Teacher Style: Ethical Fashion on a Budget

Let’s face it– shopping ethically can get pricey. And, if we’re being honest here, teachers don’t exactly pull in six figures. So I thought I would do a short post on how I shop as ethically as possible on a budget.

The great thing is, conscious consumerism doesn’t have to be expensive. The most environmentally friendly way to shop is to buy resale, which is what I’ll be talking about in this post.

For a long time, I avoided resale. I had this idea that it was low-quality cast offs, and that good, quality items were found purely by luck. However, now that I’ve purchased a fair few items from my favorite consignment and resale shops, I know that this is not at all accurate.

My first bit of advice is to scout out the consignment boutiques near you. If the establishment truly cares about their clothing, the items will often pass through multiple sets of hands before ending up on the shelves, which helps to ensure you won’t be buying low quality items. You’ll want to do your research, but I can tell you it’s well worth it if you can find a shop that is under good management and has a constant influx of new clothing. This will insure both quality and variety.

If you can’t find a local consignment/resale shop you’re happy with, online companies offer a great alternative.

**Side note–I know some of you may be asking–what about the pollution caused by freight to deliver from online sellers? My response–I still feel this is a more environmentally friendly alternative to the production of new items.

Poshmark is the platform I’m most familiar with. It has a large variety to choose from and I feel I can hone in on what I’m looking for pretty easily. They feature independent boutiques selling new items as well as resale. The downsides: you buy from individual buyers, so you can’t guarantee quality or consistency in price. Also, you have to pay shipping for each individual buyer you purchase from. Shipping times vary depending on the seller, but if the seller takes more than a week to send your items, Poshmark will cancel the order and refund your money. The company acts as a liaison between buyer and seller, rather than as an actual shop. I’ve purchased a handful of items from Poshmark, and overall I’ve had good luck. The biggest thing is to make sure the seller has good photos, is quickly responsive to any questions you have, and has good Posh Stats.

The other platform I’ve used to browse, but which I haven’t purchased from yet, is Thred Up. They are more like a traditional consignment shop– purchases are made directly from Thred Up, which then pays its suppliers. Each item comes with a quality description, and you don’t have to pay shipping for multiple sellers. The downside I’ve noticed just from browsing is that they don’t seem to have as much variety as Poshmark.

Whichever option you decide, do your research. Ask questions. Be thorough. You want to make sure that you are getting what you pay for. But overall, take comfort in knowing that you’ve made an ethical, conscious decision, rather than blindly buying from companies you know little to nothing about. Small changes can make a big difference!

Happy shopping.

Extending the life of clothing by a further 9 months would reduce carbon, waste and water footprints by around 20-30% each.




On Being a Working Mom…

One of the things I’ve struggled with most in regards to teaching is the time I’m giving up with my daughter… those moments spent at work, rather than with her, that I can never get back. It hits me especially hard on days like today, when I have to walk away with her crying and calling my name behind me. Of feeling her fingers clutching my sweater while I explain I have to go, working her tiny fist free of my clothes so that I can flee before she grasps me again.

I was a stay at home mom for two and a half years. I saw all of J’s firsts, and was able to build a bond with her that is truly incredible. I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything.

But, there’s something people don’t tell you about being a stay at home mom. Everyone always glorifies it, or blows it off, but no one really talks about the things I experienced. So I’m just going to say it… being a stay at home mom was hard.

My own mother raised me to be financially and emotionally independent. And perhaps because of that, perhaps because I’m not a naturally maternal person, I really struggled being home full time. My husband would comment that he missed the old me, that I wasn’t happy anymore. My mood was constantly up and down. I felt unfulfilled intellectually, and I hated not being able to contribute to our financial well-being. I tried applying for remote work, but didn’t have much work experience and so I received a record number of rejections. Outside of making sure my daughter was taken care of– intellectually, emotionally, physically– I was lost. But I didn’t want to put her in daycare. I didn’t trust anyone, often not even myself, so how could I trust strangers with her care and safety?

There are many things that contributed to my going back to work, but for the sake of brevity, I won’t go into detail. Suffice it to say that a lot of things in my life shifted, and it suddenly seemed like the right time.

Going back to work has had a lot of advantages. I feel like I’m in a better place, mentally. I’ve helped relieve some of the stress on my husband now that he isn’t the sole breadwinner in our family. And overall, I feel like my little family has settled into a nice stride.

But man, oh man, the guilt. I wonder every day if I’m doing the right thing by forfeiting this time with J. Especially on those days when she tells me she wants things to go back to how they were before. Those days when her cries follow me out the door as I leave for work. Those days when I’m out of school for whatever reason and I get a taste of how it used to be.

I say all of this, not to complain, but to be real. One of the things I’ve noticed in life is that people rarely give the good and the bad. It’s often one or the other. I know there are moms out there who live a similar struggle, and I write this so that you know you are not alone. There is a tribe of women working through the same difficulties. You’re not a bad mom for not staying home with your child, whether you left the home because you wanted to or because you had to. Searching for fulfillment outside of your child doesn’t make you a less-than mother. Admitting that it isn’t all rainbows and sunshine doesn’t mean you aren’t a rock star.

It all just means you’re human.