Minimalistic Living: Saving Money and Staying Fashionable

I’m not sure if anyone else feels this way, but it is increasingly harder to resist those small meaningless purchases…especially when we are being bombarded with beautiful new items every day on social media. We make excuses for ourselves like, “I deserve it” or “I don’t have anything like this” … but, the fact of the matter is we don’t need it. More and more people these days are in debt — between student loans, bills, and the exorbitant amount we pay in housing costs…it seems impossible to keep a fashionable, fresh wardrobe and be financially responsible. For this reason, I listed few ways that you CAN save money with shopping and be more environmentally friendly in the process.

Shop your Local Consignment/Thrift Stores

I feel like this is a no-brainer, but thrift stores/consignment shops are a magical place. The first thing I did when I moved to CA was track down my local consignment shop, and I was not let down! Flashbacks Recycled Fashion located in Carlsbad, CA has everything you could think of including 60s dresses, band tees, designer shoes/bags, and tons of denim. You can find so many unique pieces for great prices, and you are giving life to a piece that someone else decided they didn’t need anymore. Gone are the days that thrift stores only had grandma clothes that smelled of must — everyday there are more and more modern consignment/thrift stores popping up all over the place. The best part is, is that you can actually make money at some of these stores by taking your used items in to be sold. Keep in mind that most shops will only take what they think will sell, so think about what season it is when you are taking your items in. For online consignment shops, check out places like Poshmark, ThredUp, and The Real Real. For brick-and-mortar, here are two notable and well-known consignment shops that you can check out:

Buffalo Exchange

You may have heard of Buffalo Exchange, as their name is synonymous with quality used clothing. For items that they are able to take, if they sell, you will receive 30% of the selling price in cash or 50% in store-credit. You can also have the money put on a ‘trade’ card for use at any Buffalo Exchange store across the country.

The leather jacket above was picked up from the Buffalo Exchange in Santa Monica, California.

Plato’s Closet

According to their website, “Plato’s Closet is recognized as the nation’s largest chain of teen and twenty something resale stores with nearly 500 store locations in North America.”

Plato’s Closet will actually give you cash right-away based off what they think the products are worth, so for some quick cash, Platos closet is the way to go.

To note, the main difference between a thrift store and consignment shop is that consignment shops will give you a percentage on items that you give them to sell, while thrift store take used clothing on a donation basis (Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc.). Both options sell clothes for much less then you would buy new.

Stop those impulsive purchases!

Impulsive purchases will briefly increase your dopamine levels and give you a quick feeling of satisfaction, but once that fades you are left with that same urge to buy something new – plus a new hole in your bank account. Stopping those impulsive purchases and really thinking about what you are purchasing will help cut down on those smaller purchases, so you can focus on quality pieces that will last. Fast fashion is fun, but it is just that, fast and not always the best investment as we will inevitably get bored of it, get rid of it and start the process over again…racking up the credit card bill with all of those smaller unsatisfying purchases.

One thing that I do to curb the craving of those impulsive purchases is making a deal with myself – If I still want an item after a month and it is still available, then I will get it. This gives me a lot of time to decide if it something I really need, or something I just wanted in the moment. Figure out what works best for you, and try your best to hold yourself accountable if you slip up and make an impulse purchase.

Even with a good system in place to keep myself accountable, I’ll admit that it is still hard sometimes for me to resist the urge to make impulse purchases. For example, last week I was agonizing over a purchase at Zara. That voice in the back of my head was telling me I really needed a new jacket for a wedding coming up next month, and the one at Zara was perfect for my outfit! Well, thanks to a bit of self-control, and the strategy mentioned above, I am proud to say I have not purchased it yet, and am instead checking my local consignment shops on the weekends to see if I can thrift something similar before purchasing new.

Capsule Wardrobe (live with less)

Honestly this is a subject that I will be dedicating its own post to because it is one of my favorites! In the words of Caroline Rector from Unfancy, a capsule wardrobe is “a mini wardrobe made up of really versatile pieces that you totally love to wear.” In her piece titled, How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe, Caroline discusses how 37 pieces is the ideal number of items for a capsule wardrobe. In my opinion, the number of pieces can vary, as some people may be able to live with less. But overall you want to get your wardrobe down to only pieces you love and want to wear. Also, by having a minimal wardrobe, you are spending less per year on clothing meaning that affording those more quality pieces won’t break the bank.

We all know that minimalism has become a trend, but I don’t think this one is going away anytime soon. The reason people like it so much is because many of us often realize that even with a closet full of clothing, we are reaching for the same items every single day. Taking that logic one step further, why not choose quality over quantity – have less material items, but higher quality that will last much longer.

Get store credit

First of all I have to say I am loving this trend of companies incentivizing customers to donate old clothing by giving them store credit or a voucher for any donated items. This is a great way to save a little money, because every dollar counts! I have listed below a few stores who are offering such deals:

H&M

Currently at H&M, you can bring in any used clothing items, no matter the brand, and they will give you a 15% Off certificate that can go toward your next in-store purchase. Here is a link to their website where they go over what happens to your donated clothing.

Rag and Bone

Rag and Bone has been a [proud] partner of Cotton’s Blue Jean Go GreenTM denim recycling program since 2017. Bring in any of your un-worn or used denim to a Rag and Bone store and receive 20% off your next purchase.

What happens to your denim after it is donated? According to their website, “It is reprocessed into cotton fibers which are re-purposed into denim insulation and set off to building efforts in communities around the country including over 40 Habitat for Humanity affiliates and over 15 civic-minded buildings.”

& Other Stories

& Other Stories will not only allow you to donate clothing, but also to bring back empty beauty product containers (from their beauty lines only). You will receive a voucher for 10% off your next purchase in exchange. I highly recommend checking out their website, where they explain what happens to the items that are recycled.

Some other stores that allow you donate clothing are Madewell, Levis, and North Face, but there are so many more! In the end thought, you have to figure out what works for you. You don’t have to have a huge wardrobe to be fashionable, less really is more, and always choose quality over quantity. If you have any other ideas, I would love to hear them, so comment down below!

You can also connect with me on Instagram or Twitter, @modernneturals.

Something New

WHO IS EVERLANE?

“At Everlane, we want the right choice to be as easy as putting on a great T-shirt. That’s why we partner with the best, ethical factories around the world. Source only the finest materials. And share those stories with you—down to the true cost of every product we make. It’s a new way of doing things. We call it Radical Transparency. ”

Everlane first caught my eye a few years ago with their in-depth information on the factories they use and the way they break down their pricing. Of course they hold back a bit with the figures they give, but they are doing a great job at leading the clothing industry in ethical production and transparency with customers. They have 30 factories around the world — in the U.S., Peru, Italy, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, China, and Nan’an. Each of their product pages includes information on what factory the product was made in, and a link to factory information in case you would like to know more.

I highly recommend that you check out the ‘factories’ page on Everlane’s website to learn more if you are interested.

TELL ME ABOUT THE FASHION!

I would fill my closet with only Everlane if I could afford it. Their clothes are simple, chic, comfortable, and minimalistic in style. They have everything from pants, sweaters, t-shirts, work-wear, AMAZING shoes, and even handbags. Over the years I have begun to prefer to only purchase clothing and shoes that will all work together, my own capsule wardrobe. I don’t like having pieces that just sit in the closet and never get worn, which is why purchasing quality products is important to me so I am not buying and replacing items all the time.

My favorite items so far have been the ‘the side zip work pant’ and ‘the high-rise skinny jean’. They are both are comfortable, flattering, simple, and are staples in my wardrobe.

I purchased the ‘High-Rise Skinny Jeans’ back in September 2017, and they look just as good now as the day I received them. They are $78 which is a higher price tag compared to most high-street jeans, but if you are like me and prefer quality over quantity, then these are definitely a better buy. Also, I’ve found that most denim (even high-street) is at least $40, so you are not spending that much more to get something that will last longer.

They wear well, are comfortable, and they are made out of a sturdy denim (but still have some stretch). I did have a few alterations made to the ones I purchased — First, I had the them taken up because I am petite (5’3″) and I wanted more of a cropped look. Then, I had the waist band taken out and then back in due to slight weight gain and loss. 10/10 would purchase them again, and most likely will down the road.

Now, for ‘The Side-Zip Work Pant’. I am sooo excited to talk about these. When it comes to professional dress I really love a good pair of black high-waisted skinny ankle length pants… the trick is for them to not be so stretchy that they get baggy after only a few wears. For years I searched for the perfect pair and then I came across these babies. AND OMG, HANDS-DOWN THE BEST WORK PANTS EVER! These pants are made of 94% cotton and 6% elastane. They are nice and sturdy, but also have the right amount stretch. I have a capsule wardrobe and will wear the same pants several times though-out the week, so having a pair of pants that doesn’t stretch out too much is SUPER important. If you are looking for a new pair of work-pants, these are $50.00 and definitely worth a try!

There are so many more things I could talk about with Everlane products, but this blog would turn into a book. I will definitely be posting more about Everlane down the road so keep an eye out on my Instagram (@modernneutrals). I want to thank you all for taking the time to read and for all the support so far. I love sharing this type of content and will continue to write about things that inspire me. Here is my affiliate link to Everlane if you’d like to check them out, and your first order ships free (this applies to anybody who orders from Everlane for the first time, it has nothing to do with using any of my links) !

P.S. – I want to mention that consigning/thrifting is still the most economical and environmentally-friendly way to purchase any clothing product, so consider buying used!

5 Tips to Buying the PERFECT Eyeglasses.

I’ve worked in the optical industry for over five years, and one of the questions I hear every day is, “what’s in style?”. Over the years my answer has changed along with passing seasons and trends, but now I can confidently say, “a little bit of everything”. Fashion in 2019 is all about personal style — What makes you feel most like you? What makes you happy when you put it on?

THAT BEING SAID, there are ground rules. Something that looks good on other people is not necessarily going to look good on you. But most importantly, although eyeglasses are fashion, they are still a medical device. This is why it is important to respect that your optician and optometrist are not just trying to sell you an expensive accessory. Opticians are trained to find glasses that will fit both your visual and fashion needs.

This article will walk you through 5 must-know tips when purchasing glasses.

1. SHAPE

I’m going to quote Captain Barbossa from the Pirates of the Caribbean and say that the face diagrams you can find online are, “more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual ‘rules’.” The general advice is usually to choose a shape that is opposite of your face. If you have a rounder face, go with a square or rectangular frame. If you have a square face or a sharp jawline, go with a rounded frame that will soften your features. Ovals can generally go with any shape. That being said, our heads are not just featureless blobs on top of our body. Consider your eye size/shape and how high your cheekbones are when trying on glasses to make sure that your frames fit your face perfectly.

Photo by Studio 7042 on Pexels.com

TIP → If you love the cat-eye look and you have a rounder face, go with a cat-eye that has a more square bottom.


2. FIT

If a frame does not fit you properly, no matter how cute it is, you will not want to wear it. PERIOD. So how do you make sure that the frames you are purchasing fit you correctly?

SHNOZE FIT →

There are two main nose bridges you will encounter: a non-adjustable plastic bridge or adjustable nose pads. Plastic bridges are the most important to get right because there is really no way to adjust them. To make sure you get a PERFECT fit with a plastic shnoze bridge, it needs to fit like a glove. That means it needs to hit your nose on all three points (both sides and the top). It can’t have any gaps and should not shift side to side on your nose. The exception to this is a key-hole bridge (looks like a key-hole), where the key-hole part will typically sit above your nose.

If you are someone with a flat nose bridge then I suggest an alternative fit frame or something with adjustable nose pads. Another thing to note is that one type of nose bridge is not necessarily more durable or comfortable than the other, so the choice comes down to personal preference.

TEMPLE/SIDE/ARM (whatever you want to call it)

The next step on the road to the perfect pair of glasses is making sure that the temples fit you. First, we will discuss length. You want to make sure you have enough length that the temples can be bent at 45-degree angle behind your ear. This is to ensure that your glasses will stay on your noggin!

Next, make sure that the temples are not hitting the sides of your face. Many people think that if the glasses hit the side of your face, then they fit. This is not correct! If your temples are hitting the sides of your face it means that over time your glasses will 1) Give you a headache 2) Slip down your nose and 3) Leave red marks on the side of your face.

EYE SIZE →

In regards to sizing, glasses are just like jeans or shoes. Depending on who makes the frame, the same size in one brand can be completely different in another brand. When considering if a frame fits someone or not, I want to make sure that their eyes are as close to the center of the lens as possible. The reason for this is if the distance between your eyes is smaller than the distance between the center of the lenses (decentration), 1) You will end up with thicker lenses, and 2) It makes your eyes look closer together and no one wants that!

You will also want to consider how far the lenses come down on your cheekbones. Eyeglasses that highlight your cheekbones will show off your features and be more flattering.

3. LENS OPTIONS

The five main plastic materials you will encounter when purchasing glasses are: CR-39, Polycarbonate, Trivex, Hi-Index 1.67, and Hi-Index 1.74.

CR-39 →

CR-39/Plastic 1.50/Standard plastic is the lowest grade plastic you can get for your lenses, and is considered a budget option. It is not necessarily a poor quality material, but it will not give you the best vision possible. For people who have higher prescriptions (-/+ 2.00 and beyond), going with these options will cause you to have thicker lenses.

POLYCARBONATE vs. TRIVEX→

Polycarbonate and Trivex are both very durable, lightweight materials, and will allow you to have lighter, thinner lenses. The main difference between the two is clarity. Polycarbonate has aberrations in the material that can distort your vision. For this reason, many offices do not even offer Polycarbonate as an option anymore. Trivex has much better clarity and is what I always recommend to patients, barring prescription limitations.

You will see that many online retailers offer Polycarbonate instead of Trivex. This is because it is cheaper to produce, allowing them to charge more affordable prices. Do not be mistaken though, this is not the best material option out there.

HI-INDEX 1.67 & 1.74 →

Hi-Index materials allow you to have the thinnest, lightest lenses possible (at least in the U.S.). The choice between the two simply comes down to how thin you want your lenses. Hi-Index 1.74 will be thinner and lighter than the 1.67 option. For people with high prescriptions, getting the thinnest lightest material will allow you to avoid the “coke-bottle” stigma, and will also offer you better vision. Hi-Index options are also great for those who have mid-range prescriptions but have chosen a rim-less, no-rim, or cat-eye frame.

TIP → Another way to make sure that your lenses are as thin as possible is to get a smaller, rounder frame. The smaller and rounder the frame, the thinner your lenses will be. Also, steering clear of cat-eyes or frames with lots of edges will ensure thinner lenses.

4. COATINGS

Many opticians I know have a bad habit of feature vomiting. This makes people uncomfortable and can also lead to the feeling of being sold to, rather than being informed. There are a lot of different coatings and upgrades you can add to your lenses, but the two that I always get on my glasses, and will always recommend to others, are an Anti-reflective and Scratch coating.

ANTI-REFLECTIVE/ANTI-GLARE COATINGS (AR)→

– Reduces glare when driving at night or in bright conditions.

– Reduces glare from computer screens and phones.

– Helps you see clearer!

– Reduces eye-strain, especially for those who spend a lot of time on their computer, phone, television, or other electronic devices.  

– Allows your loved ones to see your eyes instead of glare off of your glasses.

The higher the quality of AR coating you get, the better each of these benefits will be, so when you have a choice of getting a higher quality AR coating, go with it! You may also have the option to get an AR coating with blue-blocking properties, like Essilor Crizal Prevencia. Blue-blocking AR coatings help reduce eye-strain even more by blocking the blue-violet lights that are emitted from the screens of our electronic devices. Research says this will help you sleep better, as blue-violet light from our phones and computers at night essentially “tricks” our bodies into thinking it’s day time. Of course, I have simplified things down for this post, so I recommend doing your own research as well if you are interested in this topic.

TIP → If you clean your glasses with soap make sure it does not contain citrus, as that will ruin your anti-reflective coating. If you have paid for a high-quality AR coating and it is flaking off (and you have not used citrus soap or had the glasses for many years), this is a defect so contact the office you purchased them from.

SCRATCH COATING →

Scratch coating doesn’t need a list, it does what it says: it will help keep your lenses from developing scratches. That being said, plastic lenses are more vulnerable to scratching so take advantage of the scratch coat warranties that your optometry office offers you if you notice any issues.

TIP → The best way to prevent scratching is to clean and store your glasses properly.

Photo by Kelvinkul Akparanta on Pexels.com

5. PERSONAL STYLE

Last, but definitely not least, you have to consider YOUR personal style. If the glasses are not something that you will want to put on every day (even if you don’t have to wear them every day), then don’t get them.

This also applies to online eyewear retailers such as Warby Parker and Zenni Optical. Even $50.00 is waste if it is something that you aren’t going to wear. My tip is to think about what you wear on a daily basis: Are you someone who wears a lot of colors? Or are you like me and wear mostly neutrals (gray, black, white, etc.)? Do you prefer to wear your hair up or down?

With that being said, please remember to have FUN with it! Try on styles you wouldn’t normally go for. Push your personal boundaries, don’t put yourself in a box of your own creation. A fun frame doesn’t mean it has to be something crazy. You can have a fun color and a simple shape or a fun shape and a simple color. You might be surprised by what you like!

This post is not promoted in any way, shape or form by the companies listed in this article.