Tag Archives: summerwear

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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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 ;)

I’ve got stripes, stripes around my shoulders

I got stripes, stripes around my shoulders. I got a bangle, a bangle around my wrist.

Fortunately, my stripes are not the kind Mr. Cash sang about. And, we all know that orange is the new stripes anyway.

I just love stripes. As a matter of fact I am wearing one of my striped, knit sweaters today, bought before the challenge. At one point all I had were striped sweaters, it seemed, so the question in the morning was not “what am I wearing today?” but “which striped shirt and which scarf should I pair up?”

My latest stripe addition, the first since the challenge started actually (16 months!), is a Soft Joie cotton dress with pockets.

Joie is based in (you guessed it!) California and after looking around their website it seems it was just pure luck that this cute dress is made in USA. They do import a bunch of items, also from China, so origin surfing is mandatory. All the clothing I like on their website is imported, apparently. But you know what? I’m grateful they tell me. I hate when online shops hide the origin, so kudos for being honest. I found this dress at Marshalls, and tags don’t lie.

soft joie

The bracelet is a Tory Burch leather logo bracelet, made right here, which I picked up at the outlet last year. I wear it all the time, since it goes with everything! It’s my statement piece – most days it’s the only jewelry I wear.

Can’t wait to wear this outfit this summer!

This weekend’s shopping spree: Action packed and NOTHING made in China.

The mission: Black skinny jeans.

Place: Nearby Mall, Houston.

Time: Saturday morning.

The challenge: Only shop clothes made in USA (or at least not made in China!)

First, I decided to give H&M a chance for a change. I don’t shop there much since I don’t support their Sweat Shop methods and almost everything cute is made in China but I was in the mood to browse. They actually have a new collection now called the “Conscious Collection”, which supposedly does some good for the makers of the garments, aims to be climate friendly, ethical and sustainable. Not enough for it to be labeled Fair-Trade, but I did find a lovely blouse with giraffes. Come on, how could I resist?! Giraffes!! It is made from 65% post-consumer material. Only $18.

Next, I laughed out loud at Marshall’s over this hilarious tag: “Democracy – made in China”. LOL.

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After that (and no purchase), I went to Nordstrom Rack, my new favorite place.

I tried on a very trendy, blue-black mélange LNA sweater ($39) and a Chaser Brand pink tank ($25). Both made in USA (California of course!) and both got to come home with me. Sorry for my lack of selfie finesse.

fun at rack

Last but NOT least, aka the grand finale, I found Citizen of Humanity black skinnies in my size hanging at the clearance rack. Yes!

I had practically given up at this time, it was almost 2 pm and I must have looked at 20 pairs already. Tag said “Made in USA” so I tried them on – perfection. Only $60! That was it for the day. Stop while I’m ahead.

Not made in China shopping IS possible, folks.

Mission completed.

Testing this barefoot walking thing… in some cute trainers

In order to strengthen our feet, my husband and I decided to explore the world of trainers without offset and much cushion. The theory being that shoes which allow a more natural movement of your feet, make them stronger. Feet should function as they “were designed to” (back from when people were running around barefoot I guess). So, I dove into unknown-origin-online-shopping, with only my feet in mind.

I decided on a pair of Nike Free 1.0 Cross Bionic Trainers. These trainers have a low profile and Nike promises they’ll give me a virtually barefoot feel, enhanced stability and a more natural stance. They arrived a few days after the “click to purchase”; fit perfectly, super soft, light and cute. Where are they made? Vietnam.

Vietnam. Per definition that is not a felony of the challenge (phew!) but still a polluting import from the east.

BUT, I am excited to try this trend and theory out, to see if my feet really do get stronger. After my first few test-walks (they say you should wear them for a few months before attempting to run, and gradually increase the time and distance you walk in them to not overstrain your feet) I must the say the ball of my foot feels a little tingly, almost like when I’m walking in heels. In this case, some kind of soft, flexible, super comfy heels. That must be my muscles getting a workout, right? Knee muscles and calves actually tense up a bit too.nike

A while back a friend and I were actually discussing footwear vs. the not made in China challenge. His point of view; if you have already found the perfect running shoes, for your feet, should you really compromise that perfect fit for the challenge?

That’s a good question, and I honestly don’t have the answer. Maybe not. What could be more important than our bodies’ wellbeing? And keeping our feet healthy is a big part of that, I think. In order to maintain the energy to work on changing the world, we need good shoes and strong feet. We do have a long way to go (walk) and lots of work to do in our quest for sustainable living. I hope my Nike imports can play a part in it!

I found love at the Rack. Nordstrom Rack.

When I saw the print my heart skipped a beat.

When I felt the soft, cozy fabric I wanted it.

When I looked at the price tag and saw $37 (original $128) I was beyond excited.

When I flipped the size tag over and saw “Made in USA”, I thought “this is the BEST day ever”.

When I tried it on and found it to be a liiittle bit too big, I said “whatever, I’ll make it work with skinny jeans”.

I am now cute, cozy and pink in the office (hell yeah, you can touch it!). This is my first Wildfox sweater ever and if Nordstrom Rack continues to deliver, hopefully not my last.

L-O-V-E this.

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The soft & luxurious tee of your dreams

But it’s not a dream – the Richter Co. based and made in San Antonio, Texas, has made it a reality; the softest tee you will ever own. With their soft textiles and low cut V’s, these craftsmen are bringing local back. And it’s pretty sexy.

Poly-Rayon mix, hand crafted, with a variety of styles like crew necks, pocket tanks and ¾ sleeved tees – made in Texas garments are only a click away. And wow, it’s affordable – less than $20!

The verdict: made right (here) heaven.

And I LOVE the tag.

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Too young for comfort (-able shoes)

Last week I was excited to hear about SAS shoes for the first time. Apparently all made in Texas(!) and super comfortable. I was told they are ugly, but I was still hopeful after reading about their manufacturing and quality, and some of the sandals looked ok online. I made my husband come with me and we gave the store a try. I don’t want to offend anyone but I am probably 50 years too young to wear SAS. Why do comfortable shoes always have to be for older people with wide feet? And I sooo wanted to like them, and be wearing 100% USA-made shoes. Sob sob.

New try. New balance dot com. And yes. I may have spent more than a few minutes trying to design my own custom, perfect sneaker online (this may or may not have happened during work hours). Pink with purple, or all orange, because I like orange, or maybe black?

70% of the value of the sneakers, they say, are made here upon order, so they have the right to label it made in USA. It’s pretty cool too, how they are the only big-brand sneaker maker that produces some (1 of 4 pairs) of their products here still.

Press purchase and 6-8 days later, colorful, one of a kind sneakers at my door with a much coveted tag. This is more my type of SAS – stylish adorable sporty.

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A Fashionista can’t do this – lucky I’m not one

Almost 6 months into the challenge and it probably goes without saying that I haven’t bought a lot of clothes this year. Yes, stylewise I am at a standstill.

I’ve been looking for cute, ethical garments, but most of the things I liked were off limits. It’s very frustrating to find that the high dollar stores (Anthropology) and the low dollar ones (H&M) all sell clothes from the same places; China, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

More specifically, good looking Made in USA clothes are even harder to find!

Eileen Fisher has a made in USA line, and of course American Apparel is all made in USA, but unfortunately for me, neither brand is really my style. I did discover that you can search on Nordstrom.com after Made in USA and a bunch of things come up. Don’t check out the women’s ballet flats section though – utterly depressing… but lots of lovely dresses and active wear. And as far as I understand, you can return items at a store near you.

As stylish + USA seems somewhat impossible, I surrendered and got some Tory Burch flats and wedges made in Brazil recently. I looked at matching bracelets but they were all made in China. So what happened to all the leftover leather from the Brazilian shoe factory? It wasn’t enough to make bracelets?

I’ll have to accept that I’ll be a bit untrendy summer of 2014 (“that’s so 2013!”). Maybe I’ll get my groove back and find some cute things in the fall. I just need some extra energy, prepare for failure, hope for success, plan to spend a whole weekend shopping and read a gazillion tags…

I can do this!