Be nice and green, wear it twice if clean (Day 189)…

September 5, 2007


At first, one might think wearing the same thing twice before washing it is gross. But consider this: I got the idea from Green is Sexy, a blog created by three stylish young women, one of whom is Toronto actress Rachel McAdams (we actually share the same video store) — and if you think she’s gross, there’s something majorly wrong with your neurons.

Besides, I’m not talking about going for a run in a T-shirt on a sweltering hot summer day without deodorant, cooking pots full of onion-garlic curry, smoking three cigars, then putting it on again the next morning. I’m talking about the sweaters you wear in winter over two other layers of clothing, or the jeans you change into to go out for dinner and take off again a few hours later. Basically, it requires a judgment call — take a look at it, take a whiff of it, and make a decision.

Usually, I opt for the when-in-doubt-throw-it-out (in the laundry pile) rule, but from now on I’m going to put some more thought into everything that goes into the washing machine. If it doesn’t stink, it’s good for another day’s wear, or at the very least something to slouch around the house in on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Image courtesy of these dudes.

If the eco-friendly shoe fits (Day 167)…

August 14, 2007


As the shoe company Simple puts it, “Just because a shoe is planet-friendly, doesn’t mean it has to look like a hippie clod-hopper.” They’ve got that right. Just look at these organic, vegan-approved, hemp-whatever fashion tragedies — the “sport style” looks like something you’d need to show proof of senior citizen status to wear (no offense to senior citizens, I know you need plenty of arch support).

Now, I know Birkenstocks made a big comeback and all when they started getting into silver and gold colour schemes and different patterns. And they do have this little press release about their environmental efforts and all, but they’re still kinda ugly, and besides, I’m committed as of last week to not buying anymore leather.

So when it comes to a new set of kicks, I’ll be looking to brands like Simple to help me out. As they say on their website, their new EcoSneaks line is manufactured using sustainable materials like recycled car tires, used plastic bottled, bamboo, jute and organic cotton. As well, they’ve cut down on the packaging, so you can feel less guilty about ordering online and having them shipped.

Jewellery with a conscience (Day 158)…

August 5, 2007

pennib earrings

Waaaay back in March, I wrote a short little post about some eco-friendy jewellery I found that — gasp! — was actually stylish and — double gasp! — not made with recycled hemp (apologies to all the hardcore hippies out there but I just flat-out refuse to wear one of these).

It’s made by a woman named Reena Kazmann who sells her designs at — personally, I love the typewriter key earrings, pen nib and transit token cufflinks and circuit board luggage tags.

There are other companies out there, like Moonrise or Swift, who offer similarly green options when it comes to jewellery, and here in Toronto I can usually find some good stuff at the One of a Kind Show.

But it’s not always easy, and I’ve always had a weakness for those $5 necklaces at H&M and fake gold hoop earrings at Le Château. Plus, every time I walk into Banana Republic, it’s guaranteed that there will be at least five things I desperately want in the display case.

Alas, the next time I want to accessorize a new outfit, it’ll have to be done with rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings from an eco-friendly, fair-trade and preferably local designer.

Pleather before leather (Day 156)…

August 3, 2007


Alina raised an interesting question on her blog the other day: Where is the organic leather? There’s so much talk of beef that’s organic, grass-fed and hormone-free, but where do our belts, shoes and handbags come from? I remember, not so long ago, Roots began selling these Stop Global Warming bracelets (above) that were made from leather scraps swept off their cutting room floor, and as Alina mentioned there’s this online store, too, but there really aren’t many companies out there making any sort of eco claim to their leather goods.

So because, in this challenge, I’m trying to create a demand only for ethically raised cows, I’m going to stop buying leather from now on unless I know it came from a happy animal on a good farm — and I’m guessing this will never happen. I’ll buy leather products if they’re used, however, and will continue to wear the purses and shoes I already have — mostly, in the latter case, because like my fellow closet environmentalist, my feet don’t smell so pretty after a long summer day in synthetic material.

You shoes, you lose (Day 154)…

August 1, 2007

shoes on mat

When my parents first moved from England to Canada back in the mid-70s, they were mildly disturbed by a few things: One, yellow butter; two, blizzards in May (at least in Quebec), and three, the custom of taking shoes off at the door. Correct me if I’m wrong, Mum, but I believe your opinion was, and still is, that shoes are part of the outfit and belong on your feet until the rest of your clothes come off.

Now, being a Taurus, I tend to put comfort waaaay above aesthetics. I don’t own any shoes with more than a kitten heel and my most common choice of footwear is either a pair of dilapidated sneakers or dirty flip-flops (the one trend I refuse to endorse no matter how comfortable is the neon Crocs — seriously, those thing are heinous).

Anyway, because I like to be comfy, or maybe just because I’m a Canadian, I’m more than happy to take my kicks off at the door. Sometimes I forget, or sometimes I’ll put a sparkly pair on if I have company, but today my green move will be to enforce the shoes-off policy.

How is this green, you ask? Well, fewer shoes clomping around means less dirt and mud tracked on the floor, which in turn means I need to vacuum less frequently, which, you guessed it, means I’m using less electricity.

Photo courtesy of amazondotcom on Flickr

Cut from the sustainable cloth (Day 135)…

July 13, 2007


Supporting locals designers is something I always like to talk about but rarely do. It’s usually because the clothes are too expensive, too hard to find, or most often, because all I need is a plain white T-shirt and the Gap sells those for about $20.

But I actually used to work at the Gap, and man was that ever horrible. I won’t get into all the details here because I can’t afford to be sued, but at one point I remember having to work during a “flow” shift, which is either from 5 a.m. until the store opens, or from closing time until 2 a.m. This is when employees change over all the merchandise and display cases, and it happens every couple weeks.

That night I was working, it was about 1:30 a.m. and we were running late. I was sitting on the floor surrounded by piles of Baby Gap apparel as a 16-year-old girl stood next to me, throwing more and more shirts at my head as she asked over and over again, “Can you, like, fold faster or something?”

Totally ridiculous. I’m not going to whine about the crappy minimum wage and the even crappier hours, but the sheer quantity of clothing that comes in and out of that store is mind-boggling and, really, pretty depressing. The fact that we’d get an employee discount off an item that was already 50% off and the company would still be profiting just goes to show how cheap the manufacturing process is. I’m sure that when No Logo came out and students began protesting, Gap made some changes here and there, but even if they don’t get their clothes from sweat shops anymore, there’s no way that stuff is being churned out by fairly paid workers.

So I’ve decided that, no matter how desperately I want a plain T-shirt or cheap pair of jeans, I will not shop at the Gap, nor at any other chain for that matter, until my challenge is over. From now on, I’m only buying clothes from local designers like Passenger Pigeon (whose wrap dress is above), lilikoi (I got this dress from them recently) and preloved. I’ll also allow myself to buy from companies outside of Canada if their merchandise is made from sustainable, sweatshop-free materials (like American Apparel, except not American Apparel, because their advertising revolts me).

An increase in creases (Day 122)…

June 30, 2007


There’s nothing I hate more than waking up and finding a new wrinkle — whether it’s one on my forehead or one in the shirt I planned to wear to work that morning.

But of course every time I iron my clothes, more electricity gets used, especially because I have no idea how to do it properly and end up taking forEVER to get the job done). Now, I’m not about to show up to a hot date or job interview in a pair of wrinkley, bunched-up pants, but I will be limiting how often I use my iron, as well as how high I crank it.

I’m hereby restricting its use to special occasions and/or crease-prone materials like linen. Furthermore, when I do use it, I’ll make sure to keep it on medium heat and try to get batches of stuff done at once rather than individually.

Image courtesy of WeeRobbie on Flickr