“When I look back on a younger version of myself, the one who only wore oversized T-shirts and sweatpants, it’s pretty hard to believe that girl is the same person you see today. When I was in middle school all I wanted to wear were shirts with dogs on them because dogs were my favorite animal and I guess I figured that all of my classmates should know that. Honestly, I don’t think I really started getting into clothing and fashion until college.
A lot changed for me when I left for school. I was feeling a lot more comfortable in my own skin, met my future husband and lost my dad to cancer.
My dad always told me that I shouldn’t care what other people think of me, but that is way easier said than done. However, his voice is always in the back of my mind giving me the confidence I think at some times I was lacking. That confidence allowed me to branch out more when it came to my personal style.
Now that I’ve grown out of my sweatpants and t-shirts, I pretty much live in Christy Dawn dresses, jumpsuits and thrift store finds. I no longer straighten the natural curls I got from my dad and I spend no more than five minutes on my makeup every day.
If I had to describe my style it would be easy, minimal and comfortable. Christy Dawn is my go-to for all three of those things.
If you haven’t heard of Christy Dawn, you should check out her website. I discovered her on Instagram in college. Every piece she designs is made from deadstock or vintage fabric left over from larger fashion brands. Not only does this mean that she is keeping all that fabric from ending up in a landfill, but it also means all of her dresses are limited edition or one-of-a-kind because there typically isn’t much fabric left when she finds it.
Christy Dawn and Reformation were the first two sustainable fashion brands I came across and after discovering both, I became more interested in brands that were not only making beautiful clothing, but were also making a difference in the fashion world. Now, if I were to name off all of the sustainable brands I love and buy from the list would go on and on.
While I do still occasionally buy clothing from brands that would be considered fast fashion, I do my best to buy the majority of my clothing from designers I know are creating their clothing sustainably and are paying fair wages to those who make their pieces. I’m also more aware of how my clothing is being made which is something I never gave thought to before I started buying conscious clothing.
I don’t have a favorite piece of clothing, but more of a favorite style of clothing – the jumpsuit. One of my coworkers said to me the other day, “You know, Kaitlyn, I think I know your style. You really like jumpsuits.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
What I love about jumpsuits is that you look like you’re wearing a dress, but you have the comfort and freedom of having pants on too! Yeah, it can be a bit more challenging to use the restroom, but it’s totally worth it to me.
Vintage clothing excites me because you get to wear something very few people will have and there’s a story behind the garment. I always like to think about who had the piece before me and how they styled it.
I can literally spend hours shopping through all of the racks at thrift stores and on Etsy just looking through all of the vintage dresses, silk tops and jumpsuits. I love hunting for those hidden gems!
I am very much a minimalist when it comes to accessories. I like Dainty jewelry, wear the same earrings almost every day and the only rings I tend to wear are my wedding and engagement rings. I definitely believe less is more.
My favorite piece is a vintage gold watch that belonged to my dad. When I first started wearing it after he died, it wasn’t even working so I couldn’t tell time with it, but just wore it for the fashion statement. I figured that the battery needed to be replaced so my mom and I took it to our nearby jewelry shop. The woman in the shop took one look at the watch, then looked at us and said, “It’s a wind up watch.” Cleary neither of us knows much about watches!
I’ve been going to craft shows with my mom since I was young and my love for handmade products has only grown as I’ve gotten older. Even as a married 24-year-old, my mom and I will still get together to visit local craft shows and I always look forward to it. The majority of my handbags have come from local crafters. One in particular is made from a tapestry like material that has different dog breeds all over! I still like to incorporate my love of dogs into my fashion, just a bit more discreetly than I did in middle school.
I’ve been a vegetarian for 6 ½ years and I try my best to avoid animal-made bags. I have several vegan leather bags I use all of the time, but I do have one bag in particular that my mom got for me at a craft show back home that is made of real leather. It’s a luxurious burnt orange color and it goes with absolutely everything.
When I was little my parents would take me to the KB Toys store at the Hershey Outlets. Although the store is no longer there, I have fond memories of searching through the aisles looking for my next pair of heels…plastic heels.
From a young age I had some weird obsession with heels. Maybe it was because I wanted to be taller. Maybe it was just the beginning of a fashion obsession I had yet to realize. Either way, I would spend hours walking around my house in these bright pink and purple plastic heels. There was something special about wearing them. It made me feel grown up and pretty.
Reminiscing about those times makes me smile. I can picture that little girl with soft curls and an infectious laugh. That girl who didn’t have a worry in the world…except for a broken heel!
After extensive use, inevitably one of my plastic heels would break and I’d be left with a lop-sided swagger. That’s when my parents would take me back to the toy store and I’d pick out my next pair.
Obviously I’m too old and my feet are too large for plastic heels, but my love for them has not faded. My favorite heels now are my Marais Jardin heels I have in cherry and sky blue. They’re incredibly comfortable for heels and add a pop of color to any ensemble. I’ve even worn them to work before, though I don’t know if I’d do that again. When you’re on your feet for 9 hours every day, it’s best to stick to flats!
The Jardin heel now comes in four other colors and I really want all of them!
I continue to discover more sustainable brands online and love that more designers and fashion houses are turning to sustainable methods. I think more than ever, consumers are beginning to care about the effect their clothing has on the environment.
I’m definitely not perfect and still buy things from fast fashion brands, but what’s important to me is I am now more aware of how my clothing is made and whether the process is ethical and sustainable. I’ve changed my buying habits and buy sustainably about 75% of the time and I am proud of myself for that.”
Website: New website is in the works so stay tuned.
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