Three months ago, I wrote about my new attempt at minimizing my wardrobe. I'm not really a minimalist, but I do dabble here & there! I called it "a capsule wardrobe for the non-committal".
It's been a full quarter since I tossed half of my clothes in a box... so, what do I think?
This month, I read Tsh Oxenreider's memoir/manifesto Notes from a Blue Bike and I thought... if you like reading Shop Good, you might really like this book.
In one sense, I am loathe to point everyone to another writer who is like me, but much farther along, with many more resources, more wisdom, and a published book… But, Tsh is just that good!
The truth is, I don’t read blogs much. [I am all the more swelled with gratitude when anyone takes the precious time to read mine – seriously, THANK YOU. It means so much to me.] I create, I work, I cook, I clean (ha ha, no I don’t), and I do read. I love novels & memoirs, I read the Bible. I try to keep up marginally with news/world events by reading the New Yorker and (honestly, shameful as it is to admit this as a news source) scanning the Facebook trending stories. But regular, devoted blog reading just doesn’t make the cut.
So, all that to say, I am no expert in Tsh Oxenreider’s giant of a writing hub, The Art of Simple. I’ve read a number of articles over time, and I like it. I like her. The like her contributors. We are simpatico. So, when I saw her book, Notes from A Blue Bike, on the library shelf, I snapped it up and have been devouring it ever since.
I came across this article this week, with a provocative title:
I had never heard of Lidl before, but it is a German-based discount supermarket chain, a competitor to the UK’s Tesco (the best comparison Stateside may be a Walmart Supercentre, though this wouldn’t quite capture the grocery-focus nor the pervasiveness of Tesco; it’s been said that 1 of every 7 spent in shops in the UK is at Tesco).
We’re familiar with the cheap/fast fashion conversation, and with these jeans being made in Bangladesh, the discussion hits close. But, what is different about this article (and why I think it is worth reading) is its breakdown of the costs.
I’ve used this line before, but it deserves repeating, because things that are $20 and under are so. easy. to. buy. They are like the silent killer of your bank account or credit card bill, IF you’re not paying attention.
Photo: Whipping Post
I ran a booth once for dignify at a big Christmas market, and right across from us was a candle seller. Here I was, with these beautiful, hand-crafted items that were colorful and rich with an amazing story behind them. “People online love our blankets!” I thought to myself. “So many people purchase them as gifts; selling them here is going to be fun & easy!”
While I was setting up our booth, I glanced over at the candle shop. Jars of candles. Candles shaped like a banana loaf with 3 wicks. No special scent. No interesting story. Just simple, $15 candles. “Will people buy these things?” I wondered.
The answer, it became clear, was a resounding YES.
It goes without saying (nope, I’m saying it anyways) that I obviously want you to do ALL of your shopping at dignify!
But, I also know that there are other factors involved, like price point, interests, and the fact that not everybody wants a second blanket for Christmas. Because, of course, I’m assuming you’ve already bought one at some point for every one of your family & friends! ;)
If you love dignify and want to shop “good”, here is a list of our kindred spirits. These are specifically brands & storesthat are either providing dignified work to someone in the world, or who prioritize philanthropic or social goals. It is not exhaustive, and there are fabulous new businesses popping up all the time.
Generally, I’ve included stores that have a selection of items under $50 and under $100, though some items (like leather) simply cost more than that. Many of the items here are specific, but if you click & browse around, the shop has a number of great things . The list for guys is the best one, because let’s be honest here, if you are reading this, you are probably a woman, and the most difficult to buy for is probably a man. And if you are a man reading this, just buy her a blanket. Trust me. And if you’ve already done that, then go snoop her Pinterest board or browsing history, because I can guarantee there are some hints she’s left out there for you.
Finally, if you like the list, share it! A high tide rises all boats, and the more we can shift the buying power to socially-minded shops, the better. Feel free to add any more links in the comments below, and...
In our Reader Survey a couple of months back, we received some excellent suggestions about blog posts related to the holidays:
Tough one! And, what a great question.
Managing expectations with gift-giving & -receiving, limiting “stuff” without raining on the parade, being gracious and thankful… these are all big challenges of the season!
There are some clear challenges out of the gate:
So, with that in mind, and an opportune time approaching, how do you talk about this???
I’m trying to try something new. Yes, “trying to try”: I know it sounds very passive, and, yes, maybe a little pathetic.
But this is real life, folks, and this is a difficult challenge! Trying to try is about as much as I can commit to in front of all of you friends & the internet.
We all have points cards, right? A credit card, a frequent shopper card, a reward bonus for Best Buy or the bookstore. Even large grocery chains have moved to this model, after realizing that their old version (where you have to sacrifice your personal & shopping information to gain access to the real price of a jar of tomato sauce) was obnoxious, and probably a bit unethical.
But, as these programs have become more of the norm, I have wondered how much I feel like these bonuses are no longer bonuses, but expected, even owed to me. Like my daughter, who, upon returning from trick-or-treating and dumping out her candy, exclaimed, “Look at all of these treats I’ve earned!”
One MASSIVE topic out there, rolling through the internet and on many of our minds is about clothes. What’s right, what’s good, what’s excessive, what’s simplifying? There is this movie and there are capsule wardrobes and on and on.
I loooove what is happening over at Dressember. What is Dressember?
“Dressember uses fashion to advocate for women who’ve been exploited for their femininity. As women take on the creative challenge of wearing a dress for the 31 days of December, they are advocating for the inherent dignity of all women.”
Today marks the return of the official harbinger of fall. No, not changing leaves. Not back-to-school. Not college move-ins or football or sweater weather. I’m talking about the PSL!
In case you don’t live around the corner from one of North America’s ~13,000 locations, Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte is the brand’s wildly popular seasonal indulgence. It is their best-selling seasonal menu item ever and it boasts its own social media accounts (instagram, twitter), a couple hashtags (#psl #psllove), and a fanatical tribe of PSL devotees.
Last year, there was some major online hoopla that began with the food babe over PSL’s supposedly shady ingredients. Toxins! Sugar! Color! Not Real Pumpkin!
Personally, I am neither a devotee nor a hater. I do go to Starbucks sometimes and I am a member of their points "club", but I mostly make coffee at home. I do like healthy food and avoiding weird stuff, but I am highly wary of the food babe and her over-the-top fear-mongering. So, I don't really have any skin in the game, but I think that there's something interesting here worth exploring.
This year, Starbucks changed its ingredients to exclude caramel colouring and include real pumpkin. Whether you love or loathe the PSL, or whether you think the food babe is a saviour or a lunatic, what can we glean from the tale of the PSL?
A really delightful quality of my 6-year-old daughter is that she does not care about “stuff” at all. Now, this has a dark side, an extremely-irritating-for-a-parent side, where she tosses things on the floor and doesn’t pay much attention even to what she values. But, overall, it’s a relief.
One day, last fall, I asked her, “If Christmas was tomorrow, what would you want for Christmas?” After humming and thinking for a bit, she finally landed on a genius idea: “A book? Yeah, a BOOK! That would be GREAT!” I just stared blankly, as one does when looking at someone whose words are incomprehensible. It was like seeing a musical prodigy sit at a piano & play, or watching a contestant on Top Chef whip up a cake without a recipe. I admire it, but I do not get it.
My other daughter, nearly 5, is not quite like this, but is not far off. We’ve never had a want-induced tantrum at a store. And they rarely ask for things, except for treats like candy, ice cream, & popcorn (though they do that with frequency and persistence – they are human children, don’t worry).
But, this summer, something interested happened. As a result, I saw very clearly how the spending habits of my life have a great bearing on the materialistic inclinations of my children.