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Category Archives: Experiments
I’m a big fan of EcoSalon, so I was honored to be able to contribute this story to their blog:
Last year I decide to “green” my birth control.
My decision stemmed from a combination of concerns—OK, guilt—related to how I was keeping myself baby-free. Some environmental drawbacks of birth control are obvious: I cringed every time I tossed an empty blister pack and its handy plastic case in the trash (my pharmacy isn’t into the idea of giving me just the blister pack so I can reuse the case-I’ve asked).
But that wasn’t my main concern. I had read in Scientific American that every time I peed, I was flushing synthetic estrogen down the pipes, to a water treatment plant that does not treat for hormones, and out into the waterways where it was doing disturbing things to the reproductive parts of fish.
It turns out that the main culprit in the cancer-causing levels of estrogen in our water is our agricultural system, but at the time, I wanted to do right by my aquatic friends and other people who would eventually be drinking water with the estrogen that passed through my body. (Nice image, right?)
And there were other, more selfish reasons I wanted to discontinue my use of hormones.
To read the rest, head over to EcoSalon.
It was Friday at 3pm. The office was emptying since it was a summer Friday. The apocalyptic thunder and lightning has ceased, the sun was out and save for a few stray puddles and drippy awnings, you couldn’t even tell it had rained. Fumes were flowing out of one of the conference rooms, since the tech guys though it was a good idea to paint a white board on one of the walls and then use a fan to blow the air out into the main room, even though the directions clearly called for respirator use while applying. It was time for me to get out of there and start my weekend.
And I had nothing to do.
I had zero plans. No brunch, dinner, drinks, parties, outings, walks, bike rides, visitors, dates or anything. It was almost like I was back in middle school, when the summer meant lying around and trying to find a way to occupy yourself. Remember that?
(OK, not entirely true. I had been invited to a birthday party, but none of my mutual friends could go and I didn’t want to go by myself to what would amount to an alma mater reunion. Bleh.)
Anyway, I decided it was do-everything-I’ve-been-meaning-to-do-and-have-been-complaining-about-not-doing weekend.
First up: Sewing!
Look, sewing is not for everyone. People who shouldn’t sew include:
- Busy executives who have lots of money to throw at tailors and expensive home boutiques
- Tall, thin girls who look good in anything they wear, right off the racks
- Somebody who thinks used clothing is for schmucks and likes to pay a lot for well-made items
I am neither. I am also:
- Very short. 5’2″ girls either need to shop in the petite section (Like Anne Taylor and Talbots. Ick.) or get things shortened
- Very into thrifting. You come across stuff that isn’t quite right. But with a little tweak here and there …
- Creative. That old beaded dress would look smashing as a throw pillow!
I also have juicy thighs. Or “bow legs” as a security guy once told me. He told me it means your feet don’t touch. Actually, my feet do touch, thanks. But my thighs are thick enough that I like buying things that should be dresses, cutting off the too-tight bottoms and tucking the raw hem into a skirt and calling it a top.
I finally decided I needed a sewing machine the day I took a new maxi skirt by eco L.A. brand Lavuk to the tailors and they told me it would cost $35. I’m sorry, $35? It’s a hem. It’s stupidly easy to do. I snatched it back and when I got to work immediately looked up “sewing machine” on Craigslist.
I few days later I was the proud owner of a Singer sewing machine. I had negotiated the former owner–a busy news reporter who lives in the West Village and obviously has money to throw at tailors–down to $100, which is pretty sweet.
Then I called up my grandmother and sweet talked her into sending me sewing supplies. My grandmother was an excellent seamstress back in the day. She made my sister and I the fluffiest, cutest bridesmaid dresses ever, along with other gorgeous gowns and Halloween costumes. But her eyesight isn’t what it used to be, so she said she would send me some things.
Boy, did she. Her haul arrived complete with a rainbow of threads–a lot of them vintage–two pinking shears, scissors, pins, measuring tape, an Asian pin cushion, and even some thimbles! Aw, thanks Nana!
I’m lucky that my mom took the time to teach me to sew when I was young. I even had a mini business of making recorder bags for my friends when I was in grade school, and worked at a monogram shop in high school. But I still benefited from a touch-up class at Third Ward last year.
My first project was hemming the maxi skirt. And it was a hot mess. It looked like I had done it drunkenly, while trying out every setting on the sewing machine. It zigzagged and then didn’t and the thread kept breaking. Plus I had made the hem way too wide, which meant the skirt was awkwardly short. Then I realized the woman who sold me the machine sold it to me with a roll stitch foot, which is like for silk scarves or something. So I had my mom send me a regular foot. Much better.
I tried again. This time, I pulled a vintage dress I got at Goodwill out of the closet. I’ve only worn it at really hipster-y events, and it’s not bad. A guy told me I looked sexy dancing in it then asked for my number. (We have our third date next week!) That’s a big compliment to the dress. But I really thought it could use a mullet hem. (Party in the front …)
Be aware that you can’t sew everything. Some things a plain old sewing machine can’t handle: Anything stretchy, netting, heavy denims like designer jeans or anything too delicate. But the great thing about this project is that it’s a cotton dress. All I had to do was cut the mullet hem and re-sew it. No patterns or fancy stuff required.
If you’ve never sewed, this is not a tutorial. Go take a class. But basically, sewing something goes like this:
2. Fold and iron the hem
3. Choose a matching thread and thread the machine
4. Sew it
5. Cuss at the machine until you realize you had the tension on too high
6. Fix the tension, finish sewing it
7. Feel really awesome that you actually sewed something!
I actually did end up doing something on Friday night. I grabbed dinner with a friend, and so I wore my new creation out. “Wow, that dress is so bright!” she said. It’s one of those compliments you’re not sure is a compliment. But I’m pretty happy with it. I even ripped out the seam on the maxi skirt and did it again, and now my maxi skirt is the right length and looks almost professional. I know, I know, I’m a freakin’ genius.
Maybe I’ll try canning next …
About a year ago, the last of my friends without a smart phone finally gave in. He had been so proud (or obstinate, rather) about his flip phone. When we met up for a catch up drink, I didn’t even notice him pull out his iPhone until he asked, “Notice anything?” while waving it in front of my face.
Of course, I congratulated him joining the rest of us in 21st century New York.
The truth is, I couldn’t imagine navigating life in NYC without my smart phone. From the time I started searching for apartments, I had a Blackberry to help me travel from one tiny apartment to the next without a map.
Now I use my iPhone all day long: in the morning to meditate, check the weather, and even check my email before I get out of bed. (Yes, I’m a person who does that.) I catch up on the rest of the mail that has come in between 7 and 9am while I wait for my smoothie at Liquiteria. Then I place it by my desk where it will alert me with a lit screen if I have text messages from friends or dates.
But it’s on the weekends that I really need it. What’s the quickest way to get to my friend’s apartment situated in that “up-and-coming” neighborhood in Brooklyn? Is the train actually running? OK, it’s not, which one should I take instead? “Ah I’m running late, srry! 15 mins!” What’s the best route by bike to the South Street Seaport? Where’s a good bar nearby? Where should I stand on the subway platform for quickest exit? Which seafood on this menu is sustainable? I’m standing at the farmers market and need a recipe for squash blossoms, help, Epicurious! Just spent $15 at the farmers market, need to note it down for my budget. Me and J. are together at this amazing brunch spot, here’s a pic of our breakfast cocktails. Jealous much?
Obviously, it’s a useful thing to have. But even when I don’t need it, I’m still pulling it out of my pocket, like a worry stone with an LCD screen. An extra minute without something to pull my attention means it’s time to check my mail and stare jealously at A.’s beautiful Instagram pics.
So imagine my horror when I landed at London Heathrow last Saturday and my iPhone’s top left corner only said “Searching…” No! Please, let it work. I need to Instagram the Eiffel Tower! I want to check in at French restaurants and have a map of the metro at my fingertips! But some quick research on my laptop at Heathrow revealed I was SOL.
I, however, am an optimist who loves to read O Magazine articles on how to connect with one’s inner life. I could do this. I could live for a week in a foreign city–in which I wasn’t totally sure I could still have a conversation or even string together sentences–take the metro, meet up at appointed times and just generally function on a basic level. I just needed a flip phone with basic calling and texting functions, and my brain (I hoped) would handle the rest.
Here’s what I discovered:
I interacted with France. As I stood on the platform Monday morning for my first solo trip, and I had nothing to occupy me. I glanced around, and accidentally caught the eye of a French guy across the platform. He smiled at me, and I looked shyly away. When I boarded the train, I looked out the window for lack of anything else to do, and I saw him again. He waved goodbye as the train left the station.
“I forgot that French men hit on you all the time,” I told D. when I met up with her for lunch, telling her what happened. “That hasn’t happened to me!” she said. My guess is that her having her nose always in a Kindle or iPhone makes her unapproachable. Perhaps I should do that same in NYC?
I exercised my brain. D. equipped me with Paris Pratique, which lists every rue in Paris in an index, with a corresponding square in a grid on a neighborhood map. Each time I wanted to get somewhere, I would look up the street, turn to the page, search the square for the street, and then find the nearest metro stations in order to plan my route.
Maybe it sounds crazy, but I quickly grew to love this little brain teaser. Sometimes I chose a longer route than I could have. But doing it this way felt so satisfying. Of course, you could brand me as a tourist as soon as I pulled the little book of maps out of my pocket, but c’est la vie.
Don’t ask me why these books are hanging from this tree by Saint Germain. I couldn’t tell you.
I got lost (but that’s OK). This requires a back story: D. and I were at a lovely little wine bar one night when we met a pair of Danish guys. (Not “Denmarkian,” as I accidentally called them. Oof.) They were in the exact same situation as us, with one living and working in Paris, and the other visiting for the week. Adam and Adam were their names. So Adam #1–as I would come to call him—and I made plans to hang out together the next day while both our friends worked.
When we met up the next day, he was all for just wandering around, getting lost. But it was drizzling on and off, and I had my sights set on the Pompidou. Using my little map, I led us confidently toward the famous modern art museum.
“Are you sure this is the right way?” Adam asked once, looking at his phone. I consulted my map. “Yup! We’re headed right down this big street,” I told him. We continued to walk, talking and folding away our umbrellas as the weather cleared. Twenty minutes later, I looked again and realized we had been heading in the exact opposite direction. “Crap!” I cried. “I totally messed up!” Adam smiled an innocent smile. “You knew the whole time, didn’t you,” I said. He just smiled some more. “Jerk!” I smacked him with my Paris Practique, but I was laughing.
We never did make it to the Pompidou, and yet I still really enjoyed our walk. I managed to lead us in the wrong direction a couple more times, but we eventually made it to the Grand Palais for an exhibition. My sense of direction is crap, but there are worse things than getting lost in Paris.
This woman’s expressions is just so French, isn’t it?
I stopped showing off. There were so many times when I had an itch to pull out my iPhone and Instagram some famous monument or Parisian thing and post it to all my social networks. I wanted to check in to every Parisian café and restaurant and museum. “I’M IN PARIS! I wanted to trumpet to every person I know. Eventually I stopped caring and just enjoyed where we were, concentrating on the food and the art and the tulips in the tuilieries.
I rediscovered pens, paper and planning. Before I could go anywhere, I had to write down the name of the street and address, phone numbers, restaurants, directions and everything else I could have looked up on the fly if I had an iPhone. I had slips of paper stuffed into my purse at all times, and what a delicious feeling that was! Making everything digital is so tidy and clean, but a piece of paper covered with evidence of where you went and where you want to go is lovely, tactile and romantic.
Lovely, tactile and romantic … sounds like Paris to me.
I’m back to life with an iPhone now that I’m back in New York, but at least I now know I can survive without it. I just might get a little lost …
This post originally appeared on LearnVest.com.
I ate food out of a dumpster.
And so are increasing numbers of educated, employed and perfectly sane people.
The movement is called freeganism, and its adherents use unconventional methods to get things for free. Although some are frowned upon, like digging through the trash, freegans also grow their own food and forage in the park for edible greens and berries.
Those who’ve joined the movement live off of free things for a variety of reasons: preserving the environment, protesting capitalism or just filling their pantries when times are tight. And they share the desire to protest the wastefulness of our food system.
Food, Food Everywhere …
Americans throw out an astounding 27% of available food, about a pound of food per day for each American.
This is because 1) stores feel pressured to keep shelves perfectly stocked at all times; 2) they throw out food with merely cosmetic blemishes; and 3) expiration dates demand that food gets chucked regardless of whether it has actually gone bad. For example, American bakeries keep shelves full all day long for purely aesthetic reasons; at closing time, whole shelves of bagels go directly in the trash.
What Being a Freegan Means
Freeganism started in the mid 1990s and has since spread across the U.S. … and the world. Because freegans tend to be anti-establishment, there are no official numbers on how many exist, but groups meet up periodically for discussion and dumpster diving.
For the most part, stores and restaurant managers ignore freegans, who strive not to bother anyone or make a mess. And there’s no legal gray area: Once trash gets put out on the sidewalk, it’s no longer the property of a store and is available for anyone bold enough to walk away with it—or cook it up for their own ends.
Of course, one of my first questions to a freegan was about food safety. One woman, a freegan since 2003, told me she’s never gotten food poisoning. It’s very uncommon, she said, because freegans take extra precautions in washing and cooking food. Plus, many are also vegans (hence the wordplay), so they don’t eat much meat …
To find out whether a person could actually get a balanced diet from dumpsters—or if the whole thing is just insane—I attended a freegan trash tour, run on a biweekly basis by freegans in Manhattan who want to highlight how much waste consumers and businesses really produce, and, in the process, bring more people over to their side.
And then, the next night, they kindly invited me over for a freegan feast—to taste the results of our foraging.
Here’s how the events unfolded.
Foraging for My Food
Monday, 9:30 p.m.: I meet up with the group outside a large grocery store. Since, by now, most food establishments have put out their garbage for collection the next day, the freegan pickings are plentiful at night. Some attendees are hardcore freegans, and some are curious tourists. They range from college students to one man who looks like he’s in his seventies. Nobody (besides a fellow reporter) is dressed really nicely, but nobody looks homeless either. Overall, the crowd looks smart, sane, open-minded … a lot like people you might pass on a hiking trip.
Before we take off, our leader explains freegan etiquette: always retie all the bags and leave the trash pile cleaner than you found it (to prevent being banned from a store in the future). Also, share what you find with the group. Certain foods come in quantities that are more than you can handle, and while you might not want a bruised apple, someone else in the group might …
Two things I learned about the Salvation Army by Union Square:
1. It does not have air conditioning.
2. It does not have dressing rooms.
Can we say miserable? It was 103 degrees in Manhattan when I found myself gathering what looked to be unwashed clothing off the racks in the depressingly dingy Salvation Army. When the sales lady told me I could “go to that corner to try it on there,” I stared at her for a moment, feeling first disgust at the visual of my crouching behind a rack, getting nekkid for used clothing. Then I felt guilty for being so snobby. Finally I settled on just being exhausted. At this point I was wandering around the store in the same pair of black heels I had worn all week, fantasizing about my Rainbow flip-flops and an air-conditioned department store with three-way mirrors.
It is impossible to find a matching bottom and top to a bikini at Salvation Army. All of them are missing the bottoms! Why? Actually, don’t answer that question. I don’t want to know. As my friend kindly pointed out this weekend, despite all my hand wringing about buying used underwear, buying a used bikini is about as bad. Oh, couldn’t she have left me ignorant on this fact?
I took my finds home (seven items for $35!) to my apartment to pack for my weekend away in Vermont, and realized I didn’t have time to do any wash. I peered at everything, looking for bedbugs, and then — resigned to my fate — stuffed it all in my duffel.
I also stuffed in my duffel a few items from the Goodwill Annapolis. When I was visiting last weekend, I made my sister drive me there for a shopping trip. She was absolutely no help at all. She spent the whole shopping trip picking out the ugliest atrocities she could find and running up to me saying, “YOU HAVE TO BUY THIS.” Then, she made fun of what I actually bought. Thanks, sis.
Grey striped Forever21 T-shirt, So this outfit to the left is what I changed into for the ride up to Vermont on Friday. When I told my friend Liz that I had just gone shopping today at the Salvation Army, and no, I did not wash most of the clothing, she said, “Ewww! We are washing everything as soon as we arrive.” I didn’t have the heart to tell her that the shirt I was wearing at the very moment, rubbing shoulders with her, was unwashed as well.
But it wasn’t all bad. Once I told my decidedly un-green friends about the challenge, they wanted to hear about the other challenges too. Their reactions ranged from, “That is impossible,” (purging plastic) to “Gross, really?” (carrying around one’s trash). It sparked a whole conversation about composting, waste reduction, etc. By the end of the weekend, half of our inside jokes involved environmental issues. “Fracking” became the term for anything we didn’t like. As in, “Dude, don’t frack it, OK?” I feel like a scored a point for Mama Earth this weekend.
We did, in fact, put all of my clothing straight in the wash when we arrived, including the Chuck Taylors that had the inside soles inexplicably ripped out. Actually, when it came to the Chucks, I scrubbed them out with soap and water, dumped hand sanitizer inside, and then put them in the washing machine. No athlete’s foot for me, thanks!
I’m happy to report that I made it through the weekend just fine. I went tramping through the woods, sported two different bikinis in the hot tub, went to a civilized brunch, and even had separate sleepwear for bed. In fact, one purple dress is a new favorite. But I cheated for shoes and my purse. It is just impossible to find anything presentable or non-blister-inducing when it comes to accessories.
I would like to end with a message for Salvation Army: I will pay a few more dollars for clothing. Just please, get some air conditioning. And a changing room. Even a curtain would be a nice start. Please?
And here’s a message for you: Donate to Grist!
I’m so bored by my outfit today, I can’t even tell you.
I tried to punch up this H&M maxi dress, but I don’t have any colorful jewelry or scarves. So I braided my hair, put on a huge pair of earrings I bought some time ago at Goodwill Annapolis, and tried some bright red lipstick for a more bohemian look. But really, I’m still wearing a black nightgown. The office has been silent about my outfit, which I’m going to have to interpret as quiet disapproval.
On the bright side, yesterday I got this lovely email from a fan:
Let me put it this way… Were I not happily married, and if I saw you wearing that outfit in, say, the local grocery co-op, I’d be looking for a ring.
My boyfriend, Mike, tried to convince me to send him the email, so he could, “Take care of it,” but I managed to convince him this guy meant no harm.
I wish I knew which outfit he was talking about! Probably the one where my boobs were on display. I spent all day tugging, tugging, tugging. I had to hang up a picture and I was afraid if I reached too far over my head, everything would just pop out. But I made it through the day with no major mishaps. One commenter asked if I hadn’t even tried on the dress. Well, yes, I did try it on. I tried everything on. But I was so thrilled I guess I just said to myself, “It’s tight, but doable!” Or else I put on some pounds last week. Entirely possible.
Tonight I’ll finally have time to hit the yoga studio and try out my thrift store exercise clothes.
I say tomorrow is a cut-off jean day. Who’s with me? And who’s with me in supporting Grist?
Mango Suit dress, $14.99; Express necklace with the tags still on, $19.99; gold star stud earrings, $1.99; black purse, $9.99; BCBGirls black open-toed pumps, $12.99. Total for outfit: $59.95.Alden WickerEveryone seemed to love yesterday’s outfit, especially when I lost the shirt and just wore the dress. I thought the dress looked frumpy without it, but I got a lot of compliments (“That sweetheart neckline looks so good on you!”), even from people who have no idea about this dare. So maybe it’s a keeper. It’s comfy, anyway.
This morning I was feeling really positive about my outfit. But when I was ironing the Mossimo blouse, I pulled the iron away and discovered that I had melted it.
Seriously? I haven’t done that since high school, probably because I don’t buy rayon/nylon shirts anymore. Granted, I should have checked the label, but that just didn’t occur to me. I spent a long time staring at the offending spot, trying to figure out how bad it looked. I finally gave up on that shirt, and the whole outfit. I don’t have anything else to wear with the skirt, unfortunately.
So I wriggled into a sundress, and realized that it’s a wee bit small on me. So small I can’t wear a bra, because then I get double-boob fat on the sides. I can just hear my mom clucking. But my wardrobe schedule is so tight this week, I’m going to wear it anyway. I guess when I was in Goodwill, I was just so excited about finding a pretty dress, I didn’t look that hard at it. If I had been in the store, I would have put it back and gone a size up. Or looked at the size in the first place and realized it’s a size 2. (I’m a size 4.)
That reminds me: I’m not proud of how much I spent at Goodwill. When I was there, I overheard someone inquire about half-off prices, to which the clerk said that it didn’t apply that day. It seemed funny to me, that Goodwill would have a sale. But after I brought my pile of clothing up to the counter and it totaled $250, I was really wishing I had come on a sale day! For $250, I got eight work outfits (one of which is now unusable and another too tight) and two yoga outfits. That’s great. But it was still a shock.
Here’s a thought: How about you all donate enough to Grist to at least match what I spent on clothing this week? It would make me feel much better about the fact that I look vaguely inappropriate for work today. There’s a chance I might accidentally flash someone. That’s gotta be worth something, right?
This has been cross-posted with permission from Grist. This is my third entry in the series “Grist dared me to make a change.” Read the first and second here. And support my dare with a gift to Grist!
My outfit yesterday went over really well! The editorial team all loved it. My editor said I looked stylishly French, and — unprompted, mind you — the CEO interrupted herself in the middle of a sentence to tell me how cute I look.
I’ve read that artists actually like to work within some sort of parameters, that boxing themselves in, paradoxically, encourages more creativity and artistic excellence. So maybe shopping at Goodwill has unleashed my inner fashionista. After all, walking into a big department store is overwhelming. My heart rate actually goes up faced with all those choices.
Yesterday four of us at work got into a conversation about buying used underwear. Three of us thought that it’s really gross. If it’s a matter of price, one can go to Kmart and get a three-pack for $9.50. One coworker, however, pointed out that it’s really just a mental thing. If you are struggling to make ends meet, just throw it in the wash with some bleach. Personally, I prefer to go new. (I’m a big fan of PACT organic underwear.) As one coworker put it, “Used underwear crosses the line between cool and thrifty, and crazy and schlumpy.”
I had wanted to give equal weight to other thrift stores like Salvation Army and Housing Works while shopping, but I did such a thorough job at Goodwill, I’m set for the week! I actually had to pare down my choices to a final eight outfits. In fact, I think I went a little overboard. But there are still a couple of things I have yet to find: athletic shoes and casual flip-flops. I’m going to my friend’s mountain house this weekend and I will be hiking and horseback riding and doing other summery things. So far I’ve only found tennis shoes of the orthopedic variety. Help!
Yesterday was such a success; I’m going bold today with my outfit. Also, my outfits for the rest of the week require those black heels again, and I would like to give my poor feet a break. Unfortunately, these sandals are cute, but are working hard to give my feet blisters. No wonder they were given away! You’ll also see that I’m wearing a watch. I cheated. The watch was mine before but it looks so darn good with the shirt, and I missed being able to check it yesterday.
So, what do you think? Is this outfit amazing? Or just embarrassing? Speak up, and support the amazing — and almost never embarrassing — work of Grist with a donation.
Going into this challenge, I thought my first shopping trip would be an all-day affair. I was pretty sure I would have to go to at least three different stores to find seven wearable outfits. But I hoped I would up my chances by checking out the new Goodwill in New York City’s Greenwich Village.
When this first-ever curated Goodwill opened at the end of April, it got a huge amount of play in the local fashion blogs, accompanied by an enticing picture of a rainbow of assorted Keds. The PR copy promised “Ferragamo, Burberry, and Dior, as well as brands such as Anne Taylor, Mossimo, and Nine West, all at super reasonable price-points.”
When my friend Casidhe met me there, I was already knee-deep in dresses, none of them designer brands. I’m sure this place has been thoroughly picked over already by the downtown hipsters, leaving behind the usual “Holy-crap-what-on-earth-is-that” leopard-print hoochie dresses. In short, this is still a Goodwill, not a high-end consignment boutique. But it’s much larger than the Upper West Side branch where I usually drop off my old duds, and I found that with some thorough scouring, the racks would yield up some not-so-bad finds.
Take for example the dress I’m wearing today. It’s a perfectly chic Club Monaco sweater dress for the price of a Forever21 top. It just needed a black tank to wear underneath, which is the kind of foundation piece I thought I would never find. Score! I’m going out to dinner tonight with my boyfriend, so this hot little number fits the bill nicely.
Even Casidhe, who was just there for moral support, tried on a nice blouse and told me that she wanted to come back on a day when she had a little bit more energy and do some serious shopping.
On the purse and shoes: These seemed to be the hardest items to find. I’m guessing that’s because you never grow out of shoes and purses, or realize that they make you look fat. This purse looks pretty good from far away, though it would be better with a longer chain. And the shoes are great. I’m just worried that if they aren’t comfortable, I’m going to have a very painful week, as they are one pair out of only two I found that are fit for public consumption. (Those Keds are long gone.) Any tips for finding shoes and purses?
Stay tuned tomorrow, and I’ll tell you more strategies and challenges I discovered for shopping at Goodwill, gauge the reactions of my coworkers and friends, and reveal my next outfit. Meanwhile, why don’t you make a gesture of good will to Grist, with a donation?
This is my first entry in the series “Grist dared me to make a change,” at the amazing sustainable news and commentary site, Grist. Read about other challenges that Gristers are taking on, plus donate to the cause here.
For one week, starting July 18, I’m going to wear nothing but clothing and accessories that I can rustle up from secondhand stores. That includes clothing, shoes, belts, hats, and purses. It does not include underwear. I draw the line.
I spend roughly $5,000 every year on clothes. This year I bought almost my entire spring update from organic and/or sustainable designers. But even more sustainable than a hip purse made from reclaimed leather and stuffed with recycled tissue paper, is something that is recycled itself.
There are a lot of hipsters here in New York City who wouldn’t bat an eye at crazy, ironic combinations. But me, I like to stick with the classics. I am an East Coast girl who likes her black cropped pants and ballet flats. I’m a coward when it comes to edgy combinations. Also, I’m short, so creative, weirdly shaped items don’t work on my frame.
I shudder to think of what my boss — who usually looks like she stepped out of a Stella McCartney ad — will say when I walk in the office wearing something cobbled together from the $5 bin. Can I really report to my CEO wearing something that was dropped off in a trash bag to the Salvation Army?
So I’m going to need some encouragement from readers for when I’m tempted to cheat and try to pass off a nice leather bag as a Goodwill find. It will be so much more fun for me if I can share my outfits with like-minded people and get their feedback!
Donate to Grist in support of my dare. Help me prove to the world that you don’t need a Bloomingdale’s charge card to be fashionably sustainable. Just a little bit of creativity and confidence.