Monday, February 25, 2013

Navy blues

dress/coat/belt: vintage | shoes: Charlotte Russe | hat: borrowed (ahem) from my mom

My new job is pretty amazing, but I have to say that one of my favorite things about it is that I'm finally downtown. Suddenly, I'm close to everything - which means I can finally explore the city like I've never done before. Case in point: there was a little vintage shop that I passed a couple of times on the bus a couple years ago, but I never could make out what it was called. I tracked it down last week and walked over on my lunch break...and to nobody's surprise, I walked out one 1950's dress richer. I almost didn't try it on - I didn't even see it at first - but I'm so glad I took the extra minute to search deeper in the racks of clothing. The lace has a definite vintage flair, but in a way that also looks very of-the-moment. (It's sheer, for one thing.) It's also a slightly larger size than I normally wear, which I actually love - it makes the dress feel comfortable and chic without being fussy.

It really felt wonderful to add another vintage piece to my wardrobe. I've been noticing a trend in myself: lately, I've been buying more and more new pieces and letting the vintage pieces collect dust (well, figuratively, anyway). There's nothing inherently wrong with a style changing, but vintage will always be very special to me, and I'd like to get back to my roots in that sense. It was vintage clothing that first got me interested in personal style; you wouldn't be reading this blog if I hadn't discovered a few fashion blogs that centered around the writers' latest finds. I didn't get interested in style until relatively late in the game, and I don't know if I ever would have if I hadn't found those blogs. 

What about you? Have you always loved clothes, or was there something that sparked it later on?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Spotlight on: Clothing Matters

A couple Saturdays ago I had the privilege of interviewing Marta Swain, owner of a local boutique that specializes in eco-friendly and fair-trade clothing, for my monthly magazine column. Sadly, my column couldn't afford me nearly enough space to share all of the fascinating stories and awesome pictures I left with. But here on my blog, I've got unlimited space! Sustainability isn't a topic I bring up too often on this blog, but I think it's far too important not to bring it up every once in a while.

Marta's shop is called Clothing Matters, and as anyone who has visited will tell you, it really does matter. How many of us get dressed without even really thinking about it? I've got to raise my hand as one of the guilty ones here. I think about colors, patterns, proportions, textures...but I rarely stop to consider where my clothing comes from. The answer often isn't pretty. As Marta shared with me, conventionally-grown cotton is one of the worst environmental offenders: it's the crop most heavily treated with carcinogenic chemicals and pesticides, and it's incredibly water intensive. Not exactly sustainable! But even beyond the myriad environmental issues, fast fashion is responsible for a great deal of economic and social injustice. Workers around the globe are paid next to nothing and have to work in unsafe conditions. (I'm generalizing, but it all too often holds true.)

So what's an eco-conscious girl to wear? Luckily, there are plenty of options - and before you dismiss it as "not your thing," take note that this isn't just for hippies. Yes, there's clothing made out of hemp and bamboo and soy (all wonderful fabrics), but there are also divinely soft shirts made of organic cotton - and, though you'd never know it by looking, some are also made of recycled bottles. And then there's downright luxurious "peace silk," which is made through a process that, unlike regular silk, doesn't kill the silkworms and is made without harmful dyes. I seriously don't think I've ever felt anything more wonderful on my can count on that teal dress making its way to my closet soon! (top photo)

As a consumer that's increasingly aware of the impact of my purchases, to me, Clothing Matters is a breath of fresh air. We may never be able to make the footprint of our clothing completely disappear, but buying eco-friendly clothing is at least taking that footprint in the right direction.

So, if you ever visit Grand Rapids, I encourage you to pop in to Clothing Matters to see, as Marta says, "just how good clothing can be." I look forward to returning and sharing some new finds with you! But first: What are your thoughts on the issue of eco-conscious clothing? Do you own any yourself, and do you have any favorite environmentally-friendly shops?

Note: This was not a sponsored post - I just loved the shop so much that I wanted to share it with you! :)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thursday Three: 2.21.13

If you know me at all, you're probably laughing at least a little bit right now. Why? Because this dress is probably the most predictable item on the planet I could possibly fall in love with. But can we talk about how perfect it is for just a sec? It's the most lovely shade of yellow (it comes in four other colors, if you prefer), it has a back cutout that doesn't infringe on bra territory, it was made in the USA, it has a full skirt and a not-too-twee bow, it can be dressed up or down...I could go on, as you can imagine, but I'll leave it there. (Okay, one last thing - it has pockets!) Suffice it to say that I'm delighted to have stumbled upon Fleet Collection's website. (Thanks, Instagram!)

Normally, I could hardly care less about fashion collections. But time and time again, I find myself smitten by Orla Kiely's lovely designs - and this year is no exception. I would love to step right into these photos taken by Carrie of WishWishWish...but I'll have to settle for painting my nails dark, searching for a sweet collared dress, and perfecting my beehive.

And now for something completely unrelated to clothing: check out this ridiculously adorable little guy! I don't know too much about him, except that he was rescued by an animal shelter some time ago and he's just about the cutest thing I've ever seen. I've come across this photo a few times, and I've never been able to stop myself from squealing out loud. How could I not share the cute?

That's it for this week! What are three things you're loving this Thursday?

p.s. - I've given my blog love page a long-overdue update, so head on over to see which blogs I've been loving lately!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Everything in its right place

dress: ModCloth | scarf: Charlotte Russe | cardigan & shoes: Target | belt: vintage

I can hardly think of a more apt description of my life than the title of the Radiohead song that is lending its name to this post. A month ago, I wouldn't have believed that I could be this content, but now I've got the job of my dreams, my little sister just got engaged to a wonderful guy, I've got a new niece on the way, and opportunities are opening up everywhere. Perhaps it makes for boring blog entries, but I'm really quite excited for both the present and the future.

I've come across some criticism of bloggers that are too cheerful, too happy about their lives. In a way, I understand; it can come across as insincere or some form of bragging: look how perfect my life is! I get that. No one wants to read something that sounds too fake. (I know I don't, at least!) But on the other hand, I don't think there is anything wrong with celebrating the good times...and for me, this is one of them. So I'm going to keep on being joyful - remembering all the while, of course, not to pass up on chances to grow and challenge myself.

But joy can never be full unless it's shared. So, tell me, lovelies - what's good in your life right now?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


top: Ruche | lady tie: Flapper Girl | skirt: vintage | tights: Walgreens | wedges: Target

While it would probably be hyperbole to call this my favorite outfit ever, I think I can say that this is definitely my favorite outfit right now. There are a few specific reasons why - I'm having a love affair with gingham/plaid right now, and I just think lady ties make everything look classier - but beyond that, it just makes me feel amazing. The minute I put it on, I'm suddenly confident and ready to tackle just about anything. I wore it to my recent interview and I wore it again on my first day on the job (which, by the way, is incredible - I could hardly be happier!). Truth be told, I think I've worn it just about once a week for the last month and a half...because, well, why wouldn't I? It's hard to ignore a feeling that wonderful.

So I'd like to have a word with anyone who thinks clothing is superficial and can't make a difference. Of course, I don't think it's wise to rely completely on clothing to make yourself feel good, and we'd all do well to judge books by their covers just a little less often. But never underestimate a lady who's wearing the right outfit on the right occasion. She's unstoppable.