You’ve probably heard recently that Christmas shopping, more than ever, has been directed to supporting small businesses. As everyone has pointed out Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon) has enough money (too much in my opinion) whereas small businesses have really struggled.
As a small print seller I can understand the pressure and difficulty to promote your work when everyone is under financial strain. I think a lot of people could agree that every single purchase means the absolute world. So, why not support small this year when Christmas gives you the chance to put a huge smile on your loved ones faces.
I have wanted to put a small guide together for a while, not only with some amazing businesses but also some tips and tricks on how best to get the most out of your shopping.
Hand Embroidery Kits
The gift that keeps on giving! Something like an embroidery kit gives someone a new skill and something to hang on their wall/put on a cushion etc.
You can get them in a variety of different designs to suit any individual and the majority of them will tell you what skill level you will need.
I’ve listed a few below from Etsy which I have heard great things about!
Tip 1: It goes without saying but if you’re buying from the likes of Etsy stores it is a great idea to look at reviews and also where they are based. I always do research on the company and tend to go to Instagram to look at their pages. When on instagram it is also a good idea to look at tagged photos, this way you can see what people think of the products.
Resin products have become immensely popular recently, especially through lockdown. The variety of products you can get from them provides you with the optimum opportunity for gift giving. Plus every seller has their own way of putting their personal touch on their products.
I’ve listed two below who are trustworthy sellers and who provide a range of different things!
Food, in my opinion, is one of the best gifts you can give someone. There are so many businesses this year which have adapted their meals into delivery boxes or have taken their sweet treats right to your door. It’s a great ‘thinking about you’ gift and can often help with the day after Christmas cooking nightmare.
I’ve included 2 businesses which I have heard great things about however if you have any other suggestions please let me know below!
Another great gift is giving an experience to someone. This way you’re giving someone a memory which they will have forever (and in some cases an extra little gift at the end of it).
I’ve mentioned two below, one in Edinburgh and one in my hometown. If you have any classes local to you that you’d like to promote feel free to add them in the comments and I can include them in this post!
As you know I am a huge fan/advocate for shopping sustainably. For Christmas I would recommend double checking clothes sizes and getting something you know someone will want to wear over and over again. Christmas is a time where loads go to waste so the more thought that goes into these items the better!
I’ve listed a couple of my favourite small business fashion brands who you can either buy vouchers from or shop at.
Godiva (vintage, repurposed and independently sourced clothing, store and online)
I can’t mention a small business gift guide and not include one of my favourite things! Art is very subjective (which I have very much learnt when selling it) however it’s a great way to give someone something sentimental.
I have attached a few of my favourite sellers, all offering something a bit different depending on what you like. I also have my own print shop where I have a select amount left for Christmas if you fancy supporting my small business.
I’ve only mentioned a few of my favourite businesses however there are so many more you can support. Other places to look are Not on the High Street, Etsy, Instagram (check out hashtags such as #shopsmall or #supportsmallbusinesses), Depop and ask your friends and family! Everyone is bound to know someone.
And so there we have it. That is my list of some of my favourite small businesses which have a great selection of gifts on offer.
As always with small businesses it is better to get your orders in soon because you never know how many people will be dealing with the behind the scenes. Plus shipping can be really difficult at this time of year.
If you’re not in a financial position to support any of them this year, giving them a follow or a share on your social media channels can do the world of good!
Have you got your Christmas shopping organised or do you have any more small businesses to shout out? Let me know below!
Todays post is inspired by one of my favourite pieces in my wardrobe at the moment, the slip dress. It’s both versatile and extremely comfortable. Something I must admit I look for in all my clothing items.
The slip dress can be used for all seasons but in this post I want to highlight how it is perfect for Autumn. From dressing it up for a night out, to dressing it down for a more colder climate, this dress will soon become an essential in your wardrobe!
This particular slip dress comes from Lost Stock, a brand I featured in my post about where to shop sustainably, affordably. Lost Stock is a company that was started during lockdown and comes from Edinburgh! They support workers in Bangladesh who have been left without jobs because of coronavirus. Thus, every time you buy from Lost Stock, you are supporting a worker and their family. Lost Stock gives you three + items of clothing ‘from major retailers who have cancelled their orders because of Covid.’ Find out more about Lost Stock here.
I must admit the parcel took a while to arrive but if you follow their socials you know they faced an enormous amount of orders and obstacles which delayed the process.
Altogether we received three items. Unfortunately I don’t have photos of them all because I accidentally left one at home. We received a slip dress, a black tank top/loose vest and a navy top with lace detailing. In my opinion it was a good mix and although they weren’t all to my taste, we just supported a family who have been left with a horrible circumstance because of something out of their control. So really there isn’t much to complain about plus if you don’t like an item Lost Stock have supplied some fantastic alternatives or you can gift your item to someone you know will like it.
So now for the exciting bit! I’ve compiled 4 different looks with this dress (but I bet you can get a lot more!).
This is one of my favourite ways to wear the slip dress. Perfect for pretty much all climates (apart from Winter but I have you sorted in the next few looks for that!). I love the detailing of the straps on the white t-shirt and paired with a belt means it looks a bit more casual and gives the outfit some shape. I also pair this with white trainers because (yet again) they are so versatile and comfy!
Add Another Layer
To make this more applicable to a slightly colder climate (which is pretty much everyday in Scotland right now) I add this wonderful cardigan from Becca Mac in Dornoch (one of the wonderful shops I featured in my post about Dornoch, who also have an online shop). The cream goes perfectly with the white shoes and t-shirt, while adding some texture and a much needed layer.
This cardigan has quickly become a staple in my wardrobe, functioning, I must admit, as both a cardigan and a dressing gown (the flat gets really cold okay!). Remember shopping sustainably doesn’t have to be about shopping at the most sustainable shop when you can’t afford it but more about how much you are shopping and what you need rather than what you want.
Look 2: A Simple Night Out
Such a simple dress is perfect for going out, especially if you have a dinner date or are out for drinks (which I hope will be soon, all going well). I pair it with trainers but if you really want to elevate it a pair of black stilettos would look amazing with this! It also looks great without the belt, perfect for having a big meal.
Look 3: A Cold Day Out
Find your favourite jumper, a pair of boots and your slip dress, then all combined you are set for a winner! I rolled the jumper up slightly and added my gold necklace. Transitioning this into a skirt means it is perfect for winter. This also looks great with a lighter jumper if you just want to chuck it on for ease.
This flips the very first outfit on its head. Take your favourite t-shirt, tie it with a bobble and tuck it under and you’ll get this cute but effective look. Paired with my black boots and an orange hat (which you can see in the video below) turns what is quite a simple slip dress into more of an ‘edgy’ dress.
Want to have a look at these outfits in motion? I challenged myself this week by making a TikTok/Instagram reel so you can envisage what these items look like in real life! If you enjoy it feel free to show it some love on these platforms, this way I can make you some more! Check it out here.
I hope you liked the multiple ways you can wear a slip dress! This is one of my favourite things about clothing, it makes you think out of the box. I promise you there are probably numerous ways you can wear every item in your wardrobe, you just need to take a moment and look at if differently.
Once you’ve done this, it is like you have a whole new closet!
What was your favourite look? Have you tried Lost Stock? Let me know down below!
When it comes to shopping, the word ‘affordable’ is key for a lot of people, me being one of them. Sustainability is something a lot of people don’t tend to associate affordability with, mainly because it is marketed as ‘if you want something sustainable then it has to be more expensive so those making them can be paid fairly.’ This sentiment I fully agree with, however it does not mean a garment such as a simple T-Shirt has to cost £100. When shopping sustainably is a must have for our environment, it needs to accommodate those who simply can’t afford the £100 T-Shirt.
If you want to hear more of my opinions on sustainability, how to achieve it without spending more money and some views on its marketing check out my recent post here.
With this in mind, I have accumulated some affordable brands from a varying price point (never being far too expensive) and sellers perspective. Some being very commercial others reselling clothing and making items by hand. Both equally important to achieving a sustainable wardrobe and mindset.
I asked over on instagram (@sophieseditblog) for some recommendations, so thanks for sending some in! If they weren’t included its purely because either they were a bit out of the price range or I couldn’t find any sustainable information on them.
Nu-in Fashion is relatively new (no pun intended), but in its short time span I’ve noticed them making waves in the fashion industry. Their ethos is ‘Fashion. Sustainably Driven’ making ‘Beautiful clothing that doesn’t cost the earth.’
I’ve seen influencers such as @hellooctober endorse the brand and I am eager to get my hands on a piece. Ranging from both mens and women’s wear, I’d say they are on the level of Highstreet brands such as Topshop. But with much better values.
Along the same lines as GYMSHARK, TALA has made a considerable difference to the sportswear market, proving these brands can do a lot better. They aim to bridge the gap between fast fashion and sustainability, even though they do produce a high rate of clothing, they plan to create products which are 100% up-cycled and are currently 92% of the way there. Plus they are doing it with recycled packaging and their tags are made from plantable paper.
A brand I was dubious whether to include but I do believe they are making promising steps to being more conscious and better with their clothing. They have set up a global garment collection initiative where you can hand in old clothes (regardless of condition or brand) and receive a £5 voucher to spend in store. The fashion giant have also released a Conscious Collection and have a goal to use only recycled and sustainably sourced materials by 2030. Although they are not perfect, they are making huge strides when it comes to Highstreet fashion.
‘Buy a box. Support a worker for a week’. This Edinburgh based company have achieved great success doing something truly commendable. ‘Leading brands have cancelled over $2 billion USD worth of clothes that have already been produced. This leaves millions of workers in countries such as Bangladesh unpaid, and at risk of starvation. With Lost Stock you get a 50% discount on 3 or more pieces of clothing while supporting workers and decreasing waste.’
I currently have a box on the way, the delivery time is long however everything is handpicked to a quiz you take at the beginning. I’ll do a review as soon as it arrives.
Georgia is a friend I made at uni and has her own brilliant business selling sustainably sourced clothing and avidly advocates for sustainability. She is more than happy to help with finding clothing for you and keeps you regularly updated with new pieces via her instagram (@shopgeethanks). More importantly her clothing is sold at affordable price points for quality clothing. My sister has bought a great pair of Levi jeans from her for such a great price, alongside my flatmate buying one of her more popular pieces, a cropped shirt, which looks great!
A lot of people forget that shopping sustainably can also be done through shopping at small, independent businesses. It is a small step in the right direction. Jess is an independent seller on Etsy and is avidly making changes to her packaging to become more sustainable. She recently reached 5,000 sales and has some very popular items on her store.
More on the upper end of Highstreet pricing, Organic Basics focuses on making simple things well. They only partner with factories who care about their environmental impact as well as choosing fabrics that are sustainable. Importantly, they design everything to last. They do activewear, underwear and everyday essentials for both men and women.
Although you may be spending more than the brands suggested above, they are quality items, recently endorsed by fellow Edinburgh student and blogger Nayna Florence.
A bit more of a broad suggestion, however just as important. As a good friend said, ‘If people want fast fashion we should facilitate it with sustainable behaviours.’ This is the perfect place to get it. Instead of buying from shops like Misguided, Boohoo and Pretty Little Thing (to name only a few) why not buy the pieces from Depop instead.
Not only this, a lot of people use the site to sell vintage clothing or pieces they have up-cycled, this way you can truly get something different, for most likely a decent price.
By Megan Crosby
If you are looking for quality, colour and something handmade this is your place to go. Now before you read any further, this isn’t your cheapest option when buying sustainably however I have included it because you are paying for made to measure garments made from sustainable, ethically sourced and organic materials and packaging. You are not only paying for the quality of the material but also the sewing and attention to detail, so if that’s what you’re after, why not give Megan a shout?
Lucy and Yak are well known for their dungarees but should be appreciated for their entire range of clothing which is made sustainably and ethically. A brand highly focussed on comfort and colour, their garments bring a sense of joy to each user. Check out their website not only for the fabulous clothes but also the great story of how they started!
I know that shopping sustainably can be daunting and lets be honest there are only a few who are very good at it. No one is perfect but what we can do is try our best. If this post highlights anything, I hope it is that shopping sustainably affordably isn’t impossible and that there are outlets there for absolutely everyone to do better.
Like I said in my previous post, shopping sustainably doesn’t have to mean going out and buying clothes, it means you buy what you need. Look at your wardrobe like a collection for all year round, not just for part of it. More importantly, you do not need to invest in trends, instead invest in yourself and your own personal taste.
Please go and support these brands if you can, or at the very least check them out. They are doing important things in a market which is often looked down upon.
Keep me updated with any of your own sustainable finds and let me know if you end up getting anything from any of the above!
I am in favour of anything sustainable. I am a firm believer that the world needs to take active steps in reducing factors like its carbon footprint to make the world we inhabit last a lot longer. I am not in favour however of guilt tripping people about their habits without knowing their economic reasons, or any reason for that matter, behind their attitude.
Without getting too political it is frustrating as a 20 year old that our government, filled with *mostly* white old men, are too economically driven to see the catastrophic affects their actions have on this planet. Yes they won’t be here to see it, but their kids and grandkids will be. We are the ones who have to deal with the consequences of the naive older generation.
*Might I add that if you are a part of the older generation and get angry at this statement because you ‘aren’t part of this problem’, please take an inward look at your actions and what you are doing/can change. Try and remember who it is that governs us and how very little they are doing*
I’m not here to sound bigger or better than anyone else, because I am not perfect. I am not a poster girl for environmental change but like anyone else I want that change to happen. We can do as much as we can as consumers however there is a much bigger change that is needed and that comes from people in a position of power.
When it comes to sustainability, my insight into it has been largely around the fashion industry and the abundance of fashion brands who produce clothing at affordable rates but in terrible conditions. Brands such as PLT, Boohoo, Missguided and Shein are only a few who are guilty of being extremely harmful to the environment.
Unfortunately there is a stereotype many people brandish our generation with. One which is extremely harmful and purely distasteful to the work that many people are doing. Work that needs to be done. It shouldn’t be brushed off because it is some ‘snowflake’ getting angry about a ‘trendy’ topic. Or people saying ‘It’s just the younger generation trying to be “woke”‘. It is young people taking ownership for YOUR mistakes.
Before I get too angry and go off on a tangent about the misconception of 16-25 year olds, I want to write an honest piece about how you can ‘afford’ sustainable fashion through not going out and buying clothes out-with your budget. I think a lot of people get scared to go off piste when addressing sustainability, however I believe there are major problems with the industry, especially surrounding students (who are one of the major consumers of the brands stated above). There are ways in which you can make changes to the way you shop without feeling guilty about not affording a £200 dress made of organic fabric.
I am a big believer that simply changing your attitude to your closet can stop you from shopping for unnecessary items. This way you can find what you need rather than what you want (or simply buying on impulse).
You wardrobe is full of clothes that can be repurposed in ways that will look completely different to the last time you wore it. Don’t look at a dress purely as just a dress. Why not tuck it into jeans or put a jumper over it. If, unlike me, you are good with a sewing machine, why not completely change something that has been sitting in the back of your wardrobe for 3 years.
At the end of the day your wardrobe should not be a shop.
A good way to think differently about the clothes you already own is having a look on sites like Pinterest (my account is linked below) and see how other people style similar pieces to ones you already have. This way you can change your mindset from ‘uh what do I have to wear, I don’t have anything’, to a creative challenge; ‘what can I do differently/switch it up’.
If you’re in a creative mood or are looking for something to do, another way to look at your wardrobe differently is taking photos of your outfits, so when it comes to being stuck for ideas, you have a folder on your phone for inspiration. Like previously mentioned, turn this into a challenge and see how many ways you can style one item.
Charity Shops are your best friend.
Sustainable clothing doesn’t have to be ‘new’. I once got a Ralph Lauren Polo Sweatshirt (Mens) for £10 from a charity shop. It is a great way to add designer items and unique pieces for a fraction of the price. This way it’s not ending up in a landfill.
Don’t be scared to go into a charity shop and have a good look around. Yes you might not find something every time and yes it probably smells like something out of your grandparents house but the chances of you finding something completely unique, interesting and well-made is a lot higher there than in a cheap Highstreet shop. On top of this, don’t be afraid to go into the mens section. For example that ‘trendy’ oversized blazer would be a perfect find in the mens section.
Online shopping does not have to encompass stores like the aforementioned ones. Looking at sites like eBay, Etsy and Depop are perfect for when you are looking for pieces you’ve seen on other people but at a smaller price tag. Plus you can repurpose them.
On another note if you have clothes that are in a good condition but are no longer used, why not sell them on one of the sites?
Reduce your Shopping Habits.
This is a huge aspect of fashion which I believe once changed is much more attainable than feeling ‘forced’ into buying sustainably. As a student, we have this perception that for every night out you need a different outfit, or for a special occasion you need a new dress. This is extremely harmful to the environment and frankly an outlook which is probably quite harmful to your bank balance: hence the success of brands like Boohoo.
Instead buy what you need not what you want. Buy pieces which will last for years rather than a day or a month (these don’t have to be expensive, they just need well looked after. If you buy from places like Shein however they will only last a short time). Don’t invest in trends, invest in your style and what you feel comfortable in. Simplicity is quite often key to this outlook.
If you want to buy from H&M because it is at an affordable price point, then do so, but don’t go buying 20 pieces because you have a summer holiday coming up or are in need of some winter clothing. Look at your wardrobe as a collection of items for all year round, which are multipurpose. You don’t need a new wardrobe every month.
Stop spending every month browsing cheap sites and feeling the need to buy something every time you need to go out somewhere special. This will often do more than feeling forced to spend money on more expensive ‘sustainable’ clothing you can’t afford.
On a personal note, this year I haven’t spent much at all on clothing. At most I’ve probably bought one or two items. This is not because I’ve been forced to stop buying clothing excessively, I’ve just looked at what I’ve got differently. It’s purely because I don’t need to buy anything.
The Perception of Sustainability
This is something that irks me the most. In a world based around consumership the need to shop sustainably is extremely important, that is something I would never disregard. However, what does annoy me is how guilty I feel even when I am not shopping.
As a student who is not fuelled with money, I can’t support local businesses at the moment, especially when they need it the most. On top of this I can’t afford to buy sustainably because the majority of it is extremely expensive (when buying ‘new’). It’s the same feeling when I go into a supermarket: an organic broccoli for example is always more expensive than the ‘standard’ one.
I recently read an article that Good Housekeeping did called ’20 Sustainable Fashion Brands – Ethical Clothing for Women’, don’t get me wrong I didn’t get through the full list as when the first 4 websites I clicked on were overpriced I was put straight off, purely because a standard t-shirt cost £25-30 (a price point which yes, is great when you have an income that can sustain spending that much for quality, however when your food shop for that week costs the same as one t-shirt, it’s not ideal).
I am scared at most that being sustainable is only a lifestyle attainable for those from middle to upper class backgrounds. I am even more worried that it is looking more like a ‘trend’ than anything else.
On top of this I don’t want people to be put off from even trying to alter their lifestyle slightly because on a large scale they can’t afford it.
Furthermore, like I said before, I also don’t want it attached to those ‘snowflakes’ wanting to be ‘woke’. It is a real life issue which needs addressed in the real world with practical solutions. Not by people applying stereotypes to ignore their own issues.
I’ve decided I am going to accumulate some business that are sustainable but affordable so if you can afford to and are looking for something you have a place to shop.
I can’t vouch for a lot of brands because I can’t afford to shop at them. This goes for any business at the moment. So, don’t feel guilty for not being able to shop sustainably or if you haven’t ‘yet’ done it (Just remember that those cheaper brands work with numbers – the more people that order from them means the more they will produce). Do it when you can, instead look at what you currently have and ignore the trends; they only last a while, instead invest in yourself.
However, what I want to reinforce is that it is your decision. Sustainability, especially when it comes to fashion, does not mean you have to go and shop at the nearest business that uses recycled fabrics etc. It means you change your mindset to what you have, and adapt your outlook to the world of fashion in general rather than feeling bad for not affording what is largely on offer within this market.
I am by no means an expert but have seen enough of people berating others without thought into what their current lifestyle is. You don’t know what happens behind closed doors.
However I hope this helps and changes your mindset on sustainability and what you already have in your wardrobe.
If you haven’t seen my last post, I shared my love for jewellery in regards to necklaces and how to shop them on a budget. So, this time I’m dedicating a whole post to rings.
Rings were never something I wore, I thought they would be extremely annoying (because jewellery, or accessories altogether, have to be practical) but I’ve fallen in love with layering them. It adds more detail and interest to your overall look, while also giving you something to twiddle if you are nervous (yes I just said ‘twiddle’ and yes they probably do act as a comfort blanket).
They don’t have to be expensive though and for me, like with necklaces, the simpler the better.
The best selection I can find available at Primark at the minute are these ones here. They do feature different coloured stones however paired sparingly I think they’d be perfect, plus for £3 you can’t complain. They also have a charming vintage feel to them which makes them look slightly more individual.
Another place I’d take a look is Accessorize, like previously mentioned in the Necklace Post, they do cheap alternatives.
The place I have found cheap stackable rings is Primark. Yup, don’t get me wrong they do turn silver eventually but for what they are, they are great.
I usually take out the ones that have pearls on them because they definitely look cheap however the solid ones are perfect to mix with your other rings.
These two rings actually belonged to my mum and are solid gold. What I love about them is the detail and sentiment to them.
The best place to look for more expensive rings are charity shops, vintage stores and your mums/families/friends/granny’s house (please ask for permission first, I don’t want to be blamed for you stealing your grans favourite ring)
Like I said in my previous post, look at the more expensive retailers and then try and find similar things elsewhere. Therefore you’re getting what you want but on a budget.
On the other hand, charity shops and vintage stores offer you the chance to find something one of a kind, while attaching your own sentimental story to them.
I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at my jewellery and how I shop for them. If you have any other places that are great for finding simple, individualist pieces then please leave them below.
I LOVE JEWELLERY. I particularly love expensive jewellery. However, I am a student with struggling finances so spending the odd £60+ on one item is not happening.
Therefore, I wanted to share the ways in which I’ve managed to add interest to a lot of my outfits, without breaking the bank.
Some I might add are quite obvious, however I think sometimes it takes that reminder that shopping cheaply doesn’t mean it won’t look great. Granted it might not last long but it will give you an idea on what you like and what you should invest in later.
So to start with it’s all about necklaces.
Necklaces are a great way to make something as simple as a white t-shirt look great. I have a mix of slightly higher end necklaces and then more highstreet ones.
The layering necklace (on the far right of the photo) is from New Look and I’ve had it for a fair few years. It’s great to add to graphic tees and also plain shirts. It has gone a bit rusty at the top but the overall affect of the necklace has not changed. A layering necklace is a great thing to add to your collection and because they tend to be more pricy starting off with a budget piece is great!
Tip: Especially when buying cheaper jewellery, the simpler the better. I love simplistic pieces anyway but when buying them on a budget the more there is to it the cheaper it will look.
The middle necklace (see on the photo above and the aside photo) actually sits in between a chocker and a normal lying necklace (available here). It is a perfect substitute to a layering necklace or if you simply want to add something small to an outfit. Accessorize is a great place to shop for jewellery because they mimic a lot of the higher end designs but on a budget. This one in particular has stayed in pretty good condition.
Upper End Highstreet
I must admit the two upper end pieces I own have been gifted to me by my fabulous friends. However, they are my most worn necklaces and if you can’t get them yourself asking for birthdays etc. is a great way to ask for things that may be a bit of a stretch on a normal day.
This particular one I believe is from Oliver Bonas (the shop in Edinburgh is beautiful!). The necklace is simple and goes with absolutely everything. Mixing and matching more expensive jewellery with your budget pieces (especially when they are such simple pieces) means the budget ones are elevated.
Tip: If you don’t necessarily have the budget for an expensive necklace, looking around the upper priced websites is still a great place to start. This way you can find what you like and look elsewhere for a cheaper option.
Tip: When shopping for more expensive pieces looking at the sales are a great way to afford them. I’ve noticed that Oliver Bonas tend to do great in store sales, particularly on Jewellery.
The next necklace was also kindly gifted by a friend and it is the well known pendant from Anthropologie, available here. They come inscribed with an initial on it so a great gifting piece!
However it has slightly disappointed me with its lasting quality. I am not sure if this is significant to the Edinburgh store (seeing there is a similar review based on there) but the piece has turned copper like and has scratching on the front. I tend to take great care of my jewellery ( I don’t sleep with them on, they get hung up and I don’t shower with it on either) so its a real shame that it has not lasted more than a year. It definitely doesn’t look gold anymore.
I do still wear it, just not the same amount as what I have done and it certainly doesn’t have the same affect.
Please let me know if you’ve had a similar experience.
If you have any recommendations on jewellery, feel free to leave them down below. When I am finally back in Edinburgh I am particularly looking forward to finding some options there!
Keep your eyes peeled for the next jewellery post, all about rings!