Wishful Wardrobe – Sweatshirts

I’m late to the fall fashion party, but in my defense it’s only been in the last week or so that we have finally felt any real chill in the DC area. Today, I am making up for lost time. The weather, while not terribly cold, is gloomy and overcast providing a perfect backdrop to peruse autumns sartorial offerings online. I am especially taken by the trend toward sweatshirts as a legitimate fashion element and not just something to throw on as I’m dashing out the door on my way to a youth sports event. There is nothing else quite as cozy and easy to layer as days get colder. I found a neutral, basic top from the H&M Conscious Collection and created three different looks using upcycled, vegan, or thrift shop items along with a couple basic pieces currently in my closet:


All Hallow’s Eve


My Halloween tribute to Christina Aguilera
with a Dr. Evil photobomb

I have a special place in my heart for Halloween. The eerie aesthetic has always been a draw, plus my oldest son was born so near to the holiday that I have spent most of the last 18 Octobers planning and executing some type of holiday/birthday event. In other words, I’ve had my fair share of crafting, cooking and creating all things dark and creepy. The downside is that like any other holiday it can get pricey real quick, not to mention wasteful (all that candy!) when I get carried away. So in the spirit (ha!) of sustainability, here’s a few links with ideas for celebrating Halloween without sacrificing those things that make the day so much fun.

Decorations: Who doesn’t love turning their yard or walkway into a festive display for trick-or-treaters or party guests? One of my friends – a teacher and veritable superwoman – along with her boys, made a horde of these monsters using plastic bottles and lined their driveway with them. Also super cute and simple to make using jars and acrylic paint, are these glass luminarias. For our party last year, we placed several sets of these spooky glowing eyes made from empty toilet paper rolls in the foliage behind our deck. We used glow sticks in lieu of the LED light and battery, and they turned out well. I definitely recommend borrowing a hobby knife, if you don’t have one, for an adult or older child to use when cutting the eye shapes. Scissors will work, but not as easily.

Pumpkins and Jack o’ Lanterns: If you find yourself with an extra, uncarved pumpkin, or even one that has already been cut into (a masterpiece gone awry, perhaps?), making it into puree for baking is easy. Just don’t use any carved pumpkins older than 24 hours. As for the guts, the more ambitious chef with time to shell seeds might like to try making pumpkin seed pesto, otherwise classic roasted pumpkin seeds, make a tasty, healthy snack. Once carved pumpkins are past their prime, they can be tossed right into your compost bin. No bin? You can find a location to dispose of your organic food waste here, or simply bury the shells in your garden to enrich the soil.

Costumes: I love all the other prep that goes into Halloween, but the dressing up is my favorite- whether I spend an entire month or just the final hours before a party working on my costume. Refinery 29 presents some ideas for piecing together a costume from the thrift store, but you may even be able to shop your own wardrobe. Your favorite television character, zombie bridesmaid (never a bride), or even “Carrie” could already be in your closet. For additional inspiration, try some tips in one of these You-Tube make-up tutorials also assembled by R29. (WARNING: The Jem and the Holograms make-up video included in this listing is extra awesome and may lead to the immediate and uninterrupted viewing of all Vintage or Tacky’s other tutorials.)

Candy: We always end up buying more candy than we can hand out, and our own kids bring in such a haul that it gets a little crazy. If you find yourself buried in Halloween treats, consider donating them to the troops. For those chocolate based favorites deemed too precious to part with, you can boost the nutritional value by melting them down to make a dip for fresh fruit or a recipe such as these banana pops. Unreal Candy and YummyEarth Organics offer some alternatives to the usual handouts for trick-or-treaters, plus a directory of fair trade chocolatiers can be found here.

Hopefully, you came across something in this post that you can use or put your own spin on. Would love to hear additional tips and ideas from others, too, so please feel free to share. Have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Quick Note: Soap, DDR and tiny computer thingys

This is old news for geeks and gamers already flocking to DigitalSoaps to procure clever hand-crafted soaps, but you should definitely check them out if you haven’t already. These gaming inspired soaps have become so popular that the creator had to cut back on working her “real” job-it’s no wonder with fun items such as Mountain Dew scented Nintendo NES soap and coconut lime verbena scented Space Invader soaps. Even more exciting is the fact that these products are made with no animal ingredients:

“The soap bases I use are natural and vegan – No animal products, animal testing, detergents, sulfates or sugar solutions. I’ve been obsessed with finding quality, great ingredient soaps. I found a high quality source of soap base and combined two interests: A love of all things geeky and a love of being clean.”

Awesome. In case you are thinking of giving these as gifts, order by December 5th if you want them in time for Christmas.

Looking for a fun holiday gift project? Even if you’re not a DDR fan, this handbag is pretty cool (it even says so right on it!) and not to difficult to make.

The creator of this bag, Liz McLean Knight, also makes cute jewelry out of computer hardware-not sure if she recycling old, used parts, but the point is that a person could if they wanted to-as far as I know anyway.

Quick Note- DIY Handbags or: What You’re Getting from Me for Christmas

Refashioned Bags

Just came across this book and I am so very, very excited! Excited enough that I had to share right away. 

Even though I don’t have as much time for this kind of thing as I would like, I really do enjoy making stuff and typically when I get down to sewing something, it starts out as a purse. It may not end up as a purse, but hopefully this book will remedy that -once I get my hands on a copy, that is. Until then, I will continue to be inspired by other creative folks who are making awesome bags out of some interesting materials:

Sailcloth bags-said to be incredibly sturdy. I love their summery look. This skull bag is my favorite.

skull sailcloth

Construction netting– cute, structured bags available at maliadesigns.com. Bonus: proceeds go to fight human trafficking and increase economic opportunities for women.

Mod Blue handbag

Juice packets– colorful and fun, these items are constructed of 100% recycled materials and assembled by workers who earn a fair wage.

 woven wooden handbag

Vintage fabric– not too surprising in terms of the materials used, but I threw these Kim White bags in because they are adorable and reversible.

reversible bag brown wallpaper

Finally, here’s a video on how to repurpose old books into cute purses. Enjoy!

Stuff on the cheap…

Here is a quick run-down of the various coupons and discounts (plus a potential freebie!) currently being offered by a few cruelty-free vendors:

Alternative Outfitters– Save 30% on vegan sandals plus free shipping on orders over $100. I recommend signing up for their mailing list to keep up with their weekly specials-Check out the new Steve Madden bags while you are at it!

super cute turquoise Sugar shoes Sugar Shoes on clearance at AO.

Aveda-offering free shipping on orders over $80 until November 2nd and free samples with purchase through Thursday. See details here.

Ecouterre– is celebrating the launch of this Inhabitat offshoot with a contest to win a limited edition upcycled vintage necklace from Dirty Librarian.

Vegan Chic-free shipping on orders over $75 and a coupon for 10% off at checkout-includes sale items too! Plus summer bags are 35% off.

Fall Fashion Must Haves Compassion-ized for Your Shopping Convenience

I’m not a slave to fashion by any means, but I do like to leave the house (usually) feeling somewhat put together. And though I’d never advise doing one’s shopping based solely on the fashion forecasts, those lists can come in handy if you are looking for a few items to freshen things up. Macy’s recently sent out their list of trends for fall and I wondered how easy it would be to find these items in vegan, organic, recycled or generally more sustainable versions. I narrowed my list down to the 10 items that I really wanted to “shop” for, but you can view the entire list here. For those who like to spice up their closets each season, and want to do it cruelty-free, the following items are for you:

1.The Motorcycle Jacket– typically done in leather, but easy enough to find faux. Miss Sixty’s version at Overstock.com is $69.99.

Miss Sixty faux-leather at Ostock

2. The Convertible Bag– it’s a purse, it’s a backpack…you get the idea. I found these Melie Bianco bags at Amazon, for $86.95 and$98.00, but MelieBianco.com has a great selection of  very cool bags, several of which are convertible.

Melie Bianco Convertible Tote at Amazon-1

melie yellow

3. The Animal Print Pump-I was torn between a cute faux-leopard pump ($25.99 at overstock.com) and a simulated croc ($32.99 also at O-Stock) You decide.

Leopard print by Adi at Ostock

Croc Print pumps at Ostock

4. The Flat Slouch Boot– so many great non-leather boots out there, but these seem to meet the criteria quite nicely in faux suede. $16.99 at amiclubwear.com.

slouchy flat boot from amiclubwear

5. The Military Coat– I’ve always been a big Pea Coat fan- warm and practical but always in style…check out Vaute Couture’s awesome take on this classic. $371 or just $298 for the recycled version in black.

Pea Coat Vaute Couture

6. The Draped Jersey Dress– found a super cute organic cotton version for $87.65 at Equa Clothing-the Owlen dress by People Tree has the requisite draping and then some.

People Tree Owlen dress at Equa

7. The Trench– this organic cotton trench in sesame goes with everything or try a bright hue to keep the winter blues at bay. Patagonia’s Negril trench on sale for $70.00 at patagonia.com.

sesame trench

8. The Wild Berry Lip– my personal favorite so I’m totally behind this pick. Urban Decay does not test on animals and also has a line of vegan lip color. Try Voodoo, Wanted or Confession if you are feeling really daring.

Urban Decay Lipstick

9. The Statement Earring– I guess this depends entirely on what kind of statement you are trying to make and is therefore completely subjective-plenty of fun recycled jewelry online, however. Also, lots of unique pieces to be found at your local vintage and thrift shops. Recycled silver and hematite earrings by This Is It! Creations at sweetorganicsandnaturals.com. $22.00. (added bonus: This Is It! Creations uses biodegradable packaging and donates 5% of sales to animal charities!)

recycled silver

10. The Neck Wrap– always good to have a few of these for those days when the air starts to get chilly, although I’ve seen them worn year-round. (Oh and about that, what is with you DC gals who feel the need to scarf up in the summer? The stifling heat and humidity are not suffocating enough for you???) Anyway, another great thrift or vintage item, but found these lovely, handmade organic cotton scarves at Rubyzaar.com. $40.00

organic cotton scarf