Back to school shopping was one of my favorite times of the year growing up. Once those back to school advertisements hit the airwaves, I knew it was time to ditch the old shirts, pants, and kicks to adopt the latest trends being pimped out at major department stores. I was one of those bold kids that loved working the latest fashion fad. From bell bottom pants to pointy heels (yes I said bell bottoms, don't judge me!) I collected the newest style craze, flaunting my new clothes in the school halls with pride.
Don't get me wrong, my back to school shopping wasn't a frivolous shopping spree to pump my closet full of things I didn't need. I patronized the department stores in hopes of replacing pants past repair, shirts that no longer fit, and substituting shoes that had seen better days.
But all the new wares had to go somewhere, which meant my closet needed a good cleaning and I...HATED...this purging process. It was so hard to part with things that had been in my closet for years. Even if they were discolored and torn, they held a strange nostalgic quality that made it so hard to cast them aside. I also had a tough time determining where to actually dispose of the clothes. Being the oldest sibling had the perk of giving away clothes as "hand-me-downs", but I couldn't hand down things my sisters just refused to take. So I had two options:
1) donate clothes to thrift stores and other organizations
2) dispose of the clothes
Seems simple enough right? For clothes in good condition, I would wash and bag them nicely, dropping them off at the local Desert Industries (utah's salvation army equivalent). Clothes that weren't wearable were thrown into the trash. I didn't really think about the effect this had the environment, because I made some assumptions, the most common one being, "well cotton comes from mother earth so clothes should easily decompose when they are thrown away. No harm to the environment done!"
My line of thinking wasn't far from average. In fact, Americans dispose an average of 68 pounds of clothes per person annually. You didn't read it wrong--68 pounds of clothes are tossed away per person every year. Count all your close family members, their friends, friends of friends, then multiply that by 68. That's a whole lot of pounds.
When it comes to cleaning those closets and skimming out the extra stuff, a lot of reusable clothes end up in landfills. This is definitely no bueno for three main reasons 1) most materials used in your everyday clothes are not environmentally friendly and will not decompose in a timely fashion 2) the harsh chemicals used to dye the clothes can get all mixed up in the soil and drinking water of local communities and 3) perfectly reusable clothing is trashed, when it could serve another purpose.
So what are your options when your closet starts reaching an obese status?
Resell: If you're the type that keeps all your clothes in tip top shape, try reselling them to a local consignment shop like Buffalo Exchange. These stores will pay you cash for what the clothes are now worth (or give store credit), then repair and resell the items to the public. So it's a win win. Not only do you rid yourself of those items lurking in the back of your closet since '99, your clothes are given a second life with a new customer. Even if you abhore those sparkly hammer pants from 8th grade, they could be another man/woman's wardrobe treasure:)
Donate: Goodwill and Salvation Army are the donation kings when it comes to clothing. There are hundreds of locations of these organizations all over the nation, so there really is no excuse to not haul those extra clothes on over to your local thrift shop. If you are automobily impaired (talking to you citydwellers lol) you can also have the store pick up your unwanted items. You don't get a cut of the profit from the sale of the clothes like a consignment shop, but you get the great feeling of having your clothes used for a good cause.
Rework: If you are really creative you can reuse your clothing items. I know many a girl who have taken scissors to jeans that are a tad too short to be worn seriously in public, crafting a "new" pair of shorts. Relax your mind and let your creative juices flow, who knows what could be cut, sewn, and glued together out of those seeminly unappealing "throw away" clothes.
There you have it folks. There are so many other options for where to put those clothes when they are no longer in your dressing repertoire. Out with the old and in with the new has taken on a whole new meaning:)
What's your closet "diet"? Do you have a favorite place to take those unwanted clothes?
Thanks for reading, and as always
The weekend is upon us, which means it's time for our weekly wrap up. With Thanksgiving Day around the corner it's imperative we pay our respects to the holiday, with an eco twist of course;)
HOW TO EAT
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday almost solely for the food. The Blacken family holds nothing back in the kitchen on this gloriously gluttonous (and of course thankful) day, and I assume your family throws it down in the kitchen like it's the last supper. Don't fret about all the energy it takes to keep those ovens churning and pots boiling, Sierra Magazine has great tips on how to green your Thanksgiving feast. Turn those burners down when you can, buy local and organic ingredients, and you'll be well on your way to a fabulously green holiday.
WHAT TO BUY
Yes, Thanksgiving is less than a week away, but that doesn't mean you can't start planning for the season of giving! (stores want to sell you Santa on Black Friday so you might as well give in right??). I know some people are still in denial about winter nipping at our heels, particularly those folks who are rocking shorts with NO tights in this frigid weather (you know it's cold out here, stop frontin!!). What better way to prepare for the season than with eco friendly winter gear? Snag a jacket or great vest from our fav outdoor eco friendly company Patagonia. It could be the gift that loved one has been waiting for.
WHAT TO READ
For those of you traveling far and wide during the holidays, I feel your pain. It ain't easy jet setting during one of the busiest travel days of the year. To ease that jet lag and airport boredom, check out our latest posts on your journey>>DC vs. NYC Fashion, Cmar Featured on WEtv, and AskHim: Are we what we wear?. Get that kindle/laptop/smartphone ready for some C. Marchuska browsing:D
Take care over the holiday, eat lots of grub,
and as always
DC Fashion is all about the working man and woman. Never have I ever witnessed corporate America look so trendy, until I stepped foot into the District. The guys and gals here actually resemble the mannequins we see in stores like Banana Republic, Express, & Nordstrom, almost identically. My days of wondering "Who would really wear a blazer like that?" are over for sure.
It all began on the metro at approximately 1:0opm. The time that a lot of people take their lunch break in hopes of avoiding the large noon crowd of lunch goers, but since everyone is trying the same method...1 o'clock gets just as crowded. A body of pencil skirts, slacks, blazers, suits, ties, & button ups crowded the train. A woman in a black v-neck skirt suit was standing next to me and I happened to notice her leopard print pumps and shortly thereafter a red ribbon waist-belt meticulously wrapped around her white button-up underneath her blazer. "How Pizazz?" I thought to myself. My first day in DC and I've already found some fashion relief. From that moment on I had begun observing DC fashion and, irresistibly, comparing it to NYC fashion.
How does DC compare to NYC fashion? Realistically, it doesn't. NYC isn't called one of the Fashion Capitals of The world for no reason...it is truly in a ballpark of it's own. However, DC fashion helps you notice and appreciate the simpler things that personalize and make an outfit standout; The true essence of fashion. It's so easy to get wrapped up in NYC's super hip, super trendy, super bold designs and mixed matches...the neon greens with the oranges, the biker boots with the ruffle skirts, the chic black dress with the glittered accent jackets. But, with all that going on...it's just as easy to miss the simple things like patterns, shoes, accent colors, bags, jewelery, & scarves. That's the breath of relief in DC fashion...that's their stronghold.
Since the main purpose of existence in DC is mostly working, networking, and politics... DC people seem to have mastered the "ready for anything" style. Their outfits are literally ready for work, then a cocktail after work, then to the art gala, then to a late business meeting, the bookstore, the grocery store, etc. etc. All while managing to still look prepared just in case something or someone important comes along at some point in their day. I would say that NYC is the same, but realistically, we can all pretty much cast everyone into their appropriate roles- you have the artists, the rebels, the fashionistas/fashion career inclined people, the business/wall street people, the party-goers/rockers, and so on. NYC fashion is more about the statement and less about the versatility of lifestyle.
DC Fashion speaks in code. They take an average outfit and make it extraordinary by adding a colored scarf or trendy shoes, glitzy jewelry or an eye catching bag, hounds tooth pea-coat vs a regular gray one, and bright colors alongside neutral attire. It's like..."Yeah I'm in the world, yeah I like fashion, but most importantly I'm keeping it real." A simple white dress with a red leather bag will do. You can try to wear zebra print leggings to the local Starbucks if you want, I can't promise that no one will stare and probably secretly think to themselves "Where does she think she is? New York City?". (Although, let me add, don't ever let anyone's opinion ever sway your fashion choices)
Sophisticated & contemporary, yet versatile & trendy is definitely how I'd sum up DC fashion. It's so easy to fall in love with the simplicity of the Washingtonian's style, which is why the fashion scene is picking up more than ever, having celebrated their first annual Fashion's Night Out this past September. They remind us that less is more, simple is best, and fashion is truly about personalization. But don't worry if you get bored with that...just hop a couple blocks down to Georgetown, the brainchild of NYC. I'm sure you'll get your hipster relief there.
Happy Wednesday Everyone We had the pleasure of being a part of the new web series, "Bounce Back", for WEtv and would like to take the time to introduce all of the people featured on the show. Check it out!
Special thanks to our amazing team which unfortunately was not given justice by this clip.....so let's give them serious accolades here Click on their names to find out why these peeps are SO AWESOME!!!
Blogger Meeting scene from clip:
Skype Discussion scene from clip:
Video Footage scene from clip:
Fabulous team member who was out of town during the webisode taping: Krystal Williams
Thank you SO much to all of our fans and community members who continue to help us live out our dreams! Stay tuned for tomorrow's blog coming from our newest CMar correspondent in our nation's capital
Another Tuesday, another AskHim question This week, we have Lia's question on generalization amongst men and women and what we think of what the other wears.
Do men judge women according to what they wear? And if so, how exactly are they categorized? For instance, when just playfully browsing, I find myself determining whether or not I'd date a guy based off of what he is wearing alone. My friends and I have categorized business men, artists, casanovas, bums, etc. based on what they were wearing (whether we were right or not, probably wrong but just having fun guessing lol). Not to be shallow, but I'm a firm believer that what we wear and how we wear it represents our minds to a certain degree. I'm just wondering if guys register this the same way because quite frankly, I see some pretty well put together men dating the most opposite of women.
Hi Lia - Thanks very much for writing in to us. It's very much appreciated. I like your question. It's great. It's a true reflection on something both sexes do, but try to pretend that they don't. We all do it. We judge, we generalize, it's in our nature. We can't help it.
So, yes, men do judge women according to what they wear. Any guy who says he doesn't, is either a liar, or completely oblivious to women. We categorize women very simply..sophisticated, elegant, slutty, and clueless. Any guys who disagree with me out there, please feel free to jump right in and correct me or add more categories. Personally, I think that more categories will be added if guys do decide to jump in.
The way a woman dresses might not necessarily determine whether a guy would date them or not, mainly because, usually, a guy is wondering whether they would sleep with him or not. Of course, if the girl is slutty, the guy immediately thinks 'score' and would be one of a number of guys trying to 'win' her over. Let's be honest, by saying 'not to be shallow' means exactly that. We are shallow. And we would be lying if we said we aren't. I mean seriously, if a really ugly or badly dressed guy approaches you in a bar, would you really continue a conversation with them? No, you definitely won't. It's not about his personality or anything like that because you won't get to know his personality because you've already brushed him off.
We are shallow. Just admit it. The world would be a much better place with this kind of honesty. Guys reject girls and girls reject guys based on their initial impression. And usually, this is looks. We see it everyday, where gorgeous girls are with, let's face it, ugly guys, and vice versa. This usually happens because they are initially friends or are introduced or are part of the same group of friends, where one would give the other the chance and talk because it's polite. From there we get to know one's personality and it can progress.
I don't think it's possible for us to stop with this generalizing, and seeing as both men and women do it alike, we're both as bad as each other. Let's just be honest.
So there's another AskHim Tuesday done and dusted. Please keep those questions coming in. Send them to AskHim@cmarchuska.com. Thank you again to Lia for her honest question. Most of us guys definitely wish there were more honest girls out there like Lia Enjoy the rest of your week and feel free to comment with your own opinion on this week's question.
The approaching holiday season has me in a rather reflexive mood. I woke up this morning not only excited for the weekend but also thankful for....eco-fashion. For fear of sounding corny let me be clear that eco-fashion encompasses two of my favorite things. Being fashion forward while remaining eco-conscious. The two are so harmonious--the union is a match made in heaven. The pair have produced wonderful offspring and this week has been no different, but the changes that have been taking place have me wondering: will I still have something to be thankful for a year from now? Is this all an eco-fad or is eco-fashion really here to stay?
1. The CFDA and Lexus awarded three fashion forward, eco-conscious fashion designers $250,000 each for their earth-friendly designs. The designers entered the Council of Fashion Designers of America's Eco-Fashion Challenge, where they were judged mainly on aesthetics but the criteria was that their company has to be 25% sustainable or use 25% sustainable material. But is 25% really enough? Are leaders in the fashion world really moving towards full sustainability or are they capitalizing on the moment by taking a wade in the eco-dipping pool? My hope is that this is just a start and that the stakes will get even higher from here on in. My gut tells me that this is just the beginning. People are beginning to realize that we either change or risk ruining the earth permanently. Though change is slow to come, it is still coming.
2. In addition to the financial assurance that the CFDA gave sustainable fashion reports have been swarming the blogosphere that world renowned fashion creative genius Vivienne Westwood gave this piece of advice at a London speaking engagement last month: "give up shopping for at least six months." In addition, she pushed fashion lovers to wear a towel instead of a coat. She proclaimed that at the moment, it is all about do-it-yourself."
So before you all head off to enjoy your weekends, sound off! The CFDA, the largest, and frankly, one of the most influential unions of fashion leaders, has taken note of the importance of sustainable fashion and one of the most influential creative minds in the industry has become a leading voice on the importance of eco-consciousness in lieu of fashion forwardness. Do the points I've made show that eco-fashion has a stronghold in the overall industry? What do you guys think? Do I really have something to be thankful for this holiday season? Are we experiencing a fleeting eco-trend or have we hit the jackpot and eco-fashion is something that is here to stay?
Love your skin, love your hair, love you. That's the tagline for 100% natural hair and skin care company, Yamerra. Its founder, Maryam Moma is a 25-year-old fashion model who blends the beauty benefits of shea butter and essential oils with luxurious scents that'll leave you wanting more.
Angel: Yamerra is 4 years old. How did you come up with the concept to start the line and what is your company's philosophy?
Maryam: I founded Yamerra a few years after I graduated from Temple University with a degree in architecture. I enjoyed studying architecture, however- it was not my passion. I have always been immersed in the world of beauty, skincare and haircare, and fashion, being a fashion model in the industry since I was 16. I was primarily inspired to create Yamerra by my own skincare and haircare needs to create functional and useful blends for personal use with affordable and natural raw materials. I discovered that Shea butter is extremely restorative and healing for the hair and skin. I decided to mix pure Shea with essential oils and herbs to even enhance it more.
Angel: As a young entrepreneur, what steps did you take to start Yamerra and what challenges did you encounter?
Maryam: One of the first steps I took when I started Yamerra was to work vigorously to create a nutrient-rich and titillating scent palette for its products. I wanted to restore balance and radiance to my skin and hair using raw shea, and also be left smelling delectable! Closer to Yamerra’s founding, I brought a chemist on board, Victoria O., to make sure Isure herbs and essential oils did not clash to irritate the skin and hair; rather, to rejuvenate, balance and heal.
Angel: Why did you choose to build Yamerra as an organic skin and hair care line?
Maryam: One of the primary reasons for making Yamerra all natural and organic is because all natural ingredients and raw materials are not only better for the skin and hair but also for the earth and environment. Yamerra is a sustainable brand. It has been an extremely important decision to keep the line organic and all natural so that it can be used and enjoyed by all, safely. Yamerra is recommended for even babies.
Angel: Your products are sold in three U.S. states, as well as international locations, Dubai and Nigeria. How do you manage Yamerra as an international brand?
Maryam: I have managed Yamerra as an international brand by making strong connections with trusted, like-minded individuals, who have used and seen the benefits of Yamerra first-hand. All the distributors/ store locations that carry Yamerra now, locally and internationally, are owned by Yamerra clients who use the product themselves. I deal with these people personally, sending them requested samples and products for retail as needed. Connecting with a store owner that is aware of what the market/ clientele needs and wants are, is easily reachable and communicates efficiently and timely is important in dealing with an international account.
Angel: Tell me about some of our most popular/favorite products. Besides your own line, are there other natural and organic companies or organizations that you support?
Maryam: We have three product lines, a two-in-one hair and body butter, luxurious body soap, and a whipped body soufflé. They come in six, very unique varying scents: Lemon Fire Bliss Lemongrass, Sultry Mango, Home Sweet Home Honey Vanilla, Be Bodacious Tangerine Grape, Sensual Bliss Jasmine Sage, and In Spring Lusciousness Peach Peppermint.
Yamerra also carries a line for mothers-to-be, nursing mothers, and newborn babies (6-12 months), plus unique seasonal creations.
Another organic product I support and use personally is Selara Faces Skincare. I love their face masks- they leave my skin firm, supple and revived. My favorite mask is their Honey Almond Exfoliator and Mask- After a home facial, I follow with another amazing product in their line- Selara Faces Skin Brightening Moisturizer. It’s is high in Vitamin E, smells incredible and leaves the skin feeling moisturized and loved.
Angel: What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs, especially those who want to build sustainable, eco-friendly businesses?
Maryam: I advise that young entrepreneurs starting a small business to follow their hearts and stay true to their most original concepts. Innovation, persistence, and determination to succeed in business must factor in. Especially to individuals interested in building an eco-friendly business; do not settle for or include anything that is not from the earth, not natural and chemical-free.
Angel: Do you have any last words?
Maryam: Join the Yamerra Revolution! Enjoy Yamerra’s luxurious, affordable and long-lasting Eco-essential products made with love. Otherwise, stay far away from products containing chemicals- help sustain the earth by using and supporting Eco-friendly brands and do not forget to recycle!
Kisses and cupcakes until we meet again,
♥ ✌ ☺
Hi Brian, I recently started dating this guy who is totally awesome. He's really kind and caring and has always been a total sweetheart to me on our dates.The only problem is that he is rumored to be a complete player as my friends keep pointing out to me. I know this can't be good, but I really like him. Am I stupid for continuing this? Is he playing me? Or is it possible that he could change? I'd really like some impartial advice and from a guy too...please help. Thanks, Bianca
Hi Bianca, and thanks for writing in. To be honest, I'm surprised that this hasn't been more of a popular question, but I wanted to get to it this week for sure. It's the 'will he won't he' question that all women want to know and dread the answer to. Quite simply, no. He will not change. It's more likely than not, that he is playing you. Sorry to tell you this. Very rarely do they change, even when they're married. I'm not saying they'll definitely cheat when they're married, but they will definitely 'play around'. It's a game to these so called 'players'. I hear it all the time. Guys don't hide it from their friends, just from the girls. Well, they try to hide it from the girls at least. There are the exceptions, don't get me wrong. There are guys that like to have their 'fun' until they meet that right girl to settle down with, that's just who they are. I'm not saying that your guy is one of these or not, and I'm not saying you couldn't be the girl that he wants to settle with and change his ways, but in all honesty it's highly unlikely. I guess the ultimate test would be time. Take your time with him. Don't rush into anything too quickly. Test the waters a little and figure out for yourself whether the rumors about him apply to you and whether you're just another girl to him. Hope this helps out a little Bianca and I wish you good luck with this guy. I hope it works out to be ok, and he's the guy you're looking for and that what he shows you is what he's really about.
That's all for another AskHim Tuesday. Keep those questions coming in ladies and gents. I'm here to give you a blunt perspective, and for you girls out there, I'm here to give you an honest guy's perspectives. Remember, I'm just an email away. AskHim@cmarchuska.com. See you all next week
Geek to chic. That tagline was all the rage on daytime television once upon a decade. Has beens and have nots were given the chance to strut their stuff on national television on shows like Jenny Jones (google if you don't know) and throw their new and improved images in the face of their bullier(s). "Bucked toothed Betty" and "Willie the wetter" became "Betty the buxom" and "Willie the sexy warrior" (ok that's a reach) with a matter of a few clap push ups (or whatever workout routine was the craze), hair and makeup changes, and of course a revamp in the wardrobe.
As a teen I ate those shows up, watching every minute in awe and booing the villains who tormented those now sexier-than-sex souls. Although looking at the before and after photos was a hoot (some of those folks put the bust in busted) what was really fascinating was how a few simple changes in ones appearance can make all the difference in how a person is viewed and treated by onlookers, strangers, friends, homies, comrades, bell hops, bank tellers, you get the drift...
We all traverse our own complicated journeys, trying to find who we are and what we want to represent in this world. Although personality, character, and merit do and should be counted for a majority of that image, physical appearances matter far too much to not put at least a semi effort into what you look like before stepping foot outside la casa.
One industry knows too well our need to "image improve." The fashion industry's lifeblood is through hawking images at you faster than a college student can run up debt on a credit card. Every ad is about selling an image, a possible "new you" that looks as sleek, polished and hungry-thin as the models slouching in their pictures. And this new image comes in a seasonal package, for only $19.99 per item. Who wouldn't grab at the chance to reinvent themselves with each fashion cycle? That new skinny jean/sequined vest/high waisted pant is bound to make your legs/waist/arse look as great as the ads say right? Welcome to the world and purpose of fast fashion..
wait fashion, fast?? This vid will explain this interesting buzz word for you...
Did you watch the whole video? And you didn't skip any parts right? Better not or I am one unhappy blogger, and cyber threats should be taken seriously **queue ominous music**
But all joking aside, the video highlights the major problems with fast fashion: waste, exploitation, and of course poorly made clothes, meant to last only through a few wears. Stores like Forever 21, H&M and Zara are leaders in fast fashion, bringing us the latest trends in greatly priced packages. Yet their business models are far from sustainable, and more detrimental if it becomes a shopper's norm. There is no hard and fast answer to fast fashion, nor am I advocating that you never ever buy another item from your fav fast fashion store again. But stop and really think about that next trendy fashion piece. Do you really need it? Will it last a while? What are you going to do with it once you are bored with the fit/color/shape/feathers on it? And when buying it, remembering what you are supporting through your consumption...
So what do you think readers, is there any problems with a constant image change and buying into fast fashion? If so, in what ways do you try to "green" your wardrobe?
What to Wear:
Boot season is definitely here and we are onto a super cool eco brand out of the UK called Po-Zu. As our favorite fashionable male, Brian, wrote in a recent AskHim blog, Uggs are still all the rage and are the perfect pairing for a casual day around town. But, we are thinking of trading in those Uggs for Po-Zu Piper Tans which, not only are a lot more stylish than those standard brown suede boots, but are also organically tanned with vegetable extracts. Oh and did we also mention that they give 3% of each purchase to the charity of your choice?? If that doesn't get your feel good shopaholic hearts racing then we don't know what will
What to Check Out:
Tired of paying $250 for a mediocre hair cut?? Yeah so were we - so we hopped on the 6 train to Union Square to check out the Carsten Aveda Institute. For $19 you get a wash, hair cut, blow dry, scalp massage and hand massage. Apart from all of this, they also use all Aveda products which are composed of naturally derived ingredients. Make your appt today at the 22 East 17th Street!
What to Eat:
Did you know how many amazing nutrients are in pumpkins? Better yet, did you know how tasty pumpkin seeds can be? Check out this awesome recipe from Emeril Lagasse for some delicious roasted pumpkin seeds with a spicy kick. We made them and now are a bit addicted to this yummy snack
News from C. Mar:
As you end this fabulous first week of November be sure to check out our design process post Monika's Story: The Journey of an Eco Friendly Dress, how to get your guy's attention with this week's AskHim and a Q&A with one of the new member's of our CMar Team, Krystal Williams. Last, but not least, don't forget to turn your clocks back one hour this Sunday as Daylight Savings Time comes to an end for 2010...and luckily gives all of us some extra time to catch up on those much needed Zzzzzs!
Keep it real & keep it eco chic