Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Lifestyle Reboot: February Fast Fashion Review

[A much delayed posting of my thoughts from the beginning of March.]

I have to tell you, friends, I am digging this no fast fashion thing. I am really starting to get behind the idea of embracing my own personal style rather than remaining beholden to the fickle whims of the current fashion industry. It actually feels like this challenge has been helping me reconnect to my past self a bit, which I am really appreciating.

I have been shopping at thrift stores since at least high school, probably earlier. Back then my wardrobe consisted mostly of jeans and thrifted kids' t-shirts with whatever random designs amused me. These were accented with ridiculous handbags and brightly colored plastic earrings. I fully embraced a slightly punk, counter-culture look and didn't worry too much about being fashionable. Granted, my friends were all into the same look, so it was actually kind of the cool thing to do. Or at least we thought so at the time. 

Somewhere over the past decade I started to care a lot more about actually being "in style". It was kind of gradual and I'm not really sure how it happened. But I started looking at my closet and realizing that more and more of it was populated with current trends from retail stores and less and less was made up of the funky and unique thrifted pieces I really enjoy. And that made me kind of sad, like I had lost a fun and fierce part of myself. A part that just wore whatever made her happy and didn't bother to care about if other people would like it too much. 

While my fashion sense has grown up dramatically, stepping away from current trends is helping me reconnect with my former self. I'm starting to take more risks with my clothes and actually think about what my personal style is, rather than if what I'm wearing is fashionable enough. And I like it. I like that it makes me feel kind of spunky again. I have been very inspired lately by people like Jillian of Refashionista, a fashion blog dedicated to thrift store finds and refashions.

So what have I been wearing lately that's so funky? Honestly, most of what I'm wearing is actually pretty normal and probably I'm the only one who has noticed the change. However, here are my fashion finds for the month:

I wasn't so sure about the navy knit dress but I liked the fit and the weight of it and I like it with leggings now that I've shortened it a bit. The real question mark this month was the white silk blouse. I stood in the dressing room for so long debating whether or not it was actually really wearable. I finally decided it was worth the $1.50 to find out. Plus it came with a skirt, which is totally wearable, though definitely not together. After washing out the wrinkles and trying it on at home, I think the blouse is going to end up being a great piece. I have already worn it for a tea-party themed cocktail party and I'm looking forward to wearing it out with jeans. 

I'm also continuing to try to fix or adjust the things I have rather than buying new. This month I stitched up a hole in some leggings to make them wearable again. I'm hoping that holds up as I didn't really know what I was doing. And I have some boots in my car that I need to take to have the zipper repaired so that they don't snag another pair of leggings. At some point I also adjusted a couple thrifted silk tank tops. The jungle print one started tearing, so I hemmed it above the tear, which makes it a bit short to wear alone, but it's a fun way to spice up a plain maxi dress. The blue one was very very large. I took it in and hemmed it and it came out ok. I am not very good at taking things in but I think it'll work.

All in all, this has definitely been a good challenge. I'm looking forward to seeing where it takes me over the course of the year.

Update: Both repairs appear to be holding up well and I even found another pair of grey leggings while thrifting that are even more comfortable, so I'm all set if/when my stitching fails. Can I also just add that I am seriously appreciating how much shorter my trips to Target have become?

Lifestyle Reboot - May: Get Moving!

Oh, hey there! So nice to see you again! My apologies for the radio silence after leaving you with a promise of many ruminations. March and April turned out to be bit intense with a quick vacation, a work conference and standardized testing. While it was kind of nice to take a pause on writing, I do have lots to share, so I will try to finish up all the posts I started with such high hopes way back in March. 

Truth time. March and April were kind of a fail in terms of challenges. I hit the ground running in March and then just kind of petered out. Things I have learned about myself: I'm not great at doing things every single day. I have a much better chance of making weekly or monthly goals, though, let's be honest, I'll probably do almost all of it at the last minute. I suppose it's good to know oneself well and now I am very aware that flexibility is key for me. So, at least I'm still learning things.

I ended up just taking April off. My goal with this project was not to make my life more stressful but to help myself grow and hopefully make some lasting changes. That wasn't going to happen in April. I didn't have any challenges that seemed really doable with traveling and testing time gets pretty intense, so I gave myself a pass on setting a challenge.  Instead I continued to work toward zero waste and tried to get a feel for what that might look like while traveling. It was definitely not a zero waste trip, but San Francisco made it fairly easy to at least lower my footprint and I learned some things about what might work for me in the future. 

I am, however, back up and running for May! I am LOVING the warmer, sunnier days and starting to slip into manic summer mode, so this month is all about getting moving and getting outside. My goal is to get moving, ideally outside, for at least 10 minutes each day. Despite what I said 2 paragraphs ago, I have a lot of faith in this challenge. 10 minutes is a low enough bar that I'm pretty sure I can get myself to do it every day and, usually, once I get going, it ends up being more than 10 minutes. Plus, I just bought a bike that I can't wait to ride. (Yes, mom, I also bought a helmet. You're welcome.)

Additionally, I am sticking with my commitment to avoid fast fashion and am continuing to acquire the things I need to replace more and more of the disposable items in my life (there aren't very many left!). I am also planning to start composting just as soon as I can acquire a suitable container. It's driving me crazy to keep throwing away all of my food scraps. 

As always, thank you for joining me on this journey! I am still open to suggestions of challenges if you have any ideas to share. I am also feeling a little bit intimidated about composting in an apartment, so if anyone knows a lot about composting and would be willing to chat with me about it, that would be cool. The internet can be a very overwhelming place...