A Chicago Apartment Tour

Growing up, Chicago was far away. It was a big adventure to get on a plane and fly to Chicago so it is a bit surreal to live 5 hours away from it now in St. Louis, MO. It’s even more surreal to have some of my very best friends living there who can make the experience feel like home.

After visiting them twice now, I knew I had to document their gorgeous apartment. Not only is it beautiful with all its character and history with its oak doors and hardwood floors, but they have totally made it home for themselves and their guests. They have filled it with so many special possessions that tell a story of where they’ve come from and all who have been a part of their story.

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From a basket full of love notes they wrote to each other while dating long distance, an art print of their wedding vows, or date night cards, their home is filled with so many special items to remind them of the community surrounding them as they pave a way in their new city without friends or family near.

I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I do and I dare you to try not to go out and buy a plant after looking at all of these. My friend is a plant whisperer. Teach me your ways.

Frank + Oak Style Plan

While in Chicago over Labor Day weekend last year, we made it a point to visit Frank + Oak’s store. Aaron, my husband, has been shopping with them for over four years now--way before my desire to shop ethically. We simply love their aesthetic and the great quality they offer. I always knew that if they carried women’s clothing, too, I’d be in trouble.

But then, while shopping at their Chicago store last September, I mentioned this to one of their employees, who said, “Well, we ARE getting a women’s line! THIS winter!”

Cue my happy dance. I was SO pumped and couldn’t wait to see it.

So, fast forward a few months and here we are. Their women’s line is OUT and their aesthetic is just as amazing and well-made. I love companies who make great fashion and social responsibility coexist together, so you don’t have to choose one or the other.

With the launch of the women’s line, they also launched their “Style Plan” which is a new, innovative way to shop for me. I’m used to the box subscription where you get clothing at your door every month and it’s a total surprise. But that’s not the case with Frank + Oak’s Style Plan.

Even more than control over what you receive every month, here are a few more things I love about their new clothing subscription plan.

Flexibility

The one thing that has kept me from clothing subscription boxes in the past is the surprise element and the commitment. Frank + Oak’s Style Plan solves both of those problems for me. With the Style Plan, you get to pick out what you want your four pieces to be and when you want to receive them. This is probably my favorite feature (other than their quality clothes) and will keep me coming back, along with their free standard shipping and free returns.

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Quality

Like I previously mentioned, I love Frank + Oak’s aesthetic. That’s no secret. But, to give you a little more insight on what exactly I love about their aesthetic, I admire their desire to give us pieces that are stylish, not just trendy, and use limited patterns. Trends fade, but style stays around for decades and my pieces from Frank + Oak can be just that: Timeless and in my closet for years to come.

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Affordability

The more consumers demand ethical practices from their favorite companies, the more second-nature it’s going to become for factories. Shopping quality over quantity requires more attention to our purchasing decisions, but I don’t find that all bad. Budgeting for quality items over buying ten super cheap items at the mall also means you will most likely love your closet that much more. Which is why I love the Style Plan. You get five tokens with each month and you get 3-5 quality items with your plan, all for $79. With this kind of deal, ethical fashion is going to be the easy choice in no time.

Lastly, I’m so excited to share that Frank + Oak has given me a code for you to get $30 off your first Style Plan order! Let me know below if you’ve shopped with Frank + Oak before and what you think of their Style Plan below - I’d love to know what catches your eye!

*this post is sponsored by Frank + Oak, an amazing new player in the Women's Ethical fashion, game! #frankandoaknetwork

My Favorite Ethical White T-Shirts

For the rule-followers amongst us and with Memorial Day weekend now behind us, I thought it
would be fun to share some of my favorite ethical white t-shirts and blouses, as well as different
ways I like to style them. My most favorite ethical fashion company of all won't be a surprise to
those who've followed me for any amount of time, but — you guessed it — Everlane.

Everlane

I'll lay out a few of my top reasons I love Everlane and then we’ll get on to the shirts.

  1. They are known best for their "Radical Transparency". They believe in knowing who makes your clothes and that everyone deserves being paid a fair wage.
  2. They don't believe in the "mark-up" and are up-front about why they are charging what they charge. (see image below)
  3. A huge part of sustainable fashion is buying quality over quality and Everlane is just that. You buy clothes that last with Everlane and I can appreciate that about them.
  4. Their clothing is timeless and I love how most of their pieces are solid colors so they can be in my closet for years with no sign of "out of style".

With some of my favorite reasons why I love Everlane laid out, I'll now share some of my favorite white blouses/tees.

I'm wearing the The Japanese GoWeave Back-Zip Tee in White and I can't say enough good things about it. It's the perfect summer shirt as it is made from 100% triacetate—making it crease-resistant and cooling, perfect for surviving the heat with a subtle texture and silky drape. It also has a great weight to it that gives me the reassurance it will last for years to come.

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I am also a huge fan of scoop neck blouses and shirts and all the variety it allows when
accessorizing. I fully believe in working with a variety of textiles and materials when putting an
outfit together. With the subtle texture of this blouse plus the texture from my water buffalo horn necklace or bandana scarf from Noonday Collection, they compliment each other beautifully. 

I also love the creativity of the back of The Japanese GoWeave Back-Zip Tee, and how it elevates the style of the shirt.

My other favorite white t-shirts from Everlane are from their linen collection. Their lightweight linen gives you an easy drape and a breathable feel for warmer days. These are my go-to items when packing for a summer getaway.

Everlane also carries Men's and children's clothes as well so you can get your whole family amazing quality staples and ethical pieces in one shopping trip!

Other Favorite Ethical White T-shirts

I have other white t-shirts in my closet from a few of my favorite sustainable companies that I thought I'd share below - you might not need a new one now, but my hope is that when you have a gap in your closet and you need to fill it, you'll think of the companies I share here on my blog when you shop!

Live FashionABLE

FashionABLE has been a big favorite of mine as I have three of their purses, but they just came out with their new clothing line last week called .ABLE and I'm over the moon for it. I happened to be in Nashville over the weekend and got to try on and personally shop the new collection. I was like a kid in a candy shop. Their new clothing line is all handmade in Peru and is incredibly soft and could be mistaken for wearing butter. They are such great quality pieces and timeless. I'm a big fan of their color scheme and how I can have it in my closet for years to come.

ThredUp

ThredUp is a great second-hand online clothing company. A great way to shop ethically is to shop second-hand to give clothes a new life and ThredUp is my favorite avenue for shopping via thrift stores. You can filter by your size, type of clothing (tops) and color (white), and quickly scan to shop what you are looking for!

Krochet Kids intl.

Krochet Kids intl. makes their clothing line in Peru just like Live FashionABLE and considering I traveled to Peru last summer with Noonday Collection, that pulls on my heart strings. I love their Standard Tee and the Organic Tee.

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Made in the USA

Lastly, I encourage you to keep asking major companies #whomadeyourclothes and if your shopping at major companies such as Nordstrom or Macy's, don't forget you can search "Made in the USA" in the search bar! They make it so easy to make an ethical shopping purchase without even realizing it with the "Made in the USA" note in the details section! 

*this post is sponsored by Everlane, my favorite Ethical clothing line!

All in good time: Getting to know JORD Wood Watches

I've been slowly trying to create a more thoughtful closet over the last two and a half years that is full of more ethically made pieces that are also closet staples and will stand the test of time. Recently, I've begun the same process for my accessories and wanted to share a great company that I've recently learned about and couldn't love more. JORD Wood Watches is a local St. Louis company that makes beautiful watches almost completely out of wood! How fun is that?! 

I've worn the same watch for the last six years that has different materials and textiles so the simplicity of the Fieldcrest watch was quite a departure for me but I absolutely love it! This watch doesn't have any bells or whistles but instead is just a well-crafted, gorgeous, timeless (pun-intended) piece. I am not the only one who loves this watch; quite a few of my friends not only noticed I switched watches but complimented this watch. This Fieldcrest watch is a real head-turner!

I took some time asking JORD some questions about the watches and I'm excited to share what I learned with you!

Could you tell me more about the artisans who make the watches?

"Though the watches are all hand finished, we do a great deal of the manufacturing with specialty tooled machines.  Wood is a fluid substance, and it will contract and expand to a certain degree based on its environment.  We can’t change that property of the wood so we’ve found that machine tooling allows us to create pieces to exacting standards so that even when slight expansion and contraction occur the fully assembled watch retains its structural integrity. If we were to do those processes by hand there would be the opportunity for variation that creates a negative effect further down in the assembly process and possibly in the future during wear.

"Part of the craft, we feel, lies with our team who choose the wood to go through the manufacturing process.  That cannot be accomplished by a machine! The grain of the wood, the coloring, the density – that all has to be evaluated prior to the process.  Even more challenging, almost like putting a puzzle together, is when the watches are being assembled.  A single piece of wood can produce a wide variety of grain and coloring, so our team sorts through the individual pieces, matching them for shading and the strike of the grain, and making sure that the finished piece has a natural uniformity."

Where are the watches made?

"Our watches are manufactured in China in a facility that we manage.  We have a team on site, who follow production and are in charge of quality control, as well as a team who works specifically on prototyping.  Our designers are here in St. Louis and after the initial drawings, specs, and materials are chosen our team in China evaluates the design, considering production and long term wearability, makes whatever changes are necessary, and builds out samples. Prior to putting a new design in full production, several of the JORD partners will fly to China to oversee the final design and approve the materials. 

"We wanted to ensure the people working on our watches were trained adequately, treated fairly, and paid appropriately for their positions which is why we choose the facility that we did that allowed us to manage it. And to top it off, all of our watches are treated with natural substances, no hazardous chemicals. Not only for the sake of the environment, but for those who work on the watches."  

Noonday Collection bracelets and JORD W

Lastly, I'm so excited to be partnering with JORD to offer See Things Closer readers a special $25 e-gift code! Once you fill out the form, you will instantly be emailed your $25 e-gift code. You will have until 12/18/16 to redeem the code. I can't wait to hear what watch catches your eye below and if you have a favorite! Here's to shopping locally and supporting small businesses this holiday - cheers!