Shopping Tips: How to Shop for Trench Coats?

Among many outerwear options, trench coats are my favorite because they are suitable for many occasions. Unlike other classic outerwear, like say, leather jackets or blazers, you can wear a trench coat to both professional and casual places.

When you are shopping for a trench coat, there are many sustainable options that are made ethically:

Reformation
Everlane
Stella McCartney
Burberry

4 Things to Consider Before Buying A Trench Coat

Classic trench coats usually come with a double-breasted design and a centered belt. However, brands do make different variations by tweaking these 4 features.  Before buying your first trench coat, consider these 4 characterisitics to find one that suits your needs.

Color:

The classic colors are usually beige and black.  All other color variations range from neutral colors such as grey and navy to wild colors such as teal and red.  If you are buying your first trench coat, stick with beige because I found black hard to wear in a casual situation.  The beige color comes in many different shades. The rule of thumb is to find a shade with the most contrast against your skin tone. In other words, pick a darker shade (Burberry calls it ‘Honey’) for fair skin, while a lighter shade (Burberry calls it ‘Stone’) for dark skin.

Fit:

All classic trench coats must fit well around the shoulder area.  Find one with shoulder seams that land right on the shoulder outer edge. The sleeves area should have enough room to allow you to move freely.

Now once you find a trench coat that fits your shoulder area, you will want to button up the trench coat and tie up the belt to see how roomy you want the middle area to feel.  To maximize the use of your trench coat, find one that is big enough to fit a thin sweater underneath but not too roomy for a summer dress. Ideally, you want to be able to cinch your waist with the belt.

Length:

You can find short trench coats that hit above your hips and long ones that hit the floor. The classic trench coat length should hit 2-3 inches above your knees.  For your first trench coat, I recommend you to stick with a length that land below your hip and above your knees.

Material:

You can find trench coats in almost all kinds of materials: leather, lace, and silk, etc.  However, when trench coats were originally invented, they were meant to be durable and travel-friendly.  Classic trench coats are made with cotton laced with a coating that is resistant to water and wind.

styles for thought Burberry trench

styles for thought Burberry trench

styles for thought Burberry trench

styles for thought Burberry trench

Hope you find this post helpful! You can see another post here to see how I styled this Everlane trench coat.

Smile and style on~

SK


Outfit Information:

Trench :: Burberry (The Sandringham)

Sweater :: Everlane

Skirt :: Zara (Super old)

Tights :: JCrew (But I love this warmer merino wool version)

Bootie :: TOD’s

Where to Buy Sustainable Fashion: 5 Sustainable Fashion Christmas Gift Ideas in 2016

Today, I want to share some sustainable fashion Christmas gifts ideas.  I personally prefer experience-focused gifts such as skydiving or a road trip, but many people prefer physical gifts. If your or your loved one’s primary love language is gifts (Who else here read ‘5 languages of love’? It’s a great book on relationship!), I hope you will find this gift list helpful!

Mara Hoffman Green Leaf Romper

To make this list easier to read, I will first list out gender-neutral ideas, then female-focused gift ideas, and finally super extravagant (expensive) gift ideas.

Mara Hoffman Green Leaf Romper

Puffy Jackets

I love Patagonia puffy jackets. Not only are they versatile and warm, they are super travel-friendly and sustainable!

For men:

Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket in Black for Men             Patagonia mens Down Sweater Vest 84622-NBRR_S - Navy Blue w/Ramble Red                

For women:

                         

Cashmere Sweaters

I love cashmere sweaters because they are so soft.  If you take good care of them (aka, only dry-clean them once every season), they practically last for a life time.

Here are my favorite cashmere sweaters:

Men:

Women:

Leather Goods

Ethical leather goods are not cheap, but if you take good care of them, their cost per wear gets cheaper.

Here are my favorite leather goods that are ethically made by Gardendal: http://gardendal.se/shop-bags.html

Gardendal Medium Sized Leather ToteGardendal Medium Sized Leather Tote

Heels

These designer heels are my personal favorite, and they are ON SALE!!!(Well, my piggy bank is still too small. LOL)

I don’t think designer brands are sustainable, but I tend to believe they are ethically made as designer shoes are usually hand-made in Italy by a team of highly-skilled artisans. If you know more information about this, please tell me more!

This list can seriously go forever, but let me stop here with one last closet staple that I think everyone should own at least one:

Pea Coats

These are some winter coats from Stella McCartney that I personally love!

Thank you so much for reading! I really hope you find this list helpful. Lastly, happy holidays! 🙂

Mara Hoffman Green Leaf Romper

Smile and styles on!

SK

Style Advice: 19 Different Ways to Sell, Recycle, and Donate Old Clothes

To me, building a minimalist wardrobe is just a way to gain more freedom.  Freedom from worrying about what to wear next, and freedom from mindless consumerism. Over the past 5 months, I successfully decluttered my closet and shrunk its size by at least 60%.  I wanted to share 21 different ways to sell, recycle and donate old clothes, so that you can make the most out of your old clothes! 

Before diving in, let’s set a realistic expectation: Clothes do NOT have any resale values.   Some may say that luxury brands usually have good resale values.  But that’s not the case for me. I was selling this classic Chanel le Boy, but the best quote I got was 80% of the original price tag. Given how expensive a Chanel purse is, I would have still lost $1000+.

Now that you are well prepared for what you may get from selling clothes, let’s discuss what I have tried so far.

Faithful the Brand Oversized Cable Sweater by Styles For Thought

SELLING

1. E-Bay

http://www.ebay.com/

What is it good for?

Luxury items, i.e. a Chanel Purse, etc.  

Is it risky?

Very risky. Frauds happen all the time on E-bay. Some sellers receive counterfeit returns and never get their money back because PayPal always refunds the consumer regardless of the seller’s return policy.

How easy is it?

It’s not easy because you need to have good ratings and reviews in order to successfully sell any used luxury items at a good price. In addition, you spend a lot of time answering buyers’ questions to make sure they are comfortable buying things from you.

How long does it take?

The quickest turnaround is 10 days. Typically, a bidding session ends in one week. Assuming you get a buyer within the first week of bidding and the buyer doesn’t return your item, the shortest turnaround time to get your money back is 10 days: 1 week of bidding + Overnight Shipping + PayPal processing time (2-3 Business days).

What advantage does it have?

Even though selling on E-Bay requires a lot of energy and work, you do get the most $$ from E-Bay compared to other selling methods. If you decide to go this route, I highly suggest you to research more to avoid being scammed. 

What was my resale price?

When I was trying to sell the Chanel Boy, the best quote I got was 80% of the original price.

2. Tradesy

https://www.tradesy.com/

What is it good for?

Luxury items.

How risky is it?

Very little to no Risk. Because you are selling it directly to Tradesy, or you are letting Tradesy handle all the returns so you don’t have to worry about buyers returning a counterfeit product. 

How easy is it?

It depends on how you sell it. There are two options: 1) Sell it directly to Tradesy and 2) Sell it yourself on Tradesy. Selling it directly to Tradesy means that you get less $$. For the Chanel Boy I was trying to sell, I got quoted 60% of the original price tag. But a big advantage is that you get paid out instantly, and all shipping is handled by Tradesy. I also heard that Tradesy pays you far more than any other online and physical consignment stores. You have to pay Tradesy 9% of commission fees if you want to get paid with Tradesy credits, and 14.9% of commission fees if you want to get cash back.

What advantage does it have?

Easy, convenient and fast.  I don’t think you get the most $$ back using Tradesy, but overall, I highly recommend Tradesy for a hassle free selling experience.

3. ThredUp 

https://www.thredup.com

What is it good for? 

Mid-ranged priced clothes in excellent conditions. 

How easy is it?

It’s very easy, but the process is painfully long.  To sell the clothes, you need to first ask ThredUp to mail you a Clean Out kit (aka, a giant plastic bag).  Once you receive the bag, you stock it up with old clothes that are in pristine conditions.  ThredUp examines and purchases some clothes from you, and helps you donate/recycle the remaining clothes they do not want to purchase. 

My experience?

I think buying from ThredUp is a great alternative to thrift stores, but I will not recommend selling it to ThredUp because the payout is very low, the process is very long and they are very picky with clothes.  Just to get a Clean Out kit, it took me 9 days to receive it. After that, it took up to 3 weeks for ThredUp to give me quotes and credits. While shipping/returning is free, their pay-out is extremely low.  I got less than $15 for a brand new cocktail dress from J Crew.  I was very turned off by the low price, and I would much rather gift it to a friend. 

4. Material World 

https://www.materialworld.co

What is it good for? 

Designer clothes in excellent condition. 

How easy is it?

Material World is essentially ThredUp for designer clothes.  The process is very easy but quite long.  

My experience?

I think selling to Material World is better than any physical consignment stores because of the convenience.  However, I personally got a bad quote for a pair of almost brand new Stuart Weitzman (only wore less than 5 times).  They were retailed at $160 at the time I was selling them, but I got quoted for $27. That’s less than 17% pay out.  The #1 lesson I learned from selling old clothes: clothes are worthless.  With that said, I also tried a couple other options: 

5. Posh Mark

https://poshmark.com

How does it work?

It’s essentially another E-bay, but specifically for old clothes.

My experience?

Contrary to this post on Refinery29 where the author claimed she made $100K from PoshMark, I got $0. I was trying to sell the same pair of Stuart Weitzman that I sold to Material World, hoping that I would get a better price (USD$86), but the truth is… I never got contacted.  LOL!

My thoughts?

What I think PoshMark is good for is sizzling hot trendy clothes that are sold out anywhere else.  I have seen some successful sellers on this platform, and majority of their clothes are brand new clothes that are already sold out anywhere else. I suspect that people ‘flip’ clothes on PoshMark to make $$, but to me, it’s a risky business model because clothes are so replaceable and worthless.

6. Reddit

Subreddit – FemaleFashionAdvice

How does it work?

You post pictures of the clothes along with the price in a conversation thread (link above). The rest is a waiting game.

My experience?

I never got contacted 🙁

7. Buffalo Exchange 

Pretty self-explanatory!

8. Grailed

This is an online consignment store for second hand designer clothes!

9. Depop

Another online consignment store!

10. Cross Roads Tradings & Other Local Consignments

Faithful the Brand Oversized Cable Sweater by Styles For Thought

RECYCLING

Now how to recycle your old clothes?

11. Gift them to friends.

Invite your girlfriends over and have them take your old clothes before you donate them!

12. Make a rug with your old T-shirts.

Back in college, I had an affair with free baggy T-shirts that were neither soft nor cute. That’s very out of character and un-stylish of me, and I purely blamed this habit on my engineering friends and their peer pressure/influence. If you too have many old T-shirts, you can do follow this to make a rug! (I am way too lazy for that.)

13. DIY Alterations

I love blogs such as ‘Extra Petite’ and ‘A Pair and A Spare’ for their alteration tips!

Faithful the Brand Oversized Cable Sweater by Styles For Thought

DONATING

Are you lazy? I don’t know about you, but I am. After trying to selling my Chanel bag, I didn’t want to sell any more old clothes because I already learned that old clothes are worthless. I purely tried all the other methods above because I wanted to research options so you don’t have to waste any time. Donating is THE easy way out.  It makes me feel less guilty about throwing away perfectly fine clothes. Where do I donate to?

14. Good Will 

15. Dress for Success

Donate your old work clothes to other women 🙂

16. H&M 

Donate your old clothes, and you can get 15% off your next purchase!

17. Soma

Apparently, they accept old bras!

18. MadeWell

Donate your old jeans, and you can get 15% off your next purchase!

19. Local Women Shelters

Faithful the Brand Oversized Cable Sweater by Styles For Thought

Thank you so much for reading this super long post!

Please support me on social media and tell your friends about this blog!

Smile and Style On!

SK


Outfit Information:

Sweater :: Faithful the Brand

Featured below are not from Faithful the Brand, but other sustainable alternatives.

Style Advice: Why I Wanted to Build a Minimalist Wardrobe

Mara Hoffman Floral Midi Dress by Styles For Thought

When people talk about building a minimalist wardrobe, many think of a monochromatic closet filled with simple and classic styled clothes.  Personally, I don’t think building a minimalist wardrobe is about collecting clothes of a specific style or color spectrum. To me, it is about being intentional with the clothes you keep in the closet and being selective with your purchases. A minimalist wardrobe should be compact and practical, rid of mediocre varieties and only filled with clothes that you actually love and wear on a regular basis. Today, I wanted to share why I started to build a minimalist wardrobe, and how a simpler closet has given me freedom to enjoy life.

Mara Hoffman Floral Midi Dress by Styles For Thought

I started this idea of building a minimalist wardrobe simply because I wanted to spend less time packing for work. Every Monday to Thursday, I fly to a different city for work, and so I have to pack enough work clothes for the week. As the project went on, it took me longer to pack because I wanted to wear different outfits to work but I had a tendency to reach for the same clothes I packed last week.  My brain was bombarded by too many options, and I couldn’t decide what to wear for work.  Eventually, I realized the problem stemmed from my big wardrobe size. As Barry Schwartz puts it, ‘the paradox of choice – more is less’.  Having too many options actually induces anxiety and paralyzes me from deciding what to wear to work.

To solve this, I decided to declutter my closet, and I threw away many work clothes that I didn’t wear for the past year. Additionally, I created a work uniform so I didn’t have to think too much about what to wear to work. Read here for a simple guide to creating work outfits! Now, my work uniform consists of some fixed items and a sweater that I switch out everyday.  Since then, I have spent much less time packing, and I have more time to do other things!

This positive experience led me to simplify my fun wardrobe as well. As I was cleaning out my closet, a mountain of mediocre clothes piled up.  I bought these clothes at the time because I wanted varieties and they were cheap.  But as soon as the novelty wore off, I started putting these once-trendy clothes aside because they now looked outdated. One $30 shirt may not seem a lot, but when you buy a lot of them, they add up.  Looking back, I  have spent so much money on cheap clothes that I only wore once or twice, and the cost per wear is comparable to other expensive designer clothes I own!  This pushed me to be more selective with my future purchases.  Now I am more willing to purchase expensive and high quality clothes because I will wear them more often and they will last longer.  In a long run, I will spend less only buying high quality clothes that I love.

Overall, building a minimalist wardrobe has many benefits, and I especially experience these two:

  • Save time from worrying what to wear next
  • Spend less on mediocre clothes that you will throw away the next season

If you are interested in building a minimalist wardrobe too, you can start by decluttering your closet first.  Read here to see 21 different ways to sell, donate and recycle your old clothes!

Lastly, wearing here is a floral dress from Mara Hoffman.  I love Mara Hoffman’s clothes because her prints are so vibrate and unique.  This brand also strives to make clothes ethically and use sustainable material!  Their swimswear is made out of recycled fabrics!

Mara Hoffman Floral Midi Dress by Styles For Thought

Mara Hoffman Floral Midi Dress by Styles For Thought

Mara Hoffman Floral Midi Dress by Styles For Thought

Hope you enjoy my post, and thank you so much for reading!

Smile and Style On!

SK


Outfit Information:

Dress :: Mara Hoffman

Work Uniform:: Patagonia, TOD’s, 7 for All Mankind

Gardendal Leather Bag: https://gardendal.se/shopper-medium-cognac.html