10 Fair Trade Dresses for Dressember

Dressember is approaching quickly! For the entire month of December I’ll be wearing a dress every day and posting a picture to my Instagram in order to raise awareness about human trafficking, and to raise money to help combat modern day slavery.

While working to help eradicate slavery, I also want to support fair trade clothing companies, rather than pour more money into companies who exploit their workers (sadly, this includes most of our favorite brands. For more info, see here). Instead, I’ve rounded up ten beautiful dresses that I would love to wear during Dressember, all manufactured by ethical clothing companies.

Albion Dress

I am a sucker for stripes. They are so versatile during Dressember–I pair them with jean jackets, floral scarves, even plaid. I’m definitely going to purchase this adorable long sleeved dress from Albion for $78. I have two pairs of super cute leggings and a swimsuit from Albion, a fair trade company that produces some of the most Instagram-worthy pieces I’ve seen. If you’re in Salt Lake you can visit their store in person (lucky you!).

Albion Dress 2

Yellow is my color. I love a good mustard yellow sweater or dress, and this one, also by Albion for $68, is gorgeous. It looks so cozy for fall and winter.

Bead & Reel Dress

Bead and Reel carry so many items on my splurge wish list. They are a great source for ethical and female-owned companies. This beautiful wrap dress by Symbology is such a statement piece. It’s an investment at $168, but I imagine that the forgiving cut would allow you to wear this dress through maternity and nursing.

Dressember Dress

I’m planning on purchasing this simple but elegant olive dress at the Dressember party this week. It is manufactured in a fair trade factory in Nepal, and it was designed specifically for us “Dressemberists” by Brit Moore Gilmore of The Giving Keys. This dress is $60.

Everlane dress

Everlane is a great resource for ethical, work appropriate clothing. All of their designs are sleek, modern and simple. I love the stripes on this crisp dress for $75, and they have plenty of other dresses I’m eyeing!

Krochet Kids Dress

This burgundy shade is my favorite for winter, so I’ve been checking out this casual t-shirt dress from Krochet Kids. At $54 it’s the most affordable dress on my list, and I’m already picturing it with black leggings, a jean jacket, and brown boots.

Mata Dress 3.png

I love everything about this yellow plaid shift dress from Mata Traders. I literally want to style it exactly like the model and then go play in a field! This one is $89.

Mata Dress 2

Another option from Mata Traders is this blue ikat shift dress. This dress is so timeless and would be perfect for teaching. It is $98 and manufactured at a fair trade women’s cooperative in India.

People Tree Dress

This sleek black dress is such a staple piece in an ethical wardrobe. It’s $115 from People Tree, an amazing company out of the UK. I ordered a dress from them last year and I had to talk with my credit card company to approve the purchase since it was outside of the United States. It shipped surprisingly quickly, and I’m actually wearing the dress I purchased right now as I type!

Elegantees Dress

I can never have enough black dresses, and I particularly love dresses that are slim on top and then float away at the waist. The neckline on this swing dress from Elegantees is so flattering and feminine. I recently purchased a different dress from Elegantees and tried two different sizes before ultimately returning it since it did not quite fit my body type. Their customer service is fantastic, and shipping was free both ways. I’m going to order this one for $78 to replace my first purchase since I still want to support the company, and I know that my purchase directly supports women in Nepal who have been rescued from human trafficking.

I like to remind my readers that rather than focusing solely on finding good deals, my aim is to find quality, beautiful pieces by companies that respect both their employees and the planet. I buy much less clothing than I used to, but I often pay more per item than I was accustomed to paying before I started purchasing fair trade clothing. The transition takes some getting used to, but know that there is a reason that these dresses cost more than the cheap, fast-fashion dresses at the mall.

I hope that you’ll join me in doing Dressember this year, and that you’ll consider wearing a fair trade dress. Please tag me on Instagram if you end up rocking any of these dresses! Happy Dressember to you!

My Dressember Fundraising Page

My Favorite Teacher Shoes Ever

I know I just wrote a post about teacher shoes, but I’m doing it again because this is a very important topic! Like, we should have professional development days dedicated to effective educator footwear. I’d show up for that.

And these are my actual favorite teacher shoes. Ever.


I’ve been wearing Toms ever since I started running after school programs seven years ago. I wore a pair of grey wedges (similar) every single day with jeans and my YMCA t-shirt and they were perfectly comfortable even during activities and games. I wore a black pair (similar) nearly every day during my first year of teaching, and I’ve owned two pairs of the strappy version as well. All together I’ve had about seven pairs of Toms, but I’ve actually never owned the classic alpargatas (I had to look up the official term!). They are so comfortable that I rarely feel the need to venture out to other brands.

I went on the Toms website to look for another pair of the black wedges that I loved so much, but I was drawn in by these black leather heeled sandals. They sold out a couple of times while I was trying to decide whether or not to order them, so the next time they were in stock I jumped at my opportunity! I’m sorry to report that at the time I am publishing this they are sold out again. This pair is similar, and I’m considering getting them in another color.

FullSizeRender (3)

For me, wedges and shoes with a block heel are more comfortable than flats. I also love that they give me a little bit of height, and they make me feel slightly more dressed up. The ones here are particularly comfortable since the leather forms so well to my foot, and the open toe ensures that there is no rubbing or pinching. Today I wore them all day while teaching and then taking care of Jenson and I didn’t even remember to take them off until about 7pm. Twelve hours in and they were still feeling great.


You are probably already familiar with the Toms mission to give away a pair of shoes for every pair sold. They also provide vision services, access to clean water, safer birth resources, and they donate to causes to prevent bullying. Production-wise, they produce one-third of their shoes in the regions where they give them. They have factories in Ethiopia, Kenya and India, and they also employ and equal ratio of men to women. I’m happy to incorporate their products into my increasingly ethical and sustainable wardrobe.

These black heeled sandals are hereby declared my official teacher shoes of the 2017-18 school year. What are yours?

Black jacket





Welcome Back!

Hello my friends! I am sitting down to update my blog while my baby boy is trying to climb behind the TV and play with the wires. “This Is Us” is on in the background, and I’m sipping on my iced Americano while I ignore the pile of essays that I eventually need to grade. Life has changed quite a bit since I first started Too Cool for Middle School!


Let me reintroduce myself. My profile read “second-year teacher,” but now I’m in my sixth year of teaching. I work at an amazing middle school in Southern California with students from all over the world. I’m currently teaching 6th grade history, 6th grade English, and 8th grade English. I coach volleyball, softball, and I’ve acquired a little collection of clubs including a Human Rights club, a Hamilton/Harry Potter club, and a fashion club. Clearly my students and I share a lot of interests!


This is a new season of life for me. For the first time since Kindergarten, I’m not a student. I completed my Masters degree in US History last May (at thirty-nine weeks pregnant!). I wrote my thesis on Rothschild Francis, my husband’s great grandfather, who fought for citizenship and civil rights in the US Virgin Islands in the 1920’s. Research, writing, and telling the stories of unlikely heroes truly fulfill me. I’m sure that I will find myself in the world of academia again soon.

Last June my husband and I began the most incredible journey we’ve walked together yet–parenthood! Our son Jenson was born on the last day of school in 2016, and we spent the summer learning all about diapering, nursing, swaddling, and functioning on two hours of sleep. Jenson is a year old now and he’s an absolute joy. He is THE cutest child I’ve ever seen in my life (I’m biased, I know), and he keeps us laughing constantly. He fills up my Instastories, so for his daily antics, check out my Instagram!



Speaking of social media, my YouTube channel has grown slowly but intimately. I’ve made genuine friends through both YouTube and Instagram, and I love the sense of community from the subscribers who comment and engage with my posts. I want to write more about my lessons and classroom strategies, and offer resources to middle school teachers. This blog is a useful platform for those goals, so I am going to be more intentional about creating blog content in addition to YouTube videos.

I’ve always written and spoken about fashion, and these days I am even more invested in fashion than ever. My fashion goals are to purchase only fair trade clothing, or clothing made in the US. I am becoming much more minimalist in my style, and I want to invest in pieces that truly make me feel like my best self, and that will last for years to come. I am learning about sustainable fashion, eco-friendly fashion, and the effects that fast fashion have on human rights, the planet, and even our sense of satisfaction. I will continue to share with you amazing companies that are making the world a better place, while also offering beautiful products. I have a few fair trade fashion posts coming soon!



Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. I appreciate this online community of teachers, and I hope to make this Internet world a more positive and encouraging place. Thank you for the opportunity!

Photos by Joyetic

Top (similar)

Jeans  (made in the USA)


december favorites

dec faves

Just a few things that I have been enjoying this month.  (Not listed below: being on Christmas break!)

sole society booties

naked flushed palette 

bare minerals lip gloss

victoria’s secret heavenly scent

body shop almond body butter

zhena’s gypsy tea

lioness arising 

dressember style

Whew!  31 days of dresses and selfies is complete!  It was not easy, but I’m proud of myself and all the other “dressemberists” for completing our goal.  The days isn’t quite over, but so far we’ve raised $404,000 for the International Justice Mission to use to rescue girls from sex trafficking and to prosecute brothels and pimps.  It’s an amazing cause and I love that so many women have come together to simply wear a dress and share photos to raise awareness for the campaign.  We are powerful, beautiful, stylish and effective.  We are world-changers!  Participating in Dressember is always a great way to end the year focused on global issues and social justice.  In case you catch this in time to participate, the website to donate is http://www.dressemberfoundation.org/toocoolforschool 

Dressember is also a fun fashion challenge, so here are all of the dresses I wore this month.  I wore about 20 different dresses, but you could definitely re-wear the same dresses more often than I did.  After participating last year I made a conscious effort to stock up on a few affordable dresses throughout the year because December is a terrible time to buy dresses for some reason.  They are all sparkly and New Year’s Eve-y and nothing that I would wear on a regular basis.  I buy almost all my clothes from Target, Forever 21, Old Navy and Marshalls (I should really branch out), so every outfit in this post is affordable if not downright cheap.  Scarves, boots, sweaters and tights really complete the looks and make them more interesting.  Scroll through and hopefully you will be inspired to join me in Dressember next year!

day1dress: target

jean jacket: forever 21

scarf: charlotte russe

boots: ross


dress: target

boots: ross

jacket: urban outfitters


dress: forever 21

cardigan: target

tights; target

boots: ross

necklace: wantable


dress: target

cardigan: jcrew

necklace: forever 21

pumps: marshalls


dress: ross

cardigan: marshalls

necklace: target

leggings: target


dress: sport chalet

jean jacket: forever 21

booties: toms


dress: target

sweater: windsor

boots: ross

purse: forever 21


dress: marshalls

jacket: boutique in long beach

scarf: charlotte russe


dress: h & m

cardigan: jcrew

belt: target

booties: toms

necklace: cost plus world market


dress: marshalls

cardigan: target

flats: jcrew

necklace: forever 21


dress: urban outfitters

skirt: loft

booties: sole society


dress: old navy

tights: target

boots: ross

necklace: kohl’s


dress: target

converse: target

scarf: wantable


dress: target

cardigan: forever 21

leggings: forever 21

earrings: wantable


dress: old navy

sweater: boutique in san luis obispo

boots: styles 4 less


dress: boutique in fullerton

cardigan: target

tights: target

boots: ross


dress: target

hoodie: target

jean jacket: forever 21


dress: target

cardigan: marshalls

tights: target

booties: sole society

necklace: target


dress: target

ugly sweater: wal-mart

booties: sole society


dress: forever 21

cardigan: forever 21

boots: styles 4 less


dress: target

boots: ross

necklace: target


dress: target

cardigan: target

tights: target

booties: toms


dress: tj maxx

cardigan: target

necklace: wantable

booties: sole society


dress: target

sweater: tj maxx

boots: styles 4 less


dress: target

shirt: target

boots: ross


dress: target

scarf: wantable

jacket: urban outfitters

leggings: target

boots: ross


dress: old navy

cardigan: jcrew

scarf: target


dress: target

cardigan: forever 21

leggings: forever 21


dress: old navy

jean jacket: forever 21

t-shirt: sweet nobody

booties: sole society


dress: target

sweater: target

booties: sole society


dress: target

sweater: charlotte russe

booties: sole society

2014 spring semester in instagram ootd’s

My summer break has finally arrived and I’m looking forward to catching up on about a million blog posts! Since I failed to upload “teacher chic” posts for about six months, here are 15 looks for inspiration for next school year. A few are weekend outfits (clearly), and the rest are casual classroom looks (I don’t get all that fancy). I realized while writing this that I really only shop at about 5 stores, and that I get a lot of use out of the more expensive/quality items that I’ve invested in. I love browsing through other teachers’ work outfits, so here is my contribution to the teaching world.  🙂

(descriptions are under each photo)


cardigan: JCrew

chevron shirt: GStage (I think!)

necklace: World Market

jeans: Guess (my first Christmas gift from my husband, 5 years ago!)


blazer: H&M
striped top: Forever 21
belt: Target
jeans: Express
flats: Cathy Jean


cardigan: Target
necklace: Charlotte Russe
shirt: Target
pants: Target
shoes: H&M


chevron top: Windsor
jeans: Express
shoes: Payless Shoe Source
wallet: G Stage
nails: Essie Play Date


cardigan: Old Navy
dress: H&M (school colors for bonus points!)
wedges: Toms
necklace: Forever 21


sweater: Windsor
jeans: Express
wedges: Toms
earrings: G Stage


tunic: G Stage
scarf: Target
jeans: Lauren Conrad (Kohls)
earrings: Target
phone cover: Phone Cover of the Month
(I had just discovered beauty bloggers and was trying to get in on the action)


jacket: Forever 21
sweater: Windsor
jeans: Target
flats: Sole Society
earrings: Target
phone cover: Target


necklace: Charlotte Russe
top: Ann Taylor Loft
pants: Banana Republic
loafers: Me Too (Marshalls)


sleeveless top: Peter Pilotto for Target
t-shirt: Cynthia Rowley (Marshalls)


earrings: Target
cardigan: Target
striped tank: White House Black Market
pants: Banana Republic
flats: Me Too (Marshalls)


necklace: Forever 21
chambray shirt: Target
skirt: Target
belt: G Stage
shoes: Target


necklace: Icing
top: TJ Maxx
jeans: Express
shoes: Calvin Klein (TJ Maxx)


top: Kohls
shorts: TJ Maxx
shoes: Aldo


necklace: Forever 21
tank: Old Navy
vest: Target
pants: Ann Taylor Loft
sandals: G Stage

january target dress haul


We live in a very dangerous area–and by that I mean that there is a Target right across the street. The other night I headed over to pick up some soup for my sick hubby…and walked out with 3 dresses. (Has this ever happened to you?). Usually with Target I will either hate everything they have or love everything they have. Obviously this time I was pretty smitten with their dress selection, so here is a little summary of what got:

cream xhilaration lace dress
This one is my favorite of the three. It’s just very sweet and has a vintage feel. I wore it to a baby shower yesterday and a group of adorable ladies in their sixties were fawning over it. (So, ya know, that’s the demographic I fit in best with). There are no zippers or buttons or anything; you can literally just throw it on and go.

white jacket
I love the dress even more with my favorite jean jacket (this one is from Forever 21). I kept my jewelry simple (the studs are from Kohl’s and the long gold necklace is also from Target), and after starting with my Tom’s wedges, I ended up going with flat sandals (I think they were like $8 from Styles for Less). I was comfortable all day and I could focus on what really mattered–being there for the mommy-to-be!
($27.99, size medium)

Oh yeah! You probably can’t see my toe nail polish very well, but it’s Ruby Wing color-changing polish in “Ride ‘Em Cowgirl” from my January Birchbox. I love it! It really does change color in the sun!

merona chambray dress
blue hot
I absolutely love the look of chambray shirts, but they never really look great on me. I gave this tunic/dress a shot though, and I actually really like it. The skinny belt gives it a little more shape, and you could switch out the belt with any other slim one to change the look. I like it for a weekend look, and if it were very warm outside I would wear it with wedges like these (from Kohl’s) or sandals.

Today I am wearing it with leggings and my favorite Cathy Jean boots while I sit around and blog/ avoid doing my homework. I’ll probably throw a scarf on tonight when I meet up with my husband for dinner. It’s not fancy, but I think I’ll find myself wearing this a lot, switching up the belt, adding a cami underneath, or pairing it with patterned leggings. It’s super comfy too!
($27.99, size small)

striped merona flared dress
I’m a sucker for the Mad Men ’50’s/’60’s style dresses, and I couldn’t resist this one. It’s polyester and rayon, and the quality is amazing for the price. The fabric is fairly thick and sturdy, the construction is fantastic.

One of my favorite features is the tiny loop of thread that keeps the belt buckle at the center of your waist. I have never seen this on a dress before, but it’s genius! It can be so annoying when you have to keep twisting your belt around to the front after it sneaks over to your side again and again.

The neckline is very flattering and I like the pleated detail. It’s sleeveless, but the straps are wide enough that your bra straps wouldn’t show. I think I am going to wear this dress to an upcoming wedding, and it will be nice to have a drama-free undergarment option.

black side
You could probably wear almost any color shoe, but I paired this dress with my Calvin Klein pumps from Marshalls.

I love any excuse to wear my signature red J. Crew Jackie cardigan! The cut of a fitted cardigan compliments this dress really well.
($27.99, size small)

So if you’re in my neighborhood, I’ll meet you at Target and we can do some serious dress shopping while the cute styles last!

5 things I loved about #dressember2013


During the month of December I participated in a fundraising/ awareness event to help end modern day slavery. Similar to events like Movember, to “do” Dressmeber, you wear a dress every day for the month of December. That’s 31 days in a row! You post photos of your outfits to Instagram or Facebook or wherever you like to post photos, and ask people to sponsor you in order to raise money to end modern day slavery. The creator of Dressember (Blythe Hill) partnered with the International Justice Mission, and they received 100% of the money donated in order to support the work they do to combat human trafficking. Here is what I loved about this experience:

#1–The physical act of participating–You definitely start to feel narcissistic after taking and posting daily selfies, but I really liked the physical effort of finding an appropriate dress for every day, and even finding the time to take a picture. I find that putting physical action into less tangible concepts is very helpful for me (things like actually kneeling down to pray, or making a collage of things that I want to accomplish). Every morning when I put on a dress, I thought about girls who don’t have closets full of clothes like I do, and who don’t have simple freedoms like choosing what to wear. Just looking down at my outfit every day reminded me to pray for women who are enslaved, and to be grateful for everything I have.

#2–The community of women on Instagram–I posted all my pictures on Instagram and made sure to hashtag #dressember2013. It was so much fun to click on the hashtag and explore pictures from other women who have the same passion for social justice that I do. I started following some of them, and a few followed me. We left each other messages of encouragement and got fresh inspiration for how to spice up the same old dress over and over again.

#3–Wearing a dress felt powerful–Often when I wear a dress I feel feminine, and a just a bit vulnerable. I can’t say that I have ever felt particularly powerful while wearing a dress before. But during Dressember, as I saw the thousands of dollars pouring in as a result of our fashion choices, I absolutely felt powerful. When I saw that the International Justice Mission had shut down a brothel, I felt like my dress had something to do with that. I’ll admit that some days it was a bit of a chore to put together yet another outfit with a dress, but when I remembered how much good it was doing, I just felt like a superhero!

#4–The fashion challenge aspect–I love the look of a dress with tights and boots, but when it comes down to it I usually just wear jeans and a sweater. It was actually a lot of fun to put together outfits using the dresses that I had, plus try to stay warm, and be work-appropriate. There were a few days at work when we had to wear college sweatshirts or school colors, so that added a little extra challenge. It is almost impossible to look sloppy when wearing a dress, so it was good for me to be forced to dress up every day. I am going to try and incorporate more dresses into my wardrobe, and remember that mixing and matching can stretch my wardrobe more than I think. I only wore about 1/5 of the items in my closet, and I hardly even missed the other items!

#5–The money–We raised over $165,000! That’s incredible! Next year I am going to set a goal for myself to personally raise a lot more money, and now that I know how everything works, I can spread the word a little more effectively. When next December rolls around, I highly encourage you to participate! Here are all the Dressember outfits I wore, in case you need some inspiration:

dress 1



dress 2and3

dress 4

dress 5

dress 6

dress 7and8




















sevenly clothing

wpid-LINEcamera_share_2013-09-29-23-46-21.jpg sevenly

I love any excuse to buy a cute new outfit, and sevenly.org gives me a really great one. This organization supports a different charity each week by donating $7 from every purchase. They have adorable clothing, jewelry, accessories and prints. I loved this tee with the quote “Be the change you want to see in the world.” It’s in the shape of a globe. And I’m a history teacher. We were meant for each other!

Update: I also ordered this lovely “beauty” racer back. If you order 3 items you get free shipping, so I ordered two other tanks as Christmas presents for my sister and my best friend. They absolutely loved them, AND loved that proceeds from their gift were used to help end human trafficking.

check them out here at https://www.sevenly.org/