Tag Archives: clothes made in usa

New scarf, leftover fabric: A beautiful (birthday) combination

My husband got me this beautiful scarf for my birthday. A little bird had told him that I really, really wanted it. (Guess who!).

Birthdays are awesome. Especially so if you are on a one item per month shopping challenge, since a well chosen gift just doubled your monthly fun. (That’s me.)

Now, this scarf is very special. Not only is the New York designer who made it committed to American manufacturing, but most garments Tabii Just offers is sewn from scrap fabrics. Yes!  The most beautiful discarded yardage from American mills and designers that would otherwise end up in landfill (or maybe once in a blue moon be recycled/downcycled). A great way to reduce a garment’s carbon footprint!

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Due to the fact that fabrics are “leftovers”, quantities of some styles are limited and the exact fabric content is not always known. The most common threads made locally are rayon, polyester and conventionally grown cotton, so one or more of those most likely. I actually shot Tabii an email and asked, and the owner replied that my scarf is some sort of rayon blend. The ball hem is “new” and made ethically by artisans in Mexico.

As we’re talking about a piece of clothing made from scrap material, the rayon’s biggest eco-issue in this case becomes the microfibers released when washing, but I don’t really wash my scarfs a whole lot ;)

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Another way Tabii Just is focusing on zero waste is by making patterns and designs with minimal scrap and cut-outs. And of course, a scarf is actually the ultimate zero waste item since, well, it’s basically just a square of fabric!

I am super excited to spend colder fall and winter days in this scarf. Happy birthday to me indeed.

Tabii Just is a member of the Made in America Movement.

Red, white and blue (sunny harbor dress!)

We’re mid-way through September, and although temperatures are cooling off, Houston still allows us to wear dresses. And that’s pretty lucky for me, considering I have a brand new one!

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Via 74 dress with Oka-B ballet flats – made right here

Have you heard of Via 74 before?

It’s an online shopping site with ONLY made in USA garments from which I got my new dress! The clothes are not only stitched together here, the actual fabrics are made in USA as well. Via 74 source from different trustworthy wholesellers and you don’t know exactly what the what the brand label will say (other than made in USA) until the garment shows up at your doorstep. This mix of sources adds up to quite a versatile collection.

For me, being not just a “support local” consumer but also an eco-woman, I always want to know the contents of the fabric too, and at Via 74 it’s listed loudly and clearly for each item.

That’s how I came to decide on exactly this dress (there are so many!) for myself. It’s made of 95% modal (and 5% spandex) which is an eco-friendly choice made from beech wood. There were lots of pretty dresses that I liked, but since they were made of polyester or rayon they weren’t for me. Transparency online is so awesome.

This dress was on sale for 3o-something dollars, but I ended up paying only 22 after rebates. And on top of that, shipping was free! What!

I’m very excited about this.

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Via 74 is a member of the Made in America Movement; they are committed to American made goods and honest domestic sourcing. Check them out here (you won’t believe their colorful selection :)).

Pics by Shutterluv.

Every mama needs a mumu (The finale of my made in USA style series!)

This is the fifth and last piece of my Made in USA style series, featuring American made apparel and my beautiful friend Mary Beth.

We’re ending with a garment Mary Beth swears is the perfect mom-on-the-go piece: a tunic from Show me your Mumu.

The reason for its awesomeness? She can dress it down with boots, tights and a cardigan when hanging out with the kids or dress it up with skinny jeans, jewelry and heels for a dinner out on the town. It is indeed a good thing that this tunic is versatile and gets worn a lot – the price tag is $106 (unless you find a good sale, like Mary Beth did!)

The name, Show me your Mumu, is a reflection of the spark and the creativity of this brand. And just like Mary Beth finds her tunic (or “mu” as they call it) incredibly versatile, the brand seems to agree, writing on their website: “We sometimes wear our same Mu for 48 hours – to work, dancing at night, over a bikini, to weekend brunch and then to bed.”

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Label and close up of Mumu’s “Baby Buds” tunic – a gorge floral

Show me your Mumu is made in the gorge USA – as they proudly state on their labels and website – in a downtown Los Angeles location. But like always with an online “Made in USA” claim, we need to check for ourselves if the fabric is imported or not, and in this case it is. That’s a bit disappointing considering the hefty price tag, that the fabric is polyester (which we certainly can make here) and proud proclamation of its “gorge” origin.

What we have here friends, is a classic example of online “tags” not following the FTC established rules for garment tagging. Looking at Mumu’s website; the exact tunic Mary Beth is wearing is listed as “Made in USA” while the tag in the actual garment states “Made in USA of imported fabric and components”. Online shopping will get you!

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Speaking of shopping, for a busy mom like Mary Beth, digging thru piles of clothes at Nordstrom Rack or Marshall’s, isn’t her preferred way to buy “Made in USA”. We both find great deals there, sure, but I can’t deny it can be time consuming, and time is precious when you have two little (very active!) ones to mind. Instead, she has a more straight forward way.

It’s simple. She shops in small, locally owned boutiques and asks the clerk as soon as she enters the store, if they sell any made in USA brands! Then adjusts her browsing-action accordingly. This is an especially great technique when travelling; as it helps her stay local to where she is, and often leads to discovering new, exciting brands.

Another way to shop made in USA without too much time and effort, she says, is to use styling companies, such as Stitch Fix, where you can specify exactly what styles you are looking for. In this case, that’d be only US-made garments.

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Mary Beth has paired the Sherman Tunic (in Latte Crisp) with made in USA tights ($17) from Express.

Mary Beth’s “On Target” arrow necklace is another beautifully hand painted, American piece from The Gleeful Peacock jewelry makers ($32). The striped hoodie is also made stateside (~$60) by Bobeau Collection. This brand has an online shop, featuring as many imported garments as it does American-made (so check the details), and can also be found at department stores like Macy’s and Nordstrom.

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That’s the last outfit of the series, folks!

A huge thank you to Mary Beth, for being such an awesome and truly gorge model! I happen to know that since we shot these pictures, she has bought a new USA-made, eco-friendly t-shirt and a handmade handbag, so I will do my best to convince her to model them both for the blog this spring!

And a big thank you to Shutterluv by Ashley for shooting all these outfits!

What’s your favorite made in USA brand or garment? Share with me!

Here are the links to the other four posts (incase you missed one):

  1. The one about poly-blends: A made in USA outfit (might include polyester)
  2. The one with an all USA made outfit: Celebrating American Beauty
  3. The one about labels: What’s with all this Imported Fabric?
  4. The one about jewlery: Don’t be fooled by the rocks that I’ve got

 

NOTE: After this post was published, Show me your mumu has started to produce more garments at international production sites (China, Vietnam). Check the labels. Unfortunately this “Made in USA company” may have deserted their original patriotism.

Made in USA style series part 2: Celebrating American beauty

This is the second post in a five piece made in USA style series, featuring my beautiful friend Mary Beth. She is an awesome mom of two, a supportive wife, gifted music teacher, singer and humanitarian. She’s always looking for ways to improve society and I am so impressed by her spirit, intellect and efforts. Therefore, I decided to call this post “Celebrating American beauty”.

Last week I wrote that putting together a perfect outfit often requires some foreign pieces. Mostly that is true, but this week we did it, head to toe, using only made right here apparel! Another reason to celebrate.

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Let’s start with the blouse, which is made by Collective Concepts – a wholesale brand you’ll find at department stores like Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Nordstrom Rack to name a few. This one with roll up sleeves and a cute leaf print was about 40 dollars at Nordstrom.

For anyone just starting out hoping to add made in America fashion to their closet, I truly recommend Nordstrom Rack. I have found so many stylish, reasonably priced, US made garments there over the past year! Yes, it requires some digging, tag-checking and effort, but rarely have I left empty handed. From 20 dollar shirts to 60 dollar Citizens of Humanity Jeans, most of what I have found there have become instant made in USA favorites.

The fabric of Mary Beth’s blouse is polyester, and it’s all USA made. The style kind of reminds me of the orange polyester blouse we showed last week, also made right here. You can read all about it and its petroleum based fabric here.

Leaves and feathers go well together. Love the light in this picture!
Leaves and feathers go well together. Love the light in this picture!

For a stylish pop of color we added an American feather design necklace, made in Tulsa, Oklahoma by the inspiring Gleeful Peacock Designs. Their collections are an ode to vintage designs, nature, warmth and beauty. All their items are hand-painted, so no two items are exactly alike. Mary Beth actually introduced me to this brand, when she bought me a bracelet for my birthday last year. I love the brand name (!) and the simple, yet timeless pieces.

The biggest challenge when it comes to dressing head to toe in made in USA items is shoes! Stylish options are few, and often expensive if available. The only shoes I have found that are affordable, yet appropriate for the office, dinners and outings, are (you guessed it) the Oka-B ballet flats! I bought myself a pair back in October, and we happen to wear the same size, so Mary Beth ‘borrowed’ them in order to complete this outfit. They are vegan, zero waste, 100% recyclable and made right here in Georgia by a company committed to American manufacturing. The price tag for a pair of Oka-B ballet flats (all styles) is 45 dollars. I love them because they are super comfortable, cute and eco-friendly.

Luckily, one can find America’s favorite garment, jeans, made here quite easily. Last week I featured Rag & Bone and this week Mary Beth is wearing the Victoria Skinny Cigarette by True Religion. They are rather expensive, like many other US-made jeans, the tag is around 200 dollars (Mary Beth got them for $75 at the Rack!). Unfortunately they’re made of imported materials but at least local hands stitched them together.

I’m sure you’ve seen that tag from time to time; “Made in USA of imported fabrics”. It’s definitely something worth talking about, in terms of what it means and why it’s done. I will share some facts about labeling and my personal approach to imported fabrics in my next post. So check back in!

There you have it! Four stylish items we found in Mary Beth’s closet, put together into an all made in USA outfit – pretty incredible right?

Celebrating American beauty, indeed :)

Photographs by the gracious Shutterluv by Ashley.

Made in USA style series part 1: A made in USA outfit (might include polyester)

This is the first post in a five piece made in USA style series, featuring my beautiful friend Mary Beth. I am excited, but most of all honored that she wanted to be part of my blog. All you readers get to be excited too, seeing someone other than me strut their stuff!

Putting together the perfect outfit using only made in USA pieces is actually quite a challenge. It can be done, sure, but often one would include some well-chosen, foreign pieces as well, which is what we did for this series. For the very first and maybe my favorite made in USA outfit, we chose an orange blouse, skinny dark blue jeans, brown leather boots and sustainably-made accessories.

Throw some leaves, Marybeth!
Throw some leaves, Mary Beth!

Let’s start with the blouse, tagged “Brenda’s” and made in USA. Mary Beth found this top at a small boutique called Willa in Rice Village, Houston, and paid about 40 dollars. (This shop happens to use reusable shopping bags too!) Fabric content: 100% polyester.

Now, you may think that polyester, a petroleum based product, would be an unusual choice to be featured in a sustainability blog of any kind. True, it’s not going to appear on any “top ten most eco-friendly fabrics lists” anytime soon, but sustainability has many faces.

Polyester is made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the same material that is used to make plastic drink bottles.  The plastic bottles we offer for recycling are often reheated, turned into fibers, and eventually become the fabric we label polyester. This is an efficient, well established, quite simple recycling process, and for that reason, polyester will always be one of the materials you see most of in clothing lines featuring recycled fabrics, such as H&M’s Conscious Collection. Call it ‘the low hanging fruit of recycled garments’ if you will. It’s actually likely that the polyester clothing you own is made of partly recycled fibers, only not labeled as such.

Polyester is durable and easy to care for. Naturally, a blouse like this one, would be washed in cold water and hung to dry, eliminating the need to iron, and saving electricity by opting to not use the dryer. If Mary Beth manages to avoid a tear or a wine stain; this polyester top will last forever. That statement is true if it’s in her closet, and if it’s in landfill, so let’s go with the former. If a garment you love and already own, has the properties to last forever, a timeless design, never wears and requires little energy to maintain – am I crazy, or is that not sustainability defined?

With any polyester garment like this blouse, your chances of it being all made in USA, including raw materials, are great. We have the raw material needed (obviously) and we have the recycling abilities right here. With all the research being done on plant-based and biodegradable plastics, I am excited to see what the future holds for “green polyesters”. Maybe we’ll be putting our out-of-style poly blends in the compost some day soon – then we’ll have really eco-friendly fabric!

American blouse, American girl.
American blouse, American girl.

Continuing on, we’ve got a pair of made in USA Rag & Bone Skinny Jeans, retailing for about $198. This company is not committed to sourcing 100% in the US, but most of their denim pieces are made here of domestic fabric. The boots Mary Beth is wearing are great quality Clarks Artisans that she has had, and loved, for a few years. They’re made in Romania. The scarf we chose was a gift, it is fair-trade and made in Nepal. I love how it makes the outfit come together. (I admit, that’s something I say about all scarves, no matter the outfit. Scarves are magical accessories.)

Last but not least: handcrafted earrings, made right here in Friendswood, Texas. A friend of Mary Beth’s creates beauties such as these, as well as pendants, and sells them in her Etsy Shop – The Purple Toadstool. I cannot believe they‘re only 20 dollars! MaryBeth was actually wearing these the day I came over for our first run-thru and I was like “Those earrings are perfect, take them off, and let me look at them!” She did, and we added them to this outfit’s “polaroid”. Locally made, one of a kind, beautifully stitched and bought from a small, local vendor. I don’t like them, I love them.

Hand stitched earrings made in Friendswood, TX. Fair-trade scarf.
Hand stitched earrings made in Friendswood, TX. Fair-trade scarf.

For the first look, we managed to showcase durable garments that will last for years and years: polyester, denim and leather. All these materials have a large environmental foot-print, therefore using them for a long time is crucial. If not, we cannot call them sustainable. Three out of five pieces are made in USA, two of which were bought from small, local businesses.

Stay tuned for the next part of the made in USA style series, “Celebrating American Beauty”, coming next week, right here at (your favorite blog) made right (here) :)

Photographs by the wonderful Shutterluv by Ashley.

It’s an eco-conscious, shop local, online-edition-only type of Vogue

One cool thing about having a shopping blog is that, if you’re lucky and have awesome friends, sometimes you get to pretend you’re Vogue. Eco-conscious, shop local, online-edition-only type of Vogue.

Let me back up.

What do you do when you write a blog about shopping local, but haven’t bought anything in the last two months? What do you do when buying something for no other reason than to blog about it, would be a CRIME against your sustainable lifestyle?

I’ll tell you what  – you turn to your beautiful and stylish friend, raid her closet for made in USA styles and then go all vogue on her. Yes, ladies and gents, THAT’S what you do.

Mary Beth’s clothes both differ from, yet remind me of my own wardrobe. She is bolder than I when it comes to prints, jewelry and length of shorts (sorry MB, I had to!) but we share the same simple, practical and sustainable approach to shopping.

Turns out, she had so many good looking made in America brands and styles; I had to limit my selection! We met on a Monday and had a very Miranda Priestly run-thru type meeting. (“I don’t know which one to pick, they’re sooo different”.) We ended up with five gorge outfits, representing different companies, looks and seasons. Lots of denim, of course, America’s favorite fabric.

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On left, the tag we’re going for and fall colors on the right

Now, a week later, we just finished the photo shoot and I am so excited!! It has been raining and storming for the last couple of days but this morning the sun decided to come back and warm our backs and hearts (with all that’s going on in the world right now, we needed it).  Ashley (my photographer friend) rocked taking the photos, like always, and I got to stand behind the camera for once. I must say I have a talent for holding the reflector (yeah right!). I couldn’t have asked for a more gracious and lovely model than Mary Beth! I can’t wait to see the finished “roll” of film.

My blogging schedule is full for the rest of the year with holiday posts and other goodies, but come January I’ll be starting a multiple-post fashion series promoting the American made brands Mary Beth wore in the shoot. NEW year – NEW face in the Lookbook (yes!) so stay tuned!

Here’s a sneak peek and some behind the scenes action pictures from the photo shoot – I feel so inspired to write all of this up!

Apparently we all think that ducks are interesting. Their visit totally paused the shoot!
Editor in Chief Anna (that's me) ready to get to work, on left. On right, photo session in action!
Editor in Chief Anna (that’s me) ready to get to work, on left. On right, photo session in action!

Celebrating fall with a layered look for my LuLaRoe skirt

I love November. While many cities are already moving on to winter wear, Houston finally cools down, opening the door for our fall pieces to come out and be worn comfortably. To me, there’s just something magic about layering and adding wool to the mix, probably because Houston weather doesn’t allow it very often.

About a month ago I bought my first LuLaRoe piece, a pencil skirt, at a friend’s pop-up boutique. At first I didn’t know how I wanted to wear it. Digging through my very modest closet, here’s what I put together to celebrate fall, the cooler winds and this American made skirt.

Balancing on a tree while showing off the outfit, was actually a great idea. Nailed it.
Balancing on a tree while showing off the outfit, was actually a great idea. Nailed it.

Shirt: One of my few H&M garments. This 2013 denim shirt screams Texas to me, yet it is made in Turkey (of course it’s imported – it’s H&M – but not China!). The embroidery and the tone of blue denim are unusual choices for me, but I like this shirt a lot. I normally wear it with black skinnies and a huge scarf. To me, it dresses down the skirt really nicely.

Scarf: I bought this marvelous scarf in 2004. Two girlfriends and I were vacationing in Spain and I bought this scarf, a pair of Diesel jeans and a Replay sweater at a very fancy shop. I was a student and couldn’t afford any of it really, but I was in a phase of “shopping cool brands is my life” so I guess it made sense at the time (?). I sold the jeans and the sweater many years ago, but the scarf has survived 5 moves (and four countries). It has a tag inside, but I don’t know where or by whom it was made. I actually love that it looks homemade! I wish I had made it. (Remove the tag, pretend I did?!)

Skirt: That’s my new, made in USA, 32 dollar, LuLaRoe skirt! Man, it is slim, but in a good way, and I like it. If I had a fancier work place, I’d love to wear it with a blouse and jacket, really dress it up. Right now, fall layers in warm colors are just what I feel like wearing with this skirt.

Socks: My mom got me these wool socks, a looong time ago. We’re likely talking late 90’s (don’t judge). Must say, they still look great.

Boots: My Ecco leather booties, made in Portugal. I bought them in 2013 on a Sunday morning outing with my husband. We’d actually gone out that day to specifically look for boots for me and my cold toes. I’d been in sustainable mode, ‘surviving’ wearing loafers and sneakers for quite a while, but realized my defeat early December (Burr, 32F outside) so we went shopping.

I can actually tag this outfit as “nothing made in China”. Yet, this time, it’s a coincidence.

My closet size may be modest, and some of my clothes have been with me for a while now. But things you love last, and even if the fashion industry is trying their best to make me believe I need a new wardrobe every season, I actually kind of love mixing and matching my old with my new. It’s good for the environment and it’s good for my economy. I think that’s what we label as ECO x 2.

My friend Ashley took these pictures, and we both love how that red scarf pops against the green of the woods.
My friend Ashley took these pictures, and we both love how that red scarf pops against the green of the woods.
She snapped this one before we had the reflector set up, and I love the darkness. That scarf is A M A Z I N G.
She snapped this one before we had the reflector set up, and I love the darkness. That scarf is A M A Z I N G.

[LINK to LuLaRoe] [LINK to Ashley’s Photography page]

It ain’t no Tupper-wear party, it’s a pop-up boutique

Please see disclaimer at bottom of post.

Okay, I must admit that when my friend invited me to come to a LuLaRoe Clothing pop-up boutique at her friend’s house, I didn’t know what to expect. A boutique at someone’s house, at a specific time, made me think of the Tupper-wear parties my mom was invited to back in the 80’s. You know, a bunch of ladies sitting around, getting information about a product and feeling obligated to buy something since the hostess was serving tartlets, and the worst part; free samples no one needed.

Knowing my friend, who supports my blog and sustainable lifestyle, I figured it would be ok. She had already told me about LuLaRoe and the fact that most of their clothes are made in USA, so I wanted to support her party and her friend’s newly started business.

As soon as I got there it was kind of obvious, that this was not a “tupper style” gathering. Colorful, soft clothes, in every single pattern you can think of, were hanging on racks in a (great smelling!) living room. The shop owner and homeowner, Martine, greeted me, was super friendly, introduced the brand and basically said “look around, if you like something let me know, no obligation”. NO samples. NO snack foods. NO demonstration. Yes!

On left: Excited about my skirt! On right: Rack of LuLaRoe goodies.
On left: Excited about my skirt! On right: Rack of LuLaRoe goodies.

Of course, there was some chatting and socializing, as we all tried on different dresses, skirts and tops. Miraculously, no matter the body shape, the clothes seemed to flatter everyone, including yours truly. I looked pretty good in a tight dress I tried on, but being an inside-of-the-box-pattern person, who’s scared of figure hugging dresses, I backed out from looking like the Little Mermaid (that’s what the pattern reminded me of! Forth from the left in the second picture), and went with a black and white pinstriped pencil skirt (see, not very pattern-adventurous am I?) instead. Only $32!

Mommy & Me, the stylish way
Mommy & Me, the stylish way

I did ask, and found out that the tights by LuLaRoe are made in China, while the rest is made in California of domestic or imported fabrics. That’s fortunate for me, since I don’t wear tights!! They have women’s and girls’ fashion, and yes, there are mommy-and-me outfit opportunities here, if that’s your thing.

I’ll make sure l show you how I styled the pencil skirt in another post (Coming soon!). For now, I hope I’ve clarified the concept of a pop-up boutique… it’s a small, calm, temporary shopping haven, inside of someone’s home.

If I’m invited; I will definitely go again. Maybe next time I’ll find another color combination of stripes. There is hoping.

Made right here in sunny California!
Made right here in sunny California!

[Official LuLaRoe pictures are from Instagram @lularoe_martine]

NOTE: After this post was published, LuLaRoe have started to produce more garments at international production sites (Mexico, China, Vietnam). If invited to a pop-up, check the labels.  I wouldn’t purchase any LulaRoe goods online without first checking where made. This is one of my most read posts, unfortunately the once Made in USA company seem to have deserted their original patriotism.

Back at the Rack for something Splendid

Funny enough, just a few days before I bought these cool pants, my friend had texted me about Splendid. She asked if I knew the brand, and I said no, and she said they may still be making most of their stuff in USA, so I said I would look into it. I added the brand to my imaginary “must-check-out-this-brand-note-book” immediately. Turns out, they are not all made in USA anymore, but do fabricate in Cali still.

You know what happened next; I was at the Rack and found this pair of sweats in my size in the clearance section! MSRP $128, I paid $32: that’s how I like it.

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This was a particularly awesome shopping experience because it was a zero waste purchase! I said no to the bag, and the store offered to email me the receipt meaning no print was needed. Also, I had parked my car where I had an errand close by and ended up walking all the way to the Rack (in 100 degrees) and back: reducing start-stop emissions!

I swear I am not on an endorsement deal from Nordstrom Rack. For real! I just find so many amazing deals there that I keep blogging about them.

Comfy, cool and my favorite color. Win.

Eat Local, Shop Local – Let your t-shirt do the talkin’

I’ve had a huge crush on Locally Grown Clothing ever since I bought their baby onesies for our friends’ baby last year. I’ve been dying to wear an outfit with a statement too! I finally got my act together and ordered a t-shirt online. It was very hard to pick a statement since there are so many good ones, but I ended up with something I am very passionate about; Buy Local, Good food. Yes!

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The confirmation email I got, after hitting that dangerous purchase button, said “Allow up to three weeks for your order to arrive”. This is of course because they make the tees upon order, instead of stocking all versions they offer, which makes perfect sense for a sustainable, small company. I respect the hell out of that.

It turns out, that as a somewhat frequent internet shopper and citizen of 2015, I was not prepared to wait that long. I was getting a little nervous. “You have to call them and check” said both my bestie and my husband, but I assured them (crossing my fingers) “They said three weeks”. Eventually it got here; a teeny, sustainable looking package with a great smelling (yes it was!) navy t-shirt inside, which of course made me love this company even more.

Locally Grown has a great made right here concept (made in Iowa y’all!), soft fabrics and eco-friendly statements: this is right up my alley. Read more about their story here.

Next time, when it’s time to get another t-shirt; I will know that, for once, great things do come to those who wait.

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Photo credits: Shutterluv by Ashley.

We all just need a bit of inspiration and the guts to shop differently

When I first started the not made in China challenge January 2014, I had to re-think my entire shopping pattern. My husband and I were both frequent shoppers at Banana Republic, J.Crew and Coach. I bought my occasional pair of shoes (Michael Kors’ heels and Keds being favorites) at DSW. I came to realize, quickly, that all these stores and brands were practically off limits. At the very beginning, I bought my Juicy Couture soft grey sweats on sale and I thought I would run into more affordable clothes made in USA. Well, at the mall, you just don’t, and so for a long time; I didn’t buy anything at all.

I started to reinvent some of the outfits I already had, but I was still a bit uninspired and tired, though very determined to not give up. Obvious US choices like American Apparel and designer dresses and jeans were a no-go as well, for style or price reasons. Then it happened: I ran into that Richter Co. tee at Whole Earth Provision, and started wondering if there were endless, small American brands yet to be discovered. I started to search online, look in new stores and scavenge the racks (which has always scared me a little – too messy!). Bit by bit, piece by piece, rack by rack – I have become a made in America shopper. I say America and not USA because when it comes to sexy shoes, yes, I need to include South America.

My friend and I have been talking a lot about this topic, and I presented her with the idea to make a LookBook. In other words, make a photo collection of the clothes I have found and bought on this challenge and present them in a stylish way, in order to inspire others to go look for made right here. As a blogger I have a lot of words and as a photographer she has lots of talent, technique and cool spots to pick from, so we headed out to the country side.

One hour, 101 degrees, a few bugs and an exhausted reflector girl later, we had more photos than we would ever need for this project.

Made in USA top, Made in USA sweats, Made in USA bottle, Made in USA arm wrap
Made in USA top, Made in USA sweats, Made in USA bottle, Made in USA arm wrap

I am so thankful to have friends who inspire me, and whom I get to inspire in return. Does she shop made in China anymore? Very rarely! Did she return an expensive, online purchase when she saw the tag? Yes, she did! (See, I am saving her money ;))

Check out the results and get more information about the clothes on my new page LookBook! (I also had a few photos/outfits from before) My plan is to keep adding to it, whenever I have a new outfit to show. Hopefully, there’ll be enough good stuff for a fall shoot later on! (Can’t wait! Another chance to play model!)

If you want to be inspired by beautiful people, laughing children, posing dogs and killer locations, head on over to Shutterluv by Ashley, and like her on Facebook.

That’s a wrap people!!

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Made in USA, affordably priced and stylish, please

Now that there’s a Nordstrom rack only 18 minutes from my house, I am spoiled rotten with made in USA options. Not only that, I’ve also gotten better at spotting the type of clothes most likely to be made here, making shopping way more fun! Tag checking is still mandatory though (of course!). Check first, and then contemplate liking or not liking the garment.

One of the types of clothes often made here, is very loose fitting, super soft, cotton or rayon blend sweaters, dresses and tees. I like that look, but I find that loose fitting garments sometimes just looks way too big on me, or commonly known as “that woman is drowning in her sweater”. This is what happened last shopping session when I tried on 11 items (11!!) all made in USA and only left with one green sweater.

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Yes, it is soft and made from domestic fabric (rayon) by Harlow and Graham. It only cost me 21 bucks – yay!

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Harlow & Graham sweater with 7 for all Mankind Jeans – Made in USA!

See, I’m so good at this game now that I get to be choosy. I didn’t see that coming when I started this challenge (!), but I’m super thankful to be in that position.

While at the Rack, I passed up a pair of shiny, blue, leopard leggings (read definitely not for me), made in USA, without even twinging. Take that China!

Today’s the day to wear red, white and blue

Not necessarily literally speaking! It’s more important to make sure your clothes’ tags are red, white and blue – you know; made in USA!

Mine sure is. It’s my new favorite orange and white dress! It happens to be perfect for 95 degree Texas heat since it’s soft, short (!) and breezy. Hair pulled back is a must too!

Local beer, bars, friends and sunshine… Time to celebrate Independence Day! Happy 4th of July to all y’all; friends, followers, fellow bloggers and visitors!

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PS. The balloons aren’t mine. Balloons contain helium which is a natural gas we are running out of and is hurtful to the ozone layer once released. Since they were left behind by someone I decided to reuse them ;)

Sustainable fashion: Trending now?

The July issue of InStyle magazine offers a two page spread on “10 ways fashion is gonna save the world”, highlighting eco-friendly and sustainable initiatives happening in the fashion industry. I’m not sure I believe fashion can “save” anything, considering it is the second most polluting industry in the world (only outrun by the oil industry) and obviously driven mostly by overconsumption. “10 ways a few fashion brands are trying to be a little more sustainable” sounds more like it.

But I appreciate the article, at least some companies are trying and InStyle is reporting, so that’s a start!

tunicNumber 5 on the list is a spot on brand Zero + Maria Cornejo’s made right (here) vision, emphasizing the need to reduce transport of fabrics, centralizing work, and to source responsibly (my cause exactly!). They make all their garments in New York City (accessories in Italy).

Wow. Major fashion-crush happening. Gorgeous stuff, right eco-attitude and I love the website! But this will never be true love; it’s way too expensive for me. 795 dollars for a tunic? Yeah, no. That’s not going to work.

Sustainable product is everything and made right here is a must, but I can’t help but wonder how much of the price of that tunic is going towards covering the rent of Maria Cornejo’s Garment District location. Has she ever thought of moving upstate or like Indiana and giving me a better deal? Ha! Didn’t think so.

THIS is fashion, not retail. THIS is New York City. And at the end of the day, that’s a good thing. High dollar price means I can’t afford it, so I just won’t shop. And that, ladies, gentlemen and InStyle, is the very best way to be sustainable in fashion and “save” the world; reduce our consumption.

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And remember; no matter how eco-friendly, local, fair and sustainably made a garment is, if you’re never going to wear it, it’s NOT sustainable fashion.

EXPRESS yourself & show off your legs (leggings)!

Last week, by chance, I read the tag of my 2009 Opaque Ankle Tights from Express for the first time: Made in USA. I thought; “Really? Cool!” (And notice how I just wrote 2009?! Yes, I’ve had them for a while!)

I decided to look into it some more and pulled out all my tights and stockings, which I always buy at Express, for their great fit, to investigate. The full length body shaping tights are made in USA as well, and the other few styles, all patterned black stockings for festive occasions, are made in Italy. How exciting for a not made in China shopper!

IMG_5307A quick visit to the store (and the online shop); I am happy to say they still offer the American made tights! Hurray. Maybe I should buy another few pairs just in case the ankle ones don’t make it to 7 years… 7 year crisis – isn’t that a thing? Two pairs made right here, obviously excellent quality, for $24 – that’s a pretty good deal.

After further tag surfing in the store, I found the spilt is about 50/50 between made in USA and made in Italy. (Tights and stockings only, socks are China imports.)

Express, you’ve surprised me, and I like it. No reason, what so ever, to go anywhere else! Ever!express