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  • InSustainable Fashion, Thrifting

    5 Ways To Build A Sustainable Closet That Cost Nothing

    When I first started building my sustainable closet, I didn’t actually know that I was building one. I knew that I loved to thrift and saving money was great. It just so happened that I found out about saving clothing from the landfill around the same time, which made me amp up my habit and stock my closet with only secondhand finds. It wasn’t until I downsized my closet, focused on fabrics, and decided to stock up on items that I knew would last that I decided to invest in some sustainable items. And, yes, let’s just get this out of the way now, sustainable clothing is expensive.

    Sustainably made items are priced higher for a few reasons, but that topic is for a different post. (If you’d like to dive into the price, this Live Planted podcast episode is a great start!) My point is that jumping into building a sustainable wardrobe is intimidating. It’s a huge task that can seem daunting. But there are three ways to start building your sustainable closet that are completely free. You won’t have to buy any fancy brands or throw everything out and start over. Because the truth is that building a sustainable wardrobe is all about focussing on what you already have.

    Sustainable fashion is a spectrum. There is no one way to build a sustainable closet, and not everyone does it the same. It’s important to know that before you start. There’s also not a check-list of how to be sustainable. You don’t get a new colored belt for reaching a new level or receive an award. Building a sustainable closet is a personal journey. It’s about keeping yourself accountable and staying true to your beliefs, while also helping the world and the people in it in the process.

    1. Know Your “Why”

    You will not succeed at building a sustainable closet if you don’t know why you’re doing it. That goes for just about anything in life. You need to know your reason why and you need to believe it. We all have our own reasons for going sustainable. Whether it’s to help the world, contribute to living wages around the world, or just to save money, there is no wrong or right reason. You just have to really, truly believe it.

    If you’re unsure of where to start, the documentaries The True Cost (available free on Netflix), River Blue (buy a digital download), and Sweatshop: Deadly Fashion (available on YouTube). These are great films to watch and even rewatch no matter where you are on your sustainable journey to remember why you’re on this journey.

    I find that keeping a fashion journal of brands I love, outfits that have become my favorite, and my little findings that I want to keep in mind. If you’d like to see how I do my fashion journal, I can definitely do a post about it.

    2. Stop Buying (Just For A Few Weeks)

    One of the best ways to go sustainable is to stop buying clothing for a period of time. I recommend starting with a week, or trying for two if you’re feeling ambitious. This gives you a chance to see what you’re thinking about on a daily basis. You might be surprised at how much you think about fashion. But the opposite of buying fast fashion doesn’t have to be buying from slow fashion brands. It can be simply taking a break from buying anything at all.

    I’m not saying that you should stop shopping forever. This is just a way to take a little break from buying any items and see what you think about on a daily basis. By slowing down your spending and shopping habits, you can focus on what you already own. It gives you a chance to see what your personal style is and what your closet could really benefit from when you’re ready to start buying again.

    3. Wear What You Own

    Contrary to what Instagram makes you believe, you don’t need a closet full of slow fashion brands to call yourself sustainable. You just need to get the most wear out of what you already have in your closet. It’s hard to appreciate the clothing that you have when you’re constantly adding new items to your closet. Take a step back, look at what you have, and celebrate the items that you own. Heck, you never know what you’ll find in the back of your closet.

    This is also a great way to nail down your personal style and take inventory of what you have. You bought the items in your closet for a reason. The best way to figure out your personal style is to look at what you already own and work your way from there. You can also downsize the closet that you own, donate items that you know you’re not wearing, and have a better grip of your closet if you do decide to add to it. You know, instead of just buying more hangers and shoving items in.

    4. Change The Way You Wash

    This tip is so simple that you might not even realize it’s a way to go sustainable. But by stepping back, reading labels and changing your washing habits, you can truly become more sustainable without spending any money at all.

    First of all, read your labels. Taking the extra time to look at how your items need to be washed will prevent them from shrinking, tearing, or stretching out. You won’t have to buy new items, because you’re taking care of the items that you already have.

    Wash on cold. It’s so simple and so effective. Lower temperatures protect the dyes and prevent items from shrinking. While we’re here, you can also try skipping the dryer by air-drying some of your clothing. It saves energy and helps your clothing hold up better.

    Lastly, wash your clothing in like-colors. You know, darks with darks, lights with lights, colors with colors. This helps the colors keep their hue. You won’t have to worry about your whites turning pink or getting rid of clothing because they get beat up in the wash.

    5. Borrow From A Friend

    Okay, so you stopped shopping, looked at what you own, and are still feeling the need to shop. Instead of shopping at the store, shop your friend’s closet. Borrow isn’t just sustainable, it’s really freaking fun. This is the perfect opportunity to “try on” a style that you’ve been dying to. And it comes at no cost to you or the environment.

    Let’s be honest, your friend will probably be flattered that you asked. Plus it’ll be fun to get together and explore each other’s closet. Just make sure that you’re taking care of the item(s) that you borrow and give them back in a timely manner. If you end up liking the item enough, you can start looking for it at the thrift store or invest in the item from a sustainable brand.

    There is no right or wrong way to go sustainable. This is your journey, so do what’s right for you and make your own rules. The only wrong way to go sustainable is to do nothing at all.


  • InSustainable Fashion, Thrifting

    All The Places To Donate Your Unwanted Clothing — That Aren’t The Thrift Store

    It’s springtime. The flowers are blooming, the days are longer, and you’re probably eager to swap out all those sweaters in your closet for something a little more springy. In other words, it’s closet cleanout time. Whether you’re going full-Kondo or just doing some tweaks here and there, all of those unwanted items have to go somewhere. As good as you might feel about doing all of your spring cleaning, it’s important not to forget about where all of your unwanted clothing items are going after they’ve left your house.

    Cleaning out a closet can be a long, daunting task as it is. I get that. But just throwing unwanted clothing items into a bag and sending it to the thrift store just simply isn’t working anymore. Part of this, as you might already know, comes from the big boom of Kondo-ing a house. After Marie Kondo made her Netflix debut, people started donating items in extremely high quantities. (It’s the same problem that happened after the book came out, I’d like to add.) Kondo does not give practical recycling or disposal tips, which I personally see as one of the downfalls to how she approaches home cleanouts.

    Secondhand shops cannot physically handle the number of donations that they are getting. That means that some of those items will most likely go to the landfill. According to TIME, some thrift stores even had to restrict donations after the Marie Kondo show came out on Netflix. Storage is already a problem in many thrift stores, and some places even have to pay to dispose of the items that it cannot sell. That defeats the purpose of donating items.

    But even if you’re not into Kondo-ing your home, it’s nice to find new, local alternatives to where your clothing is going. Believe it or not, there are plenty of non-profits that are putting specific clothing items to good use. Yes, it takes a little bit longer to separate dress clothes from loungewear and workout gear from denim, but it really does pay off. If your main goal is to keep item out of the landfills, then the below alternatives for donating are for you.


    Dress For Success

    Dress For Success has 153 offices in 29 countries, so there’s likely one around you ready to take your unwanted women’s workwear off your hands. It’s a not-for-profit organization that has a goal to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing them the support, resources, and clothing that they need. You can donate your gently used professional attire, give a monetary donation, or volunteer directly. This is a great way to give your unwanted blazers, dresses, and trousers a new, meaningful purpose.

    Jails To Jobs

    This non-profit organization teams up with local community organizations to collection workplace clothing for men and women that have recently been released from jail. They take everything from blazers and blouses to suits and shoes to give to people who need a little help getting back on their feet after being incarcerated. There’s a national directory on the website for the places you can donate. Each person must sign up and qualify to receive assistance, and the organization also offers tattoo removal and job training.

    Career Gear

    Career Gear is a non-profit based in New York City and takes specifically men’s workwear. The organization gives to low-income men who need help finding a job. It also offers job and life skill training. If you’re not in the area, you can mail in your gently used casual and formal menswear. The organization also takes accessories like watches, hats, and bags as well. The only catch is that it will cost you to send them in. As an added bonus, Career Gear has a green initiative on the website as well.

    Workout Clothing


    Any gently used workout clothing or accessories can be sent to RunningWorks. It’s a non-profit that provides career development, mental health counseling, group therapy and help with housing for the homeless. To donate, email to get an address to send to.


    If your workout gear is from Patagonia, the brand will take it right back when you’re done with it. You can ship the clothing to Patagonia Service Center at 8550 White Fir Street in Reno, NV (89523-8939). You can also take it to participating Patagonia stores near you. The brand will make sure that the items get recycled and stay out of the landfill.



    Soles4Souls takes unwanted shoes and gives them a purpose again. The non-profit creates sustainable jobs, repairing the worn out shoes that get donated, and give them to those in need. You can donate your shoes at your local DSW or Zappos.


    Nike will take any old tennis shoes for its’ Reuse-A-Shoe Program. The program takes old tennis shoes and turns them into high performance surfaces around the country. You can donate any brand of tennis shoe to any Nike store.


    Blue Jeans Go Green

    Cotton Incorporated came up with this program that turns unwanted denim into insulation for Habitat For Humanity homes. The program accepts any colored denim in ay condition. You can ship them directyl to the brand, using the mailing labels on the website. Or you can take them to any Madewell, Rag & Bone or American Eagle store to get 10% off a pair of jeans while you’re there.


    Free The Girls

    Yes, even your bras can be donated somewhere other than the thrift store. This non-profit takes used bras and give them to survivors of human trafficking to sell in their country. Women can start a safe business and earn living wages. You can donate to Free The Girls at 1552 Pioneer Trail Chesterton, IN (46304). The website also has drop-off sites throughout the country.

    Harper Wilde

    When you buy a bra from Harper Wilde, the brand will send you a return label to send back all of your used bras. The brand collects them to turn them into new bras. Of course, there’s the catch that you have to buy one first.

    These recycling steps take a little more effort than just throwing them into a bag, but it is worth it. When we can get items directly to where they can be reused, they have a better chance of staying out of the landfill. Of course, there are plenty of local places to take your clothing as well. There are always clothing banks or even just friends in the area who are us for a swap. That’s the magic of clothing.


  • InLifestyle, Thrifting

    3 Ways To Leave Your Privilege At The Thrift Shop Door

    The last time that I was at the thrift store, I saw people from all walks of life. There were mothers with small children, husbands sitting in the for-sale couches while their wives shopped, and teens running through the aisles looking for the best over-sized sweaters. There were conversations starting with, “do you think this will work?” and “OMG how cute is this!” over by the fitting rooms. Some people were looking for work attire, others for day-to-day clothing. Everyone had a reason for being at the thrift store that day, but they all had different levels of privilege.

    Everyone gets into thrifting for their own personal reason. For me, it was to save money, and then eventually that turned into trying to save clothing from the landfill. But others might be thrifting because it is their only choice. When you step through the thrift shop doors to see what you can find, you’re not alone — you’re bringing your privilege with you.

    Privilege by definition is a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group. If you thrift to find cute clothing, to save a few bucks, or basically any other reason beside you absolutely have to, you are bringing privilege with you. It’s important that we keep this in mind when running through the aisles looking for new clothing or poking a little fun at outdated items that you might find on the shelves.

    Of course, thrifting is for everyone. That’s what makes it so much fun! Anyone can walk in, save some clothing from the landfill, and find some seriously great deals. It’s just important that you realize that not everyone in the thrift shop with you is there for the same reason and be mindful of everyone’s reason as your filling up your cart.

    Thankfully, there are three super simple ways to leave your privilege at the thrift shop door. Of course, not everyone’s privilege will be the same. It’s more of a spectrum than a do-I-or-don’t-I answer and will fluctuate throughout your life. But these three ways will help you use the privilege that you have to everyone’s advantage.

    1. Remember that you don’t have to buy everything that you like.

    Just because you see a bunch of items that you like doesn’t mean that you have to buy it. It’s as simple as that. If you’re shopping with privilege, you’ll likely be able to fill up a cart and buy a handful of items that you find. That doesn’t mean that you need those items in your life though.

    The best way to combat this privilege is to think hard about why you want to bring an item home with you. Will it make your life better? Do you have a place for it? Will it get a good amount of use? Or will it be better off with someone else? Asking yourself these questions will help you decide if buying the item is meant to be or if it’s not the right match.

    2. Be mindful of other shoppers.

    By all means, get excited when you’re at the thrift store. Skip down all the aisles and get excited to be there. Just remember that there are other people shopping who might not be as excited as you. We are all on different paths to the thrift store. Some people are there because they can’t afford anything else. Others are there to resell or find a great hidden gem.

    3. Bring a bag of donations when you go to the thrift shop.

    Some people use the thrift shop as a place to dump their unwanted items. But if you’re really looking to drop the privilege, you’ll bring something with you when you come to shop more than just once or twice a year. And if you really want to make a difference, you’ll bring some items that people actually want. Not just your out-of-date sweaters or t-shirts that you’ve already worn to death.

    I heard the motto, “give what you can, take what you need” earlier this year, and it really resonated with me. It’s not about the charity aspect. It’s about keeping the thrift cycle alive and not just taking from it. Especially, if you don’t necessarily need those items.

    The thrift shop is a place to experiment with style and find incredible deals. Most importantly, it’s a place to have fun while doing it. The truth it that almost everyone is shopping with privilege. When we can drop it at the door, be mindful of why we’re there, and take only the items that we truly need, the thrift shop experiences is more enjoyable for everyone involved.


  • InThrifting

    My Thrifted Sweater Stockings Make For The Ultimate Upcycled Holiday

    I’ve always tried to find the most unique, sustainable ways to decorate my home. From thrifted shelving to secondhand throw pillows, there have been so many ways that I’ve gone eco-friendly in my home. But it was even more important to me to stick to my mindset this holiday season. Warm little touches around the home are what the holidays are made of. There’s nothing better than a handmade touch to make the season bright. So I decided to make thrifted sweater stockings for the first holiday in my home. Because that’s what the holidays are for me — handmade touches.

    It’s no secret that I thrift a little too much. Despite a successful stint at a minimalist closet this summer, fall came and I bought one too many sweaters. I decided to make the most of those purchases. Instead of reselling or donating the items, I made thrifted sweater stockings instead. They were pretty easy to make, were a great way to upcycle, and add a personal touch to my home. It’s a win-win-win.

    If you can cut and sew a straight line, you can make these thrifted sweater stockings.

    thrifted sweater stockings holiday DIYAll I used to make these were two thrifted sweaters, scissors, a sewing machine, and a half a yard of cotton for the lining. I decided that I wanted some lining in them, so that the sweater didn’t stretch too much when I placed items inside. Because these thrifted sweater stockings aren’t just for show. We will be using them this season, too.

    I actually had this idea last year, but never got around to making them. Life works in mysterious ways, and I think the universe wanted me to save this craft project for my new home.

    All in all, the thrifted sweater stockings are 100% cotton — lining and sweater. That part was really important to me. I’ve become way more aware of the fabrics that I am wearing this year. It was just as important to me that the materials that I am creating with are just as good for the planet.

    1. I made a pattern for the stocking using a large ream of sketch paper that I had on hand, but you could easily just trace another stocking of the size that you like.
    2. After that I pinned and cut two sides of the sweater. I pinned and cut both of them at the same time to save me some time. But you could easily do two different cuts, if you’re feeling a bit nervous.
    3. Next step was to cut the cotton lining and sew them to the inside of the sweater stocking.
    4. I then sewed the two pieces of lined stocking together. I made sure to leave one side open, so that I could sew on the top cuff.
    Pro tip: if you’re not confident with sewing on a different piece for the cuff, just make the tops of the stocking extra large and fold them down. You won’t get two different textures, but it will give the same effect!
    5. The last step is to sew the cuff on and attach a little tab by hand.

    thrifted sweater stockings DIY holidayAfter that you’re all done and ready to hang your thrifted sweater stockings. I decided to hang mine on some cute little hangers that looked sort of like deer antlers. We didn’t go all out with out Christmas decorations this year. Instead, we decided to stock with classic, all-white decor.

    For our first holiday season, it made more sense for us to incorporate some holiday touches, instead of just going all out red and green. We are still figuring out our style and the way we want our home.

    I am a bit biased, but I think they turned out really nice! This is the perfect craft to do with the family. Everyone can pick their favorite sweater and cut them out together. Heck, you could even make souvenirs out of your ugly Christmas sweaters every year.

    Not to mention that you’re saving an item from the landfill at the same time.

    Around the same time that I was DIYing these, Emily Faith made some of her own as well. If you’re looking for a full tutorial, make sure to head to her YouTube page. Hers are a little different than mine, but I think you will really enjoy looking at her page.

    What do you guys think of my stockings? I really want to start showing off more of my thrifted decor. I’m also making it a mission next year to create more — in every sense of the word. I feel like these thrifted sweater stockings were the perfect way to kick off the new season a little early. I’m a firm believer in starting New Year’s resolutions early, too. Nothing feels better than going into the new year already in the swing of things!



  • InSustainable Fashion, Thrifting

    Here’s How My Dressember 2018 Will Be Different Than Last Year

    Ready to see a whole lot of dresses around here? Because ready or not, they are coming. I decided to participate in Dressember for the first time almost one year ago. I wore a dress every day in December to raise awareness and money for sex trafficking victims. It was hard. It was cold. And I decided to go ahead and do it again this year.

    This time is going to be a little different, though. I teamed up with my best friend to create a Dressember team. Last year, I decided to go at the cause alone. That’s partially because I had never done it before and partially because I came into it way late. Like, end of November late. This year, my best friend and I have been preparing for Dressember since the beginning of the month. We’ve educated ourselves, done some thrifting, and have been planning team meetings and events for weeks now. It feels pretty darn good to have someone to tackle this cause with.

    dressember 2018 outfitsOur team name is Thread For Thought.

    Because, well, we’re trying to make people think with our threads. It’s no secret that I am on a mission to make my wardrobe matter. Everything I wear has a reason and a purpose. That’s how I’ve lived my life for two years now. It’s also how my best friend and our team hope to live this December. We’ll be picking clothing with purpose for the entire month.

    On top of that, we’re asking our friends and family for donations to Dressember. The non-profit works with twelve different organizations including International Justice Mission, Project146, and CAST to end slavery around the globe. They donate money to missions to rescue people trapped in sex trafficking, set survivors up with aftercare needs, and even help them defend themselves in court. Dressember is a 501c3 organization, so you are guaranteed that your donations are going to those who need it.

    According to Dressember…

    30 million people are currently enslaved worldwide and human trafficking generates about $150 million a year.

    I don’t know about you, but that makes me pretty darn angry. Sex trafficking isn’t something that happens in a far away land, either. Children are stolen and sold all the time. Foster children are coerced into to trade as well. Heck, even grown men and women are tricked into entering the hard-to-leave cycle. This needs to be stopped, and the least I can do is wear a dress for every day in December to bring awareness to that issue.

    Want to help the cause? You don’t have to wear a dress every day to do it. (Although you’re more than welcome to join my team if you’re interested.) If you’d like to give to the cause, you can click on my profile and donate to my team. Every little bit counts — $5, $10, $20 — all of it makes a difference in the movement.

    If nothing else, I’d love for you to follow along on my journey through Dressember. I’ll be doing outfit breakdowns on my Instagram, blog posts on brands that are helping me get through the month, and keeping everyone updated on all the fun meet-ups and events throughout the month. It’s time to make the season of giving bigger than ever. After all, what better way to end my year of giving than this?


  • InThrifting

    3 Reasons Why The Thrift Store Vintage Section Will Always Be My Favorite

    The thrift store is a magical place. Aisles are always changing, clothing is being brought in daily, and you never know what you will find. But as much as I love shopping for sweaters and shoes, the thrift store vintage section will always be my favorite. People always tell me that I am an old soul. I love grandma prints and I often have to cut the shoulder pads out of shirts when I find them. The thrift store vintage section is not just about the prints though. Shopping styles from long ago will completely change the way you look at fashion, size, and how you choose the clothing that you do.

    If you know me, you’ll know that I love vintage. Clothing, photos, antiques — you name it and I have it. I even have a wish list of items that I’d love to find. A pair of really nice vintage dress pants was my unicorn item. You know, the one that I was dreaming of finding. Well, I have found it, my friends. I came across the more adorable pair of vintage high-waisted, checker-printed pants that I had ever seen. When I slipped them on and realized that not only were they in great condition, but they also didn’t need hemmed, you better believe I booked it for the checkout.

    thrift store vintage section pants$4 and a trip to the washer later, I was rocking the pants at work. I currently work at a school, so I am always trying to find ways to get away from the traditional black slacks route. These pants were it. I rocked them with a white button up and felt on top of the world. But it wasn’t just about the look of them. It was the overall purpose of the pants.

    As crazy as it sounds, shopping the thrift store vintage section will turn you into an entirely new person.

    The most notable difference in the thrift store vintage section is the sizes. Look through that entire rack, because sizes have change a whole lot. It is incredible to see how different the sizes were in the ’50s, ’60s, and even ’70s when compared to today. Don’t let the process discourage you. Be open to trying on difference sizes and remember that it’s how you FEEL in the clothes. You make the rules when it comes to fit.

    As soon as you find an item and take it to the dressing room, you’ll see the difference in style. Personally, I think shopping in a section without crop tops is incredible. But it’s about much for than that. Look at how the clothing fits you. Most vintage items that I have come across are not about making you look skinnier, like much of clothing is today.

    Vintage clothing is more about showing off your curves and finding clothing that fits your body instead of hiding behind it and sucking it in.

    Wear one vintage blazer, t-shirt, or skirt and you will see the difference in materials as well. While there were synthetic fabrics in the past, you’ll likely see materials like wool, cotton, and silk in the clothes you find in the thrift shop vintage section. You know how the item survived that long? It’s natural.

    Natural materials will not only save the planet, but they will last a whole lot longer as well. For example, the pants that I found had no rips or tears and did not require any mending at all. Now think about how long your typical pair of pants lasts. There’s a big difference in fabrics there, my friends.

    Natural materials will last longer, which is why the thrift store vintage sections exists.

    thrift store vintage section pantsPeople pay a whole lot of money nowadays to get clothing made from silk, 100% cotton, and wool. The vintage section is the perfect way to snag great materials and not go broke in the process. Of course, not everything will be a hit. There are plenty of awkward skirt suits and high-necked sweaters. But if you do some digging, you’ll find some really great items.

    I might be a complete nerd here, but I love to experience the clothing that women wore in the past, too. Like I mentioned before, modern clothing is almost always about either hiding or showing off a piece of your body. I love going through the thrift store and being able to make my own fashion rules. I also really love to see how women choose to dress back in the day as well.

    Vintage clothing gives you the chance to experience a different era of dressing.

    Clothing can tell you a lot about an era. Just look at the ’20s. Women finally got more freedom and showed it off with short skirts and fringe. I love that! When you slip into an outfit that someone had chosen for a particular reason, it makes you rethink why you choose your own clothing. I like to think of it as embracing a past life and giving a new life to the thrift store vintage item.

    I could go on all day about the reasons that the thrift store vintage section is my favorite. You won’t understand for yourself until you slip into an item from the section. Because as much as the perception of bodies have changed, the way that bodies look haven’t changed all that much. You’ll likely not only feel great about getting a great vintage item for way less, but you’ll walk away looking at your own body in a completely new way. Now, that’s worth the trip to the thrift store, if you ask me.

    xx, Kali