The Good Wardrobe

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

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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!

I choose Dylon navy blue dye and a cream coloured 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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

Monsoon dress

Dress – Monsoon
Bag – Accessorize

Dress- Frank and Faith
Hat – Pachacuti

Bag – Oxfam

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.

Six items challenge

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

six items challenge - day 2

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

Six Items challenge -day 4

This necklace was also a present from my mum.

six items challenge

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

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

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

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.

 

Labour Behind the Label – 6 Items Challenge

Labour Behind the Label 5 Items Challenge

Today I have embarked on the Labour Behind the Label 6 Items Challenge. You can read more details about the rules of the challenge here. Basically I have to pick 6 items from my wardrobe to wear for the whole of July. The six items doesn’t include things like sportswear, underwear, nightwear and accessories. I will be posting a weekly update on my progress and outfits on here and on the 6 Items Challenge Blog.

Labour Behind the Label don’t advocate boycotting brands as this often has a negative impact on workers, but it is so important to create an awareness of the current situation – consumption needs to slow down, the pressure on workers and the constant precariousness of jobs and wage levels needs to be addressed.  By exploring this issue through the 6 Items Challenge I hope to raise awareness of the plight of real people in their struggle for better rights and working conditions.

So here I am on day one. I have picked my 6 items carefully in hope that they will be versatile enough to cover my varied outfit needs in July including just everything from school sports days to business meetings, a 40th birthday party, a 4 day festival plus another 4 days of camping.

I have tried to pick as many ethical/ sustainable items as possible, here is what I have chosen.

  • A really old black t shirt
  • trousers by ASOS Africa
  • Black Dress by Komodo
  • Really old black mini shift dress from the high street
  • Dress by Monsoon
  • Black leggings by People Tree (not pictured above)

My biggest concern is how I will manage at the festival and camping as it may be a little more difficult to wash and dry clothes. I am also worries I will get completely bored with my pick of clothes.

On the plus side, I am really looking forward to the look on Mr Style Eyes face when he sees my tiny pile of clothes to take for festival and camping, as opposed to just about everything in my wardrobe that I usually take. I will of course be making good use of the space in the camper van not taken by clothes with extra beer!

I am also really looking forward to not having to think too much about what I wear in the morning giving me much more time to think about accessories. Where possible I will be accessorising my outfits  with vintage, second hand, ethical, sustainable and handmade accessories.

Enjoy what is left of the weekend!

With wramest wishes

Ceri x

Seeing Red!

Top – really old (rescued from loft)
Skirt – swapped
necklace – Etsy

Red is definitely one of my favourite colours. Actually I love most bright colours. So on the weekend I decided to wear a really really old top from the Rene Dehry collection at La Redoute with a skirt which I swapped ages ago on www.posh-swaps.com (my clothes swap website). The top was one of my favourite tops which I wore so much I ended getting bored with but loved it so much I couldn’t bear to put it in the charity bag. I am so glad I didn’t as now I am loving wearing it again. I has a kind of chiffon scarf which ties around the middle.

There are definitely plus sides to my shopping ban (apart from having more money), it is actually forcing me to be more creative with what I have and wear clothes I haven’t worn in ages.

I hope you have had a lovely weekend. Mind seems to have been a whirl wind of children’s birthday parties followed by mountains of ironing. Don’t forget my ethical outfit competition ends on Saturday 30th June so you have less than a week left if you would like to enter. There are some fantastic prizes to be won!

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

Wear Your Wardrobe Challenge – Part 2

You can see the first part of my Wear Your Wardrobe Challenge from yesterday. Basically my camera was refusing to work properly and I didn’t manage to make as many outfits as I would have liked. Today is a fresh day and the camera has decided to start working again (perhaps it was just me!).

Anyway I wanted to try a few more outfits paritcularly using the Komodo dress that was one of the three pieces that I choose for the challenge. A black dress really is one of the most versatile wardrobe pieces for me. I particularly like the fact that this one has a beautiful lace hem and can be worn for either day time or evening. The loose fit is really comfortable, easy and flattering to wear and it could even work as a tunic/ top with leggings or trousers. I have lots of different jackets in my wardrobe and this dress gave me the perfect opportunity to wear some of them.

Komodo dress

Jacket – high street
Dress – Komodo c/o Vouchercodes.co.uk
Shoes – Melissa
Belt – high street

I used to wear this jacket all of the time, it goes with everything but for some reason I got bored with it and stopped  wearing it.

Komodo dress

Komodo dress

Vintage Jacket – Oxfam
Dress – Komodo c/o vouchercodes.co.uk
Shoes – high street
Handbag – charity shop
Belt – clothes swap

I got this handmade vintage jacket from Oxfam a while back but for some reason have not worn it.

If you would like to join in with the challenge and try wearing clothes in your wardrobe that you have not worn before, please tweet your links to #vcukwearyourwardrobe.

Please also check out my ethical outfit competition which has some fantastic prizes!

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

 

 

 

 

 

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Wear Your Wardrobe Challenge

I was recently asked to participate in the Wear Your Wardrobe Challenge of The Most Wanted, the lifestyle magazine of Vouchercodes.co.uk. They have carried out some research and found that the average person in the UK has over three unworn items of clothing in their wardrobe – totaling a whopping £80 (enough for a whole new outfit)! As part of their Summer of Smarter Spending they are challenging bloggers to think about their fashion purchases, get to grips with what the high street has to offer and try to wear more of their wardrobes. I had to choose three items from my wardrobe that I had not worn for ages and then choose three items (totalling no more than £80) to seamlessly update my wardrobe. The aim is to work the three new items into as many outfit looks as possible – showing how versatile they are on their own and combined with your unworn wardrobe items.

Of course I opted for ethical/ sustainable pieces and thought that this challenge was not only a great way to encourage people to make the most of the clothes that they already have in their wardrobe but also to show that it is possible to shop ethically/ sustainably on a budget. In order to find the perfect ethical/ sustainable piece to update my wardrobe, I looked on the sales pages of all of my favourite ethical retailers. As most ethical fashion tends to be quite timeless and individual, it doesn’t really matter if you buy from last season, you will still find some amazing clothes. I also made use of a 10% off voucher code to get what I wanted withing budget.

Luckily I had a great big clear out of my wardrobe just a week or two ago and so I new exactly which clothes I hadn’t worn for ages. Most of the clothes that I don’t wear are fairly plain, a denim pencil skirt, a pair of Marks and Spencers Autograph Jeans, a pair of black leggings and a black mesh skirt. I also have a vintage Paul Costelloe jacket with gold embroidered dots which I had never been able to find the right thing to wear with.

Here are the three items that I bought…

Gingham tie top - Tara Starlet

Gingham Tie Top by Tara Starlet

Komodo Fair trade Dress

Komodo Kera Fair Trade Tunic Dress from Fashion-conscience.com

Gringo Fair Trade Floral Shirt from Fashion Conscience

Little did I know quite how much of a challenge this was going to be. My camera started playing up resulting, lots of editing and in some slightly strange photos!

and here are my outfits..

Gingham top

Top by Tara Starlet c/o Vouchercodes.co.uk
Skirt and hair flower – high street
Shoes – Irregular Choice
Bag – Oxfam

black dress

Kera Fairtrade dress by Komodo c/o Vouchercodes.co.uk
Mesh Skirt – high street
Shoes – Melissa
Necklace – Made UK

As above plus.
Vintage Paul Costelloe Jacket

Leather Jacket – Gestuz
Blouse – Gringo c/o Vouchercodes.co.uk
Leggings – high street
Shoes – Dream in Green
Necklace – Made UK

Blouse – as above
Jeans – M&S
Shoes – Pikolinos

Had I not had so many issues with my camera today, I know I could have fitted these items into so many other outfits. Hopefully I will be able to share more of these outfits in the very near future.

You can check out the posts from the other bloggers partipating in this challenge using the tag #vcukwearyourwardrobe on Twitter. Or why not challenge yourself to ‘wear your wardrobe’? If you do please post the links to your posts below in the comments section and tweet using the tag #vcukwearyourwardrobe.

Have a lovely week.

With warmest wishes

Ceri x