off for a little while. Gretchen Rubin goes into this whole spiel about moderators or abstainers and knowing which you are so you can better manage yourself. I'm a $%#@$@#$ abstainer. Cut me off so I know I'm cut off.

5 Ethical Style Things I Did in April:

1) I took this black jersey infinity scarf from my friend S at the Vegan Ladies Clothing Swap we did last month or so...but I didn't realize it was an infinity scarf. I hate them. But I realized that since this was jersey (unlike all my other infinity scarves), I could actually just cut this one open and make it one big long, wide comfy black scarf. Since then I've got a lot of use of of it. So, re-use and adjusting something so it's usable. Check and check.


2) I finally just dropped off 5 things at the tailor. I'm having 2 tunics cut into shirts because baby got back. And the back doesn't fit into the tunics any more! But as shirts I will still be able to wear them. This will hopefully make more of my wardrobe usable. I should walk out with 3 dresses and 2 shirts. I'm glad that instead of getting rid of stuff that didn't fit my butt, I just made it fit what I look like now.

3) I liked the colors of this scarf (picture below) but not the style and I finally broke down and put it in my discards pile even though I really really like the blue on it (which is more of a dark robin's egg blue in real life.) But then I realized I could still enjoy it without wearing it if I gave it to the cats as a blanket in one of their baskets. So, Olivia is getting use out of it now. The excellent thing is that it doesn't really collect cat hair (it's one of those fake "silk" poly pashminas I bought on the streets of NYC when I was freezing) so it's kind of perfect for the cats. So, re-use and adjusting something so it's usable. Check and check.


4) I cut myself off. For a month at least. I can't buy anything else until June. (This is 5 year-old me crying at my birthday party when I told my moms it was cool to give out the extra party favors but 30 seconds later had a meltdown because I really really wanted that pack of Old Maid cards that I just said she could give away. Yeah. It started early with me.) I'm a ridiculous baby for having to do this but OH WELL. It is what it is. I'm a giant 40 year-old baby who is not allowed to buy any clothes or makeup until June.

photo 3.JPG

5) I actually used freebie swag. I had some animal welfare swag foisted on me (sunglasses!) but they are neon green. I figured I'd pass them on to someone else but with the new lilac streak (which is there to help me grow in the rest of my hair salt & pepper - freedom!), they actually kind of work. They're still ridiculous but now passable -- and now I don't need to pass them on to some poor sucker someone else. (I swear my hair doesn't look like that all the time - this was after a long day. I do like, wash it and stuff.)