On Clothes and Confidence Feat. Eshakti


On Clothes and Confidence

Feat. Eshakti

I could probably write a book about all the things that have changed since I first started transitioning to a smaller, slower, more cohesive wardrobe (and who knows, maybe I will...), but I have to say that the biggest change I've seen BY FAR has been in my confidence.

There have definitely been times in my life where I've been thinner, more interesting, more tan, had better hair, or not had such horrible skin, but none of those comes close to how I've felt since ditching all the unflattering, ill-fitting, mismatched clothes that were clogging up my closet in favor of only owning clothes that make me feel awesome. I know its supposed to be what's inside that counts, and maybe I'm just a deeply superficial person, but it's pretty hard not to feel awesome when you look awesome, or look awesome when you feel awesome. I don't know, something like that. 

But in this process, the getting-rid-of-old-ugly-clothes is the easy part. I'm not saying its easy because it's not. I'm just saying its much easier than the other part, the only-having-clothes-you-love part. Because, like how do you even do that? I'm in a very fortunate position when it comes to building a wardrobe that I love: while I don't have a large clothing budget, I do live in a major city where it's fairly easy to shop clearance racks of higher-end brands, live adjacent-enough to some wealthy neighborhoods where the thrifting is A+, and have a degree in fashion design and construction, so I can always like, make the stuff I want. But it's still a struggle. I'm a couple years deep in this journey and I'd still say I'm only between 60-75% "there". 

My big downfall would have to be dresses. I love dresses for all of the obvious reasons: you get to look pretty while only having to wear one garment that also means you don't have to wear pants. BUT dresses are often complicated and not cost-effective to make. Also, I've got a really awkward body type for finding dresses that don't make me super self-conscious. See, I'm 5'7", which, despite making me the shortest person (by a lot) in my family, is apparently pretty tall for a lady, so most "short" dresses are indecently short on me. But most of my height is in my torso rather than my legs, so most "long" dresses are actually way too long. Add in my broad shoulders, flat chest, and not a lot of waist-to-hip ratio, its... surprisingly difficult to find a dress that isn't too tight or too baggy somewhere. Basically if I want a dress to fit just right I'd pretty much have to design it from scratch and make it myself.

Or not, because Eshakti will custom-size any of their garments and they're not even unreasonable expensive. I'm going to be 100% honest and tell you that I while ignore/decline almost all of the "sponsored post" emails that I get (not that I get a ton), I was so stoked that Eshakti reached out to me to review their customization options. I actually already own a few of their pieces and they're some of my favorites because the construction and fabric quality are impeccable for the price (think Anthropologie type quality for a Gap type price, plus they have awesome sales, seriously you get $25 off and free shipping on your first order) but I'd never ordered a custom-fit dress before.

And this new dress, well, it's a keeper. Between the zodiac-themed print giving it some serious Ms. Frizzle vibes, the so 90's-but-in-a-good-way shell buttons down the front, the subtly pleated skirt, the pockets, and the fact that it actually fits... I feel freaking fantastic when I wear it. Honestly, I don't think I'll need to buy any dresses for a long time...

(Full disclosure: I received this dress as a sample in exchange for writing this post, however, all opinions are 100% my own)



DIY Statue of Liberty Costume Feat. Her Right Foot


DIY Statue of Liberty Costume

Feat. Her Right Foot

A little background: I absolutely live for when my friends ask me to do weird projects for them. I honestly can't think of a thing that makes me feel happier or more like I actually contribute to society than when a friend asks me to do a weird project for them. It's my favorite. Any question that starts with "Hey Victoria, could you make..." is going to be answered with a "Yes". Probably before I even hear the second part of that question, if I'm being honest. Unfortunately these are usually other peoples' projects and I don't exactly get to share them. Luckily, this is not one of those times. 

A couple weeks ago my friend Shawn asked me if I could make a Statue of Liberty costume for my daughter, Alice. Shawn illustrated a children's book about the Statue of Liberty. It's called Her Right Foot. It's delightful. It kind of made me cry a little. And if you take the dust jacket off of it, it looks just like the book from the statue. Hence the costume. 

(Side note: one day I'll tell you the hilarious and awkward story about how Shawn and I became friends. We don't have time for that today, but trust me. It's hilarious. And awkward.)

But back to today's topic: Here are some pictures of Alice's costume, inspired by Her Right Foot.


Since Halloween is only a couple weeks away now and I don't know about you, but I'm not the greatest at getting costumes done in time, obviously I wasn't going to go through all of that without telling you how I made it (thanks to a lot of help from my one true BFF, the internet). Pros: it's super fast, requires approximately zero special skills, and cost less than $20 (including the supplies I way over bought but not including the book so actually that number is entirely meaningless). Cons: zero. 

For the torch I took a dollar store flashlight, painted it, and hot glued squares of gold tissue paper that I found on clearance at Joann's in the center of the top to look like flames. This is Alice's favorite part because it lights up. 

For the crown I started with this printable, but instead of printing it on one piece card stock as instructed, I made things difficult by cutting it from separate pieces of green craft foam, adding the details with black self-adhesive craft foam, and hot gluing everything onto a wide headband. I thought this gave a nice little nod to the artwork in the book, and was 100% worth the extra effort and by far my favorite piece of the costume. 

For the book I just used our copy of Her Right Foot. "But that doesn't look anything like the book the statue is holding..." you say?. Take the dust jacket off. Boom. Problem solved. You're welcome. 

Then I had Alice dress in a green t-shirt (I made hers using this free pattern from Brindille & Twig, omitting the bands for raw edges all around, but you could easily sub in any similarly colored tee your child already owns. Again, I like making things difficult), leggings (hers are from American Apparel which unfortunately stopped making kids' leggings but primary.com is my new fav for affordable basics), and sandals. 

Finally I took approximately one yard of green jersey fabric (Joann's conveniently has the EXACT RIGHT COLOR in stores but not online, apparently), and wrapped it around Alice using this very handy how-to-tie-a-toga tutorial I found on pinterest. And then we were done. 


And that's really it. Most years I totally suck at Halloween costumes, but I think this is the year I finally nailed it. And in all honesty, I think this blog post took longer to put together than the costume...

Full disclosure: I was not paid or compensated in any way for writing this blog post, by Chronicle Books or anyone else. But I also didn't pay for my copy of the book. Is this post sponsored? I have no idea. Please don't hurt me, FTC. 

Also Her Right Foot is available now wherever books are sold these days (not an affiliate link). 

Hashtag Slow Fashion Sundays


A few weeks ago I started posting outfits on Instagram every Sunday with the hashtag #slowfashionsunday. Aside from wanting to you know, document that I actually do get dressed in actual clothes at least once a week, this project seemed like a good way to 1. keep myself accountable as I work toward building an entirely slow-fashion wardrobe, and 2. show a different side of a movement thats maybe more commonly associated with pretentiously high prices and a very specific crinkled-brown-linen-and-handwoven-leather-sandals aesthetic. And so far, I really like how it's going. 

But obviously the series has raised a few questions. Questions that I'm not sure I can adequately address within the Instagram character limit. Questions that I generally don't feel like unpacking on a busy Sunday morning. Questions that are probably better suited for say, a series of blog posts. 

So here we are. Starting a series of blog posts. About slow fashion. And I guess a good place to start would be to talk about what slow fashion even is:

Generally speaking, "slow fashion" is the opposite of "fast fashion", which is a term you're probably a bit more familiar with. If "fast fashion" is the McDonalds of the clothing world, with its cheap and readily available trends, ready to be worn and discarded within a season or two, "slow fashion" is the Whole Foods, where ethically made garments are thoughtfully purchased and cared for in order to withstand years, even decades, of wear.

Slow fashion sounds super totally elitist and unrealistic and out of touch for normal real life people. If you're about to injure yourself with how hard you're rolling your eyes at me right now, I get it. If you're about to come at me with a retort about costs or kids or seasons or trends or any other such objection to slow fashion, I hear you and I would love it if you left your objections in a comment. In fact, I'll probably write a blog post about it. Please leave comments with your objections to slow fashion so I can have ideas for more blog posts. 

But back to this blog post, where I've already introduced you to the concept of slow fashion and will now address two more issues before I open the floor to (hopefully) some questions and comments that might be more relevant to whoever is reading this than it is to my own vanity about what I'd like to write about: 1. why slow fashion is so important to me, and 2. a better explanation of how to gauge whether or not an item is "slow" or not. 

So first off let's deal with the elephant in the room here, "But Victoria, didn't you JUST graduate from fashion school? I thought you were like, super into clothes. Now you're telling me not to buy them, which is a pretty dumb move since your whole goal is to... sell clothes". To which I say: "Yes, yes I did. Yes I am. No, I'm not really saying that. If you give me a minute I'll explain why it's not dumb". 

Here's why it's not dumb: because, as a fashion person that had to study this stuff in school, fast fashion (much like the fast food in my earlier analogy) is just terrible for everyone involved. I won't go into all the details because I don't think you want to read horrible depressing statistics all day (and also I don't want to spend a month researching and writing this blog post), but pretty much the entire supply chain, manufacturing process, and merchandising of fast fashion is super messed up and not something I want to contribute to if i can help it. Sure, $6 shirts seem like a great deal on the surface but there's a huge human and environmental cost behind them. 

That's not to say that clothes are bad and stores are bad and everyone should stop buying clothes forever, its just that, rampant compulsory consumption of cheap clothing creates a lot of waste, leaves a bigger environmental impact than necessary and often leaves real life human people hurt in the process. It's one of those things that no one really likes to think about, but at the same time it's something that we all have the power to do something about. This is why slow fashion is so important to me, because it gives literally everyone really simple, tangible, and (probably most importantly) affordable opportunities to try and minimize the negative impacts of their wardrobes. 

I also have a second, and entirely selfish, reason for embracing slow fashion: it's made my life about 1000 times easier. Having fewer, nicer clothes means my closet is nice and organized, laundry is rarely out of control, and getting ready each day is a piece of cake since all my clothes match each other. My self-confidence has skyrocketed since I only own clothes that I feel great about wearing. And most importantly, I have a lot more free time and money since I stopped browsing the clearance racks "just in case" there was anything we might need. I'll be the first to admit that I'm lazy, and slow fashion allows me to be a lot lazier about shopping. 

So how do you tell if a garment is "slow" or not? I've noticed that humans (myself especially) are big fans of clear-cut labels, and well, unfortunately slow fashion doesn't seem to be a space for clear-cut labels. There are so many variables that go into each garment, each company, each individual that it's pretty much impossible to definitively categorize an item as "slow" or not. I like to think of slow fashion as more of a highly-subjective spectrum that considers both an items origins, lifespan, AND its intended use. Some items seem more obviously slow: vintage clothing, hand-me-downs, or ethically sourced garments made by fairly-paid traditional artisans, while others are a bit more ambiguous: gifted items, high end investment-type garments, concert tees, or even thoughtfully purchased fast fashion pieces intended to be worn for many years.

But these are kind of big generalizations, and obviously things can get kind of tricky. Real life example: the Lululemon leggings that I purchased at full price at the Lululemon store don't seem like a slow fashion choice when compared to the t-shirt I thrifted a few months ago. However, I've had those leggings for about three years, wear them regularly, and have taken proper care of them so they still look new and will probably last at least three more years. That t-shirt though? I wore it once and tossed it. Not exactly my best slow fashion moment. A $6 shirt from Forever 21 could be slow fashion if you take care of it and wear it for several years, and a $600 hand knit alpaca sweater wouldn't be if you only wore it twice. Like I said, its more of a subjective spectrum than a clear definition. 

That said, I hope that if you stuck with me for this long that maybe this post has been interesting or informational or given you something to think about, and if it left you with more questions than answers, thats great! I'd love to hear what you think or any questions that you have about slow fashion. 

Also, Happy Sunday. 






Don't call it a comeback


Last year I quit blogging. On my birthday. I had spent something like three and a half years trying to build a "bloggy" blog and it just wasn't working. Quitting on my birthday felt like the poetic thing to do. But as the year went on I noticed that while I never for one second missed THAT blog, I really did miss having A blog. After some time, especially with how things escalated with my embroideries, I decided that I'd launch a new, better, not-branded blog on my next birthday. Because that felt like the poetic thing to do. Also I have a weird thing with dates. But then I remembered that October ALWAYS ends up getting away from me, and well, my new thing is learning from my mistakes and not making them again. 

So here we are. It's not my birthday yet, but it kinda feels like it. 

I'll spare the superficial introductions, since you can easily read those on my "about" page, and skip to the part where I talk about what you can reasonably expect to find here in this space: absolutely lots of updates about what's going on with my shop or any classes I may or may not be offering, definitely some behind-the-scenes looks into my process and the stories behind my work, probably some personal essays about my journey to a handmade wardrobe and a minimalist lifestyle, and who knows, maybe I'll even get crazy and post some DIY tutorials and sewing patterns. 

Here's to a new adventure, I'm excited to see where this blog takes us. Or maybe I'm just excited because I get to see The Matches tomorrow. Either way, I'm excited.