Green Christmas: A Fashion-Forward Wishlist

by - Monday, November 02, 2015

Hi all! This is the first in a long series where I will try to convince you to rethink your shopping this year for the Christmas season! It is the singlemost shopping-dominated season in our country, and we all spend tons of money on gifts, but if we started to prioritize the waste our gifts make and the distance they had to travel, we can save money, invest in our local economies, help the American laborer, and maybe save the Earth! No big deal, right?

Every purchase we make, from gum at the gas station to a brand new car, is a vote for the kind of world we want to live in. Let's use this Christmas to vote for doing good.

Kristy is the self-described "I'll buy it, you wrap it" kind of girl, so she definitely knows what she wants. She runs a styling company- yb plain- with a friend, and their awesome (and very informative) blog inspired me to wear a pencil skirt while prego. If she tells me I should wear it, I basically will. After drowning yet another cell phone, she told her family that she would buy a waterproof case when Kate Spade started making one. Clearly, she is one stylish badass.

She made a list of fashion pieces she was hoping for this Christmas:

Cashmere Sweater
Statement Coat
Pendant Necklace
Caramel Brown Boots or Booties
High Quality Black Leather Purse

Now, if you are also shopping for a fashion-conscious person (or just someone who needs some clothes), I recommend starting in vintage and consignment shops. Kristy lives in Tennessee, and from a quick search there are tons of cool vintage places (Pre to Post Modern, Smack Clothing, Vintage Jolie, Our Thrift Shop, Savant Vintage Couture, and the Hip Zipper are all in the Nashville area- not to mention Goodwill) where you might find an amazing statement coat or pendant necklace! Buying used might offer a totally chic gift which hasn't traveled far!

If you can't find one of these gifts used, you still have tons of options that were made in America or out of eco-friendly materials, so you can still make a positive difference with your gifting! I will point to a couple, but believe me, there are even more!

1. Cashmere Sweater

This was first on Kristy's list, but last on mine, because I knew it would be tough (for obvious reasons). I was not wrong. You can find tons of knits made in America at stores like American Apparel Bemidji Woolen Mills, and Rambler's Way, but American-made or eco-friendly cashmere is much harder to come by (you can find lots made in Italy though, so no matter what, you can still buy some with more ethical labor behind it).

from momandpopcultureshop in Nashville
If you want a cashmere sweater, it's time to go vintage shopping! There are 2 major phases of the vintage cashmere sweater- 50's and 90's, so you are bound to find something that you like. If you can't find them at a local store, you can find plenty on Etsy. Here's a long list of vintage sweaters, but you should look on Etsy yourself, and buy something as local to you as possible: Mom and Pop Culture Shop, Colony Vtg, Cashmere Calipipper, Catseye Vintage, Trashy Vintage, Retropolitan Ltd, and Vintage Clothing and Co.

There is even a store, Cashmere Vintage, that specializes in cashmere. This may be your spot, Kristy.
from Cashmere by Anna K

I did find a good number of cashmere ponchos, which I don't think Kristy would love, but might be your jam. Cashmere by Anna K is made in Wisconsin, and they do look very soft. Kind of like a blanket you can wear in public, which, when you think about it, would be pretty great. The more I think about it, the more I love this idea.

from Goven
Goven does make handmade cashmere sweaters here in the US. They are REALLY not cheap, but if you have lots of dough, these are the sweaters for you!

2. Statement Coat

from The Future Wardrobe
You want to buy someone an amazing statement coat without spending every penny you have on it? It's time to go thrifting! You can find such amazing coats in vintage shops, but that doesn't reap the coat you think would be perfect, try Etsy before you give up and buy something brand new. Because really, vintage persistence will pay off! So many stores, but here are a few- Shine Bright Vintage, dinalouiseSF, The Future Wardrobe, Open Market Vintage, Grizzly Velvet, Sticky Lip Gloss,  Straylight Vintage, Swanee GRACE, and Glenna's Vintage Shop. Seriously, these coats are just amazing and SO CHEAP for what they are and how long they will last. Start here, you won't regret it.
from DeNovo Style
This is my favorite store for Kristy- DeNovo Style is based out of Memphis Tennessee, and they make amazing, vivid, super stylish coats. These coats are definitely not cheap, but if you have the money or want to buy the coat you wear every winter from now on, this might be the perfect choice. This coat is on the high end, but most of their other coats are between 200 and 300 dollars (and right now they are having a pre-season sale, so jump on it).

from Herself Studio
Herself Studios on Etsy sells a bunch of coats with really different styles, but they all seem very cool. I think this long, bright wool coat would be especially popular this winter, and I love that you can pick the color that would work for you. This khaki coat has the military feel from last spring married with the trench trend from this winter. I like this puffy trench too, because it simultaneously seems girly and sporty (so I would never wear it, but I would love the woman who did).

from Renz Rags
Renz Rags makes a gorgeous Wool Military jacket that I think would look great on someone tall and lean like Kristy. This one is my favorite of the bunch, though I think a long, bold-colored trench is more on trend this year. They also sell pretty bold cuts for trenches though I think you can only get it in black- one with a hood and one with a loose flowy cut.

from Schott

Schott is based out of New York City and still makes a lot (but not all) of their products here in the US. They make these mod wool coats that remind me of Jackie Onassis and capes that remind me of Kate Middleton. I wish they had pictures of them on, so I could see how they look on a body (and on the arms? I don't get coats with short sleeves), but they certainly make some chic statements!
from Sterlingwear

If you were looking for a coat with a little less impact, Sterlingwear out of Boston makes gorgeous, classic pea coats. Maybe not a big statement, but you could wear this coat for a long, long time.

3. Pendant Necklace

So many beautiful choices! I just picked a couple that I think make big statements, but could also go with a lot. These are all on Etsy, and I can almost guarantee that if you want to buy someone some jewelry, you can find something perfect that is made in the USA on this site. Look secondhand and look at local stores first, but if nothing inspires, try Etsy.
from Mignon and Mignon
I love the bar necklaces, especially with coordinates on it, but I think you could put so many things on it and have it be a wonderful, thoughtful gift that doesn't have to be expensive or shipped in from somewhere else. I think these ones from Mignon and Mignon look sweet. You can also look at The Fig Garden, Freshy Fig, Layered and Long, or Emily Jay Design.

from Fire Gypsy Vintage
Tory Burch is selling arrowhead pendants, but you can get them at stores like Fire Gypsy Vintage. They have similar geometric shapes, and you would land right on trend for way less money.

from Shop Rare Bird
These minimalist stone necklaces are sparse and simple, but I think they still look unique and eye-catching.

from Doctorgus
If you have a funnier, quirkier style, these octopus fork necklaces from doctorgus might make a super fun gift to give (because who knew this even existed). Spoon jewelry is old hat, now they need to find things to do with the lonely forks and knives. Perfect solution.
from Lava Essentials
For something more geometric and minimal, I like these minimalist triangle necklaces from Lava Essentials. You could also try SurLhistoire or The Rock Star Goddess (the name sounds bad, but t he necklaces are neat).

from McLaughlin Creations
State pendants are also pretty popular. You can get them all from McLaughlin Creations.

from Jamie Spinello
I don't know that this counts as a pendent, but Jamie Spinello makes some of the most amazing (but affordable) jewelry out of her workshop in Austin, Texas.  Check it out.

from Red Pine Jewelry
My pick- These recycled china pendants from Red Pine Design are so different they should catch people's eye, but they aren't necessarily loud because they are monochromatic. This reminds me of a piece I saw Yoko Ono do,  so they make me smile. I think old China can be so gorgeous but so much, so breaking it into these small parts is just a genius idea. What I love the absolute most is that you can send them a piece of heirloom china and they will make multiple pieces to be shared and cherished by everyone. Such a beautiful idea.

from Recycled Beautifully
Recycled Beautifully rescues copper wires from discarded televisions to make these tree design pendant necklaces. These seem so special and would make a great Christmas gift. The price is low since the materials are trash, and you are saving something from landfills. A+!

from Wrecords by Monkey
Wrecords by Monkey makes sleek geometric pendants out of old records. Maybe not for everyone, but I think this could be pretty cool with the right outfit.

4. Caramel Brown Boots or Booties

from dig vintage clothing
First, this wish on the list makes for another perfect opportunity to go thrift shopping. You can sometimes find amazing boots that just need a little love to look beautiful again. If you can't find used boots you think your receiver would love in stores nearby, Etsy has hundreds of options (literally, hundreds) you can buy from US vintage stores. These heeled ones from Dig Vintage Clothing are seriously prettier than any of the ones you can buy brand new. Great details. Troubador Vintage has a simple pair of heeled boots in 8/8.5. NowSoLA has a pretty pair, as does Gypsie June, and Bone Hunter.


Frye is one of America's oldest shoe companies, and though many of their boots are now made in Mexico, you can still find ones made in the US if you poke around enough (though, I worry less about Made in Mexico vs made some places in Asia- they have stricter labor guidelines and the stuff travels a much shorter distance). I like these ones with a little bit of heel. I like these flats, which are pretty similar to the boots I got, but they have nice boots with heels as well. They have lace up boots, which I think is gorgeous (especially if you have long legs). Fryes are classics, so if you are only going to own one pair of boots, this may be the way to go. I also love these chunky mid-height ones with big buckles, but they seem less stylish to me.

from Zappos
These booties from Sbicca can be bought on Zappos. Sbicca makes lots of boots here in the US, so they are a great starting point if you are thinking about this as a gift.

Woolrich sells these Yankee boots, which maybe aren't the most feminine, but I think they could look adorable with a pair of jeans and a girly top. Maybe? Kristy can tell you whether you can make boots like these work.

from TOMS
TOMS have a great reputation for social responsibility, because they donate a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair of shoes you buy. They also happen to have two of my favorite pairs of  caramel boots I found in my research- I would snatch up these cognac suede booties in a second, and these leather booties look minimal and perfect for someone with style.

from Varhallabrooklyn

5. High Quality Black Leather Purse

This is a great one, and you can find vintage options or Made in the USA options from lots of different companies (I can't even add them all, so I am just picking 10). I put some more expensive stuff up here, mostly because I am not sure what Kristy would consider high quality.

from Varhallabrooklyn
I have lusted over Varhalla Brooklyn purses on Etsy literally for years. Years. They have a ton of great options, including ones in black in different styles and levels of detail (I love a giant, messy bag, but I think Kristy has more streamlined style). They have 2284 positive reviews, so they must be great purses as well.
from Shinola Detroit

Shinola Detroit sells a cute accordion crossbody bag that looks like my mom's bags when we were kids. Which means it is about due for a fashion comeback.

from Flux Productions
Flux Productions out of Brooklyn makes this beautiful Black and tan tote. I think this looks really chic while still being the kind of thing you can carry with you everyday.

This simple and gorgeous black tote was made in Nebraska out of Pennsylvania leather by Artifact Bag Co. I feel like this is the kind of bag I would quickly pass over, but on further inspection, I think it is so special. This is a bag you carry for a very long time, and the little details make it more interesting the longer you look into it. Plus, it would match anything and everything.

from Lotuff

Lotuff is another leatherworking company based in the US that makes all kinds of beautiful purses, but I like The Tripp and its miniature the best, because it is so simple and well- proportioned.
from Art and Jill

Art and Jill makes a large modern black tote as well. Not my favorite, but it might be your jam!

from Marketa New York
Marketa New York sells this modern black bag that has enough of a curve that you can fit a lot in it! I  just think this bag is so pretty.
from Frank Clegg

This Frank Clegg leather bag, made in Massachusets, costs more than all the bags I will own in my life combined. I cannot imagine buying someone a gift this expensive, but maybe you can, in which case this is a great suggestion for you! 

from billykirk

Billykirk sells a bunch of black leather totes, made in the USA, that look modern, streamlined, and chic (plus they seem really cheap after the last one- only in leather does 350 seem pretty reasonable).
from Zappos
As a bonus side note, if the fashionista in your life needs a black bag, but not necessary leather. Harveys sells a couple adorable black bags made in the US out of recycled seatbelts. I just love that these are recycled bags, and they do look pretty and subtle in a solid color.

My Bonus Ideas for Kristy or Anyone who Loves Fashion:

These aren't on Kristy's list, but I thought they might make for cool inspiration if you are shopping for someone who loves fashion. I also know a few companies- Nanette Lepore, Eva Franco, and Velvet by Graham and Spencer would make for good starting points (even Kristy's beloved Kate Spade has made in US components).

1. Gift Certificate for a Cool Date Night- I feel like if you love dressing up, another reason to dress up is always welcome. I love the idea of buying an experience that gives them excuse to bust out a favorite outfit.

from Shop the Other

2. Dress Up their Clothing Storage- Now I happen to know Kristy already has an amazing closet, and I know it brings her joy. Lots of joy. Sometimes, just having a clearer picture of what you already have can help you make the most of it. So rather than buying your fashionista more clothes, maybe you could get him or her vintage wooden hangers or recycled plastic ones (and they can retire any wire ones lingering in their closet). I love this idea because it is so practical, but still pretty fun!

 Or you could go big and do closet organizing for them (or with their help)- Closetmaid doesn't have the sexiest look to their closet organizer kits, but they are made in the US out of recycled materials, so you can do a lot of good with one of their organizing sets and they look plenty pretty once all of the stuff is hanging (we have one, so I know this). It's also pretty dang affordable (way cheaper than most of these purses), but the effort, the thought, and the impact would not be small on this gift. If they don't have a closet, you can also find really cool Made in America garment racks, like this industrial one, this amazing copper one, or this minimal one.

You could also do something on a smaller scale, like my favorite hooks from Andrew's Reclaimed.

3. Simple Basics- Pact sells leggings, underwear, t-shirts, and socks that are fair trade and super soft. You could pick up something little from a store like this and make small positive changes.

Thank you Kristy for your list, and everyone check out the ybplain blog! They even have a blog on ethical fashion!

If you want to find HUNDREDS of great options for buying Eco-friendly or Made in the USA products, check out the Mega List, which has every list from this blog linked to it!

Alright, are you feeling inspired? You can find anything you or someone you love would want to wear secondhand or made in America, you just have to poke around! If you need more inspiration, never fear! More is coming! You can do this! Green Christmas 2015!

We are going to go through lots of wishlists, but I am still looking for more! If you want to write a Christmas Wishlist, or you find something cool I should add, let me know!

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