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Erin's Style File: Versatility & Sustainability

Updated: May 5, 2021


Last week I had promised to dive deeper into everything stylish - home decor, pretty plants and fashion. I'll be following through with that promise in regards to fashion and home decor.

Versatility and sustainability are what I try to focus on when I'm looking for these types of items, which really is just a way to control my consumption of items, therefore, is sustainable in itself. I need the item that I buy to be versatile - a clothing item should be able to be worn multiple ways or in multiple scenarios (work, going out, casually, etc.). An item that I put into my home should be versatile by being functional as well as visually appealing. Take this wooden bowl for example, thrifted from Value Village about six months ago:

I've used it as decor to hold some plants to free up counter space in my kitchen, but I've also used it for the intended purpose when I bought it - as a fruit bowl! Either way, it looks great. Another way I could use it is as a tray on my coffee table to hold candles, hand cream and remotes, which I have yet to try. The possibilities are endless!

Versatility is part of sustainability. Sustainability is a more recent value of mine when thinking of purchasing something new for myself. This word gets tossed around a lot by various industries, but to me, sustainability is ensuring that the environment, animals and people are treated in a way that ensures longevity. In the fashion industry, this might look like using fabrics from fibres that require little to no water, ensuring animals are not at the expense of business and ensuring that employees are paid a comfortable living wage AND work in a clean and fair working environment. Sustainable buying sometimes comes from thrifting (come back next week for my 5 Thrifting Tips!) or by researching and knowing what brands are transparent with their production line. But, even more importantly, a change needs to happen to normalize and encourage sustainable production and conscious consumption on a large scale.

A mindset shift from fast fashion - made quickly to sell quickly and eventually dispose of quickly - to sloooooww fashion - made carefully to sell a determined amount to keep forever - is necessary. A LOT could be said about this, and has been said about fast vs. slow fashion and why it's imperative that our fashion industry catches onto this mindset shift. Use the Good On You app/website to find out if your favourite brands are sustainable, and in what areas could be improved upon (labour, environment and animals).

Screenshot of Boody's rating.

Some of my favourite sustainable Canadian fashion brands are:

Lingerie and Intimates:

Boody (made in Austrailia) - Check out the break down of Boody's rating on the Good on You app to the right.

If you're interested in learning more about about this sustainable fashion and its many layers, I would suggest these resources as a starting point:

The Conscious Closet by Elizabeth L. Cline | book

Sustainably produced home decor is, in my experience, a little bit more difficult to come by, and, from what I have found, out of my price range at this time. I hope that in the future my teaching salary can support more sustainable home decor brands (or at least we can hope). In the meantime, thrifting pages on Instagram (@thriftss.and.thingss, @thethriftedbean, @almahomevintage, @huntforthethrifypeople, @creamandcoffeevintage, @oldsouls___) are my go-to.

As well, I'd like to point out that just because a brand may be Canadian (which is great!) does not necessarily mean that the brand is sustainable nor participate in sustainable practices. Do your research if this is something that you value!

Due to the extra care and attention to animals, employees and the environment, sustainable brands are typically more expensive, which, unfortunately makes it inaccessible to many people. Not everyone can choose to shop sustainably, or even do so all the time. Knowing what you can afford, then choosing to be purposeful about your purchases and ensuring the item is versatile for your needs, is sustainable in itself.

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