Traceability Report, Portrait Collar and Summer Yellows

Traceability Report, Portrait Collar and Summer Yellows

“I like my money right where I can see it: hanging in my closet.” – Carrie Bradshaw 

What do you think of this quote? First instincts? It sounds joyous especially at first glance. That is part of what made the show so fun. Unfettered joy and drama in getting dressed up and shopping. A retailer’s dream show and shopper. Confetti. I wish I could feel it. But there is too much undercurrent in my thoughts to allow this to be my motto. More power to you if you can enjoy this much consumption. And if these companies that make these expensive clothes are providing quality and supporting all employees at all levels of the process from maker to seller with a supportive lifestyle including health care, a safe work environment and enough income to provide good safe food and shelter for themselves and their families then I am all in for paying the price.

I have never craved designer items – Quality might make my mouth water but not necessarily the name attached to it. And I certainly wouldn’t spend on a designer name unless it was quality or secondhand. Do you think new cars lose value as soon as you drive them off the lot? Well then the depreciation on a clothing item as soon as you take it out of the store would blow your mind.

I just did a quick search on the Real Real for Prada shoes. A low top Prada sneaker at Nordstrom retails for $590 to $620. On the Real Real a never worn leather sneaker is $225 and you can get a 20% off coupon.

Now let’s look at the traceability of their supply lines. I am not picking on Prada it just happens to be the first designer line that came to mind in my search. Before starting this article I really hadn’t done much research into them but now I am curious. I pulled up my copy of the  2020 Fashion Transparency Index and looked up Prada in the traceability scoring.

 

Traceability includes such things as:

Does the brand disclose where their final production factories are?

Do they disclose their processing facilities that are earlier in the game – ginning, spinning, embroidering, dying etc. ?

Do they disclose their suppliers of raw materials?

Do they do any tracing on their suppliers to make sure they are being told the truth? 

Then are they sharing verified information about these facilities including: 

The address of the facility

  • The types of products/services made in each supplier facility
  • Approximate number of workers
  • Sex-disaggregated breakdown of workers at each site
  • If the facility has a trade union
  • If the facility has an independent worker committee
  • % of migrant or contract workers
  • Name of parent company
  • The business relationship between facilities at different levels of their supply chain
  • If the list is available as a csv or Excel spreadsheet
  • If the list was updated within the past 6 months

I hope you can see why this information is so important to determining if a fashion supply house is just giving lip service to responsibility or really participating in making the world a better place.

Prada scored in the 11-20% range.  

You can get your own report and look up your favorite brand here: https://www.fashionrevolution.org/about/transparency/ 

So I’m sure none of this was on Carrie’s mind but if it was I am all in.

Photo from https://sexandthecity.fandom.com/

Organized dressing area

Do you have a clean organized closet?

Creating one is well worth your time. Doing so can help eliminate confusion in the morning, up your style game, give you a plan for shopping that will help eliminate duplicate purchases, fill holes in your closet, help you see what you really have and finally help save the earth. 

When it comes to closets I believe less is more. Evaluating your lifestyle in terms of what you really need to own in terms of clothing, evaluating your style in terms of how you want to be perceived,  and paying attention to what sorts of clothing brings a smile to your face when you put it on is the first step in culling. 

How many pairs of black pants or blue jeans do you really need? There are only 7 days in the week. If that was all you wore and you only did wash once a week then 7 would be the max (assuming you can’t wear them more than one day a week between washing). Do you keep going out and buying black pants? Why? Evaluate your lifestyle to see what you really need. 

Do the clothes you own reflect you the way you feel and want to be seen?  Having clothes with holes in them may be how you want to reflect if you are proud of the fact that you reuse and never buy new. A better choice might be to do an artistic mending job, alteration or remake so this wear looks planned and not inadvertent. If wearing clothes with holes in them is not a choice you are consciously making and you don’t want to repair, then get rid of them. Goodwill and other textile recycling organizations now take ripped and stained clothing and turn them into other items. They no longer need to go in the garbage. So get rid of them without guilt and try to buy better quality next time. 

When you look at the clothes in your closet, which items bring a smile to your face? Which items do you wear most often? Are there things hanging there that bring you grief instead of joy? (i.e. too small or last worn on divorce day?) Get rid of them. They are keeping you stuck. Life is short. Let’s have some forward motion. 

If you want to get started on your own, try my closet makeover plan for free. 

If you need help, drop me a line.

Fashion Trends

Summer 2020 yellows Saffron, lark and sunlight 

Yellow! Yellow! Yellow! Brings me joy. Please wear some.

Pleated Portrait Collar on 5th Ave Dress pattern

Clothing detail of the week- portrait collar

 

This vintage style collar is a face framing gem and attention getter. It is very large and wide. It is probably called a portrait collar because it frames your beautiful face and highlights your neck and upper chest. It can be sexy or subdued depending on styling.  The collar can be simple or ruffled. The same color or a contrasting color.

Try one out and be framed.

Triangle guidelines – always a guide NEVER a rule 

The triangle body shape is larger on the bottom than the top. To achieve body balance which is a trompe l’oeil  that creates a top and bottom that are equal with a defined waist, make the upper body look larger. This can be done with color – (like one of the 2020 yellows worn with a darker bottom) or print or it can be done with design details like necklines, ruffles, sleeve styles, seam lines.  The portrait collar discussed today moves all the attention up! 

As a general rule for every body shape you want to avoid straight lines across the widest part of your body. This means don’t have a hemline or color break across your hips which are the widest part of a triangle. Instead move that hem up or down to a narrower part of your body. Another option would be to make that hemline a diagonal or vertical that moves the eye up and down not sideways.  The design lines should always lead the eye to where you want it not where you don’t. 

Play around, try something new and have fun experimenting. Look at the items in your closet with this in mind. Are there some items you like? Could any of these guides be part of the reason?

drawing of triangle body shape
Closet clarity, Disco Collars and Retail openings

Closet clarity, Disco Collars and Retail openings

When you don’t know your goal it is hard to get there

Have you had a hard time getting that closet cleaned out even though you have more time than usual?

This was my problem for years. I didn’t have a clear stated end goal to a closet clearing or clothing purchases. I only had some vague and gulity thoughts about why and some loosy -goosy information on how. I would get rid of things but I never played with making outfits with what was left and I never had a plan to fill the holes that would allow me to create outfits. I had lots of party dresses but no good workout clothes. My  clothing purchases were whatever was near the checkout stand. And clothing budget? What is that?
Then I realized what I wanted was clarity.  I wanted to reach in my closet and pull out the perfect outfit, I wanted to shop with a purpose not shop when I had a minute.
It is such a joy to make that first activity (OK maybe second – after a cup of coffee) of going into my closet to find something to wear a quick and easy and CLEAR. I have saved so much time. I wonder how much easier my success would have been if I had set  that goal  of finding clarity and ending confusion about what to wear much earlier in the process.
Are you struggling to find clarity in your closet (life)? Start with these tools to get some clarity and drop me a line if you need help. 

My favorite look this coat from Lanvin (Vogue photo)

A vintage shirt from Poshmark is a sustainable way to get this trend. (Photo from Poshmark seller mishmark)

And this disco collar takes it literally and figuratively. (Photo from thisilk.)

This week’s fashion term and trend is the disco collar. They were all the rage on the runway back when we had fashion shows (not so long ago) and they were the rage (apparently) during my youth although I can’t recall owning any. A disco collar is a collar on a shirt or jacket that is normal size in the back but has an exaggerated silhouette in the front with enormous points of 3 + inches. It sort of looks like an origami bird. The ones I enjoyed seeing the most were on shirts with some feminine curvy details elsewhere. And there were a couple jackets with colorful collars that also looked flattering. Many of the others looked trendy and actually focused the attention away from the beautiful faces of the models. According to my style philosophy this is a no no.  Remember you should wear the clothes, the clothes shouldn’t wear you. If this is the trend you want to embrace this year, find just one exquisite disco collar shirt or jacket that flatters you. Remember anything new you buy should be able to be combined into at least three outfits using items you already own. You shouldn’t have to buy a whole new outfit just to incorporate one new item.

Retail News

 Here in Washington state all nonessential businesses (and that includes all my favorite consignment and thrift stores have been closed since mid-March. Phase 2 of our state’s business reopening includes retail stores being able to allow shoppers inside.

 Here is a link to the rules they must follow during this phase of re-opening. https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/Phase2InStoreRetailGuidance.pdf?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

These rules include cleaning dressing rooms after each customer, spacing customers and having a holding area where clothing that is returned or tried on can be stored for 24 hours. Have some empathy for store owners and retail clerks during these times. While I am sure they are delighted to be open and back to work this new way of doing business brings a new set of headaches and everyone is under just a little more stress whether they want to admit it or not.

With these shopping rules in place having a plan for what you need to buy, knowing your size in various brands, and having the knowledge about your best fit, colors and silhouettes will be crucial to a successful in person shopping experience. You might even call the store you want to visit ahead of time with list in hand of exactly what you are looking for. See if they can pull the items and have them ready for you. If you do this make sure you show up and are courteous. I would anticipate some stores will be setting appointments for shopping.

You should also be clear on policies for returns. Stores may change policies they have had in place to eliminate the trouble returns could bring now.

On the positive side, I would anticipate smoking deals on whatever inventory is around as well as potential limited inventory in coming seasons. Have a plan and a list so you don’t get sidetracked by those deals.

If you need help planning drop me a line. Let’s talk about it.

Support your favorite stores so they will be around for us in the future. I miss their great clothing displays and smiling faces.

Button Repair

Having grown up in an era when Home-Ec was offered I know my way around the sewing room. When I make myself a new piece of clothing I often hear comments like “Wow” “I don’t even know how to sew on a button.  Well with that in mind today I want to share how to sew on a button.  I also want to mention that doing this as soon as you notice a loose button and before it falls off will make step 1 a lot easier.

Step 1 would be to locate the button, as well as a needle and thread. Some clothing comes with extra buttons but then you have to remember where you stashed those.

Step 2 Cut a piece of thread roughly 24” long and thread it through the needle so the needle is halfway down the thread and the cut ends are even.

Step 3 – on the backside of the garment push the needle into the fabric between the layers about ½” away from where you want to come up. When you come up pull the thread through so that there is just a tiny bit showing where you first went in.

Step 4 – Go through the fabric 3 times in the same spot to create a lock so the thread won’t pull out.

Step 5 – put the button on the needle and let it drop down to the right side of the garment.  Bring the needle and thread back down through the hole in the button and come back up another hole. If the button has a shank (no holes but an attachment on the back of the button), go through that.

Step 6 – Repeat at least 6 times to make sure the button is secure.

Step 7 – Wrap the thread around the back of the button between the fabric and the button 3 or 4 times and then go down to the wrong side of the garment.

Step 8 – Go up and down in the same spot 3 times to lock the thread, push the needle in between the layers and come up about ½” away and cut the thread.

Options- If your button has more than 2 holes you can do a criss cross pattern. You can use a thread color that stands out for an attention getting detail. You can replace all the buttons with more interesting buttons.

Have some fun with this basic repair that can salvage a great piece of clothing instead of sending it to the donation or garbage bin.

Color and Sustainability

Color and Sustainability

How can finding your color help you with a sustainable wardrobe?

  • It will be easier to avoid impulse shopping by not buying colors that are not good for you
  • It will help you edit your closet by only keeping those things you love in colors that look great
  • You will have more free time because your colors will mix and match. A sustainable life also means having time to enjoy life.

The history of the fashion industry and color has not always been pretty and it is still complicated. In Victorian times Paris green was created using arsenic. Paris green was a lovely color used in garments, paint and wallpaper. If you haven’t already figured this out, arsenic is toxic. Not only were wearers at risk but the workers and artists who needed to work closely with these materials were poisoned as well. Buzzfeed wrote a short article on Paris Green that you can read here .

That is not to say that there is not still trouble in the fashion industry with color. It is cheaper and easier for fashion companies to farm out production of textiles and dying to large dyehouses and unless you have an industry representative and chemical engineer there watching every step you can’t claim to be sustainable with color (or even no color – because bleaching is involved). To begin to be sustainable, dyes have to be non toxic to workers and the environment. Water used in the dying process should be recycled and it definitely needs to be purified before being discharged into the environment.

Clothing that is produced using environmental and worker friendly dye techniques will cost more. The cost is justified. Most of us (myself included) have enough in our closets to keep us clothed for many more years. As part of my quest to be a sustainable stylist I hope to learn more about companies that walk their talk and produce clothing made with sustainable technique that is designed to last for years.

Eileen Fisher has an eco certified line that is worth a look. This beautiful washable silk top is an example.

Think natural dyes are the answer? Maybe in some cases but the growing, harvesting and processing of plants uses water and arable land as well as mordants that are not scaleable for the current level of  fashion consumption.

If your budget is constrained don’t settle for fast fashion. Make carefully considered choices from consignment or thrift stores that will take items out of the waste chain. If you buy new, think carefully before picking up that $10 top made from polyester. We and the places we buy from should be considering our impact on people and places around the world. The easiest way to do that is reduce what you consume. Knowing your colors is a first step. 

How do you do your part?

How do you do your part?

By now you must be aware of the cost fashion can impose on the environment and workers in the fashion industry. Or maybe you thought it was all “fixed”.  Things have improved. You now have choices about how and where your clothing was made and who made it. Yet fashion is still an industry that is about churning out more because stockholders and everyone employed needs to make money.

 I’m not sure what would happen to the economy if consumers began buying less items of a higher quality that are made or refashioned locally. There would probably be some turmoil if it happened all at once. I do think if we all start to make better and more thoughtful choices companies will respond with less and better quality product and hopefully higher worker pay. It may cut off my flow of thrift store finds because now everyone has things they love, that fit them well and they aren’t shopping for entertainment anymore which would result in less to get rid of.

I tend to take the easy way out and shop thrift and consignment stores. I am also the one that picks up fabric and sewing notions from thrift and fellow seamstress give a ways.

How do you make sure your clothing is a responsible choice?

Re sole

Re sole

The REI member coupon for 20% off came in the mail which meant it was time for me to get my yearly pair of utility shoes. Having spent years on my feet caring for plants this was my yearly splurge and when you put on that new pair of shoes you feel like your feet are brand new. Joyous style for me.

This year when I was shopping I noticed one of the filters was could the shoe be resoled. What an old but newly novel concept! Don’t get new shoes, resole your old ones. Unfortunately there were only two styles advertised as having the ability to be resoled. Neither of them were of the heavy duty style I needed although I was tempted to try the Ahnu but settled on the Salomon because my hiking boots made by them are very supportive.

As you can see I have not put much effort yet into stylish hiking clothes but at least I am not in black.

My husband seems to be able to pull it off much better than I. These photos were taken in the Yakima Canyon in April. The wildflowers are small but perfect. I saw these beautiful violets and believe they are called sagebrush violets.

Do you have a favorite yearly ritual?