12 Days of Blogmas! Day Six: Comfy Christmas Day Dresses

Bonjour mes petites frostleengs!

In staark contrast to Day 5, it’s time for a classic commercial Blogmas post, all in the name of being comfy and cosy on Christmas Day. You know the feeling, you want to wear something a little bit festive and a tad special but you also dont want anything pulling you in at the waist when you’re about to devour a massive dinner. As Stacey Shipman once quoted, “Dyou want something comfy or something sluttish?”

I personally would like to be comfy on Christmas Day. You’re milling around the kitchen and going on walks and rolling around on the floor on a sheer festive high, so I have picked some simple designs to keep you cosy and unbelted…perhaps paired with reindeer antlers, stripey elf tights, massive tacky earrings. You know the drill. Enjoy!

Boohoo Plus Martha Embroidered Ruffle Smock Dress £25.00

Tall Green Ruched Sleeve Skater Dress £20

Black & Ivory Heart Print Midi £30

Jersey Dress with a Lace Trim £19.99

Mesh Trim Floral Smock Dress £20.99

Red Spot Frill Skater Dress £24.99

Star Print Dress £12.50

Burgundy Metallic Chiffon Midi £29.99

Plus Katie Retro Print Smock Dress £18

Dawn Wine Velvet Swing Dress £38

I hope you enjoyed my little lookbook! Of course there is always the option of a) wearing something you already have b) wearing pyjamas or c) wearing a maternity dress to make room for the imminent Christmas bloatiness, but if you’re anything like me then you have a little thing for browsing pretty dresses at this time of year, then I hope this piqued your festive interest. Truth be told, I’m a bit skint to afford new clothes and I don’t really need any and it’s not really in the spirit of How Cruel is my Wardrobe…why am I doing this post again? Oh yeah, because it’s CHRIIIIIIIIIIISTMAAAAAAAAAAAAS

Until the next day of Blogmas!

Rosie

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November Charity Shop Haul!

Hello my lovelies!

Still firmly cobwebbed & cosy in the dregs of October, I am very reluctant to step forwards into the winter months…mainly because I don’t care for the DAMN COLD. My wardrobe is 80% Summer-based and thusly aerated and colourful, some items susceptible to layering but mostly unsuitable for the rain and ice: also known as the majority of British life. This year, however, I have decided to do something pretty sensible and actually invest in some warmth. With the spirit of “How Cruel is my Wardrobe” in mind, if anybody read my summer posts, I have tried to do this on a second-hand basis, using eBay and charity shops. The one category I have struggled to find second-hand is coats, maybe I just need to up my game, so I did get some from ASOS & New Look instead.

What you’ll see here is a collation of many months of scattered thrift hauling, and I am very happy with each item…a little disclaimer, this post is not a mere declaration of “Look how bloody ALTERNATIVE I am!”…but hopefully an encouragement to you all, that if you search hard enough you can find some wonderful pieces without having to purchase brand-new. Yes they will have an air of somebody else’s washing powder and therefore, feel strange, but once you’ve bunged them in the wash then they are yours and ready for a whole new start. I should add that everything here was cheap as chips, with the least expensive being 99p and the most expensive being £12.99 (the hoodie from Zara) – which to be fair was brand new with its tags. Let’s have a looksee!

Lot #1 – My favourite and most worn item, is this gold-yellow pleated skirt from Yumi. It has a heavy draped sort of feel, and thankfully it has a lining to battle the whip-ups of November rain. Absolutely gorgeous. There’s the denim buttoned-up skirt which is from the Topshop ‘tall’ range, and my go-to selection is this with a simple jumper tucked in. I’m not one for jeans, but this is a great alternative. Then there’s this cheeky little festive Primark jumper! It has actual bells on it, is cosy as Hell, and it has an element of mystery to it….I mean does it refer to boobs or testicles?! The public needs to know. Either way mine are fantastic.

Lot #2 – A simple and very inexpensive selection of jumpers, collectively around £3. The first being a thin purple one, which is actually a polo-neck but as I don’t care for having tightness around the neck area I did a little hacksaw trim, and now it’s a perfect base layer. The grey one is the softest material I have ever felt, definitely a loungewear item but I would be more than happy to wear this anywhere. The third is a striped Primark jumper, pretty chunky and slightly bobbly but hey, if your jumper doesn’t have bobbles then it hasn’t had a life. Get it out on the road and bobble it up, baby.

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Lot #3 – Triple the cosy. A little pale-blue thick-knit jumper, originally from M&S, and originally a size 14…I may have shrunk it in the wash…HOWEVER, it can now be worn cropped over my high-waisted skirts, so it was pretty much meant to be. It also makes your boobs look pretty voluptuous and curvy, like sexy Christmas puddings, bonus points there. Then we have a thin baggy top from Primark, which I’ve taken to wearing around the house with leggings and furry booties. Nothing digging into you when you’ve had a large meal, it’s perfect for the festive season. Then from Zara, is this oversized red hoodie, which is beautifully soft and comfortable. You can’t help but feel a little like a fabulous Santa in it.

Lot #4 – Okay, so these dresses aren’t inherently warm, but I plan to bundle them up with simple base layers, cardigans and chunky tights. The floral one has these gorgeous side panels to expose a little bit of skin (my pale chunky side flanks), the gold is slightly glittery and a potential Christmas-Day winner, and the third is incredibly floaty and soft in all the right ways. I plan to wear it with fishnet tights and my Docs, in an ironic feminist-driven ROXANNE YOU DON’T HAVE TO PUT ON THAT RED LIGHT kinda way.

SO IN SUMMARY! Barring the two skirts which were from eBay, everything you see here is from a mixture of charity shops/websites, including the British Heart Foundation, Marie Curie, Oxfam, Shelter and Age UK. To keep the charitable wheel of thrift a-turnin’, I have also donated a hefty amount of old clothes that no longer fit or suit me. One final little plug for charity shops before I leave – please consider buying Christmas cards and little stocking fillers from places like these, for instance I know the British Heart Foundation shop near me has Santa hats and thermal tights and allsorts of perfect festive paraphernalia from their own range.

TREAT YO SELF AND YO FRIENDS & FAMILY & YO COMMUNITY & YO FELLOW MAN

(Also I’m thinking of doing another Blogmas this year! The sequel! Would anybody be interested?)

Rosie

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How Cruel is My Wardrobe? (OOTD #5)

Hello my lovelies!

Another quickie. Yesterday I went to a BBQ at my friend’s house, and my clothing of choice was a big-old purple maxi dress in a marvellous tie-dye print – perfect for splooging blobs of mustard-based hot dog sauce on. And splooge I did.

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Dress: This was an old ebay find, for around £12 I think. I just love the fact that it’s the softest, billowiest jersey material, features lace-up back details, AND it pretty much matches my duvet covers. I don’t know why I’ve never worn it before as it has a marvellous LA-in-the-70s vibe about it. What I’ve taken from this in terms of streamlining for a cruelty-free approach to my wardrobe, is something I mentioned before about FEELING UP YOUR CLOTHES. Touching them gives me such a better idea of whether I will wear them again, or whether to pass them on to somebody else. Take it, feel it, pass it on. (I think that may be a History Boys’ quote, but out of context.)

As such! Today I have amassed another charity bag/rag bag/ebay pile to pass on to others, of clothes that I blatantly do not wear anymore. If there is anything about them I do not like, such as the fit, material, or length, it’s out the door. That doesn’t mean it is to be replaced by something else, but rather, it brings the comfortable and better-fitting clothes to the forefront of your wardrobe, to be looked after, and worn to your heart’s content.

Peace & love & whimsical tie-dyed hippy dreams,

Rosie

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A Thoughtful Outfit

Hello my lovelies!

In the spirit of a sunless level of baking heat in the UK, I was searching through my wardrobe the other day and looking for fabrics that are more forgiving in terms of breathability. Loose-fitting being a priority. Other than a very baggy t-shirt I wear for bed, I found I was struggling. I saw this as an opportunity to purge several items of summer clothing that basically did not make me feel good, or fit me particularly well – straight into a charity bag – and I bought a couple of items from Thought (formerly Braintree), to hopefully help me through this trapped-under-cloud level of heat. Here in the North it is sometimes referred to as “claggy” weather.

Thought advertise themselves as “Contemporary Sustainable Style”, and there is a huge focus on minimising their impact on the environment, whilst making long-lasting, key pieces and basics for your wardrobe. Here we have a Maxi Skirt in “Steel”, and a striped singlet vest top in “Cloud” – I actually thought Cloud pertained to white, so I did end up buying the wrong colour…but in the end I rather liked this one, and decided to keep it. They were both in the sale, which is perhaps an odd and seemingly backwards concept for an environmentally ethical clothing company, but it does provide them with a vital boost in their sales which will benefit their supply chain as a whole. The skirt, made largely of “breathable bamboo”, is rather floaty and has a slit at the side, with a very forgiving waistband.

The top, made of “helpful hemp”, is a tad larger than my usual size, but that definitely works for my criteria of assistance in the heat. This makes sense, as the company itself originates with a desire for comfortable clothing on Australian beaches. I feel very comfortable in these, and have already mentally paired-up a number of outfits I can derive from my current wardrobe to wear with them. I really love the focus on longevity, which is a perfect counterweight to the contemporary trend for fast fashion. Each item’s tag bears the slogan: “WEAR ME, LOVE ME, MEND ME, PASS ME ON.” There are even tips on their website for looking after your clothes, which I think is a neglected art at the moment…I am entirely clueless in this arena!

One slight criticism however, is the additional contents of the order. The outer packaging is made of recycled materials and you are encouraged to care for it again, however inside was my order return form, tissue paper, a promotion for organic wine, and this rather unnecessary leaflet – inside was almost blank, barring a thanks for ordering – surely this could have just been printed on the outside packaging? Anyway, small gripes, small gripes!

I encourage everyone to have a wee rummage in the sales of more ethical sources such as Thought, People Tree, Nancy Dee, and the Ethical Supermarket, if you are in need of key pieces to boost your wardrobe. The basics are really the items that you want to last a while, and these sources encourage the use of sustainable materials, good quality manufacturing and perhaps the want to look after your clothes more, having spent a bit extra on them.

Until the next blog!

Rosie

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How Cruel is My Wardrobe? (OOTD #4)

Hello my lovelies!

Another quickie today, as I’m a bit rained under with assignments. This morning I read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo, which compelled me to have a sort out of my ramshackled wardrobe. The act of unshackling the rams felt like light, easy work, but with an immediate reward. I have sentimental attachments to quite a few items of clothing, but I do love the idea of thanking them for the good times I’ve had in them, and then passing them onto a charity shop in the hope that someone else will do the same. The method which Kondo advocates involves being touchy-feely with the items you are sorting through – I do have to agree that in holding them I have a stronger sense of whether I want to keep them or not, it’s like a tangible choice instead of an airy one. Within half an hour I had established a pretty chunky pile of to-be-gones, and I am 100% cool with their departure. If only so I can bloody well find things.

(Pre-sorting wardrobe is visible behind me – said outfit is from a few days ago.)

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Cardigan & Trainers: Primark. I discussed Primark in my previous post.

Dress: Tesco. Okay, this dress. I recall buying it a few summers ago for around £12, and I loved its comfiness so much that I bought the same dress in another pattern – how uneclectic of me. Sometimes it’s just hard to say no to an elasticated waistband and adjustable straps. Regarding Tesco’s ethics, there are obviously repercussions for the world in supporting a GIANTLY MASSIVE wondermarket machine as a source of clothing. There are however, acknowledgments of improvement which we should be encouraging, such as swiftly signing the Bangladesh Accord in 2013, focusing on improving and maintaining the health and safety of factory workers. As far as the environment is concerned, there are active goals being set, according to their website. “We have pledged to help achieve zero net deforestation by 2020, starting with the four global drivers for deforestation that are relevant for our business: palm oil, cattle products, soy and timber. For each commodity we are mapping our supply chains to understand our exposure, and putting in place sustainable procurement policies. For example, 93% of the total palm oil used in all our own-brand UK products comes from a certified sustainable source, which we define as being a Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)-certified ‘segregated’ supply chain, or a ‘mass balance’ system where ‘segregated’ is not available. This includes palm oil used as an ingredient in food products, such as biscuits, and in health and beauty products, such as shampoo. In terms of our own-brand food products only, as much as 99% is from a sustainable source.” You can read a Guardian interview with them below, which was published 6 months after the Rana Plaza disaster.

Tesco: How Ethical Are Your Clothes?

ALTERNATIVE FOR SUMMER DRESS:

Passionlilie Denim Blue Sleeveless Shift Dress

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(Passionlilie have a beautiful collection of clothing. Their dresses are made with 100% Indian cotton, fair trade and ethically produced. This one is definitely on my wishlist.)

Until the next blog!

Rosie

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How Cruel is My Wardrobe? (OOTD #3)

Hello my lovelies!

After a lot of deep breathing recently and feeling stressed for absolutely no reason, today is my day to give ‘sorting things out’ a solid go. I’ve decided that these little OOTD posts serve a small purpose in this manifesto of calmness, as on a very basic level they encourage me to get up and get dressed, consciously non-dressing-gowny or pyjama-based dressed. They encourage me to think, daily, about my impact on the planet, both environmentally and socially. I’ve taken to appreciating each stepping stone for its own worth, instead of jumping in the river entirely as the other side feels so impossibly far away. This stepping stone is assessing how I can adapt my habits to improve the lives of others, even if it feels like such a tiny effort. I truly hate it when people criticise small efforts on the basis of potential hypocrisy – if you’re going to do this then why in hell are you not going further? Abandoning the precept already. Yes, the aim is to keep going, but what is the point in discouraging others from making the necessary steps?

*Back to the actual blog post*

Today is a fresher Summer day in England, far from stiflingly hot but still pleasantly warm and fretlessly damp. Regardless, this morning I decided I needed an outfit with ventilation, as I am a moist human.

IMG_3364IMG_3373(I am also a clumsy human, as the white bra I am wearing is hazardously splattered with an ink stain from a pen leak many moons ago. )

Top: Primark. I was actively looking for a very back-to-basics t-shirt and discovered this for I think about £3. Admittedly I was lured in by the cost. They’ve apparently a 14.3% share of the UK clothing market, and at these prices, I am not surprised. They were also the first UK retailer to have signed the Accord on Fire & Building Safety in Bangladesh, post-Rana Plaza disaster, and they offered a large amount of compensation for those affected. Admittedly, they do have fiercely well-prepared responses to any attacks on their ethics (see below). But I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that yes, their clothes are very affordable, but they’re also not very long-lasting. The Primark-based portion of my wardrobe seems to be the one that is the holiest, bobbliest, and most likely to be replaced. This can be said for a lot of other retailers, but this is how I’ve always felt about Primark in particular. So I am knowingly buying clothes that I know will not have a decent lifespan, I think this definitely needs reassessment.

In terms of attitudes to their factory workers’ welfare, Primark have definitely addressed some awful aspects of their supply chain, which is admirable, but being adamant to continue supplying via Bangladesh without adjusting the pricing structure calls into question the lives of the factory owners and workers themselves. How are they coping with the pressure of cutting costs wherever possible? What are the physical conditions like? What are they being paid? How is this gigantic fast-fashion enterprise affecting Bangladesh’s eco system? At least the signing of the health and safety agreement and development of trade unions are steps in the right direction. I am tempted to boycott the process entirely, though this is problematic. On the one hand I am reducing the frequency at which I purchase disposable fashions, which the environment will welcome. On the other, it is the behind-the-scenes process that I think needs more urgency for change. These workers still need their living, it is simply improving this living that we need to focus on. How exactly? I am not entirely sure, but I will endeavour to make this my mission. Fairly trading companies still need our support, so I think it’s a matter of finding a balance of sourcing whilst still applying pressure on the companies that need work, to match that level of care. Let’s make it cool to care!!

How Primark Balances Ethics and Ultra-Low Prices

Skirt: New Look (via eBay). Floaty and goes with everything, you cannot go wrong. I will not apologise for my exposed belly, I like my belly and like to take it on outings and picnics from time to time. In my previous post I gave a link to New Look’s ethics.

Shoes: I stand bare-footed in my own front yard with a baby on my hip ‘cos I’m a REDNECK WOMAN I AIN’T NO HIGH-CLASS BROAD.

ALTERNATIVE TO CROPPED T-SHIRT (This one even has flamingos on it omg):

Flamingo Print Cropped T-Shirt

 

Until the next blog!

Rosie

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How Cruel is my Wardrobe? (OOTD #2)

Hello my lovelies,

Back for another round of dissecting my wardrobe in terms of its ethical/not-so-ethical origins. For context: June 18th 2017 was a gloriously sunny day in England, and I spent it with loved ones, cooking, sipping Bucks Fizz, and reading. The reason I look sweaty, is because I was sweaty. But the good kind of sweat, more acceptable because it’s warm AF.

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T-shirt: TK Maxx. I had some gift vouchers for TK Maxx for Christmas and decided to buy myself some “gym gear”. I got some trainers, a sports bra (which I’m wearing here and later had to strip down to), and this t-shirt which I love. It’s so breathable and doesn’t show sweat patches with glaring obviousness. None of these items have seen a lot of gym action let’s be honest, but wearing sports materials in the Summer is PERFECT because they are designed to let you sweat comfortably! With regards to TK Maxx’s ethical standards, there are a few well-publicised points that work in its favour: 1) They are well-known to associate with the work of Comic Relief, and raise a fortune selling merchandise each year for Red Nose Day. 2) They offer a scheme called “Give Up Clothes For Good” for Cancer Research UK (Kids & Teens) in which they ask you to bring in a bag of unwanted clothes to sell in charity shops or to be recycled. Supporting a specific cause may encourage people to be more generous than their usual straight-to-charity-shop donations, and it does put a decent spin on recycling. 3) Since 2008 they’ve held up community projects in war-torn regions of Uganda, teaming up with Save the Children to build schools and provide educational resources, and working to promote fairly traded products such as coffee and crafts. Numerous other charity partnerships are also on the go, and TK Maxx also have a decent environmental policy – actively working to reduce their carbon footprint. With regards to fair trade specifically, they state: “Our buyers are always looking to source more organic and Fairtrade cotton clothing for our stores”. So there are evidently many baby steps towards a more ethical future for this store. Details below.

TK Maxx – Our Responsibilities

Skirt: Clements Ribeiro  (via eBay). This was around £3 on auction, and I really love it. High-waisted skirts will always be winners in my books, and the material is so light and delicate. From my hasty Googling as I’ve never heard of this company before, they seem to be a London-based fashion house specialising in bold prints. The skirt itself states “Made in China”. They appear to have an upcycling campaign, which is good news, and focuses on the idea of a vintage “capsule” wardrobe – which in itself, encourages minimising your purchases of low-quality ‘impulse buys’. However, there is little information on the website regarding their garment workforce.

Sandals: New Look. Are they Greek-inspired? Roman? Saxon? Regardless they are extremely comfortable, and seem to go with everything I wear (I own two pairs of sandals at the present moment.) Surprisingly for a giant high street retailer, New Look genuinely seem to have put a lot of effort into caring for their workers at each point in the supply chain. “We put workers’ needs at the centre of our ethical sourcing strategy. Despite doing our best to protect workers in our value chain, we know that many people employed in the garment industry face poor working conditions that affect their safety, health and quality of living.” Their website also gives links to their ethical trade reports, and the ins-and-outs of how they are able to maintain these relationships with suppliers. What I really like about them is their focus on transparency – trust with a retailer is established through their openness and availability of information on their trade, which is so important. At heart this is still a movement of fast fashion which we should not be encouraging, however it is still possible to act as a buyer of key pieces which you intend to last a long time – this is what I am trying to do at the moment.

New Look – Transparency

Sunglasses: Boots. I bought these for £5 a couple of summers ago, and I adore them. Boots themselves have a lot of information available on their website which I respect – traceability is again given a solid priority here – with a focus on environmental sustainability. As a consumer I also feel that it is easy to source products from Boots that do not test on animals, and offer organic ingredient bases. I am still a tad wary of shopping here based on reviews of workplace experience that I have personally heard – but that may be all hear’say. I try to source as many affordable beauty products as I can from Lush, who are incredibly open about the workers behind the products.

Boots – Corporate Responsibility

ALTERNATIVE SOURCE FOR SUNGLASSES:

Crossed UK – Ethical, Handmade, Eco-Friendly Sunglasses

Rosie

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