Pink Outside of the Box

Have you ever lived through a poor experience and as a result banned the outfit you wore through the ordeal? Circa early June 2013, I had a really awful day at work. I consequently could not even look at the printed pencil skirt and the neon monogrammed cashmere tee shirt that I picked out that morning. I remember the outfit as vividly as I remember oversleeping and rushing out of the apartment that morning sans shower. While I made it to work with minutes to spare, it should have been the first clue that I was in for a doozy of a day.

I had to give away both garments as just one look at them took me to a really sad, angry, and confused place.

Earlier this summer, I sat through a really uncomfortable interview in this acid pink tweed shift dress. It was for a job at a nonprofit preservation organization for which I was beyond qualified based on my educational experiences alone. It would have been a thirty percent pay cut even though it was a more senior level than my current position. Mentally, I was at a place where the current staff would really have to sell me on the job; I just was not internally sold on it. I think going to any interview is a good exercise, regardless of having to use vacation hours for the present position, so I accepted in invitation to interview.

The interview did not go well. It was with three staff members and a board member. The board member and one of the staff members were perfectly delightful. A second staff member could only be described as outwardly milquetoast – or maybe just stoic –  although I am sure there was more going through her head. The third staff member was the Executive Director of said nonprofit and from the minute she answered the door bell (as I had to buzz in), she was not…very nice. She seemed surprised by my presence (give or take twelve minutes early) despite the fact that she had accepted the calendar event that I had previously sent her. Being sized up as I stood on the door stoop made me want to run away. #areyougoingtoinvitemeinquestionmark

In a move stolen from mean girls holding court in high school cafeterias around America, I caught the Executive Director attempting to make what felt like very judgemental eye contact with the board member, who I might add was not engaging back with the ED – including an actual eyeroll –  while I was mid-sentence.

While the actual functions of the job sounded exactly what I hoped for, I knew when I left the office it was for the last time. Whether I received an offer or not, I would not accept it and in a radical move on my part, I did not even send a set of thank you notes. Furthermore, it made me appreciate the staff of which I am a part. Straightforward. No mental hopscotch.

In the weeks that followed, I could not bring myself to even look at the acid pink tweed shift dress that I had been so in love with until wearing it to the interview. Did the Executive Director not like me because of the dress? Was that why she was sizing me up? Was the dress too bright? The tall size could not have been too short, right? Was the hemline too short? There was no way. (But seriously, weigh in, in the comment section.)

Several weeks later, I decided to reclaim the dress. I happened to have an informational interview with a Director of a privately held company which was in the same field as the nonprofit. I wore the dress. Echoing the experience of the nonprofit, I had to buzz in, to which the Director answered, “Hello Lucinda! I am going to be right down.” Upon opening the door, she said and I quote, “Great dress!” and we proceeded to have the most fantastic and inspiring conversation.

I will never forget how nice the Director was. She will remain one of the coolest people I have ever met. In conclusion, and ladies this is for us, it is cool to be nice. Let’s be like the Director every day. While we are at it, let’s not let bad experiences ruin our associations the with amazing clothes already in our closets!

IMG_5699IMG_5696IMG_5679IMG_5691IMG_5681IMG_5682

[show_shopthepost_widget id=”3558957″]

Dress is More

I was so excited to receive the new floral Meghan Evans dress in the mail last week. I love the black scuba fabric dress from last fall – as did my 6′-3″ sister, when she borrowed it for a going away party. She loved it so much, I still have not gotten it back and it has turned up on her Instagram feed several times since then. Just like 2003.

Meghan and I have a mutual interest in sustainability, particularly when it comes to clothing. She and I emailed back and forth about the topic several rounds before it became clear to me that I wanted to share not only our conversation, but also how she implements sustainability into her line. Our conversation, after the photos…

dress (℅ Meghan Evans Clothing) // shoes // sunglasses // tote bag // handbag (old J.Crew, similar) // scarf (old, Christian LaCroix) // watch // pearl earrings // pearl necklace (old) // pendant necklace // pearl bracelet (old) // cuff // ring // lip color (in #49)


Lucinda: What inspired you to develop a line of tall clothing?

Meghan: I have a really long torso and have always struggled to find tops, jackets, and dresses that fit. Growing up, I resorted sizing up in a desperate attempt to gain an inch in length (if I was lucky). When that was no longer cutting it, I started buying dresses that I knew were too short and turning them into tops (you can always hem something and make it shorter!). But, as we all know, simply making a top (or dress) longer doesn’t always result in the best fit. Things like armholes, bust darts, waistline placement, and sleeve lengths also have to be adjusted to ensure the best tall fit. My husband inevitably asked why I didn’t just make tops to fit tall women to begin with. So, I started looking into it.

L: I always said that it must be easier to be shorter and take up a dress or a pair of pants, rather than being tall because there is only so much hem you can let out. You have recently incorporated regular length sizing in your most recent collection. Was there a particular trend or factor that caused that shift?

M: It wasn’t an easy decision. I got into this industry to fix one problem: the lack of tall friendly tops, jackets, and dresses. But, in doing so I realized that I offered a unique approach to ethical fashion and people were interested in the aesthetic even though they didn’t face challenges finding pieces that fit them because of their height. Ultimately, I decided to expand the sizes offered in response to customer demand.

L: I have seen the @MeghanEvansClothing Instagram stories showing your hunt for deadstock. Aside from utilizing deadstock, do you implement any other sustainable practices in your collections?

M: Yes! Sometimes I think it’s easy to focus on a few obvious things when deciding how “sustainable” a clothing brand is. For example, do they use deadstock or eco-friendly fabric? In my opinion, to determine whether a brand is ethical and sustainable, you have to look at the brand as a whole. As you mentioned, I do use deadstock fabric to manufacture some of my styles. But, I also manufacture in limited quantities which reduces potential waste and limits my impact even when using conventional fabrics. I work with a woman-owned, small run production company located in Washington, DC. Doing so streamlines production and is extremely environmentally friendly (no long trips required for fittings or to check in on production, no shipping inventory and samples back and forth, etc). I’m also a big proponent of designing pieces that are versatile and timeless. For example, I value an ethically made sheath dress from conventional fabric more than an ethically made crop top from organic cotton because I will get a lot more wear and use out of the sheath dress given my lifestyle.

L: I once read that the transportation effects of the Toyota Prius to various dealers’ lots is so significant that it negates its purpose of reducing carbon emissions. Last week on the PopFashion podcast, Kaarin and Lisa discussed how there is a secondary market for high end, empty beauty product packaging for the sake of staging Instagram posts. While it is sustainable for something like this to have an afterlife, Lisa pointed out that the cost for shipping is not sustainable. It took me too long to figure out that using local vendors is not only advantageous for a community, but also for minimizing my carbon footprint.

M: There’s always a trade off! I think shopping local is one of the best things we can do for the environment and for the economy, more money is retained and circulated in your area when you shop with a local business as opposed to a chain location.

L: Backtracking for the layperson, can you expand on what deadstock is?

M: Deadstock is fabric that remains unsold by a fabric mill or unused by a large fashion house. Fabric producers and designers buy and produce based on expected need with an allowance for error. Sometimes a mill over-produces or a fashion house over-buys. This leftover fabric oftentimes ends up in a landfill. The production of fabric is one of the most environmentally taxing parts of the fashion industry, so it’s important to use the fabric since natural resources have already been expended to make it.

L: Just mentioning overproduction reminds me of Burberry. Percentage-wise, how much deadstock comprises each of your collections?

M: It varies greatly from season to season. Finding deadstock is like a scavenger hunt and its availability is unpredictable. This summer, four out of six (67%) of my styles were made from deadstock. I’m working to increase my use of deadstock and eco-friendly stock fabric.

L: I work in A&E and I have seen so much greenwashing in the built environment industries; it occurred to me that it probably happens in clothing design. For instance, J.Crew just made a dress out of “environmentally-friendly” Japanese Cupro – and it may be environmentally friendly, but that calls for supply chain research. Can you give us a cheat sheet for eco-friendly fabric you can recommend consumers look for?

M: Unfortunately, I don’t believe there’s an easy answer. Tencel, linen, cupro, and organic cotton are the more common fabrics generally seen as environmentally friendly. But, they are largely produced outside of the United States and therefore must be imported (by air or boat) from oversees and trucked great distances.

L: Ah, it goes back to that trade off you mentioned. As a consumer, how do you shop for clothing while incorporating your personal environmental- and social-minded standards?

M: It’s hard. And it’s really, really hard when you’re tall. But, I like to give small and independent brands a chance, because you never know until you try. And if the top doesn’t work for me, I look forward to buying it as a gift for a friend or family member. I also prioritize local and made in the US goods. But, I don’t want to come across as though I’m perfect. I’m not. If you know me personally you know I love J.Crew. It’s the only mega clothing retailer I shop with these days, so I do my best to limit how much I buy from them and make sure anything I do buy is versatile and well loved. I also avoid brands like Gap and H&M that are known for their poor production practices.

L: It hurts my heart that Gap is guilty. I cannot imagine how (founders) Don and Doris feel about their legacy.

M: On most recent scandal…

L: Can you recommend a must-watch sustainable style documentary?

M: I’d recommend The True Cost. It’s a great introduction to the issues facing the fashion industry. It’s also available on Netflix.

L: Have you watched RiverBlue? My husband and I watched it on Amazon Prime and amongst the mind blowing industry revelations, we were surprised to see that it was hosted and driven by Alex James of the 90s British band Blur.

M:  Yes, but it’s been a while since I’ve seen it! I’ll have to re-watch it, good to know it’s on Amazon Prime.

L: How often do you release collections?

M: I currently release capsule collections twice a year, in the summer and winter; however, I’m working to release a few additional pieces in spring and fall.

L: I know I am not the only one looking forward to the next drop.


Follow Meghan Evans on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Burnin’ for Breakfast

Turn your sound up and listen to my favorite Blue Oyster Cult track. Don’t miss the first few licks, before the cowbell kicks in, that is my favorite part of the song!

Who else passed out extra early on July 4th? Show of hands please.

Who else woke up with a minor headache, presumably triggered by one too many margaritas? Again, a show of hands?

Thank you for coming to my TedTalk.

Did anyone pass out in a combination of their standard pajamas and a vintage concert tee shirt? I pat myself on my creatively dressed back from coming up with this combination. While the shorts portion of my get-up was part of a set released this summer, the tee shirt is much more older. What is fantastic about concert tee shirts is that if you are sure it is vintage, as opposed to vintage-inspired, it is easy to place the year it was released. According to the back graphic, this tee dates back to 1982. Confirmed by my parents and their collection of ticket stubs, they were both at the show where the tee shirt was procured for a mere five dollars the year before they married.

IMG_1877IMG_1881IMG_1874IMG_1884IMG_1883IMG_1871

[show_shopthepost_widget id=”3558859″]

Independence Daze

Did everyone have a fun and festive Fourth of July? I spent the holiday at my parents’ house on the Gulf Coast. In years past, I consumed way too much food and drink. Emphasis on the drink, and more specifically, tequila. To the point that I jokingly mentioned following up my holiday with a stop at Betty Ford. I kid.

This year I purposefully drank less alcohol and drank more water. While my alcohol indulgence was considerably less than last year (R.I.P. MargWalrus), I still treated myself to the good foods. And shocker! It is considerably easier to get through food prep when you are not several adult beverages deep!

First thing on my to-do list was to make guacamole and yes, I know it is essentially only mashing up raw ingredients, but there is a lot of chopping that goes into making it, okay? The recipe that I used is on this Pinterest board. With raw vegetables and tortilla chips, the guacamole was the ideal food to pair with my afternoon margarita. On the rocks please, salt on the rim.

[show_shopthepost_widget id=”3558844″]

Pivot Cable: Part I

If it is a crime to repeat items on the blog, then lock me up! Repeating clothing is a reflection of what we all do in real life and it is unrealistic not to wear pieces not only multiple times, but in a multitude of ways.

Several weeks ago I wore this skirt on the blog. Leading up to its purchase, I debated which color(s) I really wanted, at what price point I was willing to pull the trigger, and how I would wear it. I started to get stoked when I thought about this particular color combination. I love mixing statement-making, yet complementary colors. Truth be told, this outfit combination was inspired by a particular phase of J.Crew marketing circa 2008-2012.

 

The skirt is still available in tall (direct link because J.Crew was especially tricky and hid the tall version on the website). The Cambridge Cable Knit Sweater was an oldie-but-goodie and is no longer available, but unfortunately was not available in tall. Memo to J.Crew: Release your sweaters in tall! This is where Gap and Gap Factory have J.Crew beat. Unfortunately neither offer monogramming. #cannothaveitall

 

sweater (old, similar) // tank // skirt // clutch // scarf (old, Christian LaCroix) // shoe (old, similar) // necklace // earrings // rose gold cuff // watch // cocktail ring

Pink and Be Merry

I fell in love with Tucker back in the summer of 2008. I distinctly recall unpacking and steaming several shipping boxes full of the Classic Blouse while working for the Georgetown Cusp. While the Classic Blouse is cut wide and cropped, it is still an appropriate length for a 6′-2″ frame. The prints, along with the signature shapes, are what the label is known for and added pizzazz to my 2008-to-2012 closet.

One Target collaboration and a studio fire later, and the founder closed down shop. It was a sad day for me to find that out.

Cut to several years and an article in WWD later when I read out that Tucker relaunched. Rejoice! #andtheangelssang

I bought this dress on deep markdown post-Christmas, but to be honest even if it was not on clearance, it would have been worth the MSRP. Unfortunately it looks like the Classic Maxi dresses are cleared out of the online store, but they are worth keeping an eye out for! I regret not procuring one sooner but am making up for lost time.

dress (old) // bag (alternate colorway) // slip (old, similar) // boots (℅ Long Tall Sally) // sunglasses (alternate colorway, alternate colorway, alternate colorway) // watch // rose gold cuff // bow cuff // pink stone ring // quatrefoil ring