Katie: living a healthy, ethical, sustainable lifestyle

ethical fashion

There's a lot of reasons that you want to be Katie's bff. She's incredibly hospitable and kind, owns quite possibly the fluffiest pup you'll ever see, and thoughtfully blogs inspiring content on Warmth & Whimsy. The list goes on, but right now you get to hear from Katie herself about her transition to a more thoughtful closet...

Share a little about your personal background...

I was born and raised in Portland, went to college about 45 minutes from my hometown, and have now nestled into a suburb about 15 minutes from my parents. So I think it’s safe to say I’m a bit of a homebody (ha). I married my best friend two years ago and we’ve expanded our family to include a little fluff ball dog named Steven.

I work in special education, particularly with kids with Autism, and just started grad school this month! I’m working towards my MAT and ideally would like to teach fifth grade. 

What does a typical day look like for you?

ethical style

My mornings usually start early despite not actually being a morning person. I don’t like the feeling of being rushed though so I try and wake up an hour and a half or so before I have to leave. Get in some breakfast, coffee, read a little, wake up. Then it’s off to work until 4.

Peter and I have made making dinner together a priority, so we will do that when we get home. On the weekends we like to catch up with friends, take the dog to the park, read, blog, church. We are both pretty introverted so we like to spend time at home or doing quiet things (ha). 

What prompted you to start shopping ethically?

I made the decision to start shopping ethically about six months ago after watching the documentary The True Cost. It’s pretty nuts that one film can change your whole lifestyle but it’s so true! I think anyone who has seen it can resonate with how impactful it is. I’m also pretty into the whole sustainability movement in general (organic food, natural beauty, zero waste living, etc.) so it was kind of a no brainer once I learned about the damaging effects of fast fashion. I was pretty overwhelmed by it all at first, but there are some wonderful resources on how to get started and sustain the lifestyle change- like your blog!

ethical style

Describe your personal style...

I prefer pieces that are simple and classy. But I also love cozy. If I could wear jeans and a sweater everyday I would. Partially because I think it’s a great look, but also because I’m always cold and have to find a way to be both warm and presentable (ha!). But even before my whole capsule wardrobe transition I preferred simple colors- blacks, white, gray, navy. Some might think that’s boring but I mean you can’t go wrong with neutrals!  I find that neutrals are also easy to mix and match, so it works well with my simplified closet. 

Do you have any favorite brands to support?

My favorite companies are the ones that create ethically made items, but that also do a little something extra. I bought this bag from a company called FashionAble and they employ women who have overcome tough circumstances in life, like addiction. Which is so neat! I also love Everlane because they are more affordable and have such a huge selection. But having only transitioned a few months ago, I’m still in the process of downsizing my closet, meaning I haven’t done a ton of buying yet. However, I love perusing the “for her” section of your blog! My next in line purchase is a dress from Conscious Clothing. I love that they use organic linen!

What are the biggest obstacles you've had to overcome in your quest to dress ethically?

Ethically made items are definitely more expensive, but I’ve found that if you’re buying less, it pretty much evens out budget wise. I’ve also found that capping the number of clothes in my closet really helps with overspending. I won’t buy something unless I give something else away, so that’s been a good way to be conscious about my spending.

Tell us more about your process of simplifying your closet this year...

It has been such a wonderful experience! When I started the whole process, my closet was pretty much overflowing with clothes, and I was still waking up in the morning feeling like I had ‘nothing to wear’. Which is just ridiculous! Then I started getting really interested in the whole capsule wardrobe idea and after reading about how much people loved it, I decided to give it a shot.

The cleaning out part was tough, because it really forced me to look at my weird attachment to stuff, but now that it’s done I feel so much better. I don’t do the traditional 31 piece capsule, just because I didn’t want to give away items if I liked them just to meet the ‘capsule number’. But I’m to the point where I can wake up, grab anything in the closet, and feel content. It takes me about five seconds to get ready in the morning because I really like everything in there, which is great! 

ethical fashion

What's been the most rewarding aspect of all of this?

I’m a big believer of the “every dollar you spend casts a vote” motto. When you buy organic food, it perpetuates the demand of organics. When you buy ethically made clothing, it validates ethical production. It’s so rewarding to feel like I’m making a difference, no matter how small.

Can you offer any advice for someone considering making the switch to shopping ethically? 

I think starting slow is key. It can be extremely overwhelming to make such a big lifestyle change but it isn’t something that needs to happen all at once. It’s okay to work your way into it. Try to not get caught up in the guilt. That’s just counterproductive!  Also, try to not be too intimidated by the price tag. If you’re mindful about how you’re spending, and buying less, it all evens out in the long run. Plus, quality items last longer. So you don’t need to replace them as often! 

Katie has so many wonderful insights for a healthy, ethical, sustainable lifestyle.

Go check out Warmth & Whimsy for a major dose of practical inspiration!

ethical fashion