Social Justice

Olive + Herringbone

I am full steam ahead on spring getting here as soon as possible! This warm weather girl has had enough of cold hands. I am trying to stay patient and enjoy the remainder of winter by wearing all of my favorite winter outfits while I still can.

Olive + Herringbone Ethical Outfit | Trés Belle

By far one of my favorite combos this winter has been this gorgeous olive green top from The Flourish Market combined with my black and white herringbone jacket and wedges. You don’t often find shirts in this color, but it’s one of my favorites. The cut is so flattering–you can hide an I-just-ate-an-entire-pizza-belly under there and look absolutely fabulous while doing it! And, I love that the shirt is not only ethically made in the USA, but that 5% of the sales go to Help One Now‘s family empowerment program in Ethiopia.

Olive + Herringbone |  Trés Belle

 

My herringbone TOMS wedge booties were a Poshmark find. Buying clothes and shoes secondhand on Poshmark is one my favorite things to do, since you can get high-quality, name brand clothes for much less than full price. Buying secondhand also reduces strain on the environment, since reusing clothing keeps it out of landfills, and slowing the production of new clothing reduces pollution generated by the production process. And, aren’t these booties just adorable?? They’re comfy, too.

TOMS herringbone wedge booties  |  Trés Belle

Incidentally, my black Pilcro and the Letterpress leggings were also purchased secondhand at my local upscale consignment shop, Fifi’s (located in Cameron Village in Raleigh).

Anyone else scored some good Poshmark/consignment store finds lately? I’d love to hear!

xoxo Laura

A Lesson on Pride and Generosity

My friend Tiffany is someone I look up to in so many ways. I met her as a first year student at UNC-Chapel Hill when I joined a sorority and found myself lucky enough to call her a sister. Even back then, she was so wise, intentional, and thoughtful. She’s also sassy and spunky and an all-around fun personality to be around. So, you can imagine how flattered I was when she asked me to guest post on her blog yesterday!

A lesson on Jesus-like generosity on NOM NAM NOM | Très Belle

Be sure to check out the post, which talks about a major lesson I learned recently about the importance of being generous with my finances rather than using money for my own selfish pride. And be sure to follow her blog, NOM NAM NOM!

xoxo Laura

A Year of Fair Trade Fashion: Closing Thoughts

The Inside Out Ethical Fashion Challenge 2016 | Trés Belle

I seriously cannot believe it has been 12 months since I took on a challenge to exclusively purchase fair trade clothing for an entire year. I’ve discovered that sticking exclusively to fair trade-certified products is nearly impossible, fallen in love with a few fair trade/ethically made brands (see here, here, here, here, and here), found a local store where I can shop for ethical clothing, and been aghast at times by the lack of ethically produced options in the fashion world (see here, here, and here). While I did have to give up some convenience, it hasn’t been that hard to make ethical choices, and it has made me reflect a lot on my consumeristic habits and the way my purchasing choices impact others. All in all? 100% worth it.

This post is supposed to be about my closing thoughts on buying fair trade fashion, but I really feel like I’ve only just begun. There are so many ideas floating around in my head that I’ve wanted to write about but haven’t had the time, so many ethical brands yet to share, so many areas of the ethical fashion world yet to explore. This challenge has permanently changed my life. While I may not be as strict in the future about buying fair trade-certified clothing, I do hope to buy ethical clothing 99% of the time, whether it’s fair trade, organic, made by a Certified B Corporation, sustainably produced, secondhand, or sweatshop-free. I hope that you’ll continue to enjoy my ethical fashion posts, because they’re here to stay!

Here’s to continuing to vote for a better world with our dollars in 2017!

xoxo Laura

Ethical Fashion Gift Guide on Just Jess

This week I wrote an ethical fashion gift guide guest post for my friend Jessica’s “12 Days of Gift Guides” on her blog, Just Jess! If you’ve still got some holiday shopping to do, go check it out. There are suggestions for UNC fans, Carolina Panthers fans, yogis, fashionistas, and above all, folks who care that the things they wear are doing good in the world.

Angela Roi vegan leather cross-body bag on the Just Jess Ethical Fashion Gift Guide | Trés Belle

And if y’all want to buy a thing or two off the list for me, I won’t complain! (wink!)

xoxo Laura

Inside Out Fair Trade Fashion Challenge Update: October

The Inside Out Ethical Fashion Challenge 2016 | Trés Belle

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve done an update on my Inside Out fair trade fashion challenge, and I have a confession to make. I’ve bought some things that are not fair trade certified (!!!). Let me explain a bit more.

The first time that I bought something non-fair trade was an accident. I’ve written before on the blog about The Flourish Market, an ethical fashion truck in the Triangle area. I was initially under the impression that everything on the truck was fair trade certified, and was surprised when I discovered that this adorable blue and orange top from Grace & Lace that I had purchased was not, in fact, fair trade certified. Oops! While many of the products that The Flourish Market carries are indeed fair trade certified, others are ethically produced but do not necessarily carry an official stamp or label.

Floral Grace & Lace Top | Trés Belle

When I emailed Grace & Lace to inquire about their sourcing, they were quick to respond. Their products were originally all made in the USA, but due to quick growth of the company (probably because of an episode of Shark Tank!), they outsourced some of their manufacturing to Asia. Per the Grace & Lace representative who emailed me, “We continually have our team members visit each of our mills to ensure quality work environments.”

At this point, I felt torn about what to do. Should I discontinue shopping at The Flourish Market, withdrawing support from a locally-owned small business on a mission to sell ethically-produced fashion, in order to stick to my own strict rules for this challenge? My prayer from the beginning of the challenge was that it would result in a significant and enduring heart and behavior change for me rather than just following the rules for a short amount of time and then kicking them out the door as soon as the challenge was over. The more I thought and prayed about it, the more strongly I felt that developing habits that would stick and supporting a local business with the same ideals that I have for fashion were more important than being a hard-ass about the rules.

So, I’ve made an exception for The Flourish Market during these final few months of my fair trade fashion challenge. I’m still drawing a hard line when it comes to other non-local ethical fashion companies that aren’t certified fair trade, but I do see myself loosening up a bit after the challenge is officially over and purchasing from these companies given that a strict fair trade-certified approach is difficult to sustain.

I’ve purchased a couple of additional non-fair trade, ethically-produced clothing pieces from The Flourish Market and hope to have photos of them on the blog soon!

xoxo, Laura

Social Justice Sunday: #BlackLivesMatter

One of my biggest hopes for this blog is that it will encourage fellow Southern belles to feel okay about stepping outside the lines a little. The genteel Southern ladies of generations past might have refrained from discussions of politics and refused to look past “the way it’s always been,” but today’s belles should feel empowered to get involved in social change. It’s the 21st century, y’all, and ain’t that a nice thing?

Recent shootings of black Americans have hurt my heart and caused by blood to boil. Things really struck close to home this week with the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, NC. I think it’s incredibly important to stand up in the face of social injustice, so today I’m sharing some articles and posts related to the Black Lives Matter movement. Hope they encourage you to think, mourn for those who are hurting, and take action to ensure that all people are treated equally.

1. The Real Reason White People Say ‘All Lives Matter’

The Real Reason White People Say ‘All Lives Matter’ | Tres Belle

2. Been thinking about this graphic a lot.

3. This post on calling for peaceful protests. My hippie heart longs for peace too, y’all, but this is spot-on.

4. This Huffington Post article on how victims are treated as they die.

Disrespecting the Deaths of Black Individuals | Trés Belle

So much love to anyone affected by these tragedies. This belle won’t sit quietly by and watch it happen.

xoxo Laura

Inside Out Challenge: “True Cost” Fashion Documentary

Last week, my good friend Traci and I went to a screening of the documentary True Cost, hosted by Redress Raleigh. We had heard that it was about the ethical, humanitarian, and environmental problems associated with the modern fashion industry and figured it was a perfect movie to watch as we continue in our Inside Out fair trade fashion/beauty product challenge.

It’s hard for me to find adequate adjectives to describe this documentary. Moving, convicting, fascinating, and heartbreaking all come to mind. I stared in shock at images of waste water from leather factories and blinked back tears as I listened to a young woman in Bangladesh describe her working conditions and the consequences her job has had on her family. As someone who has done some research on the fast fashion industry, I was not shocked at some of the statistics, but was pleasantly surprised to find myself learning new information throughout the movie. I highly recommend this film to anyone, regardless of age, gender, or level of interest in fair trade/ethical/eco-conscious/insert-your-favorite-buzzword-here fashion. It’s incredibly interesting.

Anddddd…great news! True Cost is currently on Netflix! So add it to your queue and get watching, friends. You can also rent or buy it on Amazon, iTunes, or the True Cost website.

And in the meantime, check out the trailer:

xoxo Laura

Ethically-Sourced Scrubs

Where all my do-good nurse friends at?? Finding specialty clothing items that are ethically sourced is incredibly difficult, so I was beyond excited when I recently stumbled across Catalyst Scrubs! The brand was started last year by a speech pathologist who saw a niche in the market for ethically-sourced scrubs. Catalyst’s scrubs are made by women in impoverished countries who are given fair wages and other incentives, such as free medical care, free child care, and free business courses.

Ethically-sourced scrubs from Catalyst Scrubs  |  Très Belle

The scrubs are reasonably priced: $29 each for tops and pants. Considering most healthcare professionals only need a few sets of scrubs to rotate through each week, this means you can get your entire work wardrobe for under $200, all while supporting fair wages and economic empowerment.

Ethically-sourced scrubs from Catalyst Scrubs  |  Très Belle

Y’all let me know if you end up buying the scrubs! Would love to hear if you like them.

xoxo Laura

P.S. – this is not a sponsored post. I just like sharing ethical brands with y’all!

Inside Out Challenge Update: My First Online Clothing Order!

Hey there, belles! I wanted to share a bit today about how my Inside Out fair trade fashion challenge is going. In a nutshell: well!

I conquered my grandma instincts and ordered clothes online for the first time! Well, okay, let me give myself a little credit…I have ordered clothes and shoes online before, but only when there was a physical store close by where I could easily return them (think: Victoria’s Secret, DSW, etc.). This was my first time ordering clothes when the only return option was to ship them back. Cue the anxiety now!! Just kidding. Like most things, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it’d be.

It helped, of course, that the clothes I got (from Threads4Thought, my absolute favey-fave fair trade clothing company) were ADORABLE! How fun and summery is this blue and green maxi skirt??

Green and Blue Threads4Thought Fair Trade Maxi Skirt | Très Belle

I’m also loving this casual but chic black jumpsuit. You feel like you’re wearing pajamas, but you’re dressed up enough for dinner downtown. #winning.

Black Threads4Thought Fair Trade Jumpsuit | Très Belle

 

Black Threads4Thought Fair Trade Jumpsuit | Très Belle

Threads4Thought clothing just…fits. Perfectly. Everything I’ve bought from them is true to size and flattering. The price point is also quite reasonable (especially when you buy things on sale and take advantage of free shipping on orders $50+ like I did).

Anyone else bought some new ethical fashion or had a fun online shopping experience lately? Would love to hear about it!

xoxo Laura

P.S. – this post is not sponsored by Threads4Thought. I just love sharing great finds with my belles!