Fall Capsule: Week 12 Work Outfits + Fast Fashion Confessions

This week’s outfits are giving me some mixed feelings. In real life I felt good about my outfit choices this week and felt good wearing them. However, putting them together for the blog I’m feeling a little ‘meh’. Though, admittedly, I struggled to get decent photos this week and I often stopped trying before I managed to get something I liked. I seemed to be looking a little rundown at the end of the day and it shows! 🙂 But…I knew you’d all understand and decided it wasn’t something to stress over.

For the first time in over 4 years I did not share any of these outfits on Instagram. I felt I was checking my phone too much and wasn’t being as present in my day as I want. So, I decided a little time away was in order to refocus and break the habit. I cautiously got back on last night, but I intend to do a better job managing my time and putting a stop to mindless scrolling. I did take some daily notes reflecting on the process, so let me know if you’d be interested in hearing more next week? How do you manage your social media and the time you spend engaged in it?


Monday

style notes //

November 27 and 75°. I’m finding it hard to get into the Christmas Spirit with September weather hanging around.

The warm day was a perfect opportunity to wear short sleeves again. I kept everything very simple, just the way it should be for the Monday following a holiday. This outfit was much cuter than I was able to capture in a photo. I love the fit of my new black denim and the contrast it created with the top and clogs. I wore a necklace that has the same brown tone as my clogs to make a more cohesive palette.

the items //
  • Top (Krissy Tee by Two Fold Clothing) / bought from Garmentory use this link for $20 off your first purchase / size medium
  • Jeans (Everlane) / Modern Boyfriend style, sized down to 27 for a fitted look
  • Clogs (Lotta From Stockholm) / run big, use size charts and measurement guide for best fit
  • Necklace (c/o Natalie Borton) / use code PAIGE10 for 10% off
grade // 9 in real life. 5 in photo
mom style //

Same jeans, but swapped out for a sweatshirt and Birks to be outside with the kids.


Tuesday

style notes //

I have worn this sweater twice, both times with black so I decided to change it up a bit. The denim is a little darker than it photographed, so it was a nice deep contrast to the black and white top. Brown shoes warm up the outfit and the wood watch ties it together. I did not wear any other jewelry to let the sweater make the statement in the outfit.

the items //
  • Sweater (c/o Jamie and the Jones) / size medium
  • Jeans (Madewell bought secondhand via Poshmark) / true to size
  • Boots (Nisolo) / fit narrow / I did want to share this great bundle deal from Nisolo that went live today. For $35 you get $50 gift cards to 5 different retailers. ($250 value). There is a Women’s and Men’s Bundle. The women’s includes $50 to each of the following brands – Nisolo, Alala, Hackwith Design House, Faherty, and Jack Mason – for only $35! Plus, $10 of each bundle sold is donated to help build a school in Kenya.
grade // 9
mom style //

My only goal was to be warm and comfortable for an entire afternoon/evening at home.


Wednesday

style notes //

I realized it had been a few weeks since I’d worn a dress and decided to make the most of the warmer days. I wore this outfit about a year ago and thought it was a fun change from my typical neutrals. The leopard oxfords keep it from feeling too serious and pair well with the red.

This dress is not part of my primary capsule, but I consider it part of my secondary wardrobe. I really like it, but it’s not something I reach for regularly. It’s something fun to wear every couple of months to change things up and throw in some color.

the items //
  • Dress (Boden bought secondhand on Thred Up) / size 8
  • Shoes (Target brand bought secondhand on Poshmark)
grade // 9
mom style //

This sweatshirt was a recent purchase. See below for a little more conversation around it. Our afternoons have slowed drastically since fall sports ended and I kind of LOVE it.


Thursday

 
style notes //

When I bought this shirt over the summer, one way I imagined wearing it was tucked into my high-waisted bottoms. I have worn it twice, both times with ponte pants, so wanted to try something new today. The shirt is long enough and has enough structure to stay tucked easily, though I did find myself pushing the tuck in further after teaching lessons where I’m moving my arms a lot. I originally started with my black wide leg pants, but I second-guessed the shape and switched to denim at the last minute.

I added my red velvet heels, which gives the outfit a completely different feel than if I’d worn ankle boots as planned. With stripes, a tuck, and red shoes I decided that was plenty of ‘interest’ points in the outfit, so I skipped a belt and kept my accessories to a minimum. That seems to have been my theme for the week.

This was my favorite outfit of the week, followed closely by Monday.

the items //
  • Shirt (Everlane bought secondhand on Instagram, similar, similar) / size medium
  • Jeans (Madewell bought secondhand via Poshmark) / run true to size, I’m wearing a 28
  • Shoes (c/o Everlane) / true to size, but a bit narrow, full review here after wearing 5 days straight
grade // 9.5 (only dinged for fussiness of full tucking)
near miss //


A Few Thoughts On Fast Fashion

The sweatshirt from Wednesday afternoon was a recent purchase that I wanted to discuss because it came from a fast fashion retailer. I had been considering adding another sweatshirt to wear around the house and on weekends since I rely on my plain gray sweatshirt so regularly. I was at Old Navy returning some pants my daughter received as a gift when it caught my eye. The sweatshirt was so soft and thick and the color was gorgeous that I succumb to the temptation. I got the sweatshirt a couple of weeks ago and I have worn it numerous times already over Thanksgiving break and to keep warm in the evenings before bed.

This was not my only fast fashion purchase of the season. I also bought my pumpkin hued cardigan from Old Navy earlier in the fall.

I wanted to discuss my take on ethical/slow fashion and give my thought process behind these purchases. While I do strive to make a majority of my purchases from ethical retailers or buy secondhand I am not perfect. However, I no longer take purchases lightly. Now, the higher price of most ethical retailers makes that consideration necessary. And while a less expensive item isn’t as risky, I still ask myself the same questions before a purchase. How does the item mix in with what I already own? Do I have something similar already? Can I think of numerous ways to wear this? Will this be something I wear more than once a month? Will this item likely work next year and for years after that?

While I don’t want to justify away my fast fashion purchases, I do think that changing my mindset and not thinking of clothing as disposable is progress. So, even though I bought these two fast fashion items, they are items I have already worn numerous times and plan to do so for as long as possible. And this is slowing down my consumption of clothing.

I am definitely aware that this could be a slippery slope. That knowledge gives me the power to be sure that doesn’t happen. I am not going to beat myself up over an occasional fast fashion purchase, but I know I don’t want that to become a regular habit. Otherwise I’ll end up right where I started.

I do believe in doing my best to be an ethical consumer, but I also find pride in being a mindful consumer. A slower consumer. A responsible consumer.


What is your approach to clothes shopping? How do you decide what to buy? Is there a method or is it impulse?

More about Paige

15 Comments

    1. When I’m buying, I always ask myself if I love if or if i like. Because honestly if I love it, it’s going go get worn a lot. If I like it, not so much. I have stopped buying things if they aren’t 100% what I’m looking for. There was a cardigan I picked up last week without trying on. The color was perfect and the knit was chunky like I was looking for but once I got it home, it was about 2 inches to short. I struggled with returning it but realized that the 2 inches 2 short thing would keep me from wearing it on a regular basis. I’m in a place where as much as I would love to invest in my clothing and have less and consume less, I’m also about to be postpartum. So there is no point. They are temporary clothes.

      1. Savanna,
        It took a long time for me to really figure out the difference between like and love in my wardrobe. But as soon as I did, what a difference! Suddenly it was easier to purge and easier to make decisions when shopping. I don’t always get it right, but I’m so much better at buying things that I still love wearing even after the newness has worn off.

        Postpartum is so hard. I did a lot of secondhand clothes postpartum and really didn’t start investing until about a year ago when my youngest was over a year old and I was confident I’d hit a place I’d likely stay for a while in terms of size.

        Thanks so much for reminding me of the most important question of all!
        Paige

    1. I think you are an incredibly mindful consumer and you continually inspire me. I think we can easily buy ethical clothing and still mindlessly consume. Thank you for keeping up this conversation!

      1. Andrea,
        You are so right! I think there is definitely an element of that happening as ethical retailers become more ‘mainstream’ and affordable. It can be easy to overdo it. Always a good reminder to just slow down and keep it simple.

        Thanks so much!

    1. The hardest thing about ethical fashion is that it’s not in the stores we all shop in. And pants and shoes ESPECIALLY, have to be just the right fit to work. I’m AWFUL at sending stuff back by mail and the American made fashion I try to support is HARD (not impossible) to find locally.
      I did it last week too…I admit…I saw VELVET stretch pants and fuzzy puffed sleeve grey PERFECT for the holidays in Target for $30 (combined). I knew I’d wear the HECK out of them and they match everything. I was aware when I was doing it that this goes against my values, so when that happens (and it’s slowed to a trickle), I ask myself a few questions:
      1. Could I find this same item easily on ebay or thrift it?
      2. Do I know it’s the perfect fit and comfortable (I tried it on, wandered around in it)?
      3. Is it incredibly versatile and estimate that I’ll wear it multiple times (5 or more) each season and in multiple seasons? 4. What are the chances that it fits and is worn NEXT year?
      5. Is there an ethical version of this that I’ve seen?

      You and Andrea do an awesome job featuring ethical clothes on your blogs, which helps me better answer question 5! So thanks!

      1. Ophelia,
        Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I think your 5 questions could be a poster for shoppers everywhere 🙂 Just taking the time to ask questions and consider how you’ll wear an item and how it really, really feels on makes such a difference. I know my criteria used to be if it was cute and if the price was right. I didn’t always take into account how versatile it would be and if it really felt good (versus just fitting).

        So, did you end up getting the outfit for the holidays?!

        Thanks again for you thoughtful response,
        Paige

        1. Yep. Wore the grey sweater today, actually! Here’s to many, many wears of my fast fashion item (and no more shopping until January!) I am going to take a moment to write Target a note about offering more Made in America or ethically made items…I know it’s just a drop in the bucket, but hey, how else to fill a bucket?

          https://sites.google.com/view/americancloset/home

    1. Do you read the stylewise blog? She had an article about this not too long ago, and I found it spot on:
      http://www.stylewise-blog.com/2017/08/why-i-quit-being-ethical-purist.html

      I recently bought a turtleneck from JCrew because I wanted it in a specific color that isn’t easy to find. I knew if I got something “close, but not quite,” it wouldn’t quite fill the niche I was looking to fill, I wouldn’t wear it as much, and would probably eventually end up getting the color I wanted anyways, so I went for it. No regrets. I will get a lot of good wear out of it.

      1. Alice,
        I hadn’t read that post, thank you so much for sharing. It is exactly what I’ve been feeling.

        For me, just reducing my mindless and needless consumption has been the biggest step in being a more ethical consumer. Being aware of the impact of buying things that I didn’t love just because the price was right. I think finding just the right pieces, regardless of where they are from, is being a smart and responsible consumer.

        Thanks so much for sharing the article and your story – I love it!

        Hope you had a great weekend,
        Paige

    1. Hey there, I loved all your outfit choices. I too am not on Instagram as much because I think the algorithm is a bunch of B.S. I have a job, a husband, a child and a blog. It’s hard to fit Instagram in the mix. I only have time for Instagram on the train to and from work and that’s about it.

      About fast/slow fashion. I have had my frustrations with slow fashion pieces as equally as fast fashion pieces. So much so that since June I’ve only been purchasing second hand pieces. I bought a pair of sandals over the summer made with recycled tires and made by women paid a fair wage in Haiti. The shoes were shit and I’ll probably never wear them again. I also bought an ethical pair of pants that looked cute in the picture, but looked really funky on and had a strange large pocket. I tried to return them, but because they’re shipped from Singapore, it was going to cost me $58 just to ship them back. So they’re still in the box and I’m trying to figure out how to sell them.

      These brands are very popular and the big ethical bloggers on IG are always promoting them. It’s annoying, and the sad thing is that with the fast fashion brand I would have been able to return it for free. I wouldn’t beat yourself up or even explain because I think these ethical brands have a long way to go. Until then, I’ll continue to buying secondhand, but if I really like an ethical piece and I know I can return it for a reasonable amount, then I’ll get it.

      1. Hi Shelbi,
        I agree that the new IG algorithm is no good. I was bummed when I did log back on that my feed still had a lot of the Black Friday posts, like it had picked up where I left off instead of jumping to real time. Those were just the posts I was looking forward to avoiding.

        I’m sorry you have had some bad experiences with ethical brands. So far, I have had good luck, but I agree that the shipping and return policies aren’t as ‘shopper-friendly’ as fast fashion stores. I guess that’s one benefit of being a huge brand – you can afford to offer your customers deals like that. Secondhand is my favorite way to shop. I love that I can buy more expensive or high-quality brands within my budget. It just takes patience and persistence, but that makes it even more fun.

        I think for people looking to be more ‘ethical’ consumers, the first step is changing your mindset and not seeing clothing as a disposable item. People buy so, so much stuff that they wear only once (or even never) and it’s just too much. Slowing that down has a huge impact, regardless of which stores you’re shopping at.

        Thanks as always for your input on the topic,
        Paige

    1. For a lot of people on very tight budgets, fast fashion is the only way they can get new clothing, which is important for things that are worn very close to the body or that aren’t as long lasting, such as underwear and t-shirts, or for people with fit issues. For instance, while I have always been lucky with finding fantastic dresses and bags secondhand, good trousers and jeans still elude me. Do not feel guilty about occasionally buying fast fashion, why should the thrill of getting something brand new and unworn be a luxury for those who can afford more expensive clotjing, even if said clothing is ethically made? I think it is more important to communicate that especially if you are on a very tight budget, it becomes even more important to carefully choose fabrics and quality, and to go for classic over trendy, to make sure your clothes last longer. After all, an essential part of the fast fashion model is extremely frequent buying and discarding clothes after a season at most.

      1. Bella,
        I totally agree. I think just slowing down consumption is probably the most important step to being a more mindful consumer. It is nice to be able to support ethical brands, but is not always possible. It is more important to buy something that you love to wear so you are less likely to keeping buying items to fill that gap. Like Andrea commented, it is totally possible to buy from ethical brands, yet still overbuy or discard the items too soon. The hardest part is to resist the constant new looks popping up in the fast fashion stores, but it is easier if you already have a closet full of clothes you love to wear.

        Thank you so much for your insight,
        Paige

    1. Most of my clothing is purchased online. I tend to mull over purchases, and then buy several pieces at once, to save on shipping. For various reasons, I usually shop at “moderate” clothing sites (i.e neither real fast nor particularly slow). I try to pick from the basics, and leave the more trendy items alone. I have found it useful to sit down with a list of the activities I am doing, and figure out what outfits I can make from what I already have, and then which pieces would help. This is especially handy when starting something new.

      1. Anne,
        I have gotten so much better at the ‘mulling over’ step than I used to be. I add things to my cart and let them sit for a while. I would say over half the time I end up a few days later deciding I don’t really need it after all. Thanks so much for sharing, I hope you’re having a great week!
        Paige

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