Closet goals for 2019

celia-michon-115006-unsplashFor 2019 I have decided to put up some goals for my closet and shopping. Even though I gave up reading fashion magazines in my late teens, my shopaholic behaviours have stayed. I try to be more mindful of what I consume, but when life gets a bit though I tend to turn to shopping, a habit I am trying hard to break. So this year I am putting up some closet goals for myself.

Using what I have

For the time being I am not fully ready for a capsule or complete minimalism. I tried the 10×10 capsule challenge earlier this fall and I did not really enjoy it that much, however I might try a bigger capsule for a longer time during the year. I am planning on using as many parts of my closet as possible (I started keeping track of what I am wearing about 8 months ago) and the ones that I do not use enough, I will be selling or giving to friends.

Responsible shopping

Regarding shopping, I will be buying maximum 12 things in the year, so corresponding to 1 thing per month of the year. To some this might seem like an insane amount, while to others it’s nothing. For me this is a quite small number and I am trying to minimise my shopping over time, since going cold turkey hasn’t worked too well for me in the past. For these 12 purchases I will not be including underwear/basics, accessories or activewear/sleepwear. However, I will keep those to minimal. No going crazy just because I don’t count them.

Further, I will continue to prioritise quality, longevity, natural materials and that they are second hand or sustainably made when possible. I will do my best to avoid spontaneous shopping and instead plan my needs. I am already working on a shopping list for the coming year, since I need to save up for some of the garments. Another important thing is that I will ONLY buy stuff I love. If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no!

Questions for shopping

When shopping I will keep some questions in mind to make sure I make sensible purchases.

Does it fit my closet?

The garments should fit with my closet – I should be able to create at least 3 possible outfit combinations with things I already own. No thinking that “this would look great if I only had that”…

Will I wear it at least 30 times?

Have you heard about #30wears? It is encouraging people to wear their clothes for longer. A big portion of the fashion impact comes from the actual use of the garments and by using what we own for longer we can increase the garments impact.

Is this worth the price?

Will the future CPU (cost per use) be low enough to motivate the purchase? If you want to have a CPU of let’s say 2€ then you would have to wear a 200€ coat at least a 100 times for it to be worth the purchase. For this reason I tend to only invest in more expensive garment that I know I will be using for a longer time, like coats, bags and shoes.

Personal development

My last closet goal for 2019 is that I want to learn more about sewing and making my own clothing. In Sweden you have basic sewing classes for 3-6 years in middle school and even though I have made both my own dresses and knitted mittens and embroidered table cloths, I am not near the level I would want to be!

I come from a crafty family and both my mom and my grandma used to sew, knit and crochet everything when they were young and couldn’t afford to buy new. My hopes with this goal is that I will be able to make most of my own clothes, so that I can be in charge of materials and cut and so I can get more tailored items that will not need to be taken in or hemmed.

Do you have any closet goals for 2019? Or are you just going with the flow?

Friendly gift wrapping guide

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Wrapping gifts for christmas. Some people love it, some dread it. This is an area where you can get really creative if you want, just try to remember that most wrapping paper is not recyclable. However, there are several other ways of wrapping gifts than in regular wrapping paper.

Firstly, I would start looking around the home what is lying around that could be used. Maybe you find an old shoebox that you haven’t thrown out. With some paint or fabric that could make the perfect box for grandpa’s new sweater. Just put a bow on it and you are done! Maybe you have some old wall paper lying around from renovating the house, those would make great stand-ins for regular wrapping paper and they don’t require you buying new. With some creativity, most things can become a nice wrapping design!

If you are the really creative one with some time on your hands, I would go for designing your own wrapping paper with potatoes. By buying simple brown or white gift paper (the ones without the shiny side) you can simply design different papers for the entire family. All you need are the paper, an ink pad, a knife and some potatoes.

joanna-kosinska-480420-unsplashIf you are more of the lazy type (like me most of the time) go for reusing old newspapers. It gives a nice retro feel and you can dress it up nicely with nice bands and some decorations.

Last idea is to wrap in fabric, so called furoshiki (you can see more about furoshiki and the techniques on my Pinterest board here). It is a traditional Japanese way of wrapping gifts. You do not need to buy new for this, you could wrap it in a kitchen cloth, old sheets or whatever you have laying around.

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For all the ideas you have the option of making it more fancy by accessorizing. Some pine cones, a tree twig or some dried winter flower that are easy to find outside. It really takes a gift from regular to special looking.

 

 

 

Conscious christmas gifting guide

joanna-kosinska-414555-unsplashChristmas can be an incredibly busy and stressful time of year, especially if you are fed up with overconsumption and consumer culture. There are ways of making small changes for the better though. One field for improvement is the holiday gifts. There are different “levels” of conscious consumption in my book, below you can read about them.

The optimal choice is to not give anything. At least not material. Great things you can gift people that are not material:

  • donate in their name
  • gift card for service they use or need (like Spotify, Netflix, maybe some clothing subscription?)
  • gift them time to do something with you. Maybe you are a great chef? Well why don’t you gift them a 3-course dinner at your place. They love hiking? Plan a weekend hike to do together!
  • gift an experience. They want to learn pottery? How about you give them a class for x-mas! Want to learn a language? Sign them up for classes or buy a subscription to Babbel!

If you still feel that you want to gift something physical, try to make something yourself. A lot of times it is more appreciated, since it requires time and love. One year I made my grandma a knitted headband for winter. She cried for like 20 minutes because she was so happy for it. And I made a felt Ipad case for my dad one year, he still uses it to protect the screen!

What if you want to git something physical and you suck at any kind of crafts or similar? Well then I say give stuff that is sustainable and that they actually need. Some ideas for this is:

  • Bees wrap – a really practical way of wrapping food that eliminates plastic wrap
  • Reusable bottle – because we all know the problem of plastic bottles, don’t we?
  • Bamboo utensils – for when they are out on the run and need to eat.
  • Produce bags – very handy for grocery shopping, and we all need to buy food!
  • Sustainable underwear – you always need new underwear…
  • Garment care – e.g. pimp stone for clothes pilling, clothing brush, clothes mists.
  • Edible treats – such as homemade granola, truffles, bread mix, sourdough, kombucha starter.

 

 

My biggest challenges with sustainable fashion

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I am still quite new to the concept of sustainable shopping and conscious closets. Only about a year ago I started to learn more about this topic and more recently changing my own habits. Changing ones habits from being slightly shopaholic and always having new clothes to a more slow lifestyle is hard in itself. Trying to cultivate a sustainable closet comes with additional challenges. Since the world is mainly built on fast fashion and unethical business practices, finding sustainable options can be hard, time consuming and, let’s not forget, expensive compared to regular shopping.

Top challenges

So what are really the main challenges I face when trying to switch over to a more sustainable and ethical shopping habit?

Finding clothing I like

I can be quite picky with style and I tend to like a more expensive and elegant style. With sustainable fashion I feel like a lot of things are either boring and generic, as in all is made super minimalistic in black and white or that everyone is wearing the same Everlane pants, or colorful ethnic fabrics that are just not me. Honestly, I don’t really get the Everlane thing, they are a bit to everyday and plain for my taste, even if I do like some styles. Also they do not really have sustainable fabrics or processes which I would prefer. Also, I do not really feel comfortable in colors, especially when combined with crazy prints. So I tend to feel a bit lost in the middle at times. I have managed to find some brands I like, but they are few.

Finding materials I like

When I happen to stumble onto brands or garments I like, I get disappointed 95% of the time because of material mixes or poly. In my opinion you are not a sustainable brand if you mix in plastic at every chance you get. Sure, there are times when it makes sense, like in socks that would break very quickly without the add in. But in a woolen coat I really do not see the big point in adding synthetics. Synthetics are made from non renewable resources and should not be overused just because it’s cheap. They also make  it impossible to recycle. The fabric recycling techniques available today cannot handle material mixes, only 100% fabrics.

Finding things that are accessible

Taking a normal shopping trip to town or the mall is really not a feasible way of shopping ethically and sustainably. The majority of brick and mortar stores are big brand and fast fashion with bad materials, bad quality and that is way too trend sensitive. So when shopping for sustainable brands you are often dependant on online shopping. I like to shop online, but since smaller brands often do not have the opportunity to offer free shipping and returns it makes it a bit risky to order when you are not sure about sizing.

Finding things that are within budget

Let’s be honest, ethically produced or sustainably made clothing is not cheap. Quality materials are more expensive than polyester and having a fair supply chain where people are being payed fair wages means more expensive end prices. I have a quite high budget and have in the later years mostly shopped in the bridge or affordable luxury category. So it is not as much of a stretch for me to be able to afford sustainable items. However, it is still very expensive especially when looking for high quality materials like cashmere and silk that can be bought for 100€ at H&M. The sustainable ditto is more towards 500€, so the difference is still noticeable.

When it comes to sustainable fashion I have come to terms with the fact that you can’t always tick all boxes. Buying something you really like, with good quality that will last a long time, that is also sustainable and ethical is like finding a four leafed clover, doable but hard. You have to compromise a bit sometimes and go with the best option available. For me, material is one of the criteria I do not like to compromise, for others it might be the ethical production. Whatever are your boxes to be ticked just remember that perfection shouldn’t stand in the way of good.

How I traveled 5 countries in 12 days without leaving the ground

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Dubrovnik, Croatia

Flying not the greatest thing you can do for the environment. Actually, it is one of the worst things. The biggest issue with flights are the CO2 emissions, with one transatlantic flight equaling the yearly emissions of almost 100 people in Tanzania. Crazy, right?

Many people think that by being vegetarian or vegan, recycling, living zero waste or not consuming they can outweigh the effects of flying, but that is unfortunately not the case. I still fly, I have even flown a lot! Last year I did five return flights, three within Europe, one within the States and one transatlantic. At the time I did not think about it but this year I am decreasing it and trying to find other ways to get by. I did fly back and forth from Rome to Copenhagen once this spring and will be flying down to Madrid this weekend for a short holiday. To some people, five flights or even two might sound a lot, to others not that much. Anyways, I am exploring other ways of travelling that do not hurt the planet as much.

So back to the point. I love to travel. I grew up travelling and as I have grown up I have enjoyed living abroad several times which has meant a few flights now and then just to visit family and friends. But this summer I travelled through 5 different countries in 12 days completely without flying. Starting in Italy, where I had been living for a few months, and going all the way to Copenhagen and then Sweden.

There are several ways to travel over the ground, like train, car, bike and hitchhiking (don’t know about the safety of that one though). For this summers trip, however, I chose to go by bus. I chose the bus mainly because it was the cheapest option available, and they also had the option of night buses, that would get me long distances in one haul as well as saving me money on housing. I am not a person who needs a lot of sleep and I do quite well even on several days of bad sleep so sitting on a bus all night was doable. Actually, my family used to travel a lot by long haul buses when I was a kid so sleeping on a bus was nothing new to me.

The company I travelled with to get from Italy to Scandinavia was Flixbus. They are really nice and have affordable prices and some great routes. The buses all have toilets (even though they are not always that fresh, but I’ll blame that on some people’s ability to use the bathroom while on a moving vehicle…) as well as wifi and power outlets. The only time I had a bit of problem was when I travelled through Croatia. The buses there were chartered by a local company that didn’t have working toilets or outlets onboard, which can be a bit annoying when you are on a 10-ride with 30 per cent battery. Also, don’t expect bus drivers to understand English or anything else spoken outside the region. Even with somewhat fluency in 5 languages I didn’t manage to well in communicating, though some were a bit more accommodating with trying to explain than others.

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Ljubljana, Slovenia

So how did I travel to 5 countries in 5 days? Well, I started in Rome with way too much packed into my backpack. I left with 40 minutes extra time since I knew that public transport in Rome was unreliable, but still, I got completely stuck like never before and ended up being so late I had to run up three flights of stairs and 300 meters with almost 30 kg of luggage just to stop the bus exactly when it was departing. After a somewhat stressful start, the rest of the trip was great. With barely no people on board it was quiet and enough space to take up a full double seat on your own, which really helps with the comfort. I left Rome at 8.30 in the evening and arrived in Ljubljana, Slovenia, around 6 am the day after.

After a short visit to Ljubljana, I continued to Zagreb, which was only about 3 hours away. I stayed in Zagreb two nights before leaving on a night bus for Dubrovnik. This leg of the trip was probably the worst, because of rude drivers and no toilets on board. However, Dubrovnik was quite worth it.

From Dubrovnik, I continued back up north to Zagreb, where I caught a night bus to Vienna. This one was the longest ride out of all. I spent a total of 18 hours on a bus, with a 2-hour stopover at Zagreb bus station. It is safe to say I was quite happy to arrive in Vienna in the morning.

After a nice visit to Vienna I continued to the next and last stop of the trip Berlin. And I got thereby, you guessed it, taking a night bus! I was lucky enough to get a double seat to myself so I was quite comfortable, however, we had to get out a few times in the middle of the night due to border controls which were not ideal, but hey, what can you do. I arrived in Berlin just in time for the morning traffic.

The ultimate ride was the one that was the most crowded, the one from Berlin to Copenhagen. It was completely full, but I was one of the first ones on so I at least scored a window seat. Even being overcrowded I managed to get some sleep. In all honesty, I didn’t care too much at that point because I was coming home anyways where a warm bed was waiting. This last ride took about 8 hours, leaving close to midnight from Berlin.

All in all, I am very happy with the trip. I was a bit homesick and really longed for the day I arrived home to Sweden, but I still managed to enjoy the travels. The best part about going by bus was that I got to see so much more of the country than if I had flown. Driving through the Slovenian countryside and the Croatian mountains were unbelievably beautiful and well worth the time it took. I will definitely travel by bus again!

The 5 R’s of sustainable living

When it comes to minimizing your impact on the planet, a lot of people feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. A simple way to start thinking more about ones’ behavior and how one consumes. Both in terms of food (food waste is a big problem, in Sweden 45 kg of food per person is thrown away every year), clothing, services and packaging (I’m thinking of you plastic wrap!). Some basically, one of the best ways to reduce ones impact is to think one step further and to avoid getting unnecessary stuff, and to use that which you already own.

This is where the 5 R’s come in. 5 basic guidelines for sustainable living.

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The 5 R’s

Refuse

things that do not serve you in any way, as well as things that do not serve the planet and you don’t have a need for. Refuse unnecessary materials like plastic straws, plastic cup lids, plastic bags. Also, say no to receipts if you have the opportunity.

Reduce

your consumption. It is inevitable to buy stuff, but reducing your consumption will not only help the planet, but also your personal finances.

Reuse

the things you already own. Have a dress you love, wear it! Buy a tote bag to use instead of plastic bags. Buy or make your own produce bags for food shopping.

Repurpose

things that no longer serve their purpose. Empty glass jars can be used as food containers or made into candle light holders.

Recycle

that which you cannot repurpose or reuse.

My clothing philosophy

priscilla-du-preez-638156-unsplashThat fast fashion is not the best option for the environment or the workers has been made quite clear for a while now. However, people keep shopping like there is no tomorrow. 80 billion garments are consumed every year, each item is then worn on average 7 times before discarded. Adding to that the fact that it takes about 7000 liters of water for making one single pair of jeans, one can understand that this is an enormously resource requiring industry. So what can you do about it?

My guidelines for clothing

The perfect option would be to never buy anything and when you do to only buy ethical/sustainable and second hand. But honestly, that is not easy, so I have given me some general guidelines for how to keep a long-lasting closet, that might not always be organic or recycled, but puts focus on buying things that will be used, and for a long time. So what do I focus on when shopping?

Good materials

When it comes to the fabrics the clothing are made of, I like to stick to natural materials. These are made of renewable sources, in comparison to non-renewable man made materials such as polyester and acrylic. They are breathable and help you regulate body temperature better and, in general, I think they are more comfortable. If possible I try to choose an organic or certified option, this is especially important for cotton as it is one of the most chemical heavy productions that also require crazy amounts of water.

My favorite materials:

  • Wool – Keeps you warm. Doesn’t need much cleaning. Long lasting and durable.
  • Silk – Soft as no else. Beautiful. Light and breathable.
  • Linnen – Eco-friendly. Looks good even wrinkly. Light and breathable.
  • Lyocell – Soft. Drapes nicely. Eco-friendly.
  • Organic cotton – Soft. Durable. Easily maintained.

High quality

High quality is not only about buying good materials. It is equally about the garment being well constructed. This means that the seems, hems, buttons, the fit and other parts of the actual construction should be well done. High quality items will last longer since they will not unravel in the seems or just break in general. Since I want to build a closet that will last a long time this is essential.

Timeless designs

Sticking to a timeless design and avoiding major trends gives a more long lasting closet. Style never goes out of fashion and good cuts are always stylish. I am not saying that you can never buy anything “trendy”, but having a closet full of trendy means you will be stuck in a hamster wheel of always needing more because you feel off. Finding a style that suits you will work in the long run. However, just because a Chanel suit is timeless doesn’t mean you should buy it, you should still be true to you.

So all in all I try to choose quality over quantity, to rather spend on fewer and more expensive pieces that are on style and will last. What rules do you follow when shopping?