Tag Archives: green living

Shopping While Losing

Over the past year and a half, I’ve lost about 45 pounds. Hooray! While this is great in a lot of ways (healthier! more confident!), it has made figuring out what to wear a bit tricky for someone as enamored with fashion as myself. And since I’m still working to get more fit (and ideally lose some more lbs.), this has been something that I continue to debate, especially since I am striving to buy more natural, eco-friendly products.

In an ideal world, most everything in my wardrobe would be made in an ethical and sustainable manner by people being paid a living wage and working in humane conditions. All of the fibers and materials that went into my clothing would be organic, recycled, and/or sustainable and high quality, lasting many years before needing replacement. It might also contain a few conventionally-made items that are extremely well-made and didn’t have a more earth-friendly substitute.


The criteria I outlined above, unfortunately, tends to equal a much higher price tag.

And, when you’re losing weight, paying a premium for items that you’ll only have around for a few weeks or months isn’t realistic. At least when you’re living on a tight budget.

While I certainly don’t have all the answers to this conundrum, here are a few strategies that have worked well for me over the course of this journey:

1) Befriend a Tailor

Since using items that already exist is more eco-friendly than investing in an entirely new piece of clothing, getting clothes taken in whenever possible is definitely a good route. I found this to be easiest with dress pants and blazers and am planning to bring in some pencil skirts and possibly a more structured dress in the near future. While this isn’t totally inexpensive, I think the strategy works well for a) items that were totally dirt cheap to begin with (hello, $6 pants from Target) so that the total price still isn’t all that high or b) are classic and timeless pieces that you totally love. I paid about $70 to get three pairs of pants and a blazer taken in and they’ve all now lasted me an additional 6+ months that they wouldn’t have otherwise. A good tailor should also be able to tell you whether it will be possible (or even worth it) to take something in, so if you’re waffling, go ahead and bring it to see whether alterations can be made.

2) Shop the Sales Racks

In case you hadn’t seen my ‘purchased’ posts (which, considering that they’re the majority of this blog so far, seems kind of impossible), you know I love me a good bargain. For pieces that aren’t going to stick around for a long time while losing weight (jeans, jersey-knit skirts or dresses, cotton t-shirts, exercise clothes), I’ve been trying to get them on the cheap. While I definitely have some ethical qualms about where they come from and how they’re made, getting things that literally cover my @$$ that fit in our budget take priority until I start building my ‘forever’ wardrobe.

3) Go the Distance

Although it’s certainly gratifying to get rid of an item as soon as it’s a bit big, this isn’t necessarily the best strategy to keep money in your wallet. I’ve been trying to buy items that still look good when they’re loose or baggy. Though I’m firmly against wearing exclusively oversized clothes (since they make me feel gross and not confident or proud of my body), if I can find a way to still feel cute in an item that’s a bit big, I’m all for it. I keep an eye out for things that can be belted (dresses, cardigans, button-downs), tucked in or layered (some t-shirts or tops) to keep me stylish without buying a new item.

4) Thrift It Up

While this is definitely a GREAT strategy for folks losing weight (and looking to buy new-to-them items in general), I have not had any luck in the thrifting department. This is due in large part to my own laziness. While I’ve browsed a few thrift stores since moving to the Triangle nearly four (!) years ago, I haven’t found any to be a gold mine of second-hand goodies. Clearly I just need to do some more research, pay more frequent visits, and spend some more time looking, but all of that hasn’t happened yet. I donate to our local thrift store like crazy, but haven’t bought a single piece of clothing from there. Crazy! If you have any tips for places to go in NC, I’m all ears!

So those are my tips on staying clothed and stylish while losing weight. Anything that I missed? What are your strategies for building a more eco-friendly wardrobe?

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Practically Green

Have you all heard of the website Practically Green? I hadn’t either, until this past weekend, thanks to a Facebook post from Skin Deep: EWG’s Cosmetics Database page.

After spending far too much time playing around with it and have to say, it’s pretty neat.

The basic concept is that the website will serve as a LEED certification of sorts for people. You can go onto the site and take a quiz that will give you a ranking of how green you are on a scale of 1-10 based on your responses.

My initial score was a 6, but once I finished the quiz I could then go through and check off lots more things that I’ve done, eventually brining up my score level to this:

All of the four questions fall under one of four general topics (listed in the image above), but you can also earn additional badges for specific categories, like ‘Healthy Green Lunch.’

These are the badges I’ve earned so far:

While having my ‘green’ decisions validated in this way is nice, my favorite part about Practically Green is that, in answering their questions, you can create a personalized action plan based on things you’d like to do but haven’t yet. I often find myself reading about tips to live a greener and more sustainable life in magazines or online, but don’t have one central place to house them. Practically Green was filled with many things I’d been meaning to get around to, along with ideas that I’d never heard of or considered. There is also a function that allows you to enter other actions, which seems like a great solution to my aforementioned dilemma.

Here’s a peek at my action plan:

While some of them are things I can’t do anything about at present (i.e. replacing an impermeable walkway or driveway since we live in a townhouse), most are relatively easy fixes that I just need to make a commitment to do. I like that this action plan is there to serve as a reminder.

Practically Green also has a large social component, allowing you to connect your account directly with your Facebook or Twitter profile. Since I’m not the biggest fan of linking those types of accounts (I like to have more control over what’s posted on my timeline), I like that you’re still able to create an account without doing this. And for folks who want to turn going greener into a more social experience, this site definitely allows for that, too!

Since Practically Green is still in Beta testing, I’m excited to see how their site grows and evolves based on user feedback. In the meantime, I’m excited to continue using it to make better and more intentional decisions on a daily basis (and to hopefully reach level 10 some day!).