I started pursuing slow fashion when I was a few months postpartum with my son back in 2020. I had been learning about sustainable clothing and ethical fashion for the last few months, and I kept telling myself that I would invest in some pieces once I was back to my pre-pregnancy size.
Well, a few months postpartum and I wasn’t fitting into many of my pre-pregnancy clothes, and I was tired of wearing sweatpants and my husband’s t-shirts for the thirteenth day in a row. It was time to begin building a wardrobe that I loved. Even though it was the middle of a pandemic and I was rarely leaving my home, I wanted to feel somewhat put together and spend some time investing in my own appearance. Thus, I started my slow fashion journey during the motherhood years.
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What Is Slow Fashion?
According to the blog Good on You, “Put simply, slow fashion is the opposite of fast fashion. It encompasses an awareness and approach to fashion that considers the processes and resources required to make clothing. It advocates for buying better-quality garments that will last longer, and values fair treatment of people, animals, and the planet along the way.”
Instead of producing as much clothing as quickly as possible to keep up with ever-changing trends, slow fashion encourages thoughtfulness and intention when shopping. In addition to shopping from sustainable and ethical sources, it encourages thinking about if an item will be beneficial long term or for multiple occasions. Clothing is seen as an investment instead of as dispensable.
Why I Started Pursuing Slow Fashion
After learning how to sew, I realized how hard it was. I spent hours upon hours attempting to make baby clothes that didn’t look remotely professional. For the first time ever, I was shocked thinking about how little the creators of my clothing were actually making.
I wanted to start making different choices regarding the clothes that I wore; however, I was a few months postpartum and nothing fit! I found myself wearing oversized sweats for days on end. One day, I decided that I was going to try to find a few pieces that I loved, that I wore regularly, and that worked for my body during different life seasons. I sold over half of the clothing in my closet, and used that money to invest in a few high-quality pieces that I absolutely loved and couldn’t wait to wear.
My Struggles with Slow Fashion
I follow a lot of slow fashion clothing shops. A few of my favorites to follow include Not Perfect Linen, Nisolo, Christy Dawn, Doen, Able, and Tradlands. But even slow fashion brands can breed a spirit of consumerism and a desire for more. Constantly being bombarded with new releases and new color choices and sales sometimes makes me feel like what I have is not enough and leaves me wanting the next thing.
We are pretty much a one-income family right now. I make a little bit from the various side businesses that I operate, but we primarily live off of my husbands’ income. We are grateful that his salary provides for more than we need. But, we do have a desire to live frugally and to make the most of the money we do have. I love clothes but I rarely buy them. Additionally, I have an ongoing wish list, but even then–I think long and hard before making any new clothing purchase.
If you know me in person, you’ve probably seen me wear the same pieces over and over again. I value my clothes and now think of them as an investment instead of trendy new additions to my wardrobe.
I have been pregnant, postpartum, or nursing for the last four years. After having a miscarriage with my first pregnancy, having a traumatic delivery with my second, experiencing a season of secondary-infertility, and getting diagnosed with multiple risk factors during my third, I do not take for granted that my body has carried my beautiful babies. However, I will admit that I have had my fair-share of body-image insecurities as my body has grown and stretched and changed over the last four years. Let’s just say that although I fit into some of my pre-pregnancy clothes, they definitely don’t fit quite like they used to.
These changes have made it difficult to find clothing in general—let alone slow fashion pieces.
Postpartum is such a raw and beautiful and challenging and emotional span of time. I was on a lot of medication during my pregnancy with my daughter due to my autoimmune and clotting risk factors, and I experienced a significant amount of water retention because of it. After she was born, I remember looking in the mirror three weeks postpartum, feeling grateful for my precious little one but also feeling like a stranger in my own body.
I lived in sweats and oversized tees for months. Also, I was still wearing my pregnancy pants several months postpartum because my other pants didn’t fit.
I am grateful for the ability to nurse my babies and that overall we have had a positive breastfeeding journey. However, trying to find clothes and undergarments that not only fit but also that made nursing accessible to my babies felt like quite the task.
For those of you who are new here, we live on a few acres and are building an urban homestead. I spend hours upon hours each week covered in dirt and compost and pine shavings and weeds. I love getting dressed up, but it definitely doesn’t happen daily due to our daily chores.
Counteracting These Slow Fashion Problems
For a while, I thought I couldn’t pursue slow fashion until I was out of the motherhood years. But, I found a system that allows me to add pieces to my wardrobe that I love, that pertain to my values, and that can be worn for pregnancy, postpartum, nursing, and the seasons in before, after, and in-between!
Questions I Ask Before Choosing Slow Fashion Pieces to Add to My Wardrobe
As I mentioned above, I am now very intentional before adding clothing to my wardrobe. I don’t shop 100% slow fashion, but I do try to be purposeful with the choices I make when adding clothing to my collection.
Before adding a new item–especially during the motherhood years–I ask myself these questions.
1. Is it nursing friendly?
Button ups, stretchy necklines, and flowy tops all work nicely. I have tried non-nursing friendly pieces, and I just don’t wear them because I absolutely do not want to have to completely undress in a public bathroom to feed my baby.
2. Will I be able to wear it as my body fluctuates between sizes?
Whether pregnant or postpartum, my body has gone through some pretty drastic changes over the course of a few months. Elastic pants, flowy dresses, and adjustable waistbands are all good options for these fluctuations.
3. Can it be worn between multiple seasons?
I love looking for pieces that are easy to layer and that I can get a lot of use out of.
4. Is it sustainable?
I try to look for natural, sustainable materials like cotton, linen, or wool. I like to read about the efforts of the company’s sustainability practices or shop secondhand first if I can.
5. Was it ethically sourced?
I start by shopping for items secondhand, but when purchasing from brands, I try to research about how they treat their workers and their production process. I am not perfect in this area, but am making efforts to consider ethics when purchasing my clothes.
6. Can I afford it?
Sometimes, I find an item that aligns with all of the questions above, but it is out of my budget. I try to find it secondhand, but if not–I wait. It is not sustainable for me to shop outside of our family’s budget. That’s why keeping a budget, similar to this one, is so important to know what you can afford!
Target now offers some fair-trade clothing at a more affordable price! I loved shopping for pieces there while pregnant.
My Top 10 Slow Fashion Pieces for Pregnancy Postpartum
I am slowly continuing to go through my wardrobe and fill in gaps that are missing and get rid of clothes that I no longer use. Here are a few of my favorite and most-worn slow fashion pieces for the motherhood years! It is a mixture of purchased, handmade, and secondhand.
Slow Fashion Tops
Here’s a few of my favorite sustainable tops from some of my favorite brands!
Jumpers by Sezane
Something that I love about the French brand Sezane are how timeless their pieces are. Each piece uses high-quality materials and has exquisite details like lace or pearly buttons. I have a few sweaters from Sezane that I wear weekly in the cooler months. These were investment pieces but I cherish them and plan to wear them for years to come! I was able to wear these pullovers during my first and second trimester because I sized up. I also love wearing them postpartum because they are flattering and also nursing friendly.
This jumper is from Sezane. I love the classic silhouette, lace details, and ability to be worn forwards or backwards. This exact jumper is not currently available, but here is a similar one. I like to check the archives and last chance section of the website for reduced prices on my favorite pieces. They usually bring back old styles, you just have to watch or sign up for alerts!
This is the Gaspard Jumper by Sezane. I actually have it in camel brown and vintage blue, but I think the blue suits me better. It can actually be worn four ways–forward, backward, open, or over the shoulders. I wear it weekly in the cooler months!
Dolman Pullover Pattern by Lowland Kids
I make these pullovers using Lowland Kids’ Women’s Dolman Pullover pattern. I love using organic waffle knit fabric and adjusting the length for different fits. These pullovers are comfy and casual and are a great sewing project for beginners!
I wore two sizes up through my third trimester and I wear my regular size postpartum. If you use a stretchy rib knit for the neckline, these pullovers are also nursing friendly.
Linen Top by Little Deer Handmade
This linen top is my favorite shirt I own. I wear it year-round and it goes with everything! I bought it from Little Deer Handmade a few years ago, and it has only gotten better with wear! Linen softens and improves over time, unlike most fabrics. I am hoping to sew some similar shirts for myself this summer.
This shirt is slightly cropped and is loose and flowy. It was nice to have something non restrictive and cool in the late summer days after my daughter was born. Little Deer Handmade is currently not open, but here is a similar top from Not Perfect Linen.
Slow Fashion Bottoms
Here are some of my favorite jumpsuits, pants, and shorts. Some of them are no longer available, so I added some alternative links.
Jumpsuit by Little Deer Handmade
I bought this jumpsuit from Little Deer Handmade a few years ago. It is no longer being sold, but Not Perfect Linen has a similar one! I loved wearing this during my first trimester and also postpartum. It is comfortable, can be layered for different seasons, and is also nursing friendly. Here is a similar jumpsuit from Not Perfect Linen.
I bought several pairs of shorts from Poshmark or the thrift store. I love looking for elastic shorts for pregnancy and postpartum. Furthermore, I was able to wear them below my bump during most of my pregnancy and for the first few months postpartum. Here are some similar shorts.
I love comfortable dresses because they are an effortless way to feel put together and beautiful. Here’s a few of my favorite sustainable, slow fashion dresses!
Mama Dress (maxi length) by Not Perfect Linen
I adore Not Perfect Linen! Their dresses are made from high-quality linen and come in a wide variety of colors. I love the mama dresses because they are pregnancy, postpartum, and nursing friendly. I sized up during pregnancy and wear it slightly oversized postpartum.
Secondhand Target Dress
I bought this oversized dress from the thrift store during my pregnancy. It was pretty much the only thing that fit at the end of my pregnancy with my daughter, so it got a lot of wear! I love looking for dresses with a loose fit but somewhat defined waistline. Here is a similar dress from the sustainable brand, Able.
When I was teaching, I wore cheap shoes and my feet were always in pain. I’m still on my feet most of the day, even though it is for a different reason now. Since finding Nisolo–a sustainable shoe company–my feet are no longer in pain even after walking around all day with my kids. Here are two of my favorite pairs of Nisolo shoes for the spring and summer!
Huarache Sandals by Nisolo
These are my go-to summer shoes! Well, honestly I wear them during the spring and fall too, but they are perfect for summer! They go with everything, are sustainably made, and are incredibly comfortable! My code THEMILLERACRES will save you 20% at Nisolo.
Go-To-Flatforms by Nisolo
I added these shoes to my capsule-wardrobe collection this year, and I wear them weekly! They can be dressed up or down, have a lot of support, and are so comfortable and cute! If you can’t tell already, I am definitely brand-loyal to Nisolo shoes!
My Wish List Items
I have noticed some gaps in my wardrobe when reaching for clothes in the morning. Overtime, I am planning on adding some of these pieces to my collection.
I have quite a few options for the cooler months but few for the spring and summer. Here’s a few items that are on my wish-list!
Loose Tees, Linen Tanks, and Feminine Tops
I noticed recently that I have very few casual tops for summer. Moving forward, I want to make a few of my own or purchase secondhand from Not Perfect Linen. I love the Boxy Tee pattern from Lowland Kids, this tank pattern from Anna Allen Clothing, or these tops from Not Perfect Linen.
Sezane has some beautiful, feminine tops that I would love to invest in overtime because of their timeless and classic beauty. The floral top I am wearing below was purchased secondhand but is originally from Neuflora Wardrobe.
Slow Fashion Bottoms
Since having my daughter, my pants size has definitely changed. I’m not sure what size I will settle into eventually, so for now, I’m opting for investing in pants with elastic that can work for multiple sizes.
Linen Pants + Shorts
I have had the Pamona pants by Anna Allen Clothing on my to-make list for quite some time. I want to make these in linen. Below are Lowland Kids Wide-Leg Pants in an organic rib knit that I made. I love how cozy they are, but I want to try to make this style in a woven fabric so it would be a little more versatile for spring.
Like I mentioned before, I love wearing dresses because they make me feel put together with very little effort. These are more wants than needs, but I would love to add one or two of these pieces to my wardrobe someday!
Christy Dawn, Doen, or Not Perfect Linen Dresses
I love not only the beautiful designs and fabrics used by Christy Dawn and Doen but also their sustainability practices. But, spending about $300 per dress is definitely out of my current budget, even with saving up! I’m hoping to make note of what I would actually wear and shop for it secondhand in their By Sell Trade Facebook Groups. I also would love to invest in some more Not Perfect Linen dresses because I wear these dresses all the time!
Start Small with Slow Fashion
In conclusion, switching to slow fashion doesn’t happen overnight. Honestly, going out and buying a whole new wardrobe from sustainable brands is not only incredibly expensive it is also far from slow fashion.
Start by considering the pieces that you have and love and wear on a regular basis. Start to donate or sell the pieces that no longer serve you. Make a wish list of pieces that will fill gaps in your wardrobe and start by looking for them secondhand. If you can’t find them, save up for those pieces from brands that you love and trust.
None of us are perfect when it comes to slow, sustainable fashion. But I think if we all make small changes in considering how we can be more conscious consumers, we can make a tremendous impact in the fashion industry over time.
How to Save on Sustainable, Slow Fashion Shoes for Your Capsule Wardrobe!
If you are looking for a sustainable piece to invest in, I highly recommend starting with your shoes! Investing in one or two pairs of high-quality, made-to-last shoes that go with everything truly goes a long way. I recommend Nisolo shoes because they pay their workers fair wages and use sustainable practices. Their shoes are perfect for capsule wardrobes and are made of beautiful, high-quality leather. My favorite pairs for summer are the Huarache sandals (I have the colors Brandy and Desert Rose and wear my regular size 8. They mold and stretch to your feet, so I don’t size up) or the Go-To Flatforms (I have the color Almond and sized up to an 8 1/2 but probably could have gone with a 9)! You can use my code THEMILLERACRES to save 20% on anything, including sale items, at Nisolo.
Interested in learning more about slow fashion? HERE are some other articles about slow fashion, sustainable clothing, and ethical brands I love.
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