Dear DiaryDress Up

DSC_0324

Clothing waste has always been a big concern for me with a career in blogging. It can be hard not to get caught up in always wearing brand new items all the time, and I often struggle with looking fresh without over-consuming. Then I got pregnant, and things took on a whole new level of wasteful.

Instead of staying the same size and wearing my clothing until it was too worn out to wear anymore, suddenly nothing in my closet would even fit over my hips, and when I tried to buy some cheap, fast fashion items in bigger sizes, I grew out of them within a couple weeks. At a time when your body is constantly changing, how can you possibly keep up without needing a whole new wardrobe every week? And don’t even get me started on kid’s clothing with how quick they grow and change!

The new UN Climate Change Report that was released this past month was a huge wakeup call to me – without taking immediate action to treat the environment with more respect, our future is in danger, and as far as I can see every little bit in every area of our lives helps. I’ve been cutting back on using plastic straws and consuming cow-based animal products, but what about the very clothes I put on my back? Becoming pregnant and realizing a lot of the items I’ve barely worn in my closet may never fit me again made me realize I can do better.

Did you know North Americans send more than 12 million tons of textiles into the waste stream every year? Canadians on average buy 70 new articles of clothing annually (I think personally I might be closer to 80+), and I don’t even want to think about the hike in that number when pregnancy and growing kids are involved. So what’s the answer? As Autumn rolled around and I started to need more cozy pregnancy items in larger sizes, I decided to take stock of alternatives to buying new. Here’s what I came up with:

1 // Thrift it! I knew I wanted some looser dresses for blogger events this Fall, so instead of shopping online like I usually might I walked to my local Value Village and I was honestly shocked at how much I found. I ended up with three different options for under $50, and dropped off a bag of pieces that no longer fit me too. You can see my three finds in these photos!

DSC_0230

DSC_0241

DSC_0247

DSC_0280

DSC_0313

DSC_0299

DSC_0297

DSC_0329

DSC_0336

Did you know that one thrifted t-shirt can save up to 2,650 litres of water, and a secondhand pair of jeans saves up to 6,800 litres of water? Plus, bringing in donations is an amazing way to give back to the system without creating more trash.

Fun Fact: On October 16th, aka Waste Reduction Week’s Textiles Tuesday, Value Village set up an installation made of reused textiles in Toronto’s famous Graffiti Alley to bring awareness to just how much clothing waste humans produce. Needless to say, it was a LOT!

2 // Take good care of the items you love by washing them carefully. I use the cold cycle, hang to dry, and only buy all-natural detergent to help out with my environmental impact too!

3 // If you have to buy new, don’t spend on novelty pieces you’ll only wear once, instead save your pennies and invest in beautiful pieces made locally that are built to last a lifetime. Bonus points for organic/natural fabrics.

4 // Organize a clothing swap with your friends! Make a night of it with tea and cookies for good measure. It’s a great way to update your wardrobe without spending any cash, and any leftovers can be taken to your local thrift shop to be loved by others.

5 // Take damaged or too-loose items to be repaired or altered at your local tailor. I’ve struck up quite the friendship with mine and he always does a seriously amazing job making my older pieces look like new.

Which of my Value Village finds do you like best?

Get Creative

dsc_6100

December is the perfect month for parties and dressing up, and one event we will never miss out on is a good old Ugly Sweater Party – we just prefer to call it a Pretty Ugly Sweater Party instead! We kicked off this annual tradition by taking a trip to our favourite thrifting destination to pick out the perfect pretty sweaters, then gave them a personal twist.

There’s something so fun about browsing the many colourful racks at Value Village to find the ideal piece that you know nobody at the party will have. This year, we decided to make our knit picks even more unique by hand-stitching some holiday love. You can even find unexpected props and decor items (like pom poms and tinsel) at your local Value Village too if you’re going for a simpler “tacky” DIY, but we wanted the challenge of hand stitching this time around!

See the steps below to find out how we turned our Ugly Sweater Party pretty with the help of Value Village!

dsc_6012

dsc_6021

What you’ll need //

Yarn
A darning needle big enough to fit your yarn
Vintage sweaters from Value Village
Scissors
A chalk pencil (optional)

dsc_6048

dsc_6075

Think of the knit pattern as a grid and you can use simple needlepoint techniques to embroider simple phrases and images. If you don’t feel comfortable free-handing your design, you can plan it out first using a chalk pencil.

Tie a knot at one end of your yarn. Use a darning needle to come up from the back of the sweater and all the way through. Now go back in and out following along the grid of the sweater knit, you can even count the stitches to make sure you evenly space out your lines.
Make sure you don’t pull too tight after each stitch or you’re sweater will buckle. Finish your design on the backside of the sweater and tie off your yarn.

dsc_6056

dsc_6079

dsc_6087

This post was sponsored, but all opinions are my own. To inquire about sponsored posts, please email jess@shineinfluencers.com 

Dress Up

dsc_1734

I subscribe to “cute halloween”. Every year I dress as something fun and glittery, like a unicorn, a Barbie, an ice cream sundae, or the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. The best part about this type of costume choice is how easy it is to wear all day, wherever you go, and since I love dressing up for work during the Halloween holiday week (that’s a thing, right?), I’m all for it.

That said, there is something appealing about a dark night time costume too. It is, after all, Halloween, and since I live a pastel lifestyle every other day of the year, maybe this should be the one night where I go over to the dark side…

Torn between two worlds this year, I decided to go with the obvious choice: come up with two costumes!

After much debate I decided on two of my favourite strong female characters – Carrie Bradshaw and Catwoman – as a jumping off point, and immediately got to work sourcing my costume. First stop? Value Village of course! One of my favourite places to donate and go thrifting year-round, Value Village doubles as the perfect shop for all of your halloween needs. The shelves are suddenly stocked with every costume option you can dream of, and if you have a particularly great imagination, you can also skim through the second-hand racks and find some amazing dress-up items too!

dsc_1642

dsc_1682

dsc_1668

dsc_1678

dsc_1658

dsc_1727

dsc_1737

dsc_1719

dsc_1710

With a bag of donations on hand (because I like to donate whenever I can!) I headed to the nearest location, determined to find the perfect pieces to complete both of my costumes. Luckily I had a lot of what I needed already in my closet, so there were just a couple items left on my list! I immediately pulled a simple pair of cat ears from the new costume section, then went off in search of amazing leather pants. After some heavy hunting I managed to find a pair that would fit perfectly with a bit of alteration (a key factor in second-hand shopping). For the Carrie look I was lucky to already own the key pieces, though I did contemplate a big blonde curly wig from the amazing wig selection on the Value Village shelves. Finally I scooped up a few spooky decorations at the cash register, because you can never have too many Halloween props for photoshoots!

If you’re still hunting for the perfect Halloween ensemble for the 30th, I highly reccomend you head to your local Value Village – and don’t forget to say #ThriftorTreat!

One more fun treat: All Value Village stores will host free Halloween Costume Catwalk fashion shows at 3 p.m. every Thursday in October showcasing the season’s most popular Halloween looks! Be there or be scared!

This post was sponsored, but all opinions are my own. To inquire about sponsored posts, please emailjess@shineinfluencers.com

Dear DiaryDress Up

DSC_7693

I’ve been feeling a little bit worn down lately by how little people are able to see their impact on the world, and I figured National Thrift Shop Day might be a good time to speak up. The world we live in is so much about the new- new apartments with new fixtures, new cars, new gadgets… even new puppies instead of rescue dogs who desperately need a home! It gets overwhelming when I sit down and think about it but perhaps the most constantly noticeable result of this dangerous “new” cycle is the obsession with new, trendy clothing.

Don’t get me wrong- I love having fun with how I dress, and I’m constantly changing up my look. That said, I’m into style, not trends and fast fashion, which means I really believe in working with what you have, reinventing old favourites, investing in carefully made items that will last a long time and shopping for thrifted items whenever possible. That’s where National Thrift Shop Day and Value Village’s #IGiveAShirt campaign comes in.

DSC_7669

DSC_7663

DSC_7681

DSC_7664

DSC_7682

DSC_7700

Did you know it takes over 700 gallons of water to make just one new cotton t-shirt? That’s right, a single t-shirt. This back to school season Value Village is asking that instead of buying everything new all the time, people start to reflect on their clothing footprint and buy used items whenever possible. With our help they save roughly 650,000,000 pounds of clothing out of landfills every year, and maybe if we all stop and think about where our clothing is coming from we can make that number higher than ever in 2016.

Oh and where did I get my t-shirt? Glad you asked- I thrifted it!

This post was sponsored, but all opinions are my own. To inquire about sponsored posts, please email jess@shineinfluencers.com

Dear DiaryDress Up

IMG_2520

Happy Earth Day! A new season is here, and you know what that means? Shopping! All new everything! The more the merrier! Goodbye frumpy old sweaters, hello Spring shopping spree!

But wait- there’s something wrong here.

I’m ashamed to say that over the past year or so my consumerism has gone from average to out of control. Keeping up in this industry can be really tough at times, especially with all the pressure to always look clean and new and perfectly groomed. I’m not by nature a dainty take-a-taxi-in-the-rain-type of person… I jump in puddles, I spill every beverage I sip all over myself, and I’m always wrinkled or stained in one way or another.

I used to be pretty blissfully unaware of my scrambled messiness, until I became a blogger.

These days I find myself more self conscious about my clothing than I care to admit, and as a result I have accumulated a ton of new items in a very short time. I have two massive closets that are always way too full, and yet I keep adding faster than ever before. I hold on to stained, damaged, and worn out items forever even though I have no intention to wear them in public again, which means everywhere I turn things are constantly piling up.

IMG_2534

IMG_2538

So what’s a girl to do? Live under mountains of unwearable clothes while more and more join the party every day? This past weekend I took a look in my closet(s) and decided no more: I packed as many bags as I could full with clothing that I never touch, and started an hour long trek through the city to my local Value Village. To be clear, I easily could’ve taken public transit or a taxi, but I really wanted to feel the weight of all the clothing I’d acquired- plus, it was a good excuse to explore the city in the sunshine!

The amount of clothing consumption in North America spreads far beyond my pastel closet. Every year we send 10.5 million tons of clothing to landfills, ninety-five percent of which can be reused or recycled. This year as part of my big #RAOPspringclean I’m trying my best to cut down waste by sharing clothing with my friends, taking unused makeup to women’s shelters, and donating everything else at Value Village every few weeks. Best of all- I almost always find a second hand treasure or two on my way out, which this year, is my kind of Spring shopping!

How will you Spring clean for Earth Day?

To learn more about Value Village’s #RethinkReuse campaign and to find your nearest location to donate today, click here!

IMG_2543

This post was sponsored, but all opinions are my own. To inquire about sponsored posts, please email jess@shineinfluencers.com