A Sustainable life :: Dacy :: Mindful Closet

We’re excited to launch a new blog series that looks into the lives of creative and inspiring women, we’re asking what sustainability means to them–amongst other things.

There is something life giving about hearing a new perspective from women you admire and work alongside, so get ready for some fresh takes and thoughtful insights!

Without further ado, check out our feature with Dacy from Mindful Closet.

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ROUTE: What does sustainability mean to you?

 

DACY: To me, sustainability means using what you have. It means not wasting things. Most importantly, it means resisting the messages that we should always be purchasing something new. If we all gave a little more thought to which of these new purchases we actually need, the production of “stuff” would have to slow down, and we’d use fewer resources as a society.

 

ROUTE: Do you make it a habit to practice mindfulness & intention? If so, how?

D: I’m constantly working on mindfulness and intention and don’t feel as though I ever get better at it, although I guess that’s kind of the point! Currently, my biggest focus in this area is on being intentional with my digital life. I’m trying to set limits around when and how I use social media and scrutinizing my reasons for opening my phone or computer. It’s a huge challenge.

ROUTE: What are some ways you incorporate or live sustainable fashion? Favorite brands?

D: The most sustainable thing you can do is to make use of something that already exist in the world, so if I’m looking for a new article of clothing, I check secondhand sources first (usually thrift stores, resale shops, and Poshmark). My style aligns really well with lots of ethical fashion retailers, so I love to patronize them. A couple of my favorites are Elizabeth Suzann, Ali Golden, and of course Route! The price points can be higher, but I know that that’s because people are being paid a higher wage to produce them, so I make room in my budget by saving on secondhand pieces.

ROUTE: Name 3 sources of inspiration that have been life giving for you lately:

 

D: This might sound odd, but I’ve been staying away from the usual “inspiration” lately. Instagram has lots of pretty pictures, but also the potential to make me feel bad about myself. I’ve been limiting my time there, but I have been recently getting inspired by sewists (sewer+artist) Sienna and Abolaji. Pinterest and I are still cool and I’m into all the content on The Cut.

 

ROUTE: What are you so passionate about that you will experience discomfort to see it through?

D: It was actually really uncomfortable for me to start my personal styling business, mindful closet. I’m an introvert and pretty risk-averse. However, I get so much joy from showing women that they are worthy without the latest trend or fad that’s being marketed to them. I see my job as helping them find the styles that they feel most themselves in and letting go of all the rest. Contrary to what you might think, the fewer better things you have, the easier it is to get dressed.

 

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Dacy has an upcoming 5 day capsule creation challenge starting tomorrow August 1st, so hop on over and get the details on that.She also shared a couple of her ROUTE favorites with us:

“I love the Hana Saddlebag because there’s nothing better than being hands free, especially when you’ve got two kids to wrangle.”

 

“I’m all about geometric earrings these days. The Stevie earring makes a big impact, but it’s leather, so it’s not heavy.”
Click through to check them out.

 

Thank you Dacy!

 

Be sure to follow Dacy on Instagram & check out her website where she helps empower you to simplify your closet.
Let us know what you think about this new series, who would you like to hear from? We have a lot of wonderful women coming up.
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“Shop with Purpose” by April Flavio

We live in a world where we are constantly thrown content that says go here, buy this, do this, own this.

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Our minds are over saturated with this kind of content on a daily basis. I know, I’m a blogger and follow lots of other bloggers that are producing this kind of content. If you don’t know what exactly it is that we do, it is our job to essentially be advertisements for brands and companies to buy and support whatever product or service they are putting out there. When I started this journey and was given the opportunity to work with brands, I knew I didn’t want to work with just any brand. I wanted to represent, work along side, and showcase products from companies that I believed in. A brand that stood apart and was not just selling merchandise but was truly trying to make a difference.

The truth is, the older I get the less “stuff” I want and the things I own I want to be items I truly love. Now  don’t get me wrong, I love to shop and I definitely shop frequently but over the years the way I shop has changed a little. It’s become less about having all the things and more about having the right things. If that resonates with you at all, if you are tired of all the clutter and the senseless stuff in your house and you want more of just the stuff that you love, keep reading!

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As many of you know I love to thrift shop. I have been thrifting long before it was cool to thrift. Anyone else out there a long time thrifter and been doing it way before it became the trend?? I started thrifting with my mom when I was a little girl. On Saturdays it was our little outing to go thrifting together and if I was lucky I might get one thing. Still to this day when I go home this is what my mom and I do together… we thrift, and thrift some more, and always have fun seeing what kind of finds we will come home with. There is something so exciting about stumbling upon something really fabulous while thrifting! When you find it, it’s as if it was waiting there for you to take it home all along.  Am I right fellow thrifters?! Going home after a shopping trip feeling like you just found the deal of the day is every thrifters dream and is what keeps us going back again and again to find that perfect find! It can be so tempting to buy all things while thrifting because everything tends to be super cheap. I used to have the mindset of, “oh it’s only $4 so although it may not be perfect I’ll get it anyway”. Over the years I have changed that and now I make a conscious effort to shop more with purpose!

 

Here are some of things I ask myself before buying:

Do you love it?
Do you like it a little or do you really love it? If it’s just okay, put it back because chances are you will get it home and it will hang in your closet more than you’ll actually wear it. So make sure it’s something you really do like and not just something that is mediocre.

Does it fit well? 
This is a big one! We often buy things that may not fit perfectly but we liked it so we talked ourselves into buying it anyway. We buy things too small thinking we will lose the weight and fit into it soon or we buy things too big not realizing that we aren’t really shopping the right sizes for our body. Know your body type and know what sizes truly fit you! If those pants are a little too tight but you’re planning on losing 5 lbs in the next month to fit into them, put it back on the rack because chances are those pants are going to spend more time hanging in your closet than actually getting worn. When thrifting try on everything regardless of what the size on the tag says and make sure it’s a great fit before taking it home with you!

I just recently tried on a shirt while out thrifting that was absolutely fabulous! The style was so unique and fun but it was just a little too small. I was tempted to buy it regardless because it was just that good but I put it back knowing that if it didn’t fit me well it wasn’t worth adding it to my closet. Always take home what fits you well!

Is the quality worth it?
You’ll find when thrifting that a lot things are worn, or stained or maybe lost their shape. I only choose pieces that look almost like new. No matter the price, it’s never worth buying something that looks like it’s already lived it’s best life. Some things you might be able to mend or repair but in most cases save your money until you find something really worth buying and if you are really lucky you’ll find something new with the tags still on it. Those are the best finds!

Can you mix and match it to create several looks?
This is a new way of thinking for me! I dress a little more outside the box than I used to so I’m always thinking of different ways I might be able to wear something. Ask yourself if it’s something you can make work in more than one season or can you pair it was a couple different things to create more than one outfit. If the answer is yes, then it’s almost like you are purchasing more than one outfit while only buying one item.

What is it made out of?
Check the tags to see what it is made out of. My mother taught me this one. Will the fabric content require special washing or dry cleaning required? It is made out of fabric that will shrink easily or loose it’s shape after a couple washes? Is it made out of natural or synthetic fabrics? These are all things you may want to consider before you make that purchase!

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If this isn’t how you currently shop it may take you awhile to transition this way of thinking. I know it did for me but the result is worth it! It’s so much easier to get dressed every day if what you have in your closet are things you love and fit you well. If half of your wardrobe are things that look worn out and are the wrong sizes, get rid of that stuff and slowly build up your closet by shopping with purpose. That’s the beauty of thrifting, it may not be the perfect thing for you but it might just be someone else’s find of the day!

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I recently had the pleasure of sitting down and talking with the owner of Route, an online boutique that believes in ethical fashion and mindful purchasing. We shared our love of thrifting and wearing pieces we feel great in. She shared with me the story and purpose behind why she started her nonprofit. At Routethey believe in the power of fashion to create change; that everything that we buy had a journey before it got to us. That journey might be positive and impactful or it may be harmful. Which is why at Route each piece is shopped with purpose to ensure sustainability and is ethically made.

This is not only a brand but a movement that I want to work along side and be a part of!

Join me in shopping with purpose- creating relationships that change lives and change the world!

Route carries handbags and jewelry accessories as well as a line of hand picked thrifted items! Go check it out HERE or follow them on Instagram for the latest HERE!

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This gorgeous red dress I’m wearing is from their thrifted collection and is also available for purchase!

 

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What are your tips and tricks for shopping with purpose?

If this put you in the mode of cleaning out your closet, you may also be interested in a recent post 30 Days- 30 Things!

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Why Leather?

 

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For years some of our most popular products are our leather bags.  As we have been analyzing what it means to be eco-friendly and how to make large and small decisions that increase sustainability in our business, we have been bringing leather into question.

Two things have come up as we have researched this:

The first is that leather itself is a natural substance.  It breaks down when put into landfills (not as quickly as it would b/c of the tanning process, but faster than synthetics), in many cases it lasts a very long time for use before it is ever discarded.

That being said, the way that leather is processed may bring up some environmental and health questions that need to be considered.  Farming animals, processing them and the chemicals required to tan a hide so it will last can come at great cost to the environment.  The Ethiopian leather that we use IS a byproduct of the meat production industry, which helps.  It is all vegetable dyed but does use a traditional tanning process.

In Ethiopia, leatherwork is a traditional craft and in many places, it is worked in small factories.  Check out THIS sweet post about the story behind the leather factory that sources most of our leather goods.  In this case, the social sustainability and cultural connection to leather work have merit.

Lastly: what is the alternative?  Having a bag that is functional, fashionable and will last a long time is part of living (especially a professional) life.  If the alternative to a leather bag is a plastic bag (most vegan leather on the market is plastic), leather may be more sustainable.  Check out THIS really fascinating article listing some great alternatives to leather (including tree bark leather, mushroom leather and products made from recycled paper!)

So, in the end…it is hard to know.  Owning less, keeping things longer and making educated choices is probably the best decision.  As for us, our preference is leather over synthetic at this point.  But let’s hope for more vegetable sourced products that last,coming to market soon!

Good luck!

Christina

3 Reasons to Shop Natural Fibers

 

 

Silk, cotton, cashmere, anyone??  

 

This spring is all about sustainability. How can we shop for the good of the planet? How can we shop with forever in mind?

Synthetic fibers like rayon, acrylic, polyester, and spandex are everywhere, and in some of our favorite items of clothing! (Hey there, yoga pants). So what’s the big deal? Why shop natural fibers instead?

 

Here are our top 3 reasons and why:

 

 

  • Washing Synthetic Fibers can harm the environment

 

    • When you wash clothing made with synthetic fibers, little particles of the fabric are released into the wash. These little fibers are actually small bits of plastic that never truly exit our water supplyScreen Shot 2019-03-01 at 1.48.42 PM
    • Yikes! So what do we do?
    • Here’s what to do with yours

 

 

  • Shopping clothing made with natural fiber is an investment

 

    • You’ll save money in the long run with well- made clothing
    • You’re using less plastic by shopping natural fibers
    • There are natural fibers for every occasion :Cotton, Linen, Wool, Cashmere, Hemp, Silk, Alpaca, Bamboo

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Shop our One of for a always changing selection of natural fibers.

 

  • Natural fibers elevate your closet!

 

    • When you purchase naturally made clothing, you become part of a tradition that has existed for thousands of years
    • When you buy clothing made from natural fibers, you can rest assured that long after those fibers have left your closet, no matter where they end up –  they’ll support- not harm the planet.
    • Natural fibers- (unlike synthetic fibers) are actually biodegradable and won’t live forever in a landfill.
    • Natural fibers create timeless pieces (talk about a capsule wardrobe!)

 

And that’s that! Write us an let us know your favorite wasCaring for the planet has never been so beautiful.

#Shopforever

Gifting the Good: The Gift of Time

It was such an amazing experience to stop for a few minutes and ask some women in our community what their favorite experience was being gifted time.  Each of the women gave us a different answer, each one had a unique and specific experience.  That is one of the most exciting things about non-traditional giving – you have to be specific, it is about thinking deep about the other person, empathizing with their life and then making the gift about them.  Here are 5 ideas that we came up with around quality time, with our FAVORITE Route gifts to give when you spend time.

  1. Gift time AWAY – watching someone’s children, doing their dishes, walking their dog, or doing anything that carries someone else’s load so that they can have a minute to themselves or doing a special activity that they don’t have time for.  Maybe helping someone with phone calls or doing some organizing for them.  Try using your time to give someone else a little more time.
  2. Spend Time TOGETHER – This only works with the most special people.  Who is the friend or family member who comes to you for advice, help, support?  Give those people your time and listen to them.  This simple act makes people feel TAKEN CARE of and ENCOURAGED.
  3. Gift your Expertise – what can you do, that would be a gift to others.  This may mean teaching someone something that you know, maybe it’s helping someone with their business or fixing something in their house.  What do you know that could bless others?  Give them your time this year.

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4. The Esther Vest – Our current favorite layer.  An alpaca blend that is at once warm but not too bulky.  You will love layering this beautiful piece with light or dark colors and will feel so great knowing that it was made ethically and your purchase supports each maker in Bolivia.

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5. The Athena earring – gifting the good means giving with out purchasing AND purchasing with purpose.  Each of our pieces has great purpose, the Athena is not alone.  But these recycled glass earrings that are hand pieced have a special place in our hearts.  They are the creation of an amazing women, Christine who was so moved by women that she has known come out of trafficking that she has used her expertise and time to create a jewelry line that helps others into a safe life and healthy employment!  Try them out for you or a gift.

More next week on gifting words of AFFIRMATION!  Have a wonderful week and happy ethical gifting!

XOXO,

Christina

Nothing I’m Wearing is Ethically Made

Some days everything I have on was bought from a major retailer, is in synthetic fibers (in intense colors that probably required several washes to dye) and was possibly even purchased off the sale rack!

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Yes, I am here everyday posting about all of the beautiful things I’ve found for you to buy that were safely made and relieve poverty and empower women and help, sometimes even relieve stress and harm on the environment.  AND I want all of that to be true about EVERY piece in my wardrobe.  But it’s only in the last year or two that I made that a commitment and I have a closet full of things that were purchased before that.  So what do I do with them?

Mostly, I keep them.  I try and restyle them in ways that are fresh and repair them or spot clean them when needed.  I do my best (I have young messy children) to wash them as infrequently as possible so that they last (and to conserve water in general).

But mostly, I have GRACE for myself and I walk tall, knowing that I’m trying and sometimes being good to others and the environment means keeping what I have, even if it’s story is not exciting and I really just ordered it from Zara (my skirt in the picture).

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I’m also really excited for our upcoming clothing swap in October!  Follow the link here for more INFO. Several of the pieces in my closet that fit the description above will be out that day.  I’m hoping I can switch for something new without completely getting rid of what I have.

So where ever your journey to a conscious closet is at…it is ALL GOOD.  Keep trying, being creative, rewearing, hunting, thrifting and know that you are not alone in it.

As always: Happy Ethical Shopping!

XOXO,

Christina

This Should Change Your Life

In the last month I have been excited, shocked, surprised and maybe a little annoyed by how many posts on plastics I have seen and read.  Excited because this is definitely something that I have thought about and have had concerns about for a while. Shocked because of what I’m reading. Surprised that so many people at once are getting on this trend (some trends are so valuable, right!?) and Annoyed because do I really want one more thing to avoid!  One more stream to swim against…IMG_2719

Even though avoiding plastics, or trying to minimize them in our clothing, and just in general is so difficult and takes time, energy and resources.  I am watching all of these amazing people who really care, who inspire me daily and I’m starting to feel like maybe I can do this.  I think it’s time our life should change.

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That being said, I have three children, I run two companies and let’s just be real –  I don’t have time for this.  But, my children are now eating the plastic that I’m washing when I wash our synthetic clothing.  Every straw or spoon or cup that I throw away contributes to 6 MILLION tons of waste a year.

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At Route, I am ready for us to start making small changes.  We already purchase pieces made with environmentally sustainable or recycled materials as often as we can.  We use cotton bags to store and wrap our jewelry instead of plastic.  But there is so much more we can do.  After much thinking I have three goals for my family and 3 for Route:

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  1. Switching all shipping packaging to recycled paper products within the next six months.
  2. Finding at least one new partner group that uses organic clothing to include in our line.
  3. Purchasing at least 30% of our jewelry made with recycled materials.

 

My Family (this is so much easier!)

  1. Start bringing metal straws or not use straws at all when we go out.
  2. When I need to buy more plates or cups keeping them plastic free.
  3. Never using disposable plastic wear in our kitchen.

Well, we will see how this goes!  I hope that you are also feeling inspired to think through plastic consumption in your life and that Route can help with that.

Happy Conscious Purchasing!

XOXO,

Christina

A Peek Into My Closet

Here I am again, sharing something new going on around Route.  Purchasing ethically and having a closet with the least social and environmental impact is COMPLICATED and takes a lot of work and thought.  I’ve been working on it for at least the last four years and I feel strongly like I have SO far to go.

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Somedays jewelry is just a simple bar necklace like our Sade.

So after all of this time I’ve learned a thing or two and I finally feel ready to share a little bit about my journey, how I dress now and some of my closet goals as I’m going forward.

A few things to know about me that might be helpful:  I’m a (in some ways reluctant) stay at home mom.  Getting dressed and putting a passable outfit together daily is just one little way that I stick it to this crazy season that keeps me home all day chasing children.

I consider clothing trends optional and classic Parisian style a closet must.  I don’t wear one clear style, but mix it up and am always passionate about clothing that is flattering, well tailored and intricately designed (even if the finished product is simple).

Follow along on our instagram stories for more and if you like what I have on for any feature keep track of the “One Of” collection on our website.  I will be featuring pieces that I’ve found for Route and after I style them will pack them away for you to purchase.

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Today’s Outfit: Stephanie Cardigan from the Route shop and a second hand Eileen Fisher linen dress!

I hope this is helpful and fun for you and as always: Happy Ethical Shopping!

Much Love,

Christina

To Change a Life with Dignity

The process of choosing which companies we will partner with and what products we will sell consumes so much of our work and conversation.  This is not a small process.  The goal is to put together a collection of well made, fashionable, well priced and deeply impactful products.  We want to choose the best of the best for you.  When you buy from Route, you can trust that these are pieces that people will compliment and ask you about.

When we start in on a new relationship (or in this case pick back up on an old one), we take that very seriously and approach it with care.  Years ago, Starfish Project came to visit our shop in Columbia.  We were thrilled about the work they were doing.  Literally bringing women out of brothels and exploitation into every level of their business.  Their goal is not just to teach women how to make jewelry.  They put women quickly into training and education programs to teach them computer skills, management, logistics and a slew of other seriously marketable skills.  These women will forever have careers that will safely keep them out of the situations that came from.  All of this while housing, caring for and helping to heal each women.

We have chosen not to buy from them in the past because we did not think the jewelry they were making had a wide enough appeal or that the style was updated enough to sell on it’s own without the story.  We are THRILLED that that has changed and recently found three gorgeous pieces to offer you from their current line.

 

Order one or two (scroll over image for link to purchase) knowing that the women behind these products are working hard to change the direction of their lives and you are helping to make that possible (and looking fabulous in the process).

Enjoy!

Love,

Christina

The 5 Best Ways to Clean Out Your Closet

So I throw things away compulsively, sometimes it’s a problem. When it comes to keeping my closet organized, it’s really helpful. I clean my closet out at least twice a year and have several different methods to approaching this project.

Sometimes I clean out just because it feels good to have less stuff, but more often I clean out with two goals in mind:

  1. What do I need to get rid of?
  2. Where are the holes in my wardrobe that would make styling and dressing easier and less stressful?

I don’t have a lot of time for clean so I try and make it quick and efficient. Here are five different approaches to cleaning out. There is definitely overlap between them, but they are a great place to start. Try one and let me know how it went.

Organize by Color – Everyone has their favorite colors to collect. Start by separating your clothing by color. Any outliers that you NEVER wear? Toss them. Do you have 8 black tops? If you wear them all, keep them, if not. See ya.clothing swap card

Side not: this is a great way to get an idea of what you may want to look for when you do your Spring purchasing this year.  Some questions to help you decide what should go on your list and what should go: What colors do you have too much of?  What colors do you love that you don’t wear enough?

Organize by Wear – Day/Night/Casual/Business – It’s helpful to do this and then ask yourself which clothes you spend the most time in. What pieces do you have that cross over? For me, my casual and business clothes often cross over. I try to dress up my casual and dress down my business look enough that I can combine those pieces.   I find cross over from day to night difficult because I LOVE having really special tops or dresses when I go out (it doesn’t happen often). So I try and keep them updated and find that, I wear them infrequently and if I am careful to buy only what I love I keep them for years, often until they wear out.

Organize by Age – Speaking of keeping pieces for years. Sometimes we just love a piece to death and it is time to say goodbye. I nearly came to tears a few weeks ago when I bent over to pick up the baby off the floor and the back of my five year old black skinny jeans just ripped all the way up!

Other times, we have piles of clothing purchased years ago that aren’t relevant anymore. Maybe they were not well made to begin with or in a color that didn’t work for you, or a style that was really fast and looks odd now, so we just never wear them. My strategy is that if I did not wear it more than once the year before, I toss it.

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Organize by Type – Start with each type of clothing. Shirts, pants, coats, etc… Look at the group of each and ask yourself: What do you wear often? What is outdated? What fits and what doesn’t? Keep everything out as you go through and use this strategy to create outfits. Sometimes older pieces in my wardrobe end up getting put into my rotation to wear because I take the time to find outfits for them during this process.   Don’t hesitate to take pictures and keep them organized for inspiration when you dress in the morning!

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Basic vs. Statement – The capsule wardrobe is an illusive goal in my life. I like wearing one-pieces, skirts and unusual tops that really only match one other piece or one pair of shoes. I’m hopeless. That being said, it is so much easier when the vast majority of my clothing can be mixed and matched to quickly throw on in the morning. When you are cleaning out to analyze how flexible your wardrobe is and find the holes in your wardrobe I would start by pulling out all of your basics. Consider each piece to decide if they work: Do you wear them all the time? Do they fit? Then clean out accordingly.

Ok, now I’m feeling ready to get started. Good luck and happy Spring cleaning!!

 

Love,

 

Christina