Sustainable Spring Style on a Budget

peacock dress Sustainable Spring Style on a Budget

One of the most common objections that I hear from people about choosing to shop more sustainably for their clothes is that it would cost more and there isn’t as much choice. In the past this may of been the case but now, I think their is a huge range of choice of ethical and sustainable fashion for all budgets ranging from luxurious designer pieces right through to more affordable fashion. In many ways sustainability and frugality go hand in hand. Here are my tips for greening your style for spring on a budget.

Buy Less, Choose Well

OK, I stole (or borrowed) this one from Vivienne Westwood but it really does sum up the easiest way on how we can become more sustainable, and save money too. Check out what you already have in you wardrobe, what you need or want. I always try and assess any clothes for value before buying by working out how much I am likely to wear them. I think about when I could wear them, what in my wardrobe they would go with and how long they are likely to last in terms of style and quality. I always try and wait a few days before buying to make sure that it is something I really want.

Cash In On Clothes That You Don’t Wear

Spring is the perfect time to have a good clear out of your wardrobe and any clothes that you no longer wear may be worth some money. You can try selling them through ebay a website like musicmagpie.co.uk or bigwardrobe.com or even take them to a clothes agency if you have one nearby. A newly organised wardrobe will also make it easier for you to find something to wear in the mornings and know what you already have to avoid buying more of the same.

Shop for of Sustainable Fashion with Discount Codes and in Sales 

If you really can’t afford to buy from a sustainable or ethical fashion brand, you can look out for discount codes for sustainable fashion. The high quality and timeless styles of most of these brands will usually make them a really good investment. As most of the styles won’t go out of fashion, you should easily be able to find something amazing that is relevant for spring in the sales. Here is a quick summary of the sales and discounts at style-is.co.uk at the moment.

15% off at People Tree until 21st April
15% off at Fashion Conscience until 30th April including Ruby Rocks, Komodo, SkunkFunk & Melie Bianco (vegan handbags)
15% off sustainable brands at Surfdome including Patagonia, Seasalt Cornwall, Monkee Genes, Rapanui and Seasalt Cornwall
Up to 20% off sustainable shoes at Spartoo including Timberland, Dream in Green and Swedish Hasbeens
£5 off sustainable fashion at Zalando when you spend over £50 including Komodo, People Tree, Kuyichi and Patagonia
8% vintage and ethical brands at Rock My Vintage - Including Nancy Dee, Lowie and Tatty Devine
People Tree Sale
Timberland Sale
Seasalt Cornwall Sale

Check out a Charity Shop

Charity shopping has to be one of the most fashionable ways to shop at the moment. It is fun, frugal and eco friendly. The best thing is that you never know what treasure you are going to find and then you can use it to create your own unique outfit. If you don’t have time to trawl the local charity shops, Oxfam Fashion online is a fantastic place to shop. You can search by size, style, colour and brand to find just what you need and there is also a good selection of vintage clothes.

Arrange a Swap Party

If you are really broke arranging a swap party is the perfect way to refresh your wardrobe for spring on a budget. Grab a bottle of wine, some friends with a pile of clothes they no longer want and swap away to your hearts content. The feeling of getting something new from a swap is as good as buying something new and you get a fun evening with your friends into the bargain. If you don’t have enough friends or you are all different sizes, you could try going to an organised swap party, there are lots listed on swishing.org.

Borrow it

If you need something to wear for a one off event, then the simplest option can sometimes be to borrow it. An informal arrangement with friends is great but you can also use the pinkmothballs.com app to help keep track of exactly what you have borrowed from and lent to people. For a special occasion, there is also the option to hire a designer dress from websites like Girl Meets Dress and  Wish Want Wear.

Please feel free to add any more ideas you have in the comments below.

Happy Friday, hope you have a lovely weekend.

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

Image – Peacock Dress by Ruby Rocks at Fashion Conscience

Leopard Print Dress and When Enough is Enough

042 Leopard Print Dress and When Enough is Enough

Dress – Rokit Vintage
Shoes and Belt – High street shops (have had them for ages!)

What a wonderful surprise to get sunshine this weekend, the cold and miserable weather has made me feel quite fed up. The bright weather has even made us feel confident enough to book our first camping trip of the year, I can’t wait! Today I even braved the outdoors to take an outfit picture outdoors. Whilst natural light is supposed to be superior to artificial light for photographs, I can never seem to get the camera  settings right for outside photographs. I am hoping to do some street style photographs for Bath in Fashion so hoping to work it out before then. Any tips greatly received.

0131 Leopard Print Dress and When Enough is Enough

Anyway today I am wearing a leopard print dress which I treated myself to from Rokit Vintage online store (as if I needed any more dresses!) I also got a woollen biker style jacket which I will no doubt be featuring in an outfit soon.

Looking at my wardrobe, it is pretty full now, I don’t really need to buy anything new except trousers which I have major problems buying and so have a complete lack of. I will have to admit there are some pretty amazing sustainable clothes around for spring and I am super tempted especially by the bright prints. The problem is that even buying sustainable fashion is not as sustainable as buying nothing. Perhaps I will treat myself to a few bits if I get money for my birthday but otherwise I think I need to seriously concentrate on enjoying the many clothes that I have instead of buying more!  I also need a good sort out of my wardrobe but not sure I am feeling confident enough about the weather to put away any winter woollies.

When do you decide that enough is enough with your clothes? or do you think that you can never have enough clothes?

I hope that you are having a lovely weekend.

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

Signing Up For The Climate Revolution

149 Signing Up For The Climate Revolution

It has taken me a little time to post this post from last weekend due to boiler breaking down, children off school with snow and generally loads of other stuff going on last week. As Mr S was away with work last Saturday, I decided to take the girls into Bath for lunch and then to pop into Lush to sign up for the Vivienne Westwood Climate Revolution.

The clothes I wore are not particularly sustainable brands except the shoes (Dream in Green) and the bag (Accessorize). However, they have been in my wardrobe for many years and I think that wearing what you have already got instead of buying new this is just about as sustainable as it gets. In fact a key part of Vivienne Westwood’s message for her Climate Revolution is ‘buy less, choose well’ and I am definitely buying less in recent years and the fact that I am still wearing something 5+ years after I originally bought it, I hope means that I have chosen well. It is difficult though to get out that mindset of buying because it is a new season, you are going out somewhere special, you have seen something you just can’t resist or just because you feel like cheering yourself up. I have to constantly challenge myself on this and balance my desire to try out and support ethical brands with reducing my consumption.

How long do you tend to keep a piece of clothing for? and when you buy something new, how much consideration do you put into how long it will last and how much wear you will get from it?

086 Signing Up For The Climate Revolution087 Signing Up For The Climate Revolution

If you would like to find out more and sign up to the Climate Revolution, you can do so at www.climaterevolution.org.uk (I think the campaign at Lush is now over).

Anyway we had a lovely day, with a little wandering around the shops in Bath (something I rarely do anymore). We didn’t buy much in the shops but we did decide to a chocolate facepack from Lush. My five year old could hardly believe her ears when she heard we were going to put chocolate all over our faces, it was like Christmas had come all over again!

I hope you are having a lovely weekend, keeping warm and not being too disrupted by snow.

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

My Sustainable Style Resolutions for 2013

036 My Sustainable Style Resolutions for 2013

Jacket – vintage / upcycled
Leggings – People Tree

2012 was a really tough year, in fact, it was my toughest year ever. Despite the huge sadness of 2012, there were some positives, I am really grateful for all those who got involved with my ethical fashion blogathon to raise funds for Naomi House, a charity that has done so much for my family and so many others. I am also so grateful for the support and friendship of my old and new friends  both online and offline who have really helped me through the darkest of days.

I am more than glad to be moving on to 2013 with a renewed hope that sustainable style and ethical fashion will really start to become mainstream. In 2012, there were plenty of new headlines about unsustainable and unethical practices in the fashion industry which have renewed my resolve and commitment to sustainable style and promoting the amazing ethical fashion brands that I discover more of each day. It is great to see change happening though with some of the bigger brands committing to sustainability, ethical fashion brands going from strength to strength and the Ethical Fashion Bloggers growing to over 70 members . With the launch of my new search engine for Sustainable UK Fashion, I hope to help a little to increase the visibilty of some of these brands.

I have spent quite a bit of time thinking about what resolutions to make for 2013 or even whether to make any at all. I have finally decided to make just 3 resolutions, each representing a small change for me but all things which I hope will have a positive impact on both my style, the world around me and this blog.

Getting More Creative With My Style

For 2013, I want to make my outfits more fun, colourful and eye catching using ethical, vintage and charity shop clothes of course!. It is easy to get in a style rut and lately I seem to resort to the same old clothes all the time.  I have lots of beautiful clothes and accessories in my wardrobe, 2013 is going to be all about wearing them (and hopefully not buying too many new ones).

Ditching the Plastic Bags

Stopping using plastic bags is probably the one area where I can improve both my sustainability and style. A plastic bag never looks very chic so for 2013, I am going to get organised and make sure that I always have a stylish and sustainable alternative with me.

Caring for Clothes More Sustainably

I have just invested in a clothes steamer with my Christmas money and will be using this as more eco friendly and cost effective alternative to dry cleaning. I don’t often use the tumble drier but in 2013, I plan to use it even less by keeping up with the washing and not letting the laundry pile get out of hand.

I am also going to try and make a few more changes to my lifestyle which will include eating less meat, buying more seasonal and local food and wasting less food by having  better portion control. Oh and like lots of others, I plan to detox and cut out drinking alcohol in January to keep my weight under control and ensure that I don’t out grow my clothes and have to buy new.

Do you have any resolutions for 2013?

Happy New Year, lets make 2013  super sustainable and gorgeously glam one!

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

 

The Good Wardrobe

tgw The Good Wardrobe

I am delighted to see so many new initiatives springing up which can help us to not only be more sustainable with our clothing but also look super stylish at the same time.

The Good Wardrobe is a fantastic new website founded by Zoe Robinson, founder of Think Style, style consultancy that assists clients in dressing more sustainably without compromising on style.

It is a community site which allows you to share your style, find out about where to buy ethical fashion and access services that prolong the life of your wardrobe and connect with like minded individuals. You can ask for advice, give advice and rate and review shops. If you get thanked for nay of the questions that you answer, you will get tokens which you can use to donate to one of the sites chosen charities.

You can also find out more about the Sew it Forward Campaign. The idea is to slow consumption by encouraging people to share or learn sewing skills. If you live in London, you can pledge your skills to help someone learn a new skill. I really love the idea of their gift voucher as an alternative to  expensive, sometimes un-wanted and wasteful presents at Christmas. You can download it from the website (link above) and then fill it in with the skill that you can teach them and that will help them to prolong the life of their clothes and save money.

I have already posted a few questions and answers on the forum and am feeling motivated to get on and sort out some of those unworn items of clothing in my wardrobe. Is anyone else joining?

I hope you are having a good week . Christmas is creeping up on me far too quick, I haven’t even written my Christmas cards yet and about to be swept up into a whirlwind of Christmas plays and carol concerts (for the children) and parties (for me). Not complaining though, I have a horrendous cough that seems to be going on for weeks and I definitely think plenty of mulled wine would do me some good! Do you have any fun Christmassy stuff going on?

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

Pin It

A DIY Dip Dyed Cardigan

0661 A DIY Dip Dyed Cardigan

Cardigan – Charity shop/ upcycled
Dress – People Tree
Boots – Clarks
Necklaces – Made UK and New Look

This month the DIY/ upcycling challenge on Ethical Fashion Bloggers was all about knitwear. I never have enough knitwear so decided to invest in a cardigan from the local charity shop for just over a fiver and have a go at dip dying it. If you would like to know what I did, read on…

Before I continue with this post, would just like to say that this DIY is a little more messy than I had anticipated. Luckily I did it outside but I would recommend extreme caution if dip dying indoors and make sure you wear rubber gloves!

024 A DIY Dip Dyed Cardigan

I choose Dylon navy blue dye and a cream coloured cardigan.

026 A DIY Dip Dyed Cardigan

I mixed up a third of the Dylon Dye according to the instructions and put the cardigan in and stirred occasionally for abour 25 minutes. Obviously this wasn’t quite enough as the top part of the cardigan had a slightly mottled effect, although I quite like it like this.

028 A DIY Dip Dyed Cardigan

I then rung the cardigan out (wearing the rubber gloves) added another third of the dye to the bowl, clipped the cardigan on the hanger and dipped the bottom to thirds in to the dye and left for about 25mins.

037 A DIY Dip Dyed Cardigan

I then added the last third of dye, mixed and dipped in the bottom part of the cardigan for another 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Finally I rinsed the cardigan in cold water a few times and put on a rinse in the washing machine.

073 A DIY Dip Dyed Cardigan

I am quite impressed with how this worked out even though it had  a slight mottled effect. Despite the mess, it was quite easy and think I may well give dip dying another try, perhaps something like a trench coat or pair of jeans next time. What do you think? have you ever dip dyed anything or are you ready to give dip dying a try?

If you like DIYing or outfit challenges, why not join us at www.ethicalfashionbloggers.com?

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

Does Buying Clothes Make You Happy?

0342 Does Buying Clothes Make You Happy?

Kimono jacket – upcycled vintage
Dress – vintage
Leggings – People Tree
Brooch – a pressy from my sister

Do you feel that rush of adrenaline when you go on a shopping spree or that feeling of pleasure when you pop out in your lunch time only to return to the office an hour later laden with shopping bags? As happy as you may feel during this moment, I wonder how long that feeling lasts? for me it usually doesn’t even last until I realise that my new top doesn’t  go with anything in my wardrobe, is made of nasty material or worse still that I have overspent and have no money left for the rest of the month.

I am not saying that I dislike shopping and buying clothes, on the contrary, I really do, but it so much more satisfying when I can afford it, it is something I need, it is a purchase that I have considered really carefully and I am sure that it is something that will really work for me and add value to my existing wardrobe. I like to wear clothes that make me feel good and I do occasionally treat myself to something just because I love it rather than actually need it but I definitely think there is a limit in terms of the amount of happiness shopping can bring me. There is also a very fine line between a little indulgence and over indulgence at which point, clothes shopping and many other things (I am thinking alcohol and food specifically) loses its appeal.

It is not just me who thinks this either. According to this article in Psychology Today, money can buy you happiness but only if you spend it in he right way. It also found that being able to spend money on purchases designed to create positive experiences increased people’s happiness. The best way to increase happiness, though, was to make a series of smaller purchases rather than one big one so popping out for a quick drink once a week is better than buying tickets to an expensive event once in a while.

Here just a few things that make me happy, other than the obvious spending time with family and friends and going to the pub.

Getting dressed up

When I used to shop for clothes a lot, I used to have a wardrobe stuffed full of clothes that I hardly ever wore. Party dresses were a particular addiction of mine. I now get much more satisfaction from getting as much wear as possible from the clothes that I have. I definitely feel more happy when I make the effort to get dressed up everyday. I love the idea of vintage tea parties and visiting a vintage fashion fair, such a great excuse to have a go at some vintage hair styles and make up.

Getting creative

Nothing pleases me more than having a little time to get creative with my sewing machineand making myself a new dress. Sadly it is something I rarely get the time to do any more. Perhaps I should try harder to make more time! For days when I just haven’t got the time or energy to make something from scratch, customising and upcycling is a great second best and often quicker and easier.

Swapping

Clothes swapping or swishing ticks all the boxes for a great night out including the chance to socialise and usually have a glass of wine or two. It is also great of you feel like you are stuck in a bit of a style rut as you can try out something completely new that you wouldn’t usually go for.

How about you, does buying clothes make you happy? or are there things that you actually enjoy much more in life?

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

No New Clothes For Holiday

I have just returned from a weeks holiday in Tenerife. In the past I have been shopping before and during my holidays to buy a variety of different holiday clothes from bikinis and swimming costumes to sun dresses and sandals. This year I made the decision to pack light (well relatively speaking) and not to buy any new clothes for holiday. As I was only going to be there for a week and already have lots of swimwear, sarongs, summer dresses etc it made sense to save my pennies to spend on sangria and make do with the clothes I already have.

It is amazing how little clothing you actually need when the temperature is plus 30 degrees. I took just 4 dresses, a cut off denim skirt and a few halter neck tops plus bikinis, sun hat, sarongs and flat and heeled sandals which turned out to be more than enough. Having a smaller suitcase also made travelling much easier.

Anyway, here are a few photographs from my hols. It was great to be able to take pictures outside but I still haven’t mastered the settings on my light weight camera . I will get round to reading the manual one of these days.

009 No New Clothes For Holiday

Dress – Monsoon
Bag – Accessorize012 No New Clothes For Holiday

Dress- Frank and Faith
Hat – Pachacuti

Bag – Oxfam

019 No New Clothes For Holiday

Dress – Komodo
Bag – Oxfam

Since I have tried to stop buying clothes and other possesions that I don’t really need I have found I get so much more enjoyment on spending money enjoying myself on a night out with friends or Mr Style Eyes. That said I do still buy the occasional piece of clothing either ethical fashion, vintage or charity shop but I think about it carefully and only buy something that I really love and that will last me for years. What do you think, do new clothes give you more satisfaction than going out and having fun?

I hope you are having had a lovely summer. For me it is not long until the children go back to school and everything returns to normality. I will have plenty to keep me busy as my new website is (hopefully) only weeks away and I can’t wait to share it.

Also thinking about arranging a fashion bloggers conference for next year if you might be interested in coming please comment below on whether you would prefer London/ Birmingham and weekday/ Saturday.

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

 

Six Items Challenge Update – Week One

I am now exactly one week into the Six Items Challenge which I am taking part in for the whole of July with Labour Behind the Label to try and raise awareness of the plight of real people working in the fashion industry and their struggle for better rights and working conditions. You can check out how the others participating in the challenge are getting on in the Six Items Challenge Blog.

This week hasn’t been too bad with the main challenges being the weather. Feeling cold in my choice of summery clothes and struggling to get clothes washed and dried ready to wear again, resulting in me resorting to drying a pair of leggings with the hair dryer, were probably the low points. On the plus side I managed to get ready pretty quickly each morning as I didn’t have much to choose from.

Her are my outfits for the week featuring the six items – a really old black shift dress and t shirt, a dress by Komodo, leggings from People Tree, Green Printed Dress from Monsoon and patterned trousers by ASOS Africa.

0061 Six Items Challenge Update   Week One

The necklace and bracelets were presents and the shoes are from sustainable shoe brand Melissa.

026 Six Items Challenge Update   Week One

062 Six Items Challenge Update   Week One

060 Six Items Challenge Update   Week One

The scarf is from a vintage fair, the handbag from a charity shop and the necklace a present from my mum.

075 Six Items Challenge Update   Week One

This necklace was also a present from my mum.

087 Six Items Challenge Update   Week One

The belt was from the high street and the necklace from ethical jewellery brand Made UK.

monsoon dress Six Items Challenge Update   Week One

The scarf is vintage and the shoes and tights from the high street.

133 Six Items Challenge Update   Week One

160 Six Items Challenge Update   Week One

The scarf is from a vintage fair and the necklace also from ethical jewelery brand Made UK.

Now I have worn all of the basic outfit combinations once comes the challenge. I am going to need to get creative and imaginative with accessories this week in order to make some different outfits.

I hope that you have had a good weekend!

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

The Cost of Fashion

Cost of Fashion 21 560x485 The Cost of Fashion

We all know that you never really get anything for free, everything always has a cost even if it isn’t immediately apparent. For fashion as well as its monetary cost there is also a cost in terms of its impact on the environment. It is very easy when buying yet another piece of fast fashion that you don’t really need not only are you wasting money but also damaging the environment. Here are just a few of the impacts that fashion has on the environment.

Growth

Many of the clothes that we wear are made of cotton. In order to grow conventional cotton farmers use a huge amount of pesticide which is damaging to the environment. The water used to irrigate cotton has also been blamed for the Aral Sea crisis on Uzbekistan.

Processing

The processing of fibres into fabrics uses both energy and chemicals both of which have their own impact on the environment. Manufacturing synthetic chemicals also uses non renewable resources including petro chemicals.

Manufacturing

Again the manufacturing of clothes has so many different impacts from the dyes and finishes to sandblasting of jeans and even the glue used to make shoes and accessories.

Transport

Transportation usually uses non renewable energy and causes  the release of carbon dioxide which contributes to the Greenhouse effect and global warming. Packaging for transportation also creates waste.

Retail

With fashions and trends changing so quickly retailers need to get their predictions and planning spot on in order to sell as many products as possibly. There is almost always some waste that the retailers are unable to sell though. Waste can be reduced to a by WSSI from a firm like Quantiv (weekly sales and stock intake)

Waste

Much of the clothing that is discarded each year will go into landfill. Synthetic fibres will take a long time to break down and even natural fibres will release methane (a greenhouse gas) as they break down.

The easy answer would be for everyone to just buy less but in reality it is not quite that simple. Responsibility lies with everyone from the consumer to the manufacturers, retailers and even media and marketers to reduce the impact of fashion on the environment.

12 The Cost of Fashion