Top 5 Tips to Make Your Wardrobe More Eco-Friendly.

We live in a global economy where our purchases not only have an impact locally but also in communities around the world. While we all love fashion, we do need to consider how our behaviours are affecting others and the environment. Today, we consume fashion at a much quicker rate than in previous decades, and the industry has altered its practices to keep up with demand.

While it may be nearly impossible nowadays to purchase clothing that wasn’t made in a “sweatshop,” there are changes you can make with your shopping habits to reduce your impact on the environment. Inspired by one of my favourite books on all things green, “Ecoholic” by Adria Vasil, here are 5 tips to make your wardrobe more eco-friendly.

Tip #1: Forget regular cotton. Did you know it takes half a pound of chemicals to make a regular, old t-shirt? Did you know cotton soaks up 10% of the world’s pesticides and 25% of its insecticides? That’s a lot of toxins! Luckily for us, fashion producers are increasingly making clothes out of organic cotton, or organic cotton blends. Organic cotton is grown without synthetic chemicals like fertilizers or pesticides. Locally, you can find t-shirts at More Than Half Kitchener.

Tip #2: Read the labels and choose more eco-friendly fabrics. Designers are on the move, creating stylish clothing with more natural fabrics including soy, flax, bamboo and hemp. It’s even becoming easier to find items made of organic wool. These fabrics are much more sustainable than synthetics and polyester.

Tip #3: Think things through. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is. We all love getting a deal, but at what cost to others and the environment? One of the only ways to ensure your clothing wasn’t made under abusive conditions is to buy fair trade. Receiving the fair trade trademark ensures the entire production process – from raw materials to the finished product is good on the planet, free from child labour, is ethical, and supports individuals in the developing world by providing safe working conditions and a living wage. More Than Half in Kitchener is our community’s one-stop shop for fair trade garments.

Tip #4: Go vintage and shop like a true fashionista. Vintage clothing has character, quality, and is truly one-of-a-kind. Vintage is one of the cheapest, and most fashion-forward ways to wear planet-friendly threads. Vintage clothing will also last a lifetime, as higher quality fabrics were often used in their construction. Be sure to check out Patina Vintage and Meow Boutique in Waterloo, White Tiger Vintage in Kitchener, and Auburn Vintage Clothiers in Conestogo for a great selection of vintage finds.

Tip #5: Consign, consign, consign. There are numerous benefits to consigning your quality pieces. First, to consign, you are cleaning your closet, making it easier to see the pieces you love. Second, you make a percentage of the selling price back, which can be used to other ways. Third, you are reducing the number of clothes that simply end up in a landfill. Buying second-hand no longer means missing out on stylish finds. Most consignment stores are selective in the items they sell, which results in better quality for a reasonable price tag. Check out Luster & Oak in Waterloo, Carousel Clothing in Kitchener, and The Patch in Cambridge for your consigning needs.

Overall, the very best way to reduce your impact on the environment is to purchase fewer items. Buy quality pieces that last, and can be mixed and matched for years to come. These are just a few tips to help your closet become a little more eco-friendly, but there are much more. I recommend checking out “Ecoholic” if you’re interested in becoming a bit greener in your shopping habits.

Some of the best local stores to check out include: Le Prix, More Than Half, and Uptown Woods.

How to Identify Your Style Personality.

Personality types can be divided into five unique styles: classic, creative, dramatic, natural and romantic. To determine where you lie, read the descriptions below and take a tour in your closet. Can you see any trends in your purchases? Which category do they fit into?

You may find your style personality falls into several different types. You are a unique individual with a diverse lifestyle. Your style personality will reflect this and may change depending on the environment. For example, your style for work may differ from your style for play. Further, you may find your style has changed as you aged, as you changed careers, or as you altered your lifestyle in some other way (e.g. by having children). Determining your preferences will help you narrow in on the person you are and who you want to be, so you are better able to dress for yourself. Now that’s a beautiful thing!

The Classic

This style is traditional, elegant, and timeless, with items in tailored cuts. You may find an abundance of structured suits, jackets, pencil skirts and trousers in your closet, in classic colours like black, cream, brown, beige. Fabrics such as light wools, fine cotton, and silks make up the majority of your wardrobe and are easily mixed and matched. Accessories are made of traditional materials like gold, silver, and pearls, with simple designs. You choose a timeless hairstyle, accompanied by a safe and predictable makeup routine. Quality is valued over quantity and investment buying is preferred. Your style is best described as “understated,” “refined,” and “sophisticated.”

The Creative

This style values uniqueness and trend-setting above all else. Interested in runway looks, but always adding a twist, you combine interesting colours, textures, and themes into your outfits. You may find unusual silhouettes in your closet, with garments from a collection of different decades. Fabrics are glittered or shined, with exotic or geometric prints. With this style, you aim to stand out, as the dressing is considered a true art form. Jewelry is bold, costumed, and eye-catching. Your hairstyle is often long and curled, or short and dramatic, which is combined with an experimental and ever-changing makeup routine. Your style is best described as “eclectic,” “unpredictable,” and “one-of-a-kind.”

The Dramatic

This style always makes an entrance, with garments that have that “wow” factor. You often put practicality second to looking good, preferring to over-dress for an occasion rather than under-dress. Your closet is full of impulse buys, in dramatic colours and animal prints. Accessories are daring, to make an impression. Playing with different looks and reinventing oneself is considered fun.  Perfectly coiffed hair is matched with a red lip, smoky eye, and luscious lashes. Your style is best described as “glamourous,” “feminine,” and “bold.”

The Natural

This style is based on comfort and casual styling. You may find your work and play wear overlap, with garments in your closet made primarily in denim, stretch knits, khaki, and tweed. Jewelry is often in earth tones and natural materials such as wood, shells, and stones. When possible, loose-fitting clothes are chosen that don’t limit movement. Makeup and hair styling is minimal, as you are bored by lengthy beauty routines. For footwear, flat shoes and boots are preferred, choosing a kitten heel over a stiletto for fancier occasions. Your style is best described as “easy,” “relaxed,” and “no-fuss.”

The Romantic

This style is feminine, luxurious and all about the details such as ruffles, bows, and frills. You may find floral, pastel and detailed pieces in your closet made of cashmere, silk, lace or tulle. Delicate and dainty jewelry is preferred, from simple to elaborate pieces. Makeup is kept subtle, with an emphasis on the eyes. For footwear, the choice is often kitten heels, peep-toe pumps, ballerina flats, or Mary-Janes. Your style can be best described as “girlie,” “figure-enhancing,” and “delicate.”

Once you know where you fall, embrace it. Dress for yourself and no one else. Pinterest can be a great source of outfit inspiration for different style personalities.

Have you taken the challenge? Where do you fit? Let us know in the comments below.

Wear Out There is Officially a Business!

Hi friends,

I just wanted to send a quick note to say thank you so much for your support of this blog. My experiences writing it the past few years have inspired me to become a certified Style CoachTM and launch Wear Out There as a business. I now work one-on-one with individuals to develop a style they love, and host group workshops. I also am available for virtual consultations via skype and will help you determine your body shape and style personality.

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To stay up-to-date with Wear Out There, and connect with me, please visit www.wearoutthere.ca. I’ll be sharing daily on my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. for style tips on how to dress for your body shape, follow my Pinterest page as well.

Take care lovelies.

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Stylish Social Enterprises – Doing Good Through Fashion

Our purchases do make a difference. With the holiday season fast approaching, now may be the perfect time to support fabulous causes without compromising on style. My column in this month’s Community Cord discusses how.

See below.

Shop Local

I’m often asked whether our individual purchases really make a difference, and my answer is always yes. Consumers have more influence over the products that are produced, and future products that are being developed, than we may realize. With every business striving to make a profit, they look to consumer behaviour to drive their innovation, product development, and marketing decisions to increase the likelihood that us consumers will choose their products over a competitor’s.

A 2013 Business Development Bank of Canada study called “Five Game-Changing Consumer Trends” identified a “Made in Canada” advantage for businesses, as social and environmental concerns have become increasingly influential in consumer purchasing decisions.

The commercial landscape has changed for retailers and they must adapt to meet new consumer standards. Canadians do their research before making a purchase and a majority are now trying to buy local, with many willing to pay a premium for goods that boast a Made in Canada label.

As a result of these shifting attitudes, new businesses are popping up that place doing good at the centre of their business model. These are called social enterprises. From Tom’s Shoes, which give shoes to children in need, to tentree, which plants 10 trees for every purchase, shopping for a cause has gone mainstream.

It’s true that it can be challenging to see how our individual purchases make a difference, but Carmen Clubiné, a local jewelry designer, makes it clear that they can. She created her jewelry line, Alfaro Clubiné, in partnership with Joel, a 23-year-old hearing impaired man living in Paraguay who had few options for employment in his community.

“When our friend in Paraguay met Joel, he had a temper because he really couldn’t communicate with anyone,” explained Carmen. “He was frustrated, and it got to the point where his own community didn’t want him around.”

When Joel was young, he attended school for a while, but it wasn’t set up to meet his needs. As a result, he had a lot of time on his hands, and his older brothers taught him how to work with filigree silver. When they moved away to make a living elsewhere, things changed for the entire family.

“Joel wasn’t in a good place when our friend met him, but when he started working, he became a different person,” said Carmen. “For me, that was the wow moment. Alfaro Clubiné is making a big difference in the life of a man, his family, and his community.”

This is one example of a local social enterprise that, with your support, can continue to positively influence another person’s life. Many more exist in Waterloo Region, and with style and impact combined in a business, it is now easier than ever to engage in socially-conscious purchasing.

Our consumption decisions add up, and big businesses pay attention. Our purchases make a difference, and isn’t that a beautiful thing?

A Blooming Affair Fashion Show in Review

Happy Thanksgiving Canadian readers and what a gorgeous weekend it’s been in Waterloo Region. I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of YOU for following the blog and sharing your shopping stories with me. It’s truly been an amazing year, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed meeting many of our wonderful shop owners, reporting back to you on our local shop spots. This week I had the pleasure of kicking off Oktoberfest season in style at the 2015 A Blooming Affair Fashion Show, held at Bingemans Ballroom.

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There was certainly plenty of eye candy at this year’s event, organized and run by a talented committee of 13 community members. The show drew a mixed crowd of young women, sophisticated women and the occasional male companion, all looking for the latest in fall and winter fashions. The styles were hot, with some new fashion features in the show like Gadsby’s Clothing Co. Inc in Cambridge, Plato’s Closet in Kitchener, and Grace the Boutique from Stratford. While La Crème in St Jacobs always puts together a gorgeous collection, this year I thoroughly enjoyed the styles from fb and me, with their youthful and colourful, yet sophisticated designs. It’s definitely worth a visit (especially now) if you’re looking for some new fall items.

Along with the eye candy on stage, attendees were invited to shop till they dropped at Most Magazine’s Boulevard of Boutiques. With some vendors also being featured in the fashion show, it was a great way to bring a piece or two home with you, after checking them out on stage. There weren’t too many familiar faces this year in the Boulevard, an area which I feel could be improved to better showcase our fabulous fashion community. Style may be the focus of the event, but it also does good, benefiting a local charity with a portion of the raffle proceeds. This year, that partner was Lutherwood, a wonderful organization which provides mental health, employment, housing and family support services to thousands of individuals in our community.

Overall, it was a fantastic night, thoroughly enjoyed by attendees and an excellent start to an eventful Oktoberfest season. If you’re already looking ahead to next year, be sure to mark October 5, 2016 (at least, that’s when I think it is) in your calendar for the next A Blooming Affair Fashion Show. Hope to see you there lovelies.