Friday, December 21, 2012

Shop Secondhand First: The Christmas Party Outfit

This post is part of the Ethical Fashion Bloggers monthly challenge. This month, ethical fashion bloggers the world over celebrate style with sustainable and ethical fashion. You can see more HERE.

So that big Christmas party is coming up, and you need something festive to wear. You're thinking "pops of color," "sparkle," and affordable. I'm thinking sustainable. The best way to combine both is to SHOP SECONDHAND FIRST
Take a leap into sustainable style by taking the SHOP SECONDHAND FIRST pledge
Before you hit the mall for a brand new ensemble, take a second and try these sustainably savvy style tips first:





And, a bonus tip:

(warning: soapbox!)

#SECONDHANDFIRST: 100% Thrifted. 100% Christmas.

Now, for the savvy break down: 

SHOP YOUR CLOSET: The first and best place to create your holiday outfit is no further than your own closet. By cultivating a wardrobe full of quality and classic pieces, you'll be sure to have on hand a great piece to kick-start your Christmas outfit. New, doesn't necessarily mean better. Sometimes the best thing is the tried and true.

SHARE: Are you missing an element to tie together your look? Borrow from a friend. (Just be sure to take care of your borrowed item and return it promptly.) AND of course be willing to do the same: Sharing is sustainable.

SHOP SECONDHAND: Consignment, charity and thrift shops often offer a wide array of selection and prices- many items are brand new, never worn with price tags still attached. Another boon of shopping secondhand first, is the savings- you often can get a great score much cheaper than regular retail!

SUPPORT LOCAL: Eschew the chain store, and support small businesses. I find that the small boutiques owned by local business people often times offer more original selections than the mass-produced deluge of stuffs flooding the mall. Many times you can discover new local designers from locally owned shops in your neighborhood. This is a great way to procure a unique piece, and keep the economy strong in your own community.

Bonus Tip:

SWAP THE SWEATSHOP FOR SUSTAINABLE: There is a high price to cheap clothes that isn't instantly seen on the price tag. The currency maybe the working conditions, paying a living wage, safe working conditions, the environment,  even life quality. That brand new $5 silk dress made in China on the rack, at that fast fashion store is likely produced in a sweatshop, and that does NOT make me feel jolly.  Instead of buying mass produced, cheaply made goods, consider looking beyond the price tag and into the label. Labels like FAIR TRADE CERTIFIED, and UNION MADE, are more likely be attached to garments that are sustainably produced. The ethical fashion industry is booming, thanks to consumers LIKE YOU + ME choosing to purchase sustainably minded and ethically manufactured goods.  Which is all wordy gobbledy-gook for this: BUY clothes that make you look AND feel good! So, swap the sweatshop for sustainability by committing to buy ethically produced clothing. 

For my Christmas party outfit, the first place I went to, was my closet. This 1950's red wool coat was purchased nearly a year ago from the Goodwill in West Sacramento. It was pricey at the time, but still cheaper than a new wool coat, and quite frankly, better made. (It also happens to be a Union label, made in the U.S.A). An ethically produced coat in a bright cardinal red is a grand start to a stylish Christmas party outfit.

And what better color to pair with Christmas red, than Christmas green? Even better when it's the Pantone flavor of the moment: Emerald green. This gem of a dress was found on the racks, looking good as new  at my neighborhood Value Village. I paid a whopping $20 bucks. The brand, Maggie London, can be found in upscale retail shops with price tags ranging from $79-$160. By visiting a thrift shop, before I even thought of entering a mall, I saved  a tidy sum of money!

The accessories are kept simple: a sparkly brooch, a faux fur hat, and a clutch. The vintage faux fur hat was probably found at a yard sale. The classic mid-century modern rhinestone brooch I bought over a decade ago from a local junk shop in Sacramento. It had been marked down from $60 to $20. This sparkly bauble was probably one of my best costume jewelry investments, and gets pinned on nearly every Christmas. The cute emerald silk clutch goes perfectly with the dress, and was a part of a gift package from blogger pal, Jean, of the style blog Dross Into Gold, as part of the Faith Hope and Charity Shopping Xmas Swap. The shoes, a Spanish curvy heeled heartbreak in a high heel, is yet another score from a local thrift store. At the time, their $8 price tag seemed pricey, but they were in mint condition, and are beautifully made. Combining style, quality, and savings: shopping secondhand first is the best way to shop!

So in total, what was the cost of my sustainably styled Christmas party outfit?
How does under $90 dollars sound to you? Since most of the items were shopped from my own closet, even that number that can break down into pennies per wearing. And how does that make me feel?

Like celebrating.

Take the Shop Secondhand Pledge for 2013 HERE.

Something to (Holiday) Cheer About: Shopping Secondhand First is Style Made Economical AND Sustainable.
Now Wearing: 
  • vintage faux fur hat
  • vintage rhinestone snowflake brooch
  • Maggie London emerald silk dress, Value Village
  • vintage 1950s red wool coat, available HERE
  • Asian silk clutch, gifted
  • Renetti vintage red leather pumps

Take the Shop Secondhand Pledge for 2013 HERE.
Part of the #Lucky Community


Sara Kristiina said...

SPLENDIDLY ADORABLE look! And great tips !! ;)

Curtise said...

A gorgeous outfit, Bella, and of course secondhand is best, every time! Love the colours, the hat, and the little clutch from Jean is the perfect accessory. Hope the party is as good as you look! xxxxx

The Dainty Dolls House said...

You look amazing!! The colour of your dress is gorgeous. I really appreciate the focus on shopping second hand from's something I don't see in a lot or enough bloggers. It's so true to shop your closet first, as I've had stuff in my closet given as a gift and forgotten about because my closet isn't the biggest, but I try to go through it and move stuff around now, so I can use stuff that hasn't been worn as much. It's important, people out there are suffering and for what!?! So, we can wear something that will most likely go into the back of the closet later...because too many people are worried about silly trends and keeping up with the other sheep of the world! We need to be more informed and make better choices!! I try and shop second hand first, I love it more actually, haha. No one bothering as I dig for treasures in all the clothes & the older ladies in the shops are way nicer than the younger ones in the malls anyways! Most of my clothes are second hand vintage or other things I've thrifted. Ok, have babbled enough, but I'm going to try even more to thrift, you've motivated me ;) You look stunning...have a fab weekend x

Jean at said...

Bella, you are the best in every way. You look dropdeadgorgeous in your red and green: glamorous and festive, chic and unique!!! I'm so happy you were able to include the clutch in your ensemble. It really does add a lovely touch, the way you've styled it. Hurray!!

Love you!!!!!

Vix said...

Totally gorgeous, every element is fabulous and combined it's amazing! Love Jean's pretty clutch and the combination of colour.
Presents, clothes, it's all second-hand here, I wouldn't have it any other way. xxx

Unknown said...

Love the green dress - it is just so festive. I also love the scoop neckline .. really flattering.


CatieBeatty said...

What a great post! This is the type of blogging we all aspire to. It's well, has lots of great tips, and great photos to catch the eye. I love your ensemble, too. It's the perfect festive party look and the fur hat is gorgeous!

CatieBeatty said...

*well written

Becky said...

Stunning outfit & pics! I love all the tips-- such great reminders for everyone!! Borrowing/swapping is way underrated :))

Luna Tiger said...

I love this look ! The first picture is simply amazing !

Ivy Black said...

Perfection! What a gorgeous outfit and yes, secondhand all the way. It makes so much sense!

mispapelicos said...

Wowwwwwwwwwwww Bella best post ever, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
I love the look in your first pic. You are absolutely beautiful, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
I always buy second hand, much more fun anyway.

Claire Justine said...

Just nipped into my local charity shop and picked up 2 amazing dresses for Christmas :) stopping by to wish you a happy Christmas :)

Suzanne said...

Great outfit!


Patti said...

Gorgeous! In intentions and in execution, you are *fabulous* for Christmas. xoxoxoxo

citizen rosebud said...

Happy Christmas sweet CJ! Can't wait to see you sport your frocks!

Adrienne Shubin said...

Sexy dress! And I love that you added in the real cost of cheaply made and mass produced clothing. You are my secondhand idol because you are a first rate woman!
Happy holidays, Bella. You rock!

Anonymous said...

The color of your dress is amazing! It's very festive, especially with the red coat. Thanks for sharing your sustainable tips.

Anonymous said...

GORGEOUS!!! I so want that coat when you're tired of it!! You look stunning in the dress--great style and color for you!!

Beryl said...

That pin on that red coat looks perfect for Christmas!

Idee Fixe said...

ACK must have dress and clutch! I'm a green person, I LOVE green since I'm a child, and always have it around me somehow. Emerald and chartreuse are my fav shades. While I'm a New Yorker black usually comes first, but green, red, and pink feature in accessories or small doses. So this outfit makes me very happy, so festive and cheery for winter, yay! XXX PS have been shopping second hand first for years when I decided to cut down on consumption levels. Only thing I can't do it with is shoes, boo. Have to buy expensive shoes, never fails cheap ones hurt and get donated or worse destroyed so I can't even donate. At least I tend towards classic styles that I wear forever.

vintage honeybee said...

Value Village is my favorite place to shop! I always shop second hand first. I love a great deal.

Bohemian Chick said...

Gorgeous outfit and tips. Love the photos, too. A++++

Unknown said...

Love that green dress. It's beautiful and looks so good with the red coat.

Ulla-Marie said...

totally agree and you look hot hot hot!

CityScape Skybaby said...

You look beautiful Rosebud, I love red and green and they look so festive together. Love all the points you made in your blog too. Me, my mum and my sister all love second hand so that tends to be what we give each other, I found a festive green velvet dress in the charity shop a month or so ago so I'm all set to go for Christmas too! xx

Miss Simmonds Says said...

Totally gorgeous. I love the emerald dress with the swing coat, very sexy and rather cute and ethical too xx

Meghan Edge said...

You look amazing, honey!! :-)

The Goodwill Fangirl said...

Bella, you combine beautiful shopping advice with impeccable style. I love Maggy London/London Times dresses; this one was made for you. I like jewelry with a history, too.

I'll be taking that 2013 Secondhand Pledge for sure. I expect it'll be my first post of 2013.

Happy holidays to you and yours - thank for so much style and soul inspiration throughout the year.

Forest City Fashionista said...

Festive and Fabulous! That is a gorgeous coat. I don't have any holiday parties to go to, but I would definitely be wearing secondhand if I did.

Hang T. Tran said...

Really beautiful post Bella! Though I can't take your pledge at the moment but I'm changing. I try to renew my own wardrobe without buying more things :)
Happy Holidays and all th ebest for your coming New Year
Love you Bella!

SeƱora Allnut said...

great advices for every season!, I'm loving your pretty red coat and your so elegant dress, perfectly thematic and absolutely genuine!
love your style!
besos & rojo!

pao said...

Fabulous X-mas ensemble, Bella. You are a marketing/editing/styling/layout/designer extraordinaire. May all your dreams come to you.

Stephanie Loudmouth said...

So I may have said this before, but this is my favorite outfit of yours ever! Its so fun and pretty and perfect for the occasion! You look amazing. :) I hope you have a really wonderful Christmas!

Stephanie Loudmouth said...

So I may have said this before, but this is my favorite outfit of yours ever! Its so fun and pretty and perfect for the occasion! You look amazing. :) I hope you have a really wonderful Christmas!

Unknown said...

I love the red coat. The wide collar is fab and the color is so festive. Happy happy holidays!!!

Amber of Butane Anvil said...

Absolutely stunning ensemble, Bella! Every piece is just outstanding, and wonderful in combination. I love the values of your pledge, and especially the "SHARE" tip. :)

The Style Crone said...

Your message, your values and your outfit are warming my holiday heart. I need the the pledge badge on my blog for 2013!

Lindsay Living said...

I love your holiday look! What a great combo of red and green. Hope you're enjoying your holidays :)

Unknown said...

Yes, shop second hand first, if you have to shop! Another option is to not shop in the first place :). xoxo

Unknown said...

Absolutely gorgeous outfit !!