Teacher-turned-blogger Elizabeth Stilwell is using her website, The Note Passer, to educate readers about an ethical, sustainable lifestyle -- and fashion is a huge part of the lesson plan.
The 1-year-old, visually enticing blog reflects Elizabeth's funky, fun aesthetic and covers everything from the New York-based writer's travels to her journey into sustainable fashion. In October she made the commitment to fill her closet with only ethical items.
"After learning about the human suffering and pollution that is often part of the industry, I decided that I needed to quit conventional fashion," Elizabeth said (btw, she also created the awesome infographic below to depict her process). "The same way many of us follow the 'dirty dozen' rules for buying produce, I made my own rules for buying clothes, shoes, and accessories. The first question I ask is, 'Do I really need it?'… If I really need something, then I’ll figure out if I can get it second-hand or ethically produced. If not, I have to buy it to last rather than a disposable convenience item."
And Elizabeth plans to make The Note Passer even more useful in the near future. She's working on an improved "Resources" directory for ethical beauty, fashion, finance, home, and vintage shopping. She also has another project in the works -- a coalition of ethical writers based in New York. "We have banded together to make our voices heard and motivate change," Elizabeth said.
See below for her advice on how to make some positive -- and super-stylish -- changes to your own wardrobe.
Quirky comfort. I have a lot of unique items from thrifting, but comfort is paramount. I have to be able to walk comfortably in the city, so I wear sneakers or flats most of the time. I’m tall, so maxi-dresses work well for me and are also comfortable. I’ve recently gotten back into T-shirts and enjoy funky thrifted ones as well as organic ones from Everlane.
Favorite wardrobe item:
I love a crisp white button-up shirt and think it is essential to a utilitarian wardrobe. It can be dressed up or down, layered over in the winter, and thrown on in a rush. When I did the Six Items Challenge, I found out just how useful it can be! Look for a second-hand option or one made from organic cotton.
A pair of clip-on crystal ear cuffs because I can wear them with everything from an evening gown to a sweatshirt. And I got them at a Florida thrift store for like six bucks!
Must-have beauty product:
A mix of oils I buy and blend together to do the Oil Cleansing Method. It’s the only way I clean my face now. I use lavender oil, sunflower oil, and castor oil, but everyone needs a different blend according to their skin type. There are lots of articles on OCM out there.
Style role model:
Katherine Hepburn. While certainly physically stylish, I most admire her fiercely independent lifestyle. She wore trousers before it was fashionable, was outspoken about reproductive rights, and rejected [in] the traditional paths of marriage and motherhood. Her style came from her refusal to conform to society’s expectations of women, something women still struggle with today.
Sylvia Plath: A Biography by Linda Wagner-Martin