A Sustainable Life. Make Magick.

Sustainable Style: Surburban Sprawl


photo 2 (2)I grew up in the San Fernando Valley. One of many sprawling suburbs of Los Angeles full of single family homes, apt buildings, parking lots and strip malls. Once upon a time the little city I live in – Panorama City, was deemed the “City of the Future.” Like most suburbs of the 1950s and 60s, modernism was its pride and joy. Everything New was the thing, from architecture to the latest technology in appliance or latest trend in dress at great prices, Somehow new became more and “more is better,” became the way people think.  We in our hearts know that it’s not true but everywhere we go, we are bombarded with commercials, personalities and celebrities trying to sell us something all of the time. photo 1 (2) These days it feels like the constant need to buy and have, is eating us alive and consuming US.  I have been a fan of making and reusing instead of buying new for many years now, and even apply it to my micro business SweetLeigh. Instead of creating more waste, I believe in getting creative. And I don’t think that has to be a sacrifice. photo 4 (2) When it comes to “fashion” it can be really hard for people to think about buying less especially we fat girls who have been neglected for so long by the fashion industry. A fashion industry that is now starting to find our dollars desirable and finally providing more options.  Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you stop shopping! I am suggesting that if we got a little choosier  we could positively affect our own wallets, our local economies and the environment! You may have heard of slow fashion. Generally, it is shopping with purpose and shopping with your community and environment in mind. I’m not telling anyone what to do, but here are some of the ways I’ve reduced my buying and embraced slow fashion.photo 3

  • Think before you shop. I ask myself these questions. Do I really need it? Is it worth the expense? Do I see myself using this on a regular basis? If you answered no to even one of the above the questions, then maybe it’s not really worth it!? If its just a passing impulse and I think on it for a few days, I usually find that my excitement has passed. Just consider taking that day or two before you buy.
  • I started sewing my own clothes, choosing the fabric, and making it to my exact body measurements which means that I am more invested in them. They are made to fit my style and body and I will keep them for a much longer time than a hastily bought sale item.

photo 1

  • Quality Over Quantity. A massive sale is not attractive to me anymore unless its a sale that has something I’ve been waiting for. Last year I made 2 major closet purchases. The (real) leather jacket you see in the photos here and Dr. Martin 8 hole Lace up boots. I shopped online for months before I found the leather jacket I liked in my size and at the right price. I also patiently waited for the Dr. Martins Boots as well. Both items are forever items. They will be wearable, work with my  style and varied moods, and last a long, long time. Totally worth it!
  • I first shop at thrift shops when I am looking for a particular item. 60% of the time I find what I’m looking for or find something I can ReFashion into what I am looking for – like the large sized chiffon skirt I up-sized and am wearing in my editorial.  If sewing and getting crafty isn’t your thing, shop your closet first! Take some time to see what it is you really have every season. Maybe you should Take that shirt and skirt you never wear to the tailor and have them sew up a brand new color blocked dress. Trust your style and use trends as a guide to get creative with what you already have! As a bonus, you never have to worry about someone wearing the same thing.

photo 3 (2)

  • Lastly I buy handmade and local as much as possible. I support other handmade business like mine and want to make sure my local mom and pop shops stay open!  I shop at local businesses in my community and support my community of handmade makers, independent designers and artists online for specialty items, supplies or specialty sized clothing. I often find vintage sellers on ebay, and  independent suppliers of regular and vintage notions, patterns and genty worn clothing on Etsy as well. Chains stores and retailers can’t compete with the service and creative spirit of independent artists and small businesses most of the time, and I for one value that.

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Leather Jacket: New Look
Boots: Kelsi Dagger
Sunglasses: Gifted
Leather Cross Body Purse: Thrifted
Tiered Peplum Top: Made by Me, Vanessa Leigh
Skirt: Thrifted & ReFashioned

So, maybe you’ll consider slow fashion or are already doing it! Or maybe you’ll just check out my amazing editorial c/o my iPhone 5c (this year’s big investment) and some guerrilla strip mall selfie magic. We are heading into gift season and I really try to give the gift of time and experiences when possible. Look out for my upcoming small business holiday gift guide. There will definitely be some cool handmade and homemade options! In the meantime consider slowing down your buying and when you do shop, shop small & remember: Local is the new Black


Author: sweetvanessaleigh

I am Vanessa Leigh, maker, writer and witchy goddess in training.

6 thoughts on “Sustainable Style: Surburban Sprawl

  1. Love the outfit and the fab article! ❤

  2. OMG! I looooove this! Love! Love! Love!!!! I agree with you 100%. I’m trying to get better at resisting impulse buys and have long loved thrifting & repurposing.

  3. Pingback: Vanessa’s Sustainable Style Tips | Refashion Nation

  4. Pingback: Thoughts on fatshion and revolution | Tutus And Tiny Hats

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