(Disclosure: Sponsored post w/ affiliate links. All opinions are my own.)
My picks for Mother’s Day gift ideas from ModCloth (L-R): Beach House Brunch Jacket, $49.99; Receiving Drop Honors Earrings in Turquoise, $14.99; Critical Kit! top, $34.99; Peaceful and Quiet Votive Candle Holder Set, $39.99; Trunks Full of Taste Shaker Set, $14.99.
Happy Friday everyone! I just got done addressing a big stack of Mother’s Day cards for family and friends—Mother’s Day is only a week away! This year I’ve got all sorts of moms on my list, from my own mom to girlfriends who are soon-to-be or brand-new parents, and so I’ve been having fun looking at all the different cards and gifts out there geared toward moms. And since I was having so much fun shopping, I thought I’d put together some gift guides this week featuring some of my favorite items!
Today I have a handful of items I saw on ModCloth and just really loved. They have so many cute and quirky options, from clothing to accessories to home decor. There’s something for every mom on your list, from the hipster (how awesome is that Pusheen tee?!) to the grandma who collects salt and pepper shakers (you can see my elephant obsession peeking through here).
If you just can’t pick an item, or you’re a last-minute shopper (been there, done that), ModCloth also makes it easy to get Mom a gift certificate. You can opt for an e-mail or print out a certificate to give her in person.
Don’t forget that you can get free shipping on orders of $75+ and new shoppers can get 20% off orders of $100+ when they sign up on the ModCloth site. Those savings add up! Check out more Mother’s Day gift ideas from ModCloth on their social channels.
If you’ve read my blog for a while, then you might remember the time I tried out Rocksbox. I wasn’t overwhelmed by the service and ended up canceling my subscription after my trial period ended, but when the company reached out recently to see if I’d like to give it another shot, I decided to go for it. After all, practice makes perfect, so a few months’ worth of style profiling should make my boxes better this time around. Plus, I’ve had a serious case of the “wanna-buys” lately–probably because of the seasonal change–so this is a good way to play with some new jewelry without committing to a piece I might not want to wear for very long.
Here’s how it works: After signing up and completing your style profile via the Rocksbox website, a stylist puts together a set of jewelry and ships it out to you. I’ve found that the shipping is incredibly speedy–I got my box (and my return box was processed) in a matter of mere days. You can keep the pieces as long as you like, and if you like anything in particular, you can purchase it at a discounted member price, plus you get $10 each month in “Shine Spend” to put towards a purchase. When you’re ready to send back your set, simply reuse the package it arrived in (a prepaid label is in your box) and drop it in the mail; you’ll get a new set within days, and you can refresh your set an unlimited number of times in a month. The monthly charge is $19 and you can cancel at any time.
Want to try a free month? Use my code “mhokensonxoxo” at sign-up to get a free one-month trial! You can try out multiple styles during your free month and cancel at any time if you decide you don’t want to keep your membership.
Now, let’s look at my box…the first item is the Gorjana Taner Ear Climbers earring set ($40, $32 for insiders). In all honesty these earrings were just too plain for me; I like very bold earrings!
The second item is this Slate Marble Triangle Necklace ($50, $40 for insiders). I’ve been toying with buying a similar necklace and appreciated getting to try the trend with some pieces in my closet before committing. I ended up deciding it wasn’t for me, but it was fun to try!
Finally, I have a House of Harlow 1960 Symbols and Signs Bangle in Gold ($68, $54 for insiders). Of all my pieces, this was the one that most tempted me to buy it–anything boho is good by me–but I sent it back because I’m trying to control my cash flow right now and I already splurged on books and a yoga class this month.
So there’s my box! I was much happier with this box than previous ones, and I’m super-pleased with the speedy shipping. (If there’s one thing I hate, it’s waiting!) I already snuck a peek at my next box online and I can’t wait for it to arrive next week–I have a feeling I’m going to love everything in it!
Don’t forget to sign up for your own free month of Rocksbox! And pop back in next week to see my next set of gems…
When I first started blogging about ethical consumerism and ethical fashion this summer (click the hyperlinks to see those posts), I meant to throw together a wishlist post of fashion items that were fair trade, eco-friendly, made in the USA or vegan. Somehow that post never got put together (oops!) but now that fall is right around the corner, I thought it was a good time to put together a little list of items for that summer-to-fall transition period. The best part: everything here is under $50!
(All links below go directly to the web page for the item; they are not affiliate links.)
1. Shirred tunic, $38, One Mango Tree
2. Print dress, $48, Lulu’s
3. Shorts, $21.60, One Mango Tree
4. Sweater, $35, Tree of Life
5. Colored denim, $49, Land’s End
6. Earrings, $17, Roozt
7. Ankle boots, $45, Fashion Conscience
8. Scarf, $16, People Tree
9. Tank top, $20, Glik’s
10. Floral tee, $33, Fashion Conscience
Earlier this week I talked about ethical consumerism and calculating your “slavery footprint” (you can read that post here). Today I wanted to talk a bit more specifically about ethical fashion, cheap chic chains, and some steps you can take to balance high fashion with ethical shopping habits.
In her book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, Elizabeth Cline points out that “cheap chic” retailers now churn out massive amounts of clothing at incredibly low price points, with Americans buying on average a new garment each week…but at what cost? She goes on to make the case that cheap chic fashion is damaging the economy, the environment, and the lives of the countless sweatshop workers who are employed to produce these goods. It’s hard to argue against her: roughly 900 thousand tons of clothing go into landfills each year, mostly from cheaply made garments that are purchased at cheap chic chains or outlet malls, worn a few times, and then discarded for something else. The workers who make these garments work for long hours in dangerous conditions are paid mere dollars a week for their work.
With the April collapse of the Bangaldesh garment factory that killed over 1100 people, the spotlight is being shown more fiercely than ever on the link between cheap clothing and the dangerous working conditions in third-world factories. The collapse was the worst in the history of the garment industry and the death toll is roughly eight times that of the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in New York City in 1911.
What’s really sobering about all of the back-and-forth that has followed the disaster is this figure released by the Workers’ Rights Consortium:
We have a general cost estimate for the renovations, upgrades and retrofitting of buildings that is needed across the industry in Bangladesh to make the factories safe. The figure is $3 billion. That translates to about 8 cents per garment at factory price.
The WRC goes on to lay out some different ways that $3 billion figure could be spread out and absorbed by consumers rather than retailers, and even at the high end, they estimate that most pieces of clothing would be marked up about thirty cents to absorb the bill. Try to wrap your head around that number for a moment, because I can’t. If you knew thirty cents per garment would guarantee better and safer working conditions for someone–including proper fire exits, better emergency alarms, and the closure of unsafe factory structures–wouldn’t you willingly pay it?
What happens now?
Public pressure on major retailers to change their production practices has led to the creation of a new legal accord aimed at providing Bangladeshi workers with a safer working environment. The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh requires a five-year commitment to conduct independent safety inspections of factories and requires retailers to pay up to $500,000 per year toward safety improvements in those factories.
However, there’s been a lot of resistance to the accord. While some brands have willingly jumped on board, others have refused, including:
- JC Penney
- VF Corp. (owns The North Face, Wrangler and Vans)
- Carter’s (owns Oshkosh B’Gosh)
- American Eagle Outfitters
- The Children’s Place
- Foot Locker
- Cato Fashions
Some retailers (such as Walmart) have said they will work on their own initiatives to create a safer working environment for these factory workers, but what their plans are exactly remains to be seen.
Quantity vs. quality
I think we all need to reexamine the definition of “affordable” clothing. It’s true that I can go to a cheap chic chain with $100 in my pocket and leave with several new dresses, but that doesn’t mean those $25 dresses are any more “affordable” than a single $100 dress from a different store. It just means that I have to be more selective and only buy one new piece instead of an armful. That difference is what drives so many consumers into the arms of cheap retailers, but if you know what’s gone into the production of a piece, doesn’t it make you want to shop elsewhere–even if you emerge with just a few garments, instead of a whole new wardrobe?
Quality is something else to consider. While more expensive clothing is not always made of a higher quality–there are exceptions–by and large, investing in pieces that will last for several seasons is not only worth the extra cash, it’s a great way to keep from wasting money on items you’ll only wear once before throwing them in the trash. We’ve all bought jeans or shoes that broke down so quickly there wasn’t even anything left to donate to the thrift store! Why waste your money on those items?
In my opinion, a short spending ban could help wean you from the habit of dropping into the mall each weekend for a new blouse or skirt. Personally, while I used to frequent some of the fourteen stores listed above, I’m making it my choice to step away from purchasing their garments in the future. There are lots of places where I can shop for new clothes and crossing a few stores off of my list is not going to kill me. Going forward, I’m going to plan my clothing budget more carefully so I can buy a few new pieces each season that I’ll really love, instead of buying a ton of cheaply made items at the mall.
Where do I shop now?
The intersection of ethical consumerism and affordable fashion is a small one and it takes some work to find it, but it does exist. The best way to find ethically produced clothing is to dig through company websites and read the labels on the garments themselves. Look for items that were made in the U.S.A. If the company imports lots of their garments, read up on company practices involving overseas workers.
H&M, Mango and Calvin Klein are all signees of the new Bangladesh accord. On the Overdressed website, Elizabeth Cline points out that you can search “made in USA” on NeimanMarcus.com and Nordstrom.com to find domestically produced clothing at a range of price points; I also tried this on one of my favorite sites, Lulus.com, so it’s worth trying on different e-tail sites to see what you get. You can also find a full list of Cline’s recommend retailers here.
Some of my other favorite new sites to browse: EcoFabulous (highlights ethical and eco-friendly consumerism) and the e-tail sites Etrican, Fashion Conscience, One Mango Tree, People Tree and Shopanthropic (find the links below). While I don’t have the budget to go bananas on these sites the way I can in Walmart or Target, I think I’d rather save up for one or two nice pieces anyway and enjoy my splurge!
More eco- and ethical fashion options
- I’m going to be putting together a wishlist of clothing picks next week so you can see some of the items I’ve got my eye on!
- Thrifting is huge right now thanks to that ubiquitous Macklemore song. Upcycling clothing is not only wallet-friendly and eco-friendly, most thrift shops are run with the goal of funding local charities (like a homeless shelter or the local humane society). Even consignment shops are worth a dig, though the items there may cost more. The less new items you buy, the less you feed into the supply and demand cycle that keeps cheap chic retailers pumping out these cheap garments. So much win! I’ll be writing a post on thrifting later this month.
- If you’ve got some basic sewing skills, sewing your own clothes or refashioning options from the thrift store is an awesome way to beef up your wardrobe! I’ll be posting more on refashioning later in the month, including some tips to make it less scary.
- Check out the Overdressed website or follow Elizabeth on Twitter (@thegoodcloset)
- Check out EcoFabulous.com
- Shop via Etrican or follow them on Twitter (@etrican)
- Shop via Fashion Conscience or follow them on Twitter (@fashconscience)
- Check out One Mango Tree or follow them on Twitter (@onemangotree)
- Shop via People Tree or follow them on Twitter (@PeopleTree)
- Shop via Shopanthropic or follow them on Twitter (@EnableChange)