last-minute sustainable gift ideas

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If you celebrate Christmas and are like me, this last week before the holiday is a bit of a scramble to finish up all the preparations, including finding the perfect gifts for my loved ones. I do some of my gift selections earlier, but I also wait to make my final purchases to make sure I’m really choosing the right thing for each person. Ok, some of it is procrastination, but since many of my choices are sustainable, I don’t have to worry about the hot new thing being sold out.

Choosing gifts that are sustainable is easier on the environment, and can be easier on the budget as well. I don’t subscribe to the idea that something must be new to be a gift nor that it must be something that can be unwrapped. There are so many ways to show your love for someone while showing love for the earth at the same time.

Below are some sustainable gift ideas for you to explore for the important people in your life.

homemade

baked goods

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Who doesn’t love something scrumptious?

crafty fun

Instead of fighting crowds at the mall, get your maker hat on to create something big or small! Some of my most precious gifts are things made by my family members. Ornaments for the tree, coasters, book marks, knitted and crocheted hats, decorative pillows – the options are endless!

new-to-you

Consignment shops have so many amazing items that make wonderful gifts. Elite Repeat Consignment and Boutique (women’s clothing and accessories and giftables), Fashion Avenue (designer women and men’s clothing, accessories and jewelry), and Nu Look Consignment (women and men’s clothing and accessories) are all independent consignment shops that carry very high quality pieces. Look for:

cashmere

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At a fraction of the cost of retail, you can wrap your loved one in coziness without breaking the bank.

high-end jewelry and accessories

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Find luxury brand jewelry, scarves, ties, and more – again at 1/3 retail pricing.

items with tags still on

I frequently find gorgeous clothing with the retail tags still on them – meaning they are brand new! A client recently purchased something with the tags on it as a Christmas gift for her partner during a personal shopping session at a consignment store.

gift card for a new-to-you shop

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Not sure exactly what your loved one will like? Consignment shops sell gift cards, just like retail shops!

experiences

Experiences are one of the most sustainable gifts ever – less stuff AND creating time for your loved one to take a break to do something fun!

spa services – massage, facial, manicure, etc.

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I’ve mentioned how much I love my hair stylist Bee at Urban Village SalonSpa in previous blog posts. This fall my mother-in-law gave me a gift card (sustainable birthday gift!) to enjoy some of the other services there. LOVED. IT. I chose a massage with Sarah and a session with esthetician Whitney. Both were simply amazing. I would happily receive a gift card to Urban Village at every gift-giving opportunity! HINT.

plans for a date night with a gift card to a favorite or new restaurant

Simply making time to do something together can be the greatest gift. And the Twin Cities have so many fabulous restaurants!

cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at a fancy hotel or bar

The craft cocktail scene has exploded in the past few years. Two of my favorites are The Commodore in St. Paul, a gorgeously restored Art Deco venue, and Marvel Bar under The Bachelor Farmer in Minneapolis, which feels like a speakeasy.

wacky fun

Mini-golf and arcade games accompanied by adult milkshakes? Axe-throwing? Yep. Check out Can Can Wonderland for fun for all ages and FlannelJax’s for your favorite lumberjack wannabe.

gift card to a movie theater with enough for two tickets and treats

Classic fun!

tickets to the theater

We have such great theater in the Twin Cities! Get tickets to a play at The Guthrie or a touring Broadway show at one of the Hennepin Theater Trust venues.

gift certificate to NDWC – pair it with a consignment shop gift card!

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I offer gift certificates for any service or dollar amount. Give the gift of living your life without your wardrobe bringing you down and feeling great about how you look. So. much. fun.

I hope you enjoy the holiday season with the people who are important to you. The gift of time to reflect and share gratitude is the greatest gift of all.

happy holidays!

secondhand score: i see red (pear and valiant poppy)

#secondhandfirst

This fall I want to refresh my wardrobe a little to bump up the level of dress – more dresses and polished blouses, skirts, and pants. Polished jeans outfits will always be my signature style, especially for work sessions in closets and shopping sessions, because I need to be able to move with ease. I’d also like to have more go-to outfits to be a little more dressed up.

I always, ALWAYS (except for undergarments) shop secondhand first. I have great results with consignment shopping, and my latest trip to Elite Repeat was particularly fabulous.

Remember Pantone’s colors for Fall 2018? Here’s a little reminder.

PANTONE-Fall-2018-FCR-Colors-Feat-1

This season’s palette is gorgeous. Red Pear and Valiant Poppy are two colors that really suit my complexion and hair color, and I had what I call a secondhand score shopping session – I found several pieces I’ve been patiently seeking, and I LOVE them!

i see red, and a little quetzal green

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I have wanted red oxfords for a long time. And I found unworn – meaning BRAND NEW – Cole Haan suede red wingtip oxfords. So comfortable, so stylish. I also found Quetzal Green – Pantone’s fancy name for teal – block-heel pumps. I’ll wear these with dresses and skirts, but also cropped raw-hem jeans, which instantly bumps up the level of dress and style of the outfit.

I’ve been looking for a longer (tea length), flowy red dress since I saw a gorgeous one on someone earlier this summer. This Red Pear geometric print one is perfect – it has a built-in tie at the waist, and sometimes I’ll put a structured belt right over that for more polish. A bonus is the other faux wrap-style dress, which combines fall colors and has flirty, but not too fussy, ruffles. I’ll wear this with my cowboy boots for fun and dress it up with booties or pumps.

The two blouses are perfect for wearing with jeans or dress pants. The contemporary bell sleeves on the solid one are just right for me – some bell sleeves render your hands practically useless with all the excess fabric, which is a total deal breaker for me. And I love the cutout embellishments. The dark floral is just what I was looking for to wear with dark-wash jeans – and the block-heel pumps! – and to pair with slim-leg ankle pants or a fitted skirt.

Happy Fall!

1 white linen top 3 ways for summer fun

A basic white linen top can be the foundation for great summer outfits, bumping up the polish from a knit tee and keeping you cool at the same time.

Everything I’m wearing – with the exception of the tassel necklace (a travel purchase), the belt (made in the USA), and the polka dot scarf (a gift) – was purchased new-to-me, including the shoes. Right now is a great time to shop consignment – the summer sales are on! #secondhandfirst

with cropped jeans

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Cropped jeans (with a contemporary raw hem – mine are DIY!) and comfy neutral wedge sandals make a simple, polished outfit for knocking around or casual going out. A long skinny silk scarf as a belt adds a pop of fun.

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white on white

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White on white is bright and fresh for summer, and the gold metallic strappy flat sandals (Stuart Weitzman, unworn, and a steal at consignment prices) complement the monochromatic look. Tie a small silk square scarf into a bracelet for a fashion-forward splash of color and head to your favorite patio for cocktails and dining al fresco.

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with bright shorts

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Feel put together for daytime fun with bright shorts and sandals good for walking. I love the embroidered anchor print on these shorts – I’m a sucker for preppy, throwback styles!  Partial-tuck the top (notice I did this in all three looks for body definition) and add a belt for further polish. Casual, but intentional.

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Stay cool!

 

i ♥ resale: Elite Repeat

In honor of Earth Day last year, I posted a roundup of consignment and resale clothing shops in the Twin Cities. We are fortunate to have a broad selection of choices – each having its own niche in the market.

As we mark Earth Day tomorrow, I’m celebrating practicing sustainable consumerism with the first in a periodic series, I ♥ Resale, featuring local consignment shops.

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elite repeat

Elite Repeat is a gem. Located on Randolph Avenue at Hamline in St. Paul, the shop celebrated its 40th Anniversary last fall. After 18 years as an employee, Melissa “Missy” Auran took ownership of Elite Repeat in 2014, and she has brought a fresh eye, tone, and energy in her new role.

Elite Repeat features “designer and on-trend clothing and accessories.” The consignment portion of the shop has recently been augmented with an increased selection of new jewelry, scarves, and “giftables,” many of which are Minnesota-made.

Elite Repeat’s selection is appealing to women of all ages and styles – classic, contemporary, trendy, and couture. You will find higher-end mall brands like JCrew, Talbots, and Banana Republic, all the way up to Burberry, Prada, Chanel, and St. John. They also have a nice selection of outerwear, athletic wear (think Athleta, Lululemon, and more), accessories and handbags, and shoes.

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Melissa Auran

“Customer service is really important to us – it’s how we distinguish ourselves. We want Elite Repeat to feel like a boutique – and we want people to feel good when they are here, whether they buy something or not.”  ~Missy Auran

Elite Repeat is very selective in what it accepts for consignment: “Items need to be in excellent condition and current [3 or less years old, unless a timeless designer piece],” according to Missy. “We have a very large and loyal consigner base, and we are always looking for new consigners – from teens to grandparents.”

This makes shopping easier – I know when I do a personal shopping session with a client at Elite Repeat that the clothing will be like brand new. And the staff is careful about not overcrowding the racks, which can get overwhelming and frustrating. If you are looking for a particular item, they will bring out any extra stock for you.

The staff regularly refreshes displays and creates an appealing, relaxing environment to shop in while featuring their offerings.

Once a customer told Missy, “This is the one store where I can shop together with my mom. At the mall we have to shop in separate stores to find what each of us likes.”

Elite Repeat has a fabulous selection of dresses, workwear, and casual pieces.

Elite Repeat reliably has gorgeous shoes – from casual, like these on trend for summer espadrilles, to drool-worthy high end designer brands.

Handbags range from good quality mall brands to designer, like the Kate Spade one on the left. They are always in excellent condition and reflect contemporary styles.

A portion of the shop features “giftables,” many Minnesota-made. You will find lotions, house decor, accessories, and more.

Missy’s first job in retail was at Dayton’s! Elite Repeat just started carrying Bygone Brand Apparel’s homage to the historic department store’s iconic logo. You can find memories of Elite Repeat’s original concept of couture consignment in decor like these vintage department store hatboxes.

giving back

For a second year, Elite Repeat is celebrating Earth Day (tomorrow, Saturday, April 22!) by giving a portion of the day’s sales to plant trees in the community through Friends Of The Parks And Trails Of St Paul And Ramsey County.

The shop also holds a food drive two times a year in conjunction with their seasonal clearance sales in July and February. Shoppers receive 75% (instead of 50%) off all items with a food or cash donation to The Food Group.

And Elite Repeat supports organizations like Dress for Success, the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota, and Operation Glass Slipper by donating all unsold merchandise at the end of the season, and consigners receive the tax donation slips for their items. Consigners can also donate their earnings to an organization of their choice.

when you go

You will receive a warm welcome and a great selection of new-to-you clothing at Elite Repeat. As Missy says – and I couldn’t agree more, “We want people to wear what makes them feel good!”

 

 

summer clearance season has begun!

Consignment stores everywhere have begun their summer clearance sales – now is the time to find amazing new-to-you pieces at astonishing prices. Summer items are marked 50-75% off, meaning that many high quality top-brand and designer pieces are available for less than $10. Sometimes even less than $5. 

This sale season is a great way to explore new-to-you shopping as well as new brands and styles. You will be pleasantly surprised at what you find!

in the twin cities

Check out my resource guide, Earth Day Everyday: A Resource Guide to Shopping New-To-You in the Twin Cities, for the lowdown on the incredible selection of consignment stores here.

Sale highlights:

Clothes Mentor (multiple locations): 50-70% off
Elite Repeat (St. Paul): Official sale begins August 6, but many items are already 50% off
Nu Look (Minneapolis): 50% off
Second Debut (St. Louis Park; sadly, the St. Paul location closed recently!): 30% off
Turn Style (multiple locations): 50%-75% off

Earth Day everyday: a resource guide to shopping new-to-you in the Twin Cities

guilt-free style: practicing sustainable consumerism – part 2

Today we celebrate Earth Day. This month’s posts honor the tenets of Earth Day by exploring how we, as clothing consumers, can reduce our impact on the environment in practical, doable ways and feel great about how we look at the same time. Read on – knowledge leads to action.

I heart resale

We shouldn’t have to choose between feeling good about how we look and feeling good about what we buy.

In my last post, I discussed the human rights and environmental implications of the manufacture of most new clothing today. Super cheerful stuff (NOT), but extremely important.

So what do we do about it? Here’s my formula for feeling good about how we look, AND feeling good about what we buy.

We can practice sustainable consumerism with our wardrobes (and the rest of our stuff, really) by:

  1. Maximizing the functionality of your existing wardrobe.
  2. Shopping new-to-you whenever possible when purchasing clothing.
  3. When buying new, shopping ethically.

Below is a resource guide for shopping new-to-you in the Twin Cities – use this as a tool to take action as a sustainable consumer. We are fortunate to have many, many resale shops here, making our choices for new-to-you clothing easy to find and wide in selection.

Resale shops range from non-profit/charitable organization thrift stores to upscale couture consignment shops. Thrift stores have wonderful finds and are economically the most beneficial, but require more searching and patience.

Consignment/resale shops do the editing for us, selecting high-quality, up-to-date garments that are in good condition before putting them on the sales floor. The price point at consignment stores is typically 1/3 or less of the retail price, creating an affordable way to purchase better-made, longer-lasting garments while keeping those garments in the use stream – rather than the waste stream – at the same time. Most shops also carry accessories and jewelry, handbags, and shoes in good condition.

This list gives a good overview of the wide range of consignment/resale shops in the Twin Cities. If you have a favorite that isn’t on the list, please do include it in the comments below. I’ve organized the guide by primary stock categories, typical price range (remember – 1/3 or less of retail prices, so $ means many items are under $10!), how the resale process works, and whether it’s an independent shop or a franchise.

In upcoming posts, I will feature specific stores to give a closer look at the shops I typically choose for my clients and why. I’ll also discuss where to shop ethically when buying new. If you have a favorite consignment/resale shop or ethical brand you’d like to see featured, comment below!

shopping new-to-you in the Twin Cities: a resource guide

women and men

Clothes Mentor (multiple locations)   website

Women’s sizes 0-26 | $ – $$ | Mall brands – designer | Resale Process: cash outright | Minnesota-based national franchise

Elite Repeat (St. Paul)   website

Women’s sizes 0-16 | $$ | High-level and designer brands | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

Encore (St. Paul)   facebook page

Women’s sizes 0-26 | $$ | High-level and designer brands | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

Encore Designer Consignment Boutique (Eden Prairie)   website

Women’s sizes 0-3X | $$ – $$$ | High-level and designer brands | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

Nu Look (Minneapolis)   website

Women’s sizes 0-16, Men’s, Children’s | $$ – $$$ | High-level and designer brands | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

Second Début (St. Louis Park)   website

Women’s – all sizes, Men’s | $$ – $$$ | High-level and designer brands | Resale process: donated goods from Goodwill | Non-profit organization

Style Encore (multiple locations)   website

Women’s sizes 0-4X | $ – $$$ | Mall brands – designer | Resale process: cash outright | Minnesota-based national franchise

Turn Style (multiple locations)   website

Women’s – all sizes, Men’s, Children’s | $ – $$$ | Mall brands – designer | Resale process: consignment | National franchise

high-end/designer/couture

Fashion Avenue & Fashion Avenue 2 (Edina, Wayzata)   website

Women’s sizes 0-16, Men’s | $$ – $$$$ | High-level brands – Couture | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

June (Minneapolis)   website

Women’s sizes XS – L | $$$ – $$$$ | Designer and couture | Resale process: cash outright | Independent shop

Mona Williams (Mall of America)   website

Women’s sizes 0-14 | $$$ – $$$$ | Designer and couture | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

Rodeo Drive (Minneapolis)   website

Women’s sizes 0-18 | $$ – $$$$ | High-level brands – couture | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

eclectic/vintage

b.  (Minneapolis)   website

Women’s sizes 0-16, Men’s | $ – $$ | Streetwear and vintage | Resale process: cash outright or store credit | Independent shop

Buffalo Exchange (multiple locations)   website

Women’s sizes 0-16, Men’s | $ – $$ | Mall brands and vintage | Resale process: cash outright or store trade| National franchise

Everyday People (St. Paul)   website

Women’s 0-16, Men’s | $ – $$ | Funky and vintage | Resale process: cash outright | Independent shop

My Sister’s Closet (Minneapolis)   website

Women’s sizes 0-16 | $$ – $$$ | High-level brands, designer, vintage | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

teen/young adult

Gina+Will (Minneapolis)   website

Girl’s sizes 0-3X, Guy’s | $ | Mall brands | Resale process: donated goods from Goodwill | Non-profit organization

NTY Clothing Exchange (multiple locations)   website

Girl’s sizes 1-19, Guy’s | $ | Mall brands | Resale process: cash outright or store credit | Minnesota-based national franchise

Plato’s Closet (multiple locations)   website

Girl’s sizes 0-20, Guy’s | $ | Mall brands | Resale process: cash outright or store trade | Minnesota-based national franchise

children

(Children’s sizes only)
Children’s Orchard (multiple locations)   website

Baby – Kid’s size 16 | $ | Resale process: cash outright or store credit | Minnesota-based national franchise

Kid’s Carousel (Eagan)   website

Baby – Kid’s size 16 | $ | Resale process: cash outright | Independent shop

Once Upon a Child (multiple locations)   website

Baby – Kid’s size 16 | $ | Resale process: cash outright | Minnesota-based national franchise

(Children’s sections)
Nu Look (Minneapolis)   website

Baby – Kid’s size 16 | $ – $$ | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

Turn Style (multiple locations)   website

Kid’s sizes 2T – 16 | $ | Resale process: consignment | National franchise

Choose-to-Reuse

what’s the story of our clothing?

guilt-free style: practicing sustainable consumerism – part 1

On April 22 we celebrate Earth Day. This month’s posts will honor the tenets of Earth Day by exploring how we, as clothing consumers, can reduce our impact on the environment in practical, doable ways and feel great about how we look at the same time. Read on – knowledge leads to action.

what’s the story of our clothing?

Do we really know? Who makes it and where? How are those workers treated and paid? What resources are used in its manufacture? What pollution is created as a result? What are the real costs of transport, including energy use? What happens to clothing when we throw it away?

the true cost graphic

the true cost

Frankly, it’s a lot easier to live without knowing the answers to these questions, because they are grim. There IS hope, however.

A few weeks back I participated in a panel discussion following a screening of the powerful documentary The True Cost, which grapples with these ethical issues surrounding the fashion industry and, particularly, “fast fashion.” The film is a wake-up call to the industry and consumers alike. The way we produce our clothing today systematically supports the violation of human rights of garment factory workers as well as takes an enormous toll on the environment and human health.

Hosted by the department of Apparel, Merchandising, and Design at St. Catherine University, the screening was attended by ~200 people, and an interesting discussion with film director Andrew Morgan, myself, and a professor of philosophy at St. Kate’s delved into changes that must occur in the fashion industry’s practices as well as consumer behaviors.

My contributions addressed specifically the latter – consumer behaviors. The tagline for nancy dilts wardrobe consulting is “style for everyday: new to you – true to you.” I launched this business because I want to help others feel great about how they look AND to share the model of practicing sustainable consumerism.

the grim part

We want to feel fashionable and attractive by staying current with our clothing. And we want inexpensive clothing. Fast fashion is the culmination of those demands, providing new trends at an affordable price – for the consumer, that is. The true costs (thus, the title of the film) of creating our clothing are hidden.

Fast fashion has utterly changed how we perceive clothing and fashion. Trends are now weekly, rather than twice a year (Fall and Spring), causing a fevered desire for new things constantly to feel in style. And clothing is so inexpensive – and cheap in quality – that it has become considered to be a disposable item. It only cost $5.99, so who cares if I wear it only once or twice? I’ll just get a new one.

But we should care. Though WE are not bearing the actual costs of this approach, other human beings and the environment are and at an enormous cost. Workers in developing nations who manufacture most clothing today are paid pennies a day and work in conditions that first-world nations, including the United States, would never allow.

Practices utilized to grow cotton and to create other fibers for our clothing and to manufacture garments pollute the environment and impact the health of surrounding communities. Billions of garments are manufactured annually and are transported around the world to consumers like us, who wear them just a short time before throwing them away and moving on to the next item, continuing the cycle.

“There was a time, not too long ago, when well-made clothes were standard, available in catalogues, malls, and chain stores. Sweaters were often hand-knit, jackets were tailored and lined, and dresses had blind hems. A look through a JCPenney catalogue from 1990 shows that most clothing was still made in the U.S. as recently as 25 years ago.
What’s changed since then, in addition to products’ quality, is consumers’ expectations about price. The cost of clothing was in a period of deflation for almost 20 years before edging up more recently. That drop was largely the result of the globalization of the fashion industry and the movement of garment manufacturing from unionized shops in the United States and other developed countries to low-wage factories with few environmental regulations, most of them in Asia.
Americans also buy a lot more clothing than they once did, on average 64 items and more than seven pairs of shoes per year—double what they bought annually in the 1990s.” –Elizabeth Cline, The Atlantic

In the last few years, the unethical practices of the fashion industry have been exposed by the deaths of thousands of garment workers in building collapses and fires, and the call for change is sounding. There are several startup ethical brands, and some high-end designers are shifting towards ethical manufacturing and transparency in their practices. A cohort of journalists, filmmakers, and activists are advocating for systemic change as well.

The supply and demand relationship between the fashion industry and consumers is like the chicken and the egg dilemma. Who needs to act first to make change – the industry or consumers? We grappled with this in the panel discussion at film screening.

I believe both must happen and that the power of numbers can drive change. We see this with other human rights issues; when enough people will no longer stand for something, change occurs.

Howard Zinn quote

the hope part

Consumer behaviors, if in significant numbers, CAN drive industry practices. If enough consumers shift away from supporting unethical practices, the industry will be forced to respond. By becoming aware of the real impacts of our purchasing choices – and acting accordingly – we can reduce demand for fast fashion.

How do we do that? We can’t wear the same clothes for the rest of our lives!

Here are three action steps you can take with your wardrobe to make the shift to sustainable consumerism:

  1. Maximize the functionality of your existing wardrobe.
  2. Shop new-to-you whenever possible when purchasing clothing.
  3. When buying new, shop ethically.
buyerarchy of needs

Graphic by Sarah Lazarovic: Source

maximize your existing wardrobe

Most of us have too many clothes in our closets, many of which we never wear. Purging ill-fitting, outdated, and worn out items is the first step in making the clothes you already own more functional. These items bog down your wardrobe and make it hard to even SEE the possibilities with clothing that does work. Less IS more. Read posts about making your wardrobe more functional here.

shop new-to-you

Shopping new-to-you is the most practical, and effective, way to be a sustainable consumer. Keeping high-quality clothing in the use stream reduces waste as well as demand for the manufacture of new clothing. It is also economically more feasible at 1/3 or less of retail prices, allowing consumers to purchase higher-quality garments that will last longer at affordable prices.

shop ethically

Sometimes we must buy new. When we do so, investing in high-quality pieces that last in both construction and style is a must. There are many brands selling ethically made clothing, and yes, much of it is expensive. By first shopping new-to-you, your budget will allow the purchase of fewer, but enduring, high-quality new items.

We shouldn’t have to choose between feeling good about how we look and feeling good about what we buy.

We shouldn’t have to choose between feeling good about how we look and feeling good about what we buy. The story of our clothing can change, and we can be a part of that. Watch The True Cost. Become informed and then share that knowledge with others. We, together, can make change in our consumer practices, one new-to-you garment at a time.

Stay tuned for my next post – a resource guide for shopping new-to-you in the Twin Cities and shopping ethically!

how to: jumpstart spring with silk scarves

Silk scarves – think Hermès and classic French style – continue to be on trend and are a perfect, easy way to help an outfit feel fresh and bright for Spring. Silk (or well-made faux-silk) instantly bumps up polish and style in a casual outfit and adds an element of dressy fun and interest to workwear.

And they are easy to come by. Most of us have vintage scarves from our grandmothers, mothers, and even ourselves hanging out in our dressers. You can also easily find them new-to-you at very affordable prices.

“How do I wear them without looking like an old lady?” you say.

First, don’t wear it this way. The Queen is allowed, but we aren’t, unless we are riding in a vintage convertible and channeling Grace Kelly.

The key is to make the scarf the statement piece and to go for simple, clean lines with the rest of the outfit. The French look fabulous with their scarves because they pair them with classic pieces like a blue blazer, a crisp white or striped collared shirt, or a simple shift dress. Going otherwise monochromatic with the outfit is a great contemporary way to wear them. Navy, black, white, and gray are good colors for highlighting the print of a silk scarf.

The scarf print is entirely up to you – I’m drawn to bold floral and geometric prints. You can go classic with paisley or more traditional florals or embrace signature designer styles. Do choose scarves that have saturated colors – you want it to pop, not wash out your complexion.

Check out these super simple ties and have fun!

the classic knot

Use a small square scarf folded in a triangle and then rolled with the points tucked inside. Take care to make a tidy knot, and wear it in front or off to the side. I’m wearing it with a boatneck tee here, and you can also pair it with a collared shirt or jacket.

the choker tie

choker tie

If you feel too much like a 1970s stewardess wearing the classic knot (you aren’t!), you can push the knot to the back for a choker tie. A collar or your hair can cover the knot, or you can sweep your hair up in a bun or ponytail to highlight the knot.

the French twist

french twist tie

This tie works best with a long, skinny scarf like the one I’m wearing, or you can triangle-fold and roll a large square. Start from the front of your neck and wrap the scarf around once or twice, depending on how long you want the tails of the scarf to be. Make a tidy knot off to the side.

the loose tie

loose knot

Triangle-fold and roll a large square and make a low, loose knot. This goes particularly well with a blazer or over a fitted, collared shirt. Aim for the knot hitting just above the bustline for balanced lines, and plump the scarf a little above the knot for a soft look.

the wrist tie

wrist tie

This is a colorful alternative to a bracelet and has oodles of style. I tied this one ALL BY MYSELF using the method in this tutorial with one tweak: I did the slipknot on the outside of my wrist and tied the final knot on the inside so I could use both hands to tie it and then slid it around. You can use a long skinny scarf as demonstrated in the tutorial, or a small square triangle-folded and rolled like I did.

the purse tie

purse tie

So easy. And so fun! Tie a small square in a classic knot around one purse handle. Fabulous. (Hint: No other scarves when one is on your purse – overkill.)

where to buy

My favorite places to buy new-to-you scarves in the Twin Cities are Second Debut in St. Louis Park and St. Paul, Elite Repeat in St. Paul, and Fashion Avenue in Edina.

Second Debut is owned by Goodwill and pulls designer and high quality items from their donations to sell there. They consistently have gorgeous vintage silk scarves – I purchased the skinny black and blue floral, the neutral circle print, and the orange and pink geometric print scarves there.

The long multi-colored swirl print scarf is from Elite Repeat, and I have found several other scarves there as well, including a long skinny silk Coach scarf in winter colors.

If you have a yen for designer scarves, Hermès included, Fashion Avenue is the place to go. I purchased a gorgeous textured plum winter scarf by Armani Collezioni for a fraction of its original price there last month. Their stock is just lovely.

your turn

What silk scarves do you have hiding in your wardrobe? Pull them out and give them a whirl for Spring! Often they have memories of loved ones attached to them as well – post a picture of your favorite and share a memory in the comments below.

why do new-to-you?

the true cost graphic

join me

On Thursday, February 18, the documentary The True Cost will be screened at O’Shaughnessy Auditorium at St. Catherine University. A panel discussion, including the film’s director Andrew Morgan participating via videoconferencing, will follow the screening. And I am thrilled to be a part of the live panel!

This powerful film embodies why I am passionate about new-to-you clothing and why I want to share that passion with my clients at ndwc, readers, and anyone else who will listen.

here’s why

The “cradle to grave” cycle of a garment illustrates the impacts, environmental and otherwise, of that garment – beginning with its manufacture, its transport and use throughout its lifespan, and then in the waste stream. In each step of this cycle, a single garment – just one of the billions of garments created every year – has impact. Even when we throw a garment away, it continues to have lasting impact. Out of sight is not really out of mind.

The True Cost takes an eyes-wide-open look at the implications of “fast fashion” in particular, and the human rights and environmental impacts that result. I won’t spoil the film with too many details, but it is a compelling call for change in how the fashion industry operates, and how we as consumers participate.

That’s where I get up on my ndwc soapbox and shout it out to the people!

Feeling good about how you look is important. Really important. Remember, my tagline is style for everyday: new to you, true to you. The true-to-you part is all about feeling good (more on that). And feeling contemporary and polished contributes to feeling good. Which means that you do need to replace clothes that are worn out, don’t fit well, or are outdated.

So how do you do that, and be a sustainable consumer at the same time?

Shopping new-to-you.

New-to-you clothing at consignment stores = gorgeous, high-quality clothing. Clothing that is not fast fashion, meaning it is made to last. It is being kept out of the waste stream, prolonging its useful life and, at the same time, reducing demand for the manufacture of new garments.

The power of numbers! The more consumers shop new-to-you, the less demand there will be.

Join me in watching The True Cost. You will be inspired.

details

The True Cost, a film by Andrew Morgan

Thursday, February 18, 7 PM

O’Shaughnessy Auditorium, St. Catherine University, St. Paul

Order tickets

Presented with St. Catherine University’s Social Events and Experiences for Katies (SEEK), Fashion Association, Alumnae Relations, Biology Club, and Dept. of Apparel, Merchandising, and Design

Read more about The True Cost in my guest post, Nancy Dilts on Sustainable Style, on Already Pretty last summer.

trends for fall 2015

As the weather becomes crisp and the idea of layering and cozying up in sweaters becomes appealing, it’s time to take stock of your wardrobe to shift into fall. While retailers would like you to purchase a whole new fall wardrobe, there are likely many items you already own that can be paired in new ways to create outfits that feel new and contemporary.

Adding “on trend” accessories, shoes, and colors can help outfits feel fresh in an economically and environmentally sustainable way. And many accessories or statement pieces can be found new-to-you.

Fashion designer Caroline Herrera’s statement, “Fashion has always been a repetition of ideas, but what makes it new is the way you put it together,” is one of my favorites (here and here). I keep coming back to it because it is so. very. true.

what goes around comes around

When you follow fashion trends, you see things come around again and again. Style tweaks or different pairings make them contemporary for the time. Take jumpsuits: very on trend right now, as they were in the 70s and again in the 90s.

trends for fall 2015: jumpsuits across the decades

Jumpsuits – 1970s denim, 1990s floral, contemporary denim : Photos – Pinterest: terrebella*moda; Etsy: Twitch Vintage; Young at Style

The contemporary jumpsuit on the right is full body denim on denim, a trend that is still going strong. I love the trend, but the jumpsuit gives me pause. Perhaps it’s because I rocked both the 70s (good times grade-school fashion) and the 90s versions (remember, Amy?? I know you do), and three times around is just one too many. But that’s just me – if you love the jumpsuit look, go for it! And if you have one from the 70s hanging around in your closet, you’re golden – the contemporary versions are channeling that vintage look.

The same goes for culottes and flared jeans: both big in the 70s, flares again in the 2000s, and both big again now. Denim flared culottes are the ultimate mash-up. Wear culottes with a heeled ankle boot, ankle-strap pump, or loafer and flares with wedges or heels to highlight the cut.

trends for fall 2015: flares and culottes

Denim on denim flares, camel culottes, flared denim culottes : Photos – Style is my Pudding; Mango; Anthropologie

fall colors

Burnt orange, oxblood (a very dark burgundy), olive and navy paired together, and neutrals are hot colors this fall. A scarf, handbag or shoes in one of these rich, saturated colors can bring an updated look to a classic outfit, or a single statement piece highlights the trend.

trends for fall 2015: fall colors

Fall colors – neutrals, burnt orange, olive and navy, oxblood and camel : Photos – Memorandum; Always Becoming; Pinterest: Mamabee; Catherine Nicole

Neutrals like winter white, taupe, camel, grey, and oatmeal can be paired with any of the bolder colors or worn on their own in a soft mélange of knits and other fluid fabrics. Be careful to complement skin tone and hair color when wearing neutrals, as they can wash out your complexion if not the right mix for your coloring. Gingham (another classic that’s come back around) continues from spring and summer; navy, oxblood, or black gingham pair well with olive and camel for fall.

 

accessories

Tassels on necklaces, handbags, and shoes. Rope belts (with tassels too). Blanket scarves, silk scarves, and bandanas. Surprisingly, brooches. All are hot accessories this season. Again, many of these are retro – pull out your mother’s vintage silk scarf or brooch to change up the look of an outfit. Tie a scarf or bandana in a classic knot around the neck or wrist or wear a large silk scarf rolled and draped from the neck loose and long. And the stylish Panama hat of summer has morphed into the wide-brimmed fedora for cooler weather.

trends for fall 2015: accessories

 

trends for fall 2015: scarves

Bandana, classic silk scarf, burnt orange blanket scarf : Photos – WhoWhatWear; Pinterest: Style Spy; Still Being Molly

shoes

Ankle-strap pumps, sandals, and flats, ankle boots with a slightly taller shaft, and classic loafers and brogues (aka oxfords) are all over the style blogs right now. Ankle straps that buckle or tie (tassels show up here as well) add a lovely embellishment to classic styles. Ankle boots with a slightly taller shaft and chunkier low or mid-heels appear in classic colors and in fashion-forward prints. Loafers and lace-up brogues in non-traditional colors riff on menswear for a sleek, sophisticated look.

trends for fall 2015: shoes

 

There is a lot of room for expressing your own personal style with this season’s trends. You can go for a classic, clean-lined tailored look, a retro look – both mod-60s or retro-70s, or a softer look with neutrals combined with black or white. And don’t be afraid to mix it up a little and try a color or pairing you haven’t before or even embrace a trend full-on – vintage and new-to-you finds are the perfect way to be bold with styles you’ve never tried or want to wear a second (or third) time around. Maybe I will too.

Yeah. I rocked it.

Yeah. I rocked the jumpsuit.