Sudara Clothing – ethically made and helps women #GiftGuide

If you are anything like me, you like to shop as ethically as possible. Most companies and stores don’t give a fig about you, me, the environment, or anything other then profit. So, when you know brands that give a darn, they are ones you tend to do your shopping with.

give back

I’ve recently discovered Sudara. This brand came about because of a desire to help women escape sex trafficking in India.  12 years ago, Sudara partnered with a sewing center in India and taught six women how to sew a pattern for pants. The previous year,  founder, Shannon Keith, had returned from a trip to India and heard story after story of women who were sold into sex slavery. She also heard stories of women who were at a high risk of being forced into the sex trade by their families or picked up off the streets by local pimps. The reasons they were at a high risk? Because they lacked an education or the resources or the skills to, truly, have a choice.

She returned home from that trip and formed a small team of family and friends. They have since made 10 sewing centers and hundreds of women have found both freedom and living wage employment.

The pants are awesome. Comfortable, easy to wash and wear, pretty, and unique. The are no sacrifice to wear, and it’s great knowing that my purchase is helping other women and supporting a company that does good in the world.

They also are ethically and sustainability made for the good of the environment as well. They are a Certified B Corps, which means they meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability, and aspire to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems. So- you know. A good company to buy from. The good guys.

ethically made clothing

Sudara Brand Description:

  • Sudara is a lifestyle brand that creates jobs for women in India who are at the highest risk or survivors of human trafficking. They pay living wages and provide access to counseling, medical care and resources that empower women to create their own self-sustaining future.

  • Every pair of these Sudara Punjammies are made through living-wage employment by women in India who are at the highest risk or survivors of sex trafficking. Every purchase is an investment in Sudara’s freedom-filled work and empowers women who are working to forge a new life for themselves and their children.

  • Sudara offers beautiful and comfortable clothing with a freedom-filled purpose. Their women’s pajama pants, loungewear and robes are ethically-made in India through living-wage employment programs. Every purchase is helping empower women in India with the resources and skills they need to create a better life for themselves and their family.

Keep up with Sudara on social media as well- sudara.org  facebook  twitter  instagram

Gifts for the Active Men in Your Life #GiftGuide

If you are anything like us, you want to be active and outside as much as possible. Colder weather complicates things, but not to worry. You can get outdoors and enjoy your vitamin D year round, just bundle up a bit. Check out these functional and eco friendly cool-weather options we are loving right now- they would be perfect for the active men in your life this holiday season.

eco friendly clothing

Stopping off at Trader Joe’s on the way home- active wear that is great as any wear

The perfect slip on shoe for indoors or out, the Original Stegmann is not only comfortable, but also functional. They are great for camping, running errands, and everything in between. They have fantastic arch and toe support, so if you have aching feet, issues like Plantar Fasciitis, or a bad back, these might be worth considering. They have free shipping and exchanges, so nothing to lose. Made with a Tyrolian & Merino wool blend into a single piece, it is then paired with an anatomically contoured cork sole that is balanced for both arch and metatarsal support. These shoes have a gentle slope which helps reduce ankle and back pain as well. These shoes as a whole are designed for comfort, so if that’s your thing- and honestly, whose isn’t- check them out at https://www.stegmannusa.com . Prices vary.

A brand we have really fallen in love with over here is Mountain Khakis. Not only are the products soft and durable, but the environmentally friendly fabrics and practices have completely won us over.  Take for example the Rainmaker Jacket. It’s all sorts of wet-proof (rain, snow, mud, etc), and it’s strechy as well. It’s also warmer then some raincoats, without being swelteringly-sticky-hot like so many can be. A nice medium-to lightweight, and easily layered. It has a removable hood, with welded seams and snap-closed patch pockets.  It has a relaxed fit and hits about the hip area. Best part? The eco-friendliness of this jacket. Polyurethane is a greener alternative to the traditional raincoat’s vinyl. It’s also more durable and is better for the environment in long term care and use. Polyurethane does not require the chemicals used to soften vinyl in the manufacturing process, and is eventually biodegradable, where as PVC (vinyl) never breaks down, and is usually incinerated.  This leaches toxins into landfills and emits carcinogenic dioxin into the air. Any reason to choose PVC over PU? Not in my book. Check out https://www.mountainkhakis.com for your jacket, available in several colors, for $139.

Your new go-to sweatshirt will be the Poker Flats Pullover, which is soft and cuddly, perfect for chilly nights.  Named for the inspiring Teton National Park, this namesake sweatshirt is also inspiring. With it’s certified recycled fleece (which is made using sustainable REPREVE® technology) fabric, each garment reuses about 25 plastic bottles in it’s creation. Half zip, relaxed fit  with a high collar that can be folded down, it also has a snap chest pocket and thumb thumb loops. It comes in two shades- one is several shades of blues and greens, the other is a deep red with shades of grey. Get yours at https://www.mountainkhakis.com for $85

The Old Faithful Pants are just that. The most comfortable winter all-around pants we’ve found in ages, we find ourselves living in these. As in, I’ve had to peel them off my partner to wash them, he doesn’t want to part with them that long (like when you have to wrestle that dress or much loved t-shirt off your toddler, and you need to promise to put it right into the wash, they can have it right back- promise!) I jest, but not much. Known also as the “campfire pant”, these  pants are made with recycled sweaters. They are both sweatpants and pants, with a drawstring waistband as well as a zippered fly. Yes, multiple pockets. The ribbed waistband and cuffs at the ankles keep the pants where you want them, and comfortably so. (Are you seeing that the themes here are comfort and function? Because seriously so.) Thicker then most sweatpants, but not sweaty-thick- just warm. The legs are slim fit, which surprised and weirded us out for a hot second, but only about one. Got used to them in no time, and they have become, as mentioned, our very favorites. These come in “oatmeal and black”, but seem really more like light grey and dark grey to the novice eye. $90 at https://www.mountainkhakis.com

5 Stylish Outfits for a Night out in a New Town

When you plan for a vacation or a city break in a new town, all travel specialists tell you to travel light and pack comfortable clothes, as you will have plenty of sightseeing and walking to do. However, visiting a new town also means checking out the nightlife scene. Whether you want to go out to dinner in an interesting restaurant, attend a show, have some drinks in a funky place with your friends, or go to a high-class event, you should be prepared. Put your sneakers and comfortable T-shirt aside tonight, as we will offer you five stylish outfit ideas you can try for a splendid night out in a new town!

Beautiful fashionable woman standing on the city street. Sepia.

1. The Timeless Black Dress with a Twist

The little black dress goes everywhere and matches any occasion you can think of. You can style it down for a night of bar hopping with friends by wearing a simple denim jacket and some boots. On the contrary, if you want to style it up and give it a fancy, glamorous flair, pair it with a fancy jacket or scarf, a statement pendant necklace and some stylish sunglasses.

For a city-break-style boho, laidback look, throw a wavy soft poncho over it. For a more composed, demure, and killer look, get yourself a fitted jacket in a contrasting color and do not forget your heels or platforms. Some cities are a mix of classic and new, old grace and modern vibrations (like Florence, Budapest or London). For such cities, the little black dress with twists and touch-ups is the perfect outfit that mixes style with comfort.

A black dress in a medium length is your perfect travel companion whether you want to go to a show or spend your evening at an art gallery opening. Keep in mind that accessories are your best allies.

2. The Cute Retro Look with Pearls

Some cities and some occasions almost beg you to go for a retro-chic look with a glamorous flair and funky side to it. We are thinking about Paris, Rome, or Madrid even. You will not look out of place sporting the timeless polka dot dress in a vibrant color combination (red and white, yellow and black, blue and black, and so on). Retro fashion is trendier than ever these days so you can ride that wave by mixing some classics.

When it comes to stylish retro, you can go only one way: the path of pearls. Pearls received a fresh take and some interesting tunings as of late, becoming the go-to gems for all women with a deep sense of style.

You might feel reluctant in taking your precious pearl jewelry on a trip, but keep this in mind: the ideal pearl earrings are button earrings or drop earrings. In other words, they are small, discrete, and glamorous. You can carry them safely with you and wear them with your retro outfit at any party or event.

If you want to sport a full retro attire, you should also bring along your pearl necklace, your tiny fancy gloves, and a hairpin to style up your retro updo.

fashion studio photo of gorgeous young woman with blond curly hair wears elegant blouse and jeans,holding a big bag in hands

3. The Almighty Denim Jeans with Statement Pieces

If you are the practical type of girl who does not want to stuff her luggage with half her wardrobe just in case she needs something interesting to wear, you can always count on your jeans. Bring along your favorite dark blue pair, as they will get you out of any “what to wear” dilemma. You can keep jeans fancy yet casual by pairing them with a monochrome tank top (white works quite well), a pair of fancy oxfords, an oversized tote bag and a statement necklace.

When you wear jeans and statement jewelry, make sure you manage to balance the colors and the proportions. For a casual night out (for cinema, drinks, street food tasting, clubs, and parties), you can rely on your outfit to be comfortable, cute, and glamorous within some limits.

Some occasions, however, require a bit of styling up. You can wear your jeans with heels and look effortlessly stunning. Make sure you pump up the “volume” by adding some stacked bracelets to balance the statement necklace you already packed.

4. The Red-Based Outfit with Summer Written all Over it

Some urban environments have a style and a flair of their own. Summer resorts and beach cities all share a laidback attitude. Nothing speaks about the coolest summer vacation or city break of your life than some red clothes. A red slouchy silky top can take you to a fancy restaurant just as it can take you to a beach party. Your look will depend on what you pair with red.

For a casual look, pick a pair of short jeans, flat sandals, and colored accessories. For a more stylish look, you can go for a pair of white trousers, platform sandals, and an oversized pair of sunglasses, a hat, and stacked bracelets.

Nothing says summer fun better than red clothes and you should bring along some red tops or even a dress in your luggage.

5. The Classic Summer Dress with Denim

No matter where you go on vacation this year, a flowery summer dress is a must-have. You can pick a romantic long, slouchy summer dress for beach resorts or a mini flowery dress for urban environments. What you need to bring along is your denim jacket or vest. The flower-denim combination is a casual one, but it works with all possible occasions.

For a laidback night out, pick up your flowery dress, denim vest, and sneakers and go have fun in the city. If you want to party in a club or attend a show, make sure you have a pair of nude high heels or platforms, a dress, a fitted denim jacket, and some cool bracelets to go.

What are your favorite vacation/city-break outfits when you want to spend a cool night out in a different city? Do you have other suggestions for us?

5 Types of Wrinkle Free Fabrics

Fabrics that do not need ironing can be a lifesaver for anyone. Whether you are a mom who wants to skip the ironing or a savvy traveler who wants unwrinkled clothes wherever you go, wrinkle free fabric will be an essential thing for you.

Wrinkle free fabrics are those that remain smooth even after washing and drying. These fabrics can withstand any rigorous round in your washing machine and still come out looking smooth after drying. Keep yourself knowledgeable when it comes to these types of fabrics, so you know what to look for. Here are some of them:

  • Nylon. This fabric type is known for its smoothness and high strength while being lightweight. Nylon is often used for ropes, parachutes, fishing nets, and paracords – a testament to its strength and durability. It is also used as material for hosiery, swimwear, activewear, rainwear, and lingerie. It is highly durable, stretchable, and holds their shape/tensile strength well even with age.
  • Polyester. A very popular type of fabric, polyester is extremely strong and very durable. It can resistant to stretching, shrinking, abrasion, mildew, wrinkles, and most chemicals. Polyester fibers and fabrics have a wide range of uses such as in car tire reinforcements, conveyor belts, seat belts, upholstery padding, pillows, and comforters. It is also used for clothing, usually for activewear and performance-wear. It is also used as faux leather and imitation silk. It is a synthetic material and some people avoid wearing polyester because some of its components are said to may cause cancer.
  • Lycra. Another synthetic fiber, Lycra is very light, exceptionally elastic, and sheer, making it a great for clothing such as costume wear, dancewear, activewear, and swimwear. It is also the material used for dance belts, orthopaedic braces, socks, tights, wetsuits, triathlon suits, compression garments, bras, surgical hose, and microbead pillows.
  • Cotton. This is the most popular type of fabric used for clothing and although it is not exactly known for being wrinkle free, there are two ways to make cotton fabric that is wrinkle free. The first one is by treating the cotton with substances or chemicals that lock the bonds in the cotton material in place. However, this process makes the fabric brittle. Aside from this, the substance used produces amounts of formaldehyde, making it a not so health-friendly option. The other way of making wrinkle free cotton fabrics is to blend cotton with another material. The usual cotton blends used for this poly-cotton blends and nylon-cotton blends. Some of the best wrinkle free sheets are made of cotton blended with either polyester or sometimes, Lycra.
  • Microfiber. This synthetic fiber contains a blend of different materials which includes polyester. In fact, some would say that microfiber IS polyester, but when it comes to fabric, they have a big difference. Microfiber, as the name suggests, have fibers that are much, much smaller than that of polyester. This helps it become soft, tough, and good at absorbing. Some uses of microfiber are for clothing such as athletic wear, undergarments, skirts, jackets, and swimwear. It is also used for bathrobes, towels, wallets, coin purses, bags, and shoes. They are also used for bedsheets, tablecloths, and other household textile.

Dressing For Fall Travel

No matter where your travels take you this season, we have some great options to keep you warm, dry, and comfortable.

Now that it’s Autumn (and it’s finally cooled off), you want to make sure you have some layers available. One of my current go-to’s has been Dare 2b‘s Women’s Loveline II Core Stretch, a pull over the head, half zip sweatshirt. It’s not your mom’s sweatshirt, however- soft, warm, lined inside with a quick drying/water repelling outside, it’s pretty tough as well as functional. It comes in several color options, and is easy to care for as well. The price is right at $22, and it’s easy to pair with your running gear or toss on with jeans etc. The more options, the better, and it’s just the right weight for the fall season or to layer under your clothing as it gets colder.

Craghoppers has comfortable clothing for the entire family that protects against UV rays, insect bites, and even digital theft. No matter if you are out in the woods, in a national park, or on the city streets, these clothes are easy to wear, match, and keep you protected on all sorts of levels.  The Nosilife Pro Trousers for women havd a slim fit, but not too slim, with several pockets that zip closed to keep your valuables safe. The fabric is soft and quick drying, so quick showers or muddy patches won’t be an issue. They are also generously cut around the ankle for boots should you want to wear them.  The long sleeve NosliLife Erin Long Sleeve Shirt is breathable and quick drying as well, and the entire NosiLife collection is also insect bite repellent. Who needs all the bites that so often accompany time in the great outdoors? Not you, that’s for sure. Prices vary, visit https://www.craghoppers.com/us/

Another option to layer while keeping warm and cuddly would be the Hazelton Half Zip. So soft, and available in three very pretty colors, it’s both lightweight and durable, so it’s great by itself or as a top or middle layer. It’s a great jogger, but I can see using it underneath a ski parka when it’s time to hit the slopes- I’m really loving the feel of this one. It’s easy to wash and wear, though I personally prefer to hang it to dry so it stays extra fluffy as long as possible.  Pick yours up at https://www.craghoppers.com/us/hazelton-half-zip-bluebell/

As for fall footwear, I’m loving the Icebug Metro BUGrip for hiking. They are very comfortable, and fantastic for all kinds of weather. They have amazing soles- they grip is fantastic, and will help keep you on whatever trail you find yourself on. The Icebugs are great for keeping your feet warm and dry as well- which is always a good thing, but especially now with the weather cooling down. Nothing like cold, wet feet to ruin a hike.  Easy pull on and off, comfortable and tough with studded running shoe soles, these boots have it all. I really enjoy them, and think you will as well. $189 and worth every cent.

 

Top Women’s Fashion Trends For Fall

When you’re a busy mom, you probably don’t have time to scour the pages of Vogue for the latest trends, and even if you do, they might not necessarily be realistic for your life.

With that being said, it is fun to feel like you’re on-trend at least some of the time as a mom, so below is a brief rundown of the top fashion trends for fall 2017. They’re some of the trends that will actually work for real women’s lifestyles, rather than the ones that look like they’re exclusively reserved for the catwalk.

Statement Glasses

A lot of us moms need glasses for one reason another, whether it’s for working on our computers long hours, or just for general vision correction.

Regardless of why you need them, let them be your must-have fall accessory. Shop retailers like Glasses Gallery to find some of the best trends that will completely change even the simplest of outfits. Some of our favorite trends right now include round frames, tortoise shell patterns, and unisex glasses.

Bright-Colored Faux Fur

Most of us probably aren’t heading to school pickup wearing real fur, both out of principle and because of the price, but luckily there are some great faux fur options that are budget-friendly and lots of fun to experiment with as the weather cools.

This season, go for bold colors such as bright greens and pinks. A fur vest is always fun to add to an outfit, particularly if you want to infuse some color.

Cold-Weather Florals

When we think of floral patterns we probably generally think of wearing them in the warmer weather months, but new trends are introducing them in cold-weather friendly options. Bright and large-print florals are particularly popular on sheer blouses and on top of dark colors like black.

Denim on Denim

Did you think we’d come back to a point where denim-on-denim was such a trend? But, here we are, and it is.

Denim on denim was seen on many runways for Fall 2017, and it’s great for moms because you can go casual, simple, and of course, denim is durable and can stand up to a busy life. If you’re not sure you’re comfortable with denim-on-denim you can always do a nice denim button-up shirt with a pair of fun-colored pants for fall.

Joggers

There might be no trend that moms who value comfort and functionality will like quite as much as this one: joggers. Joggers are somewhat of a European-inspired pant trend, and it refers to pants with a looser and more relaxed fit, along with a cinched ankle and often a drawstring waist. Joggers are cute and chic, but also comfortable and versatile, so what more can you ask for?

Pair them with some of the season’s trendiest sneakers, and you’re ready for whatever your day might throw at you.

Finally, we love slip-on mules right now as well. They’re the perfect shoe for fall weather, you can slip them on in a hurry, and they work well in casual or dressier situations.

Travel Light With These Easy To Pack Products

Headed out for a weekend, or perhaps longer? With all the restrictions on how much you are allowed to pack (or even how much space you might have in your own car or luggage), it’s best to pack light, and with versatile pieces.  These are a few of our current favorites.

Icebug, one of my personal favorites in shoes and boots that can hold up and take quite the beating, has recently put out a new style of sneaker. While it would be more convenient and easy if it had a name with letters that formed, perhaps, a word or two, these are found by their call number, which is DTS3 RB9X GTX. I know.

However, they are super cool shoes, and wildly comfortable. I love the color and the style- it’s nice to wear shoes that are nice looking, lets be honest. But even better, they are soft, supportive, and really hold up. They deal with mud, slush, and rain with no problems at all, and your feet stay dry. The Icebugs have done me equally well hiking, running, going to the gym, and running random errands around town. Something else I love? They have this cool “Boa lacing system” that lets you slip your feet in, then just twist the knob (best way to describe it) on the front tongue until you like the way it fits. Pull it straight back to release- this makes on and off at the airport (or wherever) fast and easy.

These are waterproof (don’t go scuba diving in them, but in all sorts of weather your feet stay dry) and have soft padding in the collar and tongue, as well as ergonomic soles. These tend to run small, order up as suggested by the website. You can order at https://us-shop.icebug.com for about $180.

For workout to headed out, check out Nuu-Muu. They make this item they call the original “exercise-and-everything-else” dress. Not only is it good to wear from the gym to the PTA meeting (or wherever life is taking you today), but the colors are both vibrant and beautiful, and there are quite a few options available.

Designed to flatter women’s bodies and made from fabric that feels as good as it looks, the classic Nuu-Muu is a go-to for exercise, travel and life. Nuu-Muu does what you do, beautifully. Designed to cover most sports bras completely and with nothing built in for maximum versatility. Sewn in the U.S.A. (every dress, every time).  Wear it alone or with leggings or shorts for more coverage (or for class), and that also makes it even easier to transition. It looks great either way.  In sizes “0” to 3LX and in child sizes as well, prices vary depending on item. You can pick yours out at https://nuu-muu.com

Bermuda Sands is a brand that is new to me, and has options for both men and women, and have just about anything you could want to pick up for that quick summer getaway. Specializing in active and leisure sports wear (and would be equally at home at backyard or office party barbecues), the clothing is both super soft and lightweight. This is not just extra comfy, but also easy to pack and resistant to wrinkles. From men’s polos to women’s tanks and skirts, you can make outfits of your choosing, or pick up a few new items to liven up your summer wardrobe. Look good, feel great, and again- super easy to travel in and pack.  Visit https://www.bermudasandsapparel.com/ for options. Prices vary by item.

Looking for something to pack it all up in? I’m really liking the ease of the Expanse Wheeled Tote from Eagle Creek. Perfect for a short jaunt or weekend trip, or to use as your carry on, it’s easy to wheel around (as the name suggests) and is easy to organize. It has quite a few pockets for storage as well as to make it easy to find what you are looking for quickly- a function we all will like.

Need something bigger, but still need something sturdy that can take a tumble? The Expanse  Converitble 29 (same company) gives you more room, and gives you the option to use it as a wheeled bag OR as a travel backpack. I like options and when you can use things in multiple ways- more bang for your buck, more uses, just more.  You get all the ease of access of a duffel bag, the roominess and wheeled maneuverability of a large suitcase, as well easy (internal) organization pockets and the option to use as a backpack.

For these and more bag/suitcase options, head to http://www.eaglecreek.com/ Prices vary.

Kids’ Clothes Don’t Have To Cost You A Fortune

Whether it’s back-to-school time or you’re in the run-up to summer, your kids need clothes. With the crazy speed at which young kids grow, you need to be smart with your money when it’s time to hit some department stores again. If you know you’ve spent too much on children’s clothes in the past, here are some handy tips to make it less of a strain on your budget…

Stay Away from Collections

A lot of kids’ clothing stores will group all their collections right at the entrance of the store, where you can easily see all the pieces in one spot, and get tempted into a knee-jerk impulse-buy. Yes, those tops, skirts, along with the matching shoes and accessories might look adorable on the mannequins. However, your child really doesn’t care how well the different pieces of their outfit mesh together. If you see a pair of pants that you have to see on your child, then go ahead and pick them up. However, don’t get looped in and buy everything else in the collection. Try to bypass the new collections, and head to the back of the store, where you’ll find all the affordable clearance items.

Start Couponing

A lot of parents think that couponing has more popularity than it’s worth, and all those offers you come across are only there to get you in the store. Sure, businesses get on couponing schemes as a marketing ploy, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t save a huge amount through taking advantage of what’s on offer. Head over to a site like DontPayFull.com, and you’ll see a range of discount codes for popular department stores and kids’ clothing brands. These couponing sites go through their ups and downs, but it’s always worth having a look before you head out and start shopping.

Plan Ahead

Department stores start to close out jackets, sweaters and other cold weather gear once the spring range comes out. Obviously though, this doesn’t mean that your kids aren’t going to need winter gear in a matter of months. Start checking out more end-of-season sales, and save money ahead of when your kids actually need to change their wardrobe. Make a point of buying seasonal clothes that are just a touch large for your kids. This way, they can wear a certain item for a month or two, then store it away until the winter rolls around again. By leaving your kids room to grow, you’ll be able to go that much longer without having to buy more clothes.

Share the Basics

One of the great things about having young kids is that they can share a lot of their clothes. Of course, your son might not be crazy about the idea of wearing a Frozen shirt, or your daughter a Star Wars one, but when it comes to the basics, kids can share all kinds of items. Plain snow pants, hoodies, jackets and gloves are all good items for this, and will save you having to buy two sets of everything for your kids. The next time you’re shopping, try not to get a theme on everything, and look for clothes in neutral colors like black, gray and brown. Graphics of your kids’ favorite cartoon characters can add a ridiculous amount to an otherwise affordable piece of clothing, so keep sharing in mind on your shopping trip.

Think Work and Play

There’s a big difference between what your kids should be wearing to school and what they can use for play time. Mainly, the distinctions you should be worrying about are price and quality. When you’re at the start of summer, and your kids have got months ahead of riding bikes, running around parks, and so on, target cheap, low-quality clothes. There are usually great deals on around this time that allow you to buy a few shirts at a bundle price, along with discounted graphics tees, sweat pants, shorts and flip-flops.

Sell their Old Clothes

Baby onesies can make a nice memento, but as your kids grow out of their clothes at a ridiculous rate, you’ll need some way of getting rid of them. Why not get some of your money back by selling them at a garage sale? Just like you, other parents are going to want to save as much money as possible on clothes for their growing kids. Gently used shirts, pants, and shoes are all good items for a garage sale, and the little money you’ll make back can make your next shop that much cheaper.