Vegan Black Leather Jacket

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Every woman needs a sleek, well-fitting black leather jacket to wear with skinny jeans and a t-shirt, or draped over a dress for a night out. Black leather jackets are so versatile, effortless, and they instantly make your look so much cooler. In this case, the jacket is vegan leather, which is even better!

Brevity’s  Do Anything Jacket is the most comfortable jacket I own. It’s made of soft, vegan leather, and it molds to your body like it was custom made. With a slight lift in the back and expertly placed darting and paneling, it is so slimming and flattering. I usually have a hard time finding jackets that don’t overwhelm my narrow shoulders, but this jacket fits me perfectly.

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I began my journey to build a wardrobe comprised of only fair trade clothing, or clothing made in the United States about a year ago, and one of the first places I looked was Kickstarter. I found so many amazing small companies looking for help financing ethical, beautiful products. These designers took care to produce their products sustainably and with great respect for the humans making them, so it was more difficult to find investors than it would be for many “fast fashion” retailers.

I found Brevity’s Kickstarter campaign through a Facebook friend and immediately fell in love with both their product and their mission. As you can see, the jacket is gorgeous. It is also produced in a women-owned factory in San Francisco, CA. The owner is a young woman who wanted to create a polished jacket that looked professional, but felt like leisure wear. She knew that women needed a sleek jacket that could take them from coffee with a friend, to campus, to a business meeting, to a night out.

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I immediately donated to the Kickstarter campaign, and when I received my Do Anything Jacket I filmed an unboxing video for my YouTube channel. This piece was one of my first steps toward investing in a more ethical, sustainable wardrobe. I love that it is vegan, and it supports female business owners and employees. I’m so glad that the weather is finally cooling down in Southern California so that I can wear it everywhere!

It’s just as comfortable as a hoodie, but infinitely cooler. It completely elevates my look every time I wear it with a more casual outfit, and I recently wore it to a wedding with a fancier dress. It was perfect to throw on during the outdoor reception. I love the classic look of this black jacket, and now it’s also available in a light grey and blush pink.

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My friend who got married was the Facebook friend who had shared the Brevity Kickstarter campaign. The owner and designer of Brevity, Dara Elliott, was a bridesmaid in the wedding, so I actually got to meet her! I was so excited to take a picture with her in my jacket, and I loved hearing from her first hand about the company and the production. She is an incredible businesswoman and I’m so impressed by how she runs her company and produces her amazing pieces.

Check out her gorgeous jackets from Brevity Brand and definitely put one on your Christmas wish list!

My Favorite Fair Trade T-shirts

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Sometimes several of your passions collide into one super, amazing, jumbo passion. Like Hamilton, for example. I remember showing Lin-Manuel Miranda’s White House performance to my 8th graders a few years ago and explaining Hamilton the Musical and one kid said, “Wow, it’s all of your passions in one thing: history, hip hop and musical theater.” Truer words were never spoken, kid. (And he totally got an A).

Anyway, I just found my t-shirt version of Hamilton. Pan Clothing makes fair trade, totally cute t-shirts, and donates five textbooks to classrooms in need for every product sold. Ethical business, relaxed style and support for education all in one!

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Pan Clothing was founded last year by two college students who have a heart for overseas service missions. Jacky and Tanner helped to build schools in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, but as they spent time with the teachers and principals, they realized that some classrooms literally only had access to one textbook. They wanted to do their part to support literacy and education in these schools, so they started a t-shirt company with a mission to donate five textbooks for every piece of clothing sold.

They also make men’s t-shirts, but I’m obsessed with their women’s line. These shirts are soft, comfy, and come in three muted, wearable colors. They have a scoop neck, a pocket detail, and they are cut slightly longer in the back. They are perfect everyday t-shirts, and they’ve become weekend staples for me.

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My favorite thing about Pan Clothing is that even though they are a small, startup company, run by two friends who are still in college, they made a commitment to producing their clothing ethically. I had the opportunity to speak with Jacky and Tanner personally, and they told me that they researched Patagonia’s manufacturers and built relationships with some of the same factories. The teacher in me was thinking, “What great problem solving skills! They refused to be limited by the fact that they were a new company and used established businesses’ models as a template for their own business.” They get an A also. 😉

Another impressive aspect of their company is that these t-shirts are only $24. I’ve been getting pretty deep into the fair trade fashion world recently and I don’t think I’ve EVER come across a $24 fair trade t-shirt. Not only are you getting an affordable, ethical t-shirt for $24, but you are also donating five textbooks to a classroom in need with your purchase. Just a win-win-win all around.

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To incorporate yet another of my passions, Jacky and Tanner also have a vlog channel where you can follow along with their travel adventures and see your dollars in action as they bring textbooks to schools around the world. It’s amazing.

I definitely encourage you to order a t-shirt or two for yourself, but you also have the opportunity to win a gift card to Pan over on my Instagram. Follow my account, Pan Clothing, and let us know in a comment where you would like to travel next. Tag the friend you want to travel with! Best of luck to you on the giveaway–now I’m going to go listen to the Hamilton soundtrack…

 

 

*I am not being sponsored by Pan Clothing. They graciously gave me clothing to try, and I genuinely love and support their products and mission! As always, all opinions and reviews are my own.

 

Necklace by The Giving Keys (another ethical company that I love)

Photography by Joyetic (a husband and wife photography team who also strive to be ethical consumers)

(Check out my YouTube video about Pan Clothing!)

Tieks Review: The Best Teacher Flats?

The number one most-hyped teacher fashion item has got to be Tieks flats. If you spend fifteen seconds on Pinterest looking for anything teaching related, you will definitely see an image of a beautiful rainbow assortment of ballet flats somewhere in your feed.

I’ve had my eye on a pair for a few years now, but they’re quite pricey (some will set you back over $200). One of my teacher BFFs bought these chestnut beauties a few months ago though, and they looked so cute on her that I just had to try them! Here are a few of my thoughts on my Tieks:

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The packaging they arrive in is GORGEOUS. I’m a sucker for packaging.

They are only available in full sizes. I usually wear a 7 1/2. The website suggests sizing down since the leather stretches, so I bought a size 7. I wore them around the apartment for about an hour and they felt way too small, so I thought I would try an 8. Tieks sent me the 8 right away so that I could compare the two sizes, and then I sent the size 7 back. I was happy with the larger size and with the customer service on the exchange.

They are very comfortable. At this point in my life I have worn too many cheap, uncomfortable pairs of flats and I’m just not doing it anymore. I would rather invest more money in a quality pair that doesn’t give me blisters or pain in my arches. They are the kind of shoes that you just don’t really have to think about. Sometimes after a day of teaching I can’t wait to get home and kick off my shoes, but I haven’t felt that way with my Tieks.

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They ARE really great for teachers. We have to stand on our feet for most of the day, plus we have to maneuver around roller backpacks and lunch boxes and then climb on a chair to hang the top row of student work on a bulletin board. These are perfect shoes for the that. I wouldn’t choose to wear mine on a long outdoor hike, and they aren’t well-suited for cold weather, but they are great as a casual, indoor, comfortable, classroom flat.

They look cute! I remember loving the little black flats that Cinderella slips into before she goes to feed the animals, and these simple flats remind me of that. I copied my friend and ordered the neutral chestnut pair, but another teacher friend of mine ordered the gorgeous rose gold pair, and I love this printed leopard pair. The teal sole is also totally adorable.

Lastly, I was under the impression that Tieks were made in the US, but from what I can now tell, only the last stage of assembly is done in Los Angeles. They contribute to a women’s empowerment fund called Kiva, but do not claim to be a fair trade company. I consider these an investment piece (they are the most expensive pair shoes I own!) and I will incorporate them into my increasingly fair trade and American-made wardrobe.

However, I am interested in trying out other boutique flats companies that have a stronger mission and purpose. Rothy’s are made from recycled plastic and are slightly less expensive than Tieks, Oka-B flats are made in the state of Georgia, recyclable and affordable, and The Root Collective has gorgeous fair trade flats. I’d like to try give one of these companies a try the next time I’m in need of a pair of teacher flats.