Pretty & Fair

Living in a big city like Chicago has a lot of benefits. I am constantly inspired by the people around me, the architecture, the pockets of different cultures. I live in a funny spot were Eastern Europe and Puerto Rico are side by side. There is always something exciting going on, or something free to do with the children, even if it's just going to one of the many gorgeous parks in the city, or story time at a local 
bebe boutique.

There many are drawbacks to living here as well, including considering where J will go to school when the time comes, the cost of living, parking tickets (my sworn nemesis, I have to remind myself that the poor meter maid is just as human as I am and it actually isn't personal even though it feels like it is) and high taxes in everything imaginable ( that's a can of worms I don't want to open ). Oddly enough, one of the most difficult things for me to deal with while living in the city is the constant exposure to retail. this could be a positive for others but for me, it's a downfall.

I can easily pass 30 adorable and beautiful boutiques on a walk to the park with the children. There are THREE Anthropologie stores with in a thirty minute radius using public transportation. Do I need to explain myself further? Haha. While walking past these gorgeous shops there are gorgeous women in well thought out ensembles, oh you know, just going about their business being gorgeous haha. I've never been SUPER into fashion but living here has caused me to pay more attention to the way I present myself, which in its self is not a bad thing. It's not a bad thing to want to look pretty and have nice clothes and shoes. For me, I struggle with this on an almost daily basis because I feel that I have a realistic grasp on the real cost of looking so perfect. Someone has to pay for the savings somewhere.

I find myself constantly asking shop attendants , "Where was this made?". They usually don't know and after tuning a dress inside out twice I find the tag which reads "Made in Thailand 100% polyester". The fact that the sales associate has no idea where her products are made gives me the impression that the company she works for doesn't care enough about where the products are made to educate the stateside employees, which leads me further to believe that they probably don't care about the people making the products either. I know that is sort of a big jump, but I feel that it is he case with most retailers. Even some retailers that run their business stateside have poor business practices and treat their employees badly. I know that every dollar I work for is a vote, and a choice to support ethical business practices. I have to make the choice to be informed and responsible for knowing where my hard earned money is going. This is an area that I can actually make change and impact, through my spending. I also want to live a life full of compassion, and that life style attitude should not stop at my closet simply because it is inconvenient. Yes, buying things made by local designers, or from etsy, or even from businesses who market themselves as "fair trade" is more expensive, but I think its worth it. I would rather have less quantity and more substance,
  pretty and fair. 

With that said I want to share one of my favorite dresses with you, I am wearing it today! 

 I love this color so much, and it does wonders for my skin tone. Im such a textile fanatic and this print is so lovely. The fabric is 100% cotton, hand block printed with natural dyes in India. The designer is actually a Chicagoan, and her shop is called Mata Traders, but you can also buy some of her dresses online through Rouche and ModCloth. I purchased this particular dress at a local shop called Greenheart. I wont go into detail about the shop because I want you to read it for yourself on her About Mata page. 

The aline skirt hits the right places for this momma, I cant take care of a bunch of little ones with my booty hanging out all the time. Oh and it has pockets! Dresses with pockets are the best of both worlds, and I can keep delicious snacks in those pockets! 

The top of this dress was really great when Julian was still nursing, it ties together at the top, so all I had to do was untie and retie instead of try to half way and inconspicuously undress myself in public. And honestly, every time I wear it I get compliments on how interesting it is. Knowing that it was made by hand, and for a fair wage makes it mean so much more to me than just a pretty dress, it give me a tiny sense of confidence knowing that I am choosing to put social responsibility BEFORE connivence and a few extra dollars. It's pretty and fair. 

What are some of your own pretty and fair things? Id love to hear where you get your favorite items from and the stories behind them!  


  1. I have been thinking about this a lot lately. Especially after witnessing some of the horrors I saw working at francesca's. Supposedly environmentally conscious - we had to destroy things that weren't selling and throw them away! How is that conscious? The purses were lined with card board that had asian writing and obviously not made with care. There are not many options where we are to choose where to shop.

    We shop at target, which claims to be socially responsible but something I do know is that they give their unsold items to the local goodwill. Which I snatch up! So many of the things we buy are thrifted or we love a local boutique near our home that buys their items from clothing makers in the mid west - semi-local and as sustainable as possible.
    Of course, I still have certain things that I can't resist, (small steps) that are just so cheap, it seems better to buy them there. We are constantly making changes in where we buy, even yarn for knitting and especially food!

  2. Elise,
    Its so good to know others are trying to make steps in this direction as well!