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.

The Best of Fall Trends 2015

Are you ready for fall? My column in this month’s Community Cord talks about trends for the upcoming season.

Read below.

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It may come as no surprise that fall fashion makes my heart skip a beat. With the return of layering, rich textures, and classic styling, there is no season more enjoyable to dress for. If you’re back to school, or simply coveting a fresh look, this year’s trends do not disappoint. Remember, style is much more important than fashion. Use trends as inspiration, and before you incorporate any into your wardrobe, consider the following: Do I like it? Does it suit me? Does it express my personality? While I may buy a new coat, bag or blouse, the essence of my style this season will remain the same.

What can you expect to see in our local boutiques? Here’s a look at fall trends.

Return of the 70’s: This decade returns year after year, in a slightly different way. Full flare hems, colourful suede, and crafty details like patch-work jackets are driving the looks for fall. If 70’s styling is your thing, pick up some genuine articles locally at vintage boutiques like Auburn Vintage.

Eclectic looks: Mix floral prints with edgier pieces, for a high-class meets bad girl look. This trend is all about making you stand out in crowd.

Suede and Fringe: Tweed is out and suede is in. These pieces take on every form from fitted equestrian-style pants to classic blazers. Adding fringe to a look will take it to the next level.

Romanticism: Embroidery, high collars, velvet and lace took the runways by storm. Dark, haunting romantic pieces, with gorgeous detailing are right on trend.

As is typical for fall footwear, it’s all about boots. This year’s crop consists of mid-calf, Sorel-style boots, snake-patterned knee-highs, and leather or suede over the knees. A structured tote bag is the most stylish accessory this season as well.

For colours, we’re seeing grey (pearl, charcoal, and dove shades), pink in all its forms, purple (iris, and amethyst), and pops of yellow taking centre stage. For a limited budget, but large style boost Fashionista.com suggests adding these 5 pieces to your wardrobe in a trendy form: wrap dress, turtleneck, pleated skirt, high-waisted pant, and midi dress.

Fashion is fun, but above all else, clothes should be used to enhance your personal style. When I look at trends, I view them as a source of ideas rather than a strict set of rules to follow. Not all trends work for every body type, which is perfectly okay. There is no benefit in wearing something trendy, if it makes you uncomfortable in your own skin. Highlighting your best assets is the goal of proper dressing.

You can be fashion-forward, and only incorporate an element of a trend into your wardrobe. For example, if you love florals, but don’t want to wear them head-to-toe as suggested, buy a bag, shoe, or blazer. Style is about knowing who you are first, and then dressing accordingly. For more details on fall trends, bookmark www.style.com, a fantastic source for the latest runway looks, fashion stories, and street style photos.

Photo via Stylecaster.com

Style Lessons from Italians

Summer moments are short and fleeting. I hope you’re enjoying your time readers and are taking a vacation or two! I haven’t traveled yet, but am patiently waiting for my upcoming Turkey/Greece cruise and Roman holiday. I can hardly wait to get my hands on some new leather boots!

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I truly believe we learn a lot about ourselves through travel. It is only by trying new things, viewing the world from other perspectives, and experiencing diverse cultures, that we gain a true understanding of who we are and who we want to be. Travelling can also shape our personal style, as we are influenced by the places we visit. Just like Canadian styling differs from French dressing (for example), there are many fashion lessons we can glean from the Italians.

First, take some risks with your dressing ladies. We sometimes forget that fashion should be fun. In general, our Canadian style is much more conservative than that of the “bellas” in Rome, Florence, and Milan. A look at Street Style photographer Scott Schurman’s site “The Sartorialist” shows the classy and eccentric styles of Italian tastemakers. Be open to colour. Be open to pattern and wear what truly speaks to you.

Second, support Canadian designers. Italians are much more likely to invest in high-quality garments than we are. While their homegrown talent has already taken centre-stage, namely Prada, Versace, Armani, Missoni, Valentino, and Dolce and Gabbana, we need to encourage our fashion folks to keep on designing.

Third, be confident in what you wear. To pull off an outgoing style like the Italians do, you have to be confident! A happy, healthy, and confident you, wearing clothes you love, could make everyday a little more sparkly. Tell yourself you’re beautiful and mean it, because you are!

Backpacking Europe in 2012. Not too concerned with style. :)
                                Backpacking Europe in 2012. Not too concerned with style. 🙂

Want to incorporate the “dolce vita” into your own life? Here’s a fabulous post called 50+ lessons on how to dress like an Italian girl! I’m in love.

xx

Style Lessons from the Queen’s of Country

Last Monday, I had the opportunity to attend the Dan and Shay Up Close and Personal event through Country 106.7. While border mishaps had the duo arriving hours late, it was still a wonderful evening with private concert, and meet and greet. Often overlooked in the world of fashion, country musicians have a style all their own. Relaxed denim and cowboy boots may be the norm, but the Queens of Country are stepping up their game, taking their personal style to the next level. In honour of the Academy of Country Music Awards, we’re taking a look at these stylish ladies and their off-duty wardrobes.

Taylor Swift

This singer-songwriter has grown up in front of the camera. Transitioning her signature look from the long, wavy locks of her teen years, to a shorter banged style for her 20’s, Taylor has certainly embraced a more sophisticated style. As the ultimate girlie-girl, she chooses dresses and skirts over jeans.  Long and lean, Taylor complements her figure with ladylike garments, preppy ensembles and pop of colours.  With a best friend in supermodel Karlie Kloss, Taylor has upped her style game as of late.

 Photos courtesy of Divine Caroline.

Smart style lessons from Taylor Swift? Consider adopting a classic style, invest in the basics, and wear complementary colours.

Carrie Underwood.

Like Taylor, Carrie’s style is girlie, but not in an understated way. Always in the spotlight, she prefers looks with sparkle and shine that complement her bombshell appeal. Big blonde hair, loose curls, and larger than life lashes are her signature look. No matter her clothing choice, a great pair of heels or heeled boots go with everything.

Photos courtesy of StyleBisto

Smart style lessons from Carrie Underwood? Life is short, have fun with your wardrobe, don’t be afraid of a daring print, and add a touch of glitz and glamour to your ensembles.

Miranda Lambert.

This down to earth American girl, has a style that’s all country. While Miranda’s not afraid to dress it up once in a while, she prefers jeans and boots to party dresses and stilettos.  Known for wearing denim on denim, trucker hats, and black tees, Miranda makes everything look good. A farm girl at heart, she isn’t afraid to get outdoors and get her hands dirty. Love her relatable style.

Photos courtesy of CMT

Smart style lessons from Miranda Lambert: Relaxed looks can still be stylish, boots and shorts are a thing, and you can wear statement necklaces with just about everything.

Who’s your favourite Queen of Country? Whose style do you prefer? Let me know.