This post was written by the Queen of Eco-Fashion, Colleen Coughlin! I met Colleen during a course we took together and love love loved all the looks she put together. She has worked with some of the top designers in the world and has been killing it in Miami. For more about Colleen, check out her bio at the end! All photography by OneImageNation.
Your crew of best gal pals has agreed on heading somewhere tropical; flight has been booked, hotel reserved, and brunch spots chosen. Next stop: 80+ degree weather! Now, how to look fab in addition to keeping your well-earned vacation savings tight and right...
While traveling, it can be fun to take the opportunity to expand your “look." You can explore your personal style while exploring new geography. Chances are you’re not going to know the concierge or fellow hotel guests, let alone anyone local in town, right? Now’s your time to take a few fashion risks and (re)define your style. It can be done in under $100 per look, too! How?
Consider this: the average female in the UK has 23 pieces of clothing that STILL have tags on. The point? Before departure, gather your girl gang and ask each person to bring 5-10 gently used articles of clothing to your SWAP party! You can finalize travel plans and outfits before heading off. You’d be surprised how this #zerowaste way of "shopping" helps save you $$$ AND the planet. Instead of buying something new, you’re helping to eliminate the 81 lbs of textile waste the average American throws away annually by REUSING.
Next, hit up your local Goodwill, Salvation Army, or another local thrift store. Here are a few of our favorites and some tips on how to pair the finds:
The BEST way to change up any look? Make hats, wraps, and scarves your friend. This turban was borrowed from our photographer OneImageNation, while the printed dress ($5) and shoes ($14) were thrifted at Clothes Mentor in Buffalo, NY. This cotton printed knit travels well as the print hides any potential wrinkles. Who wants to iron clothes on vacation?
Speaking of prints, if you’re typically a solid-wearing (read: all black, beige, or neutral) kind of person, you have now been challenged to try on that colorful printed dress! At $5 from the Goodwill Store (and secondhand, which is one way to be an eco-conscious appreciator of fashion), you can wear it once for a night out on the town and be guilt-free! Here we paired it with a black-and-white statement necklace ($4) found at the same Goodwill. Booties ($58) are secondhand Alice and Olivia from Beacon’s Closet in Brooklyn, NY.
Pantsuits ($15) and prints make for great outfits to wear to dinner. We found this one on the left at Plato’s Closet in Miami, FL. Do you see the THIRD outfit that can be made in this photo? Pantsuit + cream silk shirt tied at the waist = outfit option #3; moreover, it takes up zero valuable suitcase real estate. How do you like that math? There are statement necklaces aplenty here as well. Why? TIP: Having a bold piece of jewelry ups your personal style and doubles as a conversational piece. Once the compliments begin flowing, you may decide to be more bold, too! Can you believe we got this African-inspired, chunky, one-of-a-kind necklace for a secondhand steal of a price ($19) from Beacon’s Closet Manhattan?
Brunch is in a trendy part of town, you say? We got you, girl! Along with the hat and statement necklace, we added metallic lilac Kelsey Dagger lace-ups, bought secondhand at Beacon’s Closet Brooklyn. As an ode to our obvious favorite thriftin’ hood in NYC, we paired the Brooklyn cropped tee we scored at the annual Victoria’s Secret sample sale (did we mention that in our former life, TheFullEdit founder was a designer for PINK?) with a brocade pencil skirt. Consider this what dresses + sneakers was 4 years ago: trendsetting. To the right is a rad necklace made from upcycled tires. That’s right, tires! This necklace, along with many other eco-friendly fashion finds, can be found at TheFullEdit shop. Did you know that apparel is the second most-polluting industry, just behind oil? Help eliminate waste while looking chic!
Need a quick cover-up to put over your swimsuit when transitioning from beach to bistro? Sea Lily has you covered… literally. The Liv Long on the left is the SOFTEST cotton your hand has ever felt. The side seam slit (say that 5 times fast) allows you to flash a li'l leg along with the Boca Chica lace up fabric sandals by Erika Peña. The pink metallic sunnies hail from a drug store near you (remember UVA and B protection!). The floral print dress to the right is exclusively available for pre-order at SeaLily.com, where a portion of the proceeds goes to replanting coral in the ocean. If you prefer to make a tiny-but-mighty statement with your necklace, check out Bling Bling Hello, who were recently featured on Refinery29’s holiday gift guide. Want free shipping? Use code: MotherEarth.
As you can see, it’s totally possible to dress chic while only PAYING on the cheap. Stay classy, sassy, sustainable, and smart with your $. With all you've saved, you can start planning your NEXT adventure. If it happens to be to Miami, drop us a hello!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Frustrated with the incredible waste she saw as a Victoria’s Secret Designer, Colleen quit her job and founded TheFullEdit, a professional closet editing service which helps people cut their own fashion waste, resells high-quality pieces, and upcycles fabrics. She brings over 13 years of NYC design experience to her endeavors. Working with fashion and lifestyle companies such as VSPINK, C2C, Tesla, StartUpFashion, The NBA, Elle, Nylon, and Glamour, she seeks to educate and inspire on zero-waste living.
Colleen holds degrees in both Apparel Design, from SUNY College at Buffalo, and Textile/Surface Design, from The Fashion Institute of Technology; also, a Professional Certificate in Sustainable Design Entrepreneurship where she was part of F.I.T’s first sustainability class. Colleen co-organizes Miami’s First Annual Eco Fashion Show with DebrisFreeOceans. Follow her on IG at @doublefancy.