I don't know when I first realized how wonderful a bargain thrifting was; or how much more fun it was to look for buried treasure in racks of musty garments and boxes of half-heeled shoes. It's been a part of my life for nearly as long as NYC has been: so forever, off and on. I can't remember who took me thrifting just before my freshman year of high school, either, although I do remember the thrill of my very first score: a blue velvet jacket with a mandarin collar and frog buttons-- not actual frogs, but the silky Chinese, buttony kind. I also remember wearing the jacket to my red belt high school in the south, and I remember that I sort of knew what I was doing, too.
That is: I knew what a revolutionary act it was to wear old vintage blue velvet in the land of uniform khaki. I also knew they were voting for superlatives that day. I was not completely flabbergasted when I was voted "Most Unique", probably, mostly on account of that jacket alone. It wasn't exactly a compliment, either, though it was for boys-- the boys that won that category usually also won "Most Popular" or "Funniest" while the girls were considered simply odd. However, it wasn't exactly the worst thing ever to be singled out for something in a school of 3,000 souls. At any rate, whether insult or compliment, the power to use fashion to express a feeling or an attitude hooked me, although for a while I did merge myself with the khaki sea around me, tired of fighting the tide. Still, I did eventually grow up and get out, and ever since, thrifting has been a major hobby of mine. I would now consider myself more of an expert treasure-hunter than a lucky duck. Instead of happening onto the buried loot, I know how to zoom in on where x marks the spot. However, I know a lot of people are intimidated by all the options out there, so here are some of my tips from a misspent youth for thrifting success!
1. If you are overwhelmed by thrifting, ask yourself this basic question first:
Let's call this: square one. What's your favorite color? If you gravitate towards racks with colors that vibe with you-- dove-gray lavender or brilliant lemon or sparkly emerald or prismatic purple-- I assure you, you will find something you love. I 100% guarantee you will pull something off the rack that will delight your soul and your wallet. (And, since it's secondhand, it's pretty nifty for the planet as well.) The odds will be even more in your favor if you add my next tip to the equation.
2. Find a Fancy Neighborhood and Check Out the Thriftstores There!
The best thrifting I've ever found has been in the wealthiest neighborhoods. A lot of people have the terrible habit of wearing things ONCE. ONCE. And then tossing them. It's unfortunately become a habit for people in any socio-economic strata, which is its own issue for another post, but sustainable issues aside, because of this habit, you can find amazing designer steals in neighborhood's where people buy designer clothes. I tend to hit a handful of favorite spots over and over-- Housing Works on Crosby Street or their branch in Park Slope on 5th Avenue or Bring N Buy in Ridgefield, CT or Greene Street in Chestnut Hill. Using this tip, I have found Burberry coats and Jimmy Choo Mary Janes and Theory leather jackets and cashmere sweaters and designer denim galore in spots like that. I even found the spot where the Vogue accessories director was dumping their closet for a bit-- I scored some Jimmy Choo gladiator sandals off that one! However, not everyone lives near or in or close to a fancy neighborhood. If you can't drive or Uber to a hot spot or if you're encumbered with babies and can't peruse the racks for hours, then check out my next tip.
3. Repeat after me: eBay is LIFE!!!
EBay can be pretty overwhelming, I know. I avoided the site for years. The key to success here is a simple two-pronged approach: you either a. search for something extremely specific like a maxi Reformation dress in size 6 or that pale lemon Christy Dawn dress you've been eyeing on Instagram or you b. check in with specific shops on eBay. My favorite eBay shop is called Linda's Stuff. Amazing selection and the prices hover around $24-- even for whisper thin Ulla Johnson tops or that aforementioned Reformation maxi dress.
Do you enjoy thrifting? If so, what are some of your treasure hunting tips? I'm always honing my hunting technique. If you don't enjoy thrifting, I'd love to here from you as well. Also, what's the best thing you've ever found thrifting? Check out my Pinterest board for a few ideas as well!
I love the word sartorial, because it's an embodiment of the argument that fashion can be art!! "Sartorial" rolls off the tongue, straightens itself like a graceful ballerina on the tip of the teeth, and makes one graceful leap of abstraction. "Sartorial" makes fashion sound stately and important and almost holy, which I think it is. If you treat your garments with care, you can almost always feel the same sense of calm satisfaction while wearing them as you do after indulging in a hearty meal, which is most definitely a holy thing. (Check out my latest food post for this vegetarian corn chowder we concocted this July 4!) Sartorial actually comes from the Latin for "tailor" and it's also the name of the muscle (or the "sartorius") used to move your leg into the seated position for doing some tailoring. So cool, right? Please make your sartoriuses cozy, let's all pretend I used that word correctly, and check out what shows have been keeping my own sartoriuses crossed in one never-ending, seated position this summer!
1. Love (Netflix)
Love is an odd, funny, touching, and sometimes painfully realistic love story between two unlikely candidates for love-- narcissistic Mickey and codependent Gus. Don't get me wrong: I love Mickey and Gus, but, honestly, I stayed more for all the secondary characters who make LA look like the capital of Quirk, not to mention Mickey's fabulous mix of vintage, thrift, and designer fashion on display each episode. The show's costume designer, Jennifer Eve, equates Mickey's style with " a hung-over Alexa Chung", and her costumes are as fun as that sounds! In fact, they're the inspiration for my hot weather outfit above! (More about the bag, one of which I've paired with Baiae to give away, below! And more deets about this outfit on my IG @IsabellaDavidVintage.)
2. The Time In Between/ El Tiempo Entre Costuras (Netflix)
This show set in Spain and Northern Africa in the '30s made me long to occasionally indulge in the odd tailored outfit and maybe even a hat or two as in the pic above. You'll fall just as in love with its plucky heroine as with her incredible costumes. See some of the best looks here (Just scroll down if you don't read Spanish!)
3. Call My Agent/Dix Pour Cent (Netflix)
They're remaking this show about an acting agency in Paris in English (of course). But as is, whether you speak French or not, it's one of the wittiest, smartest, sweetest shows I've seen in a long time, and it's set in the rarified, secretive acting world of Paris. Seriously, how are they going to top that?! Get past the first episode, which I found a little dry, and you'll love it! Plus, the Parisian It Girl has attained near mythical status. Check out this show for the real thing! And by that I mean the "real" real thing as many famous French actresses play (ridiculous, hilarious versions of) themselves each episode.
4. The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu)
This isn't the obvious choice , but watching a world where everyone, or anyway every woman, wears no makeup, scraped-back hair and horrible cloaks in muted blue, hospital-scrub green, drab gray or even, my favorite color notwithstanding, a bright red makes me delight in wearing whatever I'd like. Gimme allllll the lipsticks!!! This series shows, not tells, how powerful a statement a woman's fashion can be like nothing else I've ever seen. Plus, this is for the hesistant crowd: it's so grim it can be kind of funny, especially if you watch it with a man who will find such a female-centric show about uniquely female suffering as foreign as we find the dystopian elements. Less funny: my husband has taken to calling me "Ofryan". Not cool, dude.
5. Younger (Hulu)
It's a little hard not to mention Sex and the City on a list like this, but Younger is as good as-- if not better-- a show to fit into my top 5 list as that other show. Just like Sex and the City, it's chockfull of incredible actresses like two-time Tony-Award winning Sutton Foster, the very fabulous Hilary Duff, hilarious Miriam Schor, and the queen of deadpan humor: Debi Mazar. They all look incredible, too, of course. After all, Patricia Field is responsible for costumes on both Younger and Sex & the City, and it's fun to watch her more contemporary and only slightly more down-to-Earth takes on the fashion scene! Read more about Field's stint as Younger's costume designer here.
What are you bingeing this summer? What other shows do you think I've left off this list?
P.S. Speaking of sartorial bliss, I've partnered with www.shopbaiae.com to giveaway this chic straw circle tote. Super easy entry until July 15! Click on the photo below to check my IG for details!
It's pretty telling that one of my toddler's favorite games is sitting on mommy's bathroom floor while I'm getting ready for the day, pawing through the easy-to-reach cabinets below the sink, asking again and again, "What dis, Mommy?"
"Cream," I've taken to telling him over and over regardless of the product, although, recently, he started calling me on my nonsense.
"No, DIS one, dis ONE," he now shakes his head, one chubby hand wrapped around a little blue bottle of rewetting drops he's been using to create a rainscape over my daughter's My Little Pony, the other clutching a glass jar of Burt's Bees that I'm forced to pry from his tiny fingers before he smashes it on the ground. My daily routine is usually pretty harried and rushed for this reason, so you can see why I've grown to prize my at-home spa routine come Sunday morning.
I will keep lying to him regardless, because I just don't feel like "Korean Beauty Miracle" or "Bliss Honey Moisturizer" are essential additions to his vocabulary at this point. Confession: yep, his mama is a beauty junkie, and while I don't feel like that knowledge can benefit my 2-year-old, I do feel it can benefit women closer to my age group who want to prevent issues before they arise or who are seeking to feel better about themselves!
Interesting aside, the axiom "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" was actually coined by Benjamin Franklin, and since I'm currently living in Philadelphia, a city obsessed with old Ben, please forgive me for getting all clichéd! Overused as the phrase might be, it rings as true now as when Franklin wrote the words under an assumed name, while actually discussing fire safety (of all things, ha). Some (okay, a lot of people) might say face masks for helping you to feel good about yourself aren't as important as fire safety, but I trust that my building's superintendent has the latter under control. Feeling good about myself is something that's up to me, and my Sunday at-home spa time handily provides the cure! That said, here are my favorite preventive, organic, cruelty-free remedies!
1. Bliss In the Honey Moisturizing Mask, $12.99
I've only recently discovered the Bliss line, and I'm a fan! I was also blissfully-- (see what I did there? Okay I'll stop trying to be all axiomatic like Ben, hehe!)-- ahem, blissfully excited to hear that they've recently relaunched and stopped shipping to countries that require animal testing like China. They're also currently in the works to be certified by PETA! Read more here. While on a recent mommy run to Target, I was drawn to the large, blue sign that read "cruelty-free" and the price was an added incentive for this beauty junkie. While this mask is only $12.99, I can 100% vouch for the fact that it performs as well as masks I've purchased that are ten times the price such as SK-II's Facial Treatment Mask. (Incidentally, you can buy those in singles. It's definitely worth the occasional splurge for the cooling effect while grabbing a nap. FYI a GREAT gift for headache sufferers or new moms/ same thing aiaiai.) I've taken to applying my Bliss honey mask before I apply my mainstay Sunday mask, sometimes even leaving it on the night before while I sleep. Basically, as you might gather from this post, I'm a huge fan in general of napping in a mask. Have you guys ever tried the combo? It's another great way to mimic a real spa experience from your home. Lately, I've actually taken to alternating my nightly honey mask, which you can purchase here with this next favorite, recent purchase (below).
2. Bliss That's Incredi-Peel Glycolic Resurfacing Pads $19.99
This product truly delivers what it promises: a few swipes at night over clean skin and, talk about fire safety, you wake up absolutely glowing. However, I haven't experience the trouble side effect they mention: glycolic acid peels in general can increase sensitivity to sunlight. Personally, I don't have sensitive skin and don't burn easily, but exercise caution for sure if you're planning to be in the sun the next day. Otherwise, swipe away! This stuff is magic! You can order it online here or find it in any friendly, neighborhood Target infested with happy, squealing mommies like myself. (What is it about big box stores that fills mommies with unmitigated joy and peace? Oh, I don't know Izzy: rows of great summer reads (I'll be reviewing some faves this week!!!), beauty products galore, all the necessaries like diapers and produce in one spot, endless solutions for every household problem that might have arisen during the week. Plus snacks and coffee= yep, mommy heaven.)
3. Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial $80
Okay, this one is pricier, but this is why my love for this miracle mask is twofold: a. it's very, very, very effective and b. a wee bit goes a loooonnnnggg way! I've had my initial purchase since March, I've been using it at least weekly if not bi-weekly since then, and it's lasted for almost 20 uses. That's way less than ten dollars a face mask so far, and the bottle still feels substantially full. Actually, that's something I've noticed about all the Drunk Elephant products. They're made with super high-quality, vegan, cruelty-free ingredients, and a little goes a long way. As a true believer, I've recently purchased Drunk Elephant's "The Littles", this cute little bag with samples of their whole line. I'll be back to report on my faves soon!
Or 3. Hanacure the All-In-One Facial $110
Basically, after washing off a face mask that I applied the night before in anticipation of my Sunday soak, I apply a more expensive, intensive mask like the Drunk Elephant's Babyfacial one I just reviewed above or my newest purchase: the Hanacure All-In-One Facial. I only recently purchased Hanacure, so I've only had the opporutnity to use it once! If you're not an insane beauty junkie who has to jump on every Instagram beauty trend bandwagon and $110 seems a little crazy to plop down on a mask you've never tried, you can also buy a single one to sample from Amazon. It's available here for $45. I liked it, but I didn't apply it thick enough to warrant one of those silly, little old lady selfies that have helped popularize the brand. I was also sold on the face that the masks are also cruelty-free-- you might have noticed that's as important to me as a mask's efficacy!!-- and they're also formulated without parabens, phthalates (whatever those are, but they do sound bad!) or sulphates. Best of all, I can report it does feel gentler on the skin than either the Drunk Elephant Babyfacial or Bliss's Incredi-peel. If you have sensitive skin, this might be worth the splurge!
That's it! Step 1: a mask the night before combined with step 2: a morning mask and a quick soak to wash off the week and I feel prepared for (almost) everything the next week has to bring! I've also noticed a big difference in my skin since I've started taking the time to apply these masks when I have the opportunity or force my family to (ahem) respect the opportunity. What are your favorite masks? Any home remedies? I used to be more into home remedies when acne was an issue-- egg yolks can work magic!-- but lately it's all about moisture and brightness for me. I'd love to hear your suggestions for either kinds! I think organic home remedies would be fun to test out and would make for a fun Sunday self-care post! Have a great week!
P.S. On a quick related note: my husband and I also chose to destress by, as we call it "crushing it"-- pizza, wine, fries, sushi-- aka food, the other pathway to bliss next to big box stores. The result was one fine day recently neither of us could fit into our pants! We've adopted the "Fit Into Your Pants Diet" and it's going great. So far this week, I lost a pound and a half. Read more about it, and the many dietary benefits of drinking celery, here.
I don't know about you guys, but I'm often pressed for time and can't do more with my hair than run a brush through it. Actually, some mornings I'm lucky to find the time to do that! Those are the days hats are made for. But lately, as the weather's warmed up, I've begun to braid my hair to the side. Oddly enough, a polished ponytail can be much more of an endeavor, while a messy braid looks so much prettier than a messy ponytail as it requires so much less precision. Recently, I've begun fudging a fishtail braid, and so I finally decided to teach myself how to do the real thing.
I cannot tell you guys how easy "the real thing" is. I was so surprised! It's life-changing. The video below does an amazing job at explaining how to make this complex-looking hairstyle easier than you would a ponytail or a messy bun. If you have coarse, thick hair like mine, you know what I mean! There's always bumps to pin flat and stray hairs to smooth with pomade-- i.e. extra steps that I don't always have the time for. Whereas, this fishtail braid above looks even better with some flyaways, although I cut some layers on my last salon visit and the finished product (by that I mean my own braid) doesn't look quite as thick. That's okay! I can always clip-in hair pretty easily if I want to make my braid look thicker, and a thinner braid is worth it to not sweat through every t-shirt because I'm wearing a sweater on my head. (That's how much hair I have. Unshorn sheep amount of hair). Here's a great piece at Bustle with tips for extensions. Best of all, now I can finally do something cute with my daughter's thick masses of hair, too!
Check out the video below, and let me know if your mind is as blown as mine was. Doesn't it do an amazing job at explaining exactly how to make this mysterious braid in two easy steps? I can't wait to tackle similar tips on how to create a bun. What are your go-to warm weather styles?
Here are my picks! Click on the pictures to shop these 12 perfect dreamy dresses to wile away the summer from some of my favorite sites: Sézane, Rouje, Nordstrom, the Reformation, Christy Dawn, and Dôen. A great rule of thumb for buying the perfect frock : ask yourself whether you think you'll wear the dress at least 30 times. I think the perfect summer dress is one that can be worn to work or a wedding, dinner or brunch, because it's a dress that makes you feel beautiful and helps you basically float through your day whatever the circumstances. What do you think? What makes a dress "perfect" in your opinion?
Which of my picks is your favorite? Which do you think you would wear 30 times this summer? Luckily, there are still plenty of hot summer days left for us to do so!
P.S. I have some pretty, worn-once dresses available in my shopping section here, and I've also pinned affordable, secondhand options of all these dreamy summer frocks below!
My husband and I will have been together ten years this fall. Ten years! A decade is mind-boggling when used as a relationship measurement. That's sooo much as my five-year-old might put it. Married six but dating ten. Still. It's much. However, six years ago, we didn't have a big wedding for a bunch of reasons. Most of all, my mother was battling cancer at the time. (She's doing great now and is in full remission!) I didn't feel deprived, though. I had worked as a bridal model at least a dozen times, so I experienced the gown and having my hair in a (painful) updo. I'd even posed for fake wedding photos with a fake groom! Also, deep down, I had never even thought about it: my father's family is French, and my mother is a hippie. Big weddings aren't a big part of French/ hippie culture, so I hadn't grown up with those wedding bell dreams, either. To top it all off: I was also conflicted about certain aspects of the wedding industry as I wrote here for Pank.
That's why, a few years ago, while walking down the street in Santa Barbara on our way to another friend's wedding, when we spotted the perfect engagement ring in a consignment boutique's window display, I realized maybe a diamond could work for me and my family's politics. I had no problem wearing a vintage ring, and I still love imagining the little old lady in a mumu that my 40s-era ring might have once belonged to. (I may or may not have named that old lady Muriel and given her my grandmother's Brooklyn accent.)
So I didn't miss not having had a wedding but ten years still does feel like something worth commemorating in some special way. That's why, while staying for free at a friend's club on the Upper East Side this past weekend, when we pushed our stroller past Cartier right there on the corner, it also felt like another solution had presented itself to us. As a Frenchwoman, non-flashy thrift is ever important in my brain, but we had saved money on a hotel in NYC and even better saved a subway ride down to the diamond district with two toddlers. However, before going in, we still did our research and we were delighted to learn that Cartier is surprisingly a VERY sustainable option! As eLuxe magazine puts it:
"...the House of Cartier is renowned for many beautiful things, but devotion to environmental sustainability is not necessarily one of them. However, it should well be."
The best part of the whole experience, though, had to be our salesman (jeweler?), Androtti. If Central Casting had been responsible for the perfect person to help us celebrate this special moment in our lives, I don't think they could have provided a better actor to play the part. Not only did he provide my Irish husband with all the champagne Ryan's Irish heart desired , but Androtti performed a sleight of hand magic trick WHILE WEARING WHITE GLOVES. Even better, when my ring was sold out in my size, he actually performed that bit at the end of a romantic comedy, where some sort of deadline comes into play: he ran to Cartier's store further downtown and hurried back with a ring that fits! (Since the store was closed for the rest of the weekend, and we were leaving on Memorial Day, we would have been out of luck otherwise!) He was affable, informative, charming, kind, and not pushy in the slightest-- my biggest fear when walking into a jewelry shop. I'm such a people pleaser I was terrified I would walk out with a ring we couldn't really afford or that I didn't really like "because it goes with your engagement ring." Instead, Androtti helped me figure out exactly what worked for me. Something delicate and pretty and not too flashy. And most of all conflict-free. It took ten years to find the right ring, but Cartier made it more than worth the wait.
Next, on a gloomy Sunday, on my French father's recommendation, we stopped by Maison Kayser, reputed to have the best, most Parisian croissants this side of the Atlantic. As someone who consumes a very low-meat, largely vegetarian diet, I live for bread. Actually, that's part of why it's taken me so long to go fully vegetarian. If you guys have any recommendation for helping me learn more about balanced, vegetarian nutrition, I'd love that! If left to my own devices, I will consume nothing but variations of bread and cheese to my heart's (but not general health's) delight. The best part of all is that our brunch was quite affordable & filling. You really have to be careful about that in NYC!! I once sat down at a café in Soho, ordered some eggs and coffee without really thinking about it and then nearly choked when I was served the check. $40!
To Cartier, I'd worn my black linen dress, which you can check out here on Instagram, but Sunday was cooler, so I donned a blue linen suit. I got a lot of surprised looks for being so dressed up on a Sunday morning (even in NYC!!), but you only celebrate ten years of marriage in one helluva romantic comedy of a weekend once*!
*The comedy part of our romantic getaway came into play as, fantasy aside, in reality we were juggling the world's orneriest two-year-old the whole weekend while trying to have a good time and pretend there wasn't a background of wails and constant demands for... bread and cheese of one variation or another. Definitely my son!
Weird looks for being overdressed on a Sunday aside, I loved wearing this blue linen suit! It was comfortable but still chic, and did you know linen is a great sustainable option even if you're not shopping from a sustainable designer? Unless dyed, it's 100% biodegradable. (Not too worried about that aspect as I'll be wearing this suit until it's rags.) Also, it requires far less water to manufacture than is required for cotton. It might be prone to more wrinkling, but, again, I find when the cut is so chic, I don't mind the wrinkles! We ran into Carrie-Ann Moss, and she definitely checked the suit out! Romantic comedy complete!
I pinned some linen options below! Do you own any linen pieces for summer? What are your favorite brands? I also just discovered the brand La Causa! I'll be posting about them to my Instagram @IsabellaDavidVintage or use my code "isabaiae20" for 20% off a linen piece of your choice at Baiae here.
My linen suit is available from Revolve here.
My vintage Chanel bag is from Tradesy. Similar here.
My sandals are old. Similar vegan pair available here from Beyond Skin.
Use code "Flash25" for an additional 25% off!!
A couple weeks back, I did a round up here of some of the lifestyle changes I made this past Earth Month. My focus was overall a change in mindset. I had encountered the idea of a zero waste challenge on a fellow blogger's page but doing the same didn't feel practicable for me, at least not with my current responsibilities.
Two toddlers. Three animals. A household of mayhem, etc.
However, that same day, maybe inspired by some of what I'd read, it occurred to me to try an alternative to all those wads of paper towels for picking up our home's infinite balls of animal fur & trails of toddler crumbs. I tried the dustbuster instead. A true lightbulb moment. (Sad or not to say.) It was a small change but an incredibly easy one. Still, it made a big impact on the amount of waste my family created that day. I began to wonder if there were other small ways to reduce our family's waste that simply required conscious thought processes before I unconsciously reached for instantly disposable items. You can read my fellow blogger's much more intense adventure (which I think she ought to turn into a book) here.
While part 1 of my own zero waste experiment focused on the mindset change, part 2 is more about the inexpensive purchases that have helped make waste reduction practicable.
Here are some of my favorite eco purchases that have proven to be inexpensive, easy ways to reduce our family's waste! Plus, they're purtyier than their evil, single-use step-cousins.... win, win! (Sorry I have fairy tales on the mind. I just watched the Royal Wedding on CNN. I find Meghan Markle's humanitarian work (not to mention fashion sense) so inspiring! I promise to control myself and remain very serious-minded for the rest of this very serious post.) Ahem, here, in no particular order, are 5 life-changing eco products that will help you feel like you are saving the world:
1. Reusable Dryer Balls $9.98
These are so cute I hang them on the outside of our laundry closet's door rather than tucking them away as I did with our Bounce dryer sheets. Plus, they're hypoallergenic, smell great, and work perfectly well. I've been using the same ball since I bought the bag, so I think my $9 and my bag of reusable dryer balls will go quite a long way. Here's a link to the $9 ones I bought on Amazon.
2. Reusable Cotton Pads $15.98
A couple months ago, I discovered the eco brand Glossier, and I've been hooked on this magical toner ever since. That also means I've been using and discarding cotton pads every night. It didn't even occur to me how wasteful I was being. A very simple switch it is indeed to begin using washable cotton pads. An added bonus is that they feel softer on the face, more like a facial at a spa! The ones I like also come with this washable laundry bag, although I'm using the little bag for storing the pads as organization is more important than laundry sorting, which I have to do anyway.
3. Reusable Metal Straws $9.99
We use so many straws in our house! Since we've made the switch to metal straws, we've definitely cut back, although it's annoying that so many so-called green places send their drinks with straws or the ways straws come with juiceboxes. We've also used paper straws, which at least have the virtue of disintegrating. Still, it feels good to do something. After all...
"Americans use 500 million drinking straws every day. To understand just how many straws 500 million really is, this would fill over 125 school buses with straws every day. That's 46,400 school buses every year! Americans use these disposable utensils at an average rate of 1.6 straws per person per day."
4. Reusable Utensils Travel Packet $9.99
This kind of falls under the same rubric of reusable straws except a zero-waste friend of mine made an excellent point: why not make a little packet that you take with you everywhere? I already try to remember my reusable bottles and cups, but why not try to bring my own reusable spoon, fork, straw, and napkin all tucked up together? Even if I don't remember all the time, (which I don't sadly) the times I do remember will help me start to cut back on really useless kinds of waste. I've just begun doing this. So far, I've remembered zero times, but that's how I was with my cups too at first, and now I almost always have a cup or bottle with me. The trick there for me was to purchase bottles and cups I really like. On that note, I really like this handy, bamboo travel set for $9.99 or this cool reusable lunchbox set with a bamboo carving board for $24.99 if you pack your own lunches every day.
5. Reusable Tampons $15.95- $29.14
I also listed these in part 1 of this blog series, but I can't stress enough how easy these are to use and what a game-changer they have proven to be in my life and the life of many women. According to the Guardian...
"The average woman uses roughly 11,000 tampons in her lifetime. The time it takes for a tampon or pad to degrade in a landfill is centuries longer than the lifespan of the woman who used it, particularly when wrapped in a plastic wrapper or bag. In addition, the process of manufacturing these products – turning wood pulp into soft, cotton-like fibres – is both resource- and chemical-intensive."
Even though half the population deals with their period every month, there's still a taboo that keeps us from talking about it. The feminine hygeine industry therefore thrives even though there's a cheaper, safer, easier, WAY more eco option available out there: diva cups. Or Luna Cups or Goddess Cups or whichever brand works for you. Just be sure to get an undyed one. Some of the dyed ones are tested on animals. I hope that doesn't make me sound wacky to mention, although I don't really mind sounding wacky. This is why: I could not be a more ordinary woman. I'm a stay-at-home mother who loves Starbucks and shopping. I'm happily married, and we even have one boy and one girl. I love Target, and I have been known to rip a romance novel read in the bath. What I'm saying is: I'm exactly the type of totally ordinary, basic woman who needs to be speaking out. So here goes.
Ladies, GO GET YOURSELVES A DIVA CUP. It is not gross or weird. The environmental savings are huge, but so are the savings on your wallet. It will also make your life infinitely easier. No more leaks. You can sleep through the night if you have a heavier flow. Most of all, it's just common sense: if you wouldn't stick a tampon in your mouth and suck on it because of all the chemicals, WHY would you put a gross, chemical lollipop in your vagina?
I personally love the Diva Cup, but I've heard friends say they prefer other brands like Luna Cup.
Next up for my family is cutting back on paper towel use. A friend recommended we try Norwex Cleaning Cloths. They retail between $14.95- $24.95. These are all easy, inexpensive changes, but I don't want to pretend it's all easy. Paying attention to our waste also brought home the limitations on any real changes we can make. Our worst waste is from food containers, and there's not much we can do about that. Real change is going to have to be institutional. Renée's post does an utterly amazing job delving into the more difficult work necessary to make more lasting changes. I think what I've tried to emphasize is so much of this is simply a change of habit. And these aren't centuries-old habits that we'll have to break! They came about only two generations ago when production values changed. Our great-grandparents and maybe even grandparents did not live like this, and we shouldn't be, either.
I'd love to keep the conversation going below! What are some ways you've learned to cut back on foolish waste in your own lives? (Please no one say "by not wasting time reading this blog!" haha. That said, I've been working very hard at improving this blog the past few weeks, but I always value feedback! Thanks!)
In the outfit above, I'm wearing:
a secondhand Anthropologie skirt. Similar here.
An old Missguided gingham top. Similar here.
A reusable basket from Robertson's Florist. Similar here.
Soludos espadrilles. Available here.
1. It Can Be
I think most of us with even a modicum of interest in the slow fashion world know about Reformation now (both the dresses pictured above are from Reformation and are both are secondhand), so I'll leave these pictures here, because the proof is in the pudding and Reformation dresses celebrate my curves like no other brand. Reformation can be pricy, which leads me to my next point, but first, something else I love about Reformation is their push not only to sell vintage clothes on their own site but the way they partnered with DePop to sell their OWN CLOTHES secondhand on another site. They're really the rare company whose ethics and aesthetics match up. (Quoting journalist Rosalind Jana in that last line.)
2. Sustainable Fashion is Expensive
Image care of Pretty Little Fawn by Courtney Halverson
Not only are there a plethora of secondhand options from the very cheap on eBay or Depop to the pricier ones on Tradesy or treasures to be found in carefully curate vintage shops, but there now exist more and more mid-price retailers like Sézane, who go out of their way to craft high quality pieces at pretty affordable prices considering. (My Sézane and Rouje embroidered blouses that come in at around $115 are as nice as Ulla Johnson, which retails for more like $300.)
People Tree UK and Everlane are two other retailers in the same midway to expensive price range, and Everlane has even run "name your own price" sales! I think paying about $100 for a dress isn't too crazy, once you start factoring in what it costs to make cloth ethically and to treat the person making the actual dress just as ethically as the cloth. Not to mention that special care is reflected in the splendid quality of the garment. My sustainably made clothes are genuinely my nicer clothes, no two ways about it. I am not such a good person that I would reach for them as often as I do over more expensive (but probably thrifted tbh) clothes if they weren't!
3. Sustainable Fashion Is Minimalistic/ Boring
Kate Arnell Wearing a People Tree Dress. Click on the image to visit People Tree's blog.
I do think minimalism and sustainability go hand in hand, but there are different ways to approach the minimalist philosophy. For my part, I appreciated the idea that we should value collections that bring value to our lives but eschew a mindset that mindlessly collects objects which you don't actually need or want. While I do have an enormous collection of vintage and thrifted pieces with some new designer brands thrown in and a growing presence of sustainably made pieces, I still consider myself a minimalist, because I try hard not to waste money or energy on thing I don't need or want or that don't bring me as much immense joy as I feel when I immerse myself in my collection of clothes or books. My clothes closet, which is currently housed in my office, is such a special space that the entire family, barring the dog, likes to go in there and nap or rest!
4. Sustainable Fashion Is A Fad
Check out the gorgeous Natalie Kay (above) if you want an expert take on the current state of sustainable fashion affairs. You can follow her here or on Instagram @sustainablychic.
There's a great piece at Mochni arguing that one day (soon) sustainable fashion will one day simply be called "fashion". It makes three strong excellent points about why. You can read it here.
5. Sustainable Fashion Can't Catch On
On Instagram @dearlybethany spent 365 days showcasing fair fashion outfits that managed to be minimalist, chic, and still very pretty. Check her out for some fashionably sustainable inspiration!
Before I bought my last pair of jeans, a pair of Levi's famous wedgie icon jeans with an unfinished hem, I researched the company, and I was SO excited to discover that such a big company is making such big changes! You can read more about that here.
It's happening, folks!!!! I don't know about you, but I find it thrilling to be part of a brighter future for our children and our planet.
What are some of your favorite sustainable brands? Do you like thrifting or does the thought turn you off? What bothers you about it? Is it the fact clothes are pre-owned or is it the hunt that dissuades you?
In both pictures (of me) above, I'm wearing:
A secondhand, two-piece Reformation dress from Tradesy and an apron Reformation dress from Tradesy (while sitting outside the Reformation store no less! The cheek, ha!)
My Louis Vuitton tote was also gently pre-loved from Tradesy.
I pinned some similar cute two pieces below or follow me on Pinterest @IsabellaDavidVintage.
A Gottex hat from Bloomingdales available here .
Wearing an older pair Rebecca Minkoff espadrilles.
There are some gorgeous, handcrafted ones from Spain available on Amazon here.
I also love delicate ones from Sézane here.
This past Earth Month I was inspired by several zero waste challenges featured on eco activist accounts I follow on Instagram. At first, my inspiration was in name only, but thinking about our household's waste in this new way helped me adopt a doable (read: toddler-friendly) version of the "Earth Month Zero Waste Challenge". I particularly admired model Renée Peters' daily demonstration of traveling the world without leaving behind a snail trail of crumbs and snack packages, but with two toddlers and three pets (read: a zoo) that's simply not feasible.
However, that didn't mean there weren't some easy and very feasible changes I could make; it simply hadn't occurred to me to even try to make them before!
Actually, my whole slow living blog has been about adopting as green a lifestyle as possible without creating more stress in my hectic, mommy life. If I can make these changes anyone can!
Not only that, below I rounded up 7 reasons why you should consider implementing these easy changes. We can even put environmental arguments aside, because I guarantee you will have a nicer, better life the greener you make your day! It's mind-blowing really. If you're like me, you imagined an environmentally-friendly life as one of spartan pleasures and monastic drudgery. No way! Times have changed.
Actually, instead of feeling sacrificial, if anything our family's lifestyle improved. Going green no longer requires you to forgo anything from chic style to yummy eats. Instead, it has so much more to do with resetting a consumerist attitude that is poisonous not only for the planet but for the psyche (and wallet) as well.
Here's 7 switches away from single (plastic or paper) use I learned from my easy Earth Month reset:
1. Buy a Dustbuster To Lessen Paper Towel Usage:
I would love to cut paper towels out entirely, but at least we've come pretty close this past month! We have a lot of creatures in our space and picking up their fur balls is kind of a hobby of mine. Not to brag or anything, but I'm an Olympian of dust. Maybe it came from reading Renée's post advocating zero waste, but that morning, paper towel in hand, I suddenly put two and two together and realized just how many paper towels and diaper wipes I was throwing out on a daily basis. It's beyond easy to zoom a dustbuster over the patches where crumbs and fur collide instead of reaching for a single use wipe. I'm sure there's an argument to be made against the energy a dustbuster requires. If that bothers you, I think you could probably also use a broom to similar effect, but overall, dustbusting has greatly reduced our daily waste. I really love our Bissell Pet Hair Eraser. I find it very easy to recharge and use daily. The new Queer Eye also made a great argument for the robot ones that do that dusting for you. (I pinned both options below.)
2. Buy Dish Towels You Actually Like and Lessen Your Paper Towel Usage Even More:
You can find really pretty ones on eBay. I found some I love on Amazon. I find I use (and wash) them more when I like how they look hanging in my kitchen. That way, I also reach for paper towels far less often. In my opinion, Maison d'Hermine makes the prettiest ones. I pinned some options below!
3. BUY A MENSTRUAL CUP:
I cannot stress enough what a gamechanger this is. I cannot believe how long it took me to switch. This past Earth Month, I happened to see an ad for a reusable tampon applicator that made an argument against single use tampon applicators. The idea of a reusable applicator still seemed absurd to me, so I checked the comments to see if anyone else felt the same way. There were so many women who agreed with me and suggested a menstrual cup instead. However, like a lot of women, I thought the idea of a menstrual cup was, well, disgusting. Even weird. Ladies, it is gross and weird NOT to use one. The average woman uses around 11,000 tampons in a lifetime. Not only is that a drain on your wallet and the environment, but tampons are filled with toxic chemicals. You are packing your poor vaginas with carcinogens. Think of it this way: if you wouldn't put a tampon in your mouth, why would you put one in your vagina? If the thought of a little mess grosses you out, a. it's not that messy and b. wash your hands, wash the cup. Voila! No more mess. It's as easy as that. Also, research which option will work for you, so that you don't pick something you're uncomfortable wearing and give up too fast. I picked the Diva Cup, because it's the most popular (for a reason I figured) and not tested on animals. (Some of the dyed ones are tested on animals.) I've heard good things about the Luna Cup as well. If you're interested in even more reasons to use one, the list goes on. Please feel free to DM me and I'll be happy to discuss why they are not weird or gross and why you will love using them at greater length! I promise. Life. Changing. Magic.
4. Buy or Collect a Few Different Reusable Bags and Baskets:
I have a basket I love to use for grocery shopping. It's pretty and the handle is easy to grip, even when I've made a whole cart's worth of purchases. I have several pretty, printed bags from Free People that I was given free with purchase and I've kept as reusable bags, because I like them. The more pretty, little bags and baskets I have lying around the more I use them.
5. Buy or Keep a Few Reusable Cups:
The same goes for reusable cups as it does for baskets and bags. I find I'm much more likely to use them when I like carrying them and they're easy to find. Instead of tossing those gift bag cups because they make for clutter, keep 'em! Having a few options is a good idea. I just invested in a slightly more expensive, stainless steel reusable water bottle, because I broke my last reusable plastic cup. Also, I couldn't resist its biggest selling point: you can also use it to keep a whole bottle of wine cool at the pool or beach!
6. Reusable Lids:
This one's an oldie but goodie. A couple years back, while visiting my sustainably-minded sister I learned about using reusable lids to store leftovers instead of Saran wrap. Not only are they about a thousand times less torturous to use than digging Saran wrap out of the box and spreading it against its will over your plate, but they represent a really easy way to cut back on single use plastic waste. I pinned my sister's pick!
7. Buy Secondhand:
If you follow my slow fashion diary on Instagram, you'll notice I'm into trends and love fashion. You can buy secondhand these days without having to cut back on style. There are so many options available online now, whether it's shopping other cuties' gently used clothes straight from their closets or scavenging Tradesy or eBay. Most of my posts are on this topic, so I'll expand on this one another time!
My next adventure will be resetting my brain to carry reusable straws and silverware. (I've pinned a few that I plan to buy.) I think paper straws, while still wasteful, aren't the worst idea, because at least they're biodegradable. I think you can agree all the above stuff is pretty easy. It's more about a change in perspective, and, if you're a woman, the menstrual cups will also help you not only save the environment but yourself.
What are some changes you've made to your lifestyle that you feel like other people could or should easily adopt? Please be sure to share in the comments below, and I'll include them in another roundup!
Shop This Look:
I made our hair ribbons myself out of an old, thrifted dress.
My bamboo bag is from Cult Gaia.
My hat is by Rag & Bone from a few years back.
My cardi is from a DVF sample sale. Similar here.
My dress is available here.
In my research into the sudden popularity of bamboo bags, I was surprised to learn that the term "It Bag" is such a recent one. Its coinage is as fresh as the 90s, when it was first being used to describe high-priced designer bags like those signature bags by Chanel or Fendi or Gucci. The concept of branded bags came about even earlier, though, back in the 1940s when the designer Roberta di Camerino created the first instantly recognizable bag, using artisan-made hardware and distinctive textiles. However, the It Bag didn't explode until the 90s for whatever reason. Maybe it was, as Wikipedia drily claims, because there was suddenly, simply this huge market for handbags.
That explanation leaves me with more questions than answers, personally.
Think about it: the market still exists. The fashion industry is a 1.2 trillion dollar annual industry, but by 2011 the concept of the It Bag was in decline.
Did the It Bag disappear because bargains became fashionable or because fashion is changing too quickly to make a huge investment in one expensive, transitory piece worthwhile? (Also, here is a great piece by Celia Walden on why she's glad the It Bag is over.) Or are It Bags over because It People are in now? Never mind It Bags. What does the "It Bag" mean now in an era where it's not only handbags that are branded but people themselves through their very own social media pages?
That's probably too deep a question for a slow fashion diary blog to address in 300-500 words. However, it did delight me to spot a different kind of "it bag" on many, many Instagram feeds. That same site that encourages people to brand themselves like fancy handbags. Now, it's not a humble bamboo bag you might suddenly notice every fashionably minded person sporting. Baskets in general are suddenly as ubiquitous as the Coachella wheel-- the sight of which, like fringe paired with cowboy boots, western belts, and a joyous grin, now signals spring as surely as cherry blossoms.
But let's put my seething envy for all the people who got to see Beyoncé live at Coachella aside and get back to bamboo.
Bamboo is potentially the most renewable resource for fabrics, even more so than hemp. What does put hemp ahead in the race for title to the future's most sustainable fabric is that rendering bamboo into cloth is still often requires the use of lots and lots of chemicals. Again, though, that means the news about bamboo "it bags" is good!
1. Bamboo bags are made with the Earth's most easily renewable, least-water consuming crop.
2. And, even better, unlike bamboo cloth, bamboo bags take no (or at least) very few chemicals to transform into a chic piece of arm candy.
I've linked to a few, beautiful bamboo and other fair trade, 70s-inspired options on my Pinterest page (see below).
Do you own a bamboo bag or a cute basket that can be used for shopping or paired as an accessory? When you think about it, straw baskets and bamboo bags and patched, cloth textile bags are actually the original Birkin bags! What do you think of this 70s-era trend? Do you think you'll buy one for summer?
My sandals are (old) BCBG ones. Similar here.
My wrap skirt is available here.
My Free People sweater is sold out but a similar one is available here.
My bamboo bag is a reproduction of a classic Japanese picnic basket! It's available here.
FYI Cult Gaia, who originally made the bamboo bags such desirable Eco It Objects just made their first (stupendously gorgeous) clothing collection out of deadstock! AND they're committed to treating workers fairly! Check them out!
A Slow Fashion Diary