Well, it’s March now, but this post is for February. It’s been a busy month for me with lots of projects, midterms, and fun in between! My spring break started yesterday so now I finally have some time to sit down and tell you all about how I’ve been living fair this month.
I actually purchased a few items of clothing this month! I picked up a tie as a gift from TurnStyle a few weeks ago–it was only $7.50 and was as good as new. Fun tidbit for local friends: the TurnStyle in Coon Rapids is so much more than just clothes! They’ve got tons of decor, furniture, and other home goods to expand your range of secondhand shopping. The same day, I also purchased a somewhat-tacky blouse for an old lady costume I needed for an event for my dorm floor, and in the spirit of vulnerability, here it is:
Luckily it was only $5, and I plan to donate or resell it, so if you’d like it, let me know!
I always say that my mom finds everything good in my life, and she continued to prove that to me by picking up an adorable blazer and peplum top–two of my favorite things to wear–from a huge sale that Clothes Mentor was having. She knows my love for secondhand shopping and my inability to do so often because of my busy schedule, so she did a little for me.
My favorite purchase this month is easily my black-and-white polka-dotted dress. Northwestern has an “online garage sale” group on Facebook, and it’s a great way for us poor college students to make a few extra bucks or buy something for very little money. I love the idea of this because when we feel like our dorms from bursting at the seams, it’s an easy solution to getting rid of some of our unwanted stuff without throwing it right into the trash or having to figure out when and how to get to a donation center. It also fosters connections between students whose paths wouldn’t ordinarily cross, and it’s a fun way to add to your wardrobe without your money supporting labor trafficking!
Because February was too warm for its own good, I just had to wear this dress as soon as I got it. It’s pretty simple, but one of the keys to simplistic living is having a few basic pieces that you can build off of using scarves, layers, jewelry, different color palettes, and ways to dress up/dress down. It may feel like you’re wearing the same thing over and over, but if you’re really looking to downsize, save space, and not be a clothes-hoarder (preaching to myself…yikes), it’s a great decision to make.
One thing I could have improved on this month is my makeup purchases. I had a mascara emergency one day: I opened up the bottle and it was bone-dry, so I made a Target run that night and picked up some Maybelline stuff. It’s what I’ve been using for a while and I love it, but the company doesn’t align with the fair shopping path I’m on. I’ll hopefully be visiting Minnesota’s one physical location of The Body Shop soon–in the Mall of America! Their products are bit more pricy, but they have a great pledge of not only trading fairly, but also not testing on animals and sourcing ingredients in an environmentally-friendly manner. I think I’m willing to pay a little extra for a product that I know is kind to the world and the people in it.
February also brought National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, promoted by the #enditmovement, on the 23rd. I was able to attend a special informational chapel session about it, and was glad to see the turnout we had. To those of you who attended the chapel, drew a red X on your hand, or learned more about human trafficking that day, I challenge you to go beyond the red X. Go beyond February 23. Now that you have the awareness, it’s time to move to action. Take the first step towards living fair: choose to purchase fair-trade coffee, chocolate, or tea. Start buying your clothes secondhand. Be conscious of how your purchases affect the world, because we don’t often realize how interconnected everything is. There are 27 million individuals enslaved in this world–more than at any point in history. There’s so much awareness today than even a few years ago, but we’ve still got a long way to go. I get a lot of positive responses when I tell others about The Fair Project, but not many people have considered joining it themselves. My question is, “why not? What’s stopping you?” A few common responses to this are:
- “Fair-trade items are hard to find/too expensive.” I completely understand that, but if you just look a little harder, ask around, and consider buying a little less of something to make up for the cost of buying something that supports fair labor, you’ll find a way that works for you. The StoryChangers Facebook group for people who have signed the Fair Pledge is a great resource! We post our fair-trade purchases frequently, making it easy to get informed on how and where to buy ethically-produced items.
- “I don’t like the idea of wearing someone else’s clothes.” Most consignment stores require clothes to be washed before being brought in, and they have very high standards of quality, so the items are like new when you purchase them. If anything, maybe an inside tag has been cut off or a belt is missing from a dress, but those are really the only problems I’ve run into.
As we venture into March, I’ll be exploring the world of fair-trade beauty products, spending some time at the bridal consignment shop where I work, and hopefully introducing my mom to Whole Foods! Let’s go change the world.