How is everyone doing out there in quarantine? I realize not many of us are shopping these days, but if you’re like me, window shopping is still just as fun. There are so many sales going on right now that are totally tempting me…and sometimes it’s great to treat yourself, right? Even if you’re wearing nothing but sweatpants and tee shirts while sheltering in place during the current pandemic, a nice little purchase here and there can really do wonders to lift your spirits and help you stay optimistic about everything returning to “normal” again. Also, when it’s raining sales, it’s definitely the right time to do it. One current sale that is calling my name at the moment is Matt & Nat‘s current offerings, which includes sustainable (recycled and vegan materials) handbags, shoes and apparel.
How is everyone doing out there? I know so many people focusing on creating face masks during these crazy times…never before have I ever seen so many come together with their own versions of the same project to help their communities. Even people who I didn’t know could sew are whipping out these things like crazy. I myself have started with a few prototypes and will be creating my own. Whether you are trying to stay financially afloat or are donating your own creations, it’s all great to see and shows how hard working we all can be to make it through the toughest times.
There definitely has been a huge surge in brands taking the sustainable route, and I’m obviously happy to see it. I realized I hadn’t written much about charitable brands lately, as it seems the eco-friendly train is the one to hop on these days. Because of that, I realize and worry that maybe the term “sustainable” has become a bit much of a marketing buzzword, but at least I can trust some brands who take on both avenues out of the goodness of their hearts rather than simply hopping on the latest trends to stay afloat. I’m sure most of you have heard of TOMS, the footwear company known mostly by their humanitarian efforts, whether it be donating a pair for each purchased, supporting artists in Haiti, supporting Nepal, helping shelter animals find homes, giving the gift of sight or contributing to the cause of clean water for everyone around the world. TOMS has just taken another step forward with a new eco friendly footwear collection, called earthwise™.
When I shop for footwear I’m usually hunting for leather styles due to durability and luxurious way it softens and breaks in. I’m definitely a second-hand shopper these days to keep things even more sustainable (both for the planet and my wallet), and it’s not too difficult to find the things I need with a little hunting. However, I understand the needs and different lifestyles of others, and I am always interested in finding stylish and durable alternatives to anything that involve animal products. It can be tough with vegan leather since there is so much out there that falls apart easily and also ventures into the not-so-sustainable route with the use of plastics. Two of the vegan leather brands that I always trust are BLANKNYC and Matt & Nat. I have several pieces from both, but for this post I’m focusing on the latter, from which I own a wallet as well as a clutch which I use all the time and it’s held up for many many years. I believe this brand is best known by their eco-friendly vegan handbags, but I wanted to share some of their vegan footwear with my readers as well!
I think it goes without saying that you can’t have one bag. At least, that holds true for most of us that enjoy employing our creative sense of style in our everyday getups for every occasion and need. Every time I think I finally have enough, I have another that somehow fills a niche in my wardrobe that I just must have. However, as much fun as I like to have with finding the most unique, eye-catching statement bags, I really always find myself gravitating back to the basic (but not so basic) bags that go with everything, keep everything secure, hold up well, and seem to fit whatever destination I’m heading to. I usually like going with leather bags for durability, smell (yes, smell), and the fact that it just gets better with age. I’ve been eyeing Madewell’s bags for awhile now, which is no surprise. This brand is best known for quality and timeless goods, and I have written about their eco friendly swimwear, jeans that fit nearly all bodies, and bags several times. Now, the carrot is being dangled in front of my nose once again with new leather bags from their Abroad collection.
I’m not usually big on patterns—I like block colors and solids for the most part, with the occasional logos. I know leopard print has been huge for a long time, but it took me awhile for it to rub off on me. I thought it made it look too much like I was fresh off a safari or jungle cruise! I wasn’t fond of the wild side feel, although I know I liked edgy styles. I think I can credit those all-too-cool Current Elliott leopard jeans that were popular years ago for tipping me over the edge. Again though, I wasn’t partial to them at first, but the subtle print with a colored background caught my eye. I had to have them! Animal prints come and go, but they seem to be turning into all the rage for the Fall. I am not one to follow trends either, but I can dig some of the unique looks that are making animal print look fun to style. Leopard, zebra, snakeprint—I’ve definitely got my eyes on a few animal print pieces for Fall and am already thinking of styling ideas!
I write a lot about sustainable apparel (as that is my main passion and focus), and sometimes it’s easy to gloss over another important wardrobe staple—footwear! While brands I’ve written about such as Baabuk and Oliberté come to mind, I don’t often come across many eco-friendly alternatives in that department, as the market seems to be focusing mostly on your common coverings. However, a good pair of shoes is possibly the most important. Our feet take us everywhere, and we all need comfort, support, and definitely durability as a solid pair can last us for years and save us dough. Cheap shoes make up a lot of the fast fashion market and thus, create a ton of waste as they aren’t always designed to fit properly and as I’m sure I don’t need to mention, don’t last very long. Shoes are one item that I never skimp on and realize it’s worth it to spend the dime for quality and to save money in the long run. While searching around for blog topics, I ran across some awesome sustainable footwear by Rothy’s, and I’m excited to share this brand with you!
When most of us think of Summertime in the fashion sense, we probably think of bright shades, fun whimsical prints and frilly details. While there is plenty of that out there, those thoughts come primarily from our wild and free childhoods—for me, at least. These kinds of motifs aren’t hard to find for those who enjoy them as adults (Lilly Pulitzer, anyone?), but if you’re like me, you might prefer more modern, minimal, toned down earthy shades for warm weather vacations, beach parties or trips to the pool. I like darker shades, but every now and then I might bust out of my rut and go for something at least slightly more playful. While writing this, I’m thinking a lot about swimwear, but for this post I’m going to focus on another Summer addiction…bags! The excessive enjoyment I get from fashionable containment isn’t limited to any season in particular, but my taste buds just re-activated when I saw a collection of new stylish Summer bags from Madewell! I already have plenty of pieces to carry my essentials to whatever these brighter months may bring, but I guess maybe I do like some whimsy after all…in the form of styling flexibility!
When it comes to handbags and footwear, usually I go for leather. This is mostly for the durability factor, but also because it also ages so beautifully, and it is a byproduct that otherwise would be discarded. Also, I buy most of my stuff secondhand nowadays, so since I understand the problem of the meat industry being so terrible for our environment, this helps me feel a bit better. However, I’ve noticed the animal friendly, vegan community really making incredible strides in their manufacturing practices, with vegan leather being just about as strong, if not as strong, as the real thing. Matt & Nat has been an amazing vegan handbag brand on my radar for quite some time now, and I’ve carried a few of their products for awhile and they’ve held up quite well!
I’m a little obsessed with ways to contain and organize things, whether it be boxes, bags, drawers, or any of that fun stuff from the organization department of Bed Bath and Beyond. Collecting nice bags, just like shoes and jeans, naturally has been a fun way to entertain that taste—combined with my love for creativity and style, they’re a sure hit, right? I love quality, organization, good design and a fun way to express myself beyond what I’m immediately wearing. I own bags that fit modestly with my day’s outfit, and others that are more like statement pieces for when I’m feeling a little extra funky. I haven’t actually purchased a bag in quite a few years now, but it’s always fun to look! One brand that I recently discovered and has earned a spot in my mind is Susan Alexandra, who makes these super cute woven beaded bags! Not only are they fun, head-turning, conversation-sparking statement pieces, but each bag totally gives me a sense of childhood arts-and-crafty nostalgia.