If you’ve followed me for a while, you may have noticed that I’m passionate about fair trade and am pretty intentional about the products I purchase for myself and my family, as well as for my home and pantry. Years ago I attended my first Noonday party and learned about slave and child labor and how so many of the products we purchase are made not by people who are getting paid fairly for their work, but by people who are getting paid little to nothing, either forced to work in these factories or because they have no other options. In general, if you’re able to purchase something cheaply, most likely it was not made ethically, and this should bother us! Just because we can’t physically see this happening in front of us doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.
I completely understand that purchasing fair trade products vastly changes the way we purchase items. But I love that it forces minimalism – we don’t really NEED 10 t-shirts or 10 pairs of jeans or shoes. So though fair trade requires planning, some intentionality, and research, I love knowing that the items I buy are actually helping someone put their kids through school and put food on their table. I love that someone is actually making sure that they have good working conditions and are being treated fairly vs. knowing my purchase is just fueling the demand for cheap products which comes at a cost to someone somewhere, even if that person isn’t right in front of me.
That being said, here are a few of my favorite things – fair trade products that are classic and will stand the test of time.
- Patagonia Fleece Jacket: I have a fleece jacket that I purchased for a trip five years ago and it’s still one of the most heavily used layers in my closet. It’s a perfect weight, the perfect thickness, and is one of those staples that is an essential part of any wardrobe. I grab it when I’m out for a walk in the spring or fall, I layer it under my winter coat when I’m walking in the bitter cold, and I grab it when I want to cozy up by the fire after a long day. I have no need to replace it even after 5 years and it shows very little signs of wear, even after all this time!
- Noonday Modern Leather Tote: I shared this bag last year and it just needs to be shared again – it is that good! This bag is now SEVEN years old – the fact that Noonday still sells it shows you how good this bag is! I have used this bag for a variety of purposes, but for the past 2 years, it’s gotten daily use as my work bag. I can’t even tell you how much stuff this thing has carried, but it just gets better as you use it. It has no signs of wear, and I can haul my laptop, my planner, a change of clothes and shoes, a large water bottle, and various other things in it without a problem.
- The Merly Jacket: This has been another one of my favorite purchases over the past couple of years. I purchased the Merly Jacket 2 years ago and though I’ve had other jean jackets, none have been this soft and comfortable. Most of the jean jackets I’ve owned have been stiff denim, but this one is my favorite. If you aren’t into a distressed look, I’d check out their Bailey Classic Jacket. I don’t personally own this, but it looks like a great option as well!
- Able Ear Hugs: I adore these little earrings from Able. I have very sensitive ears and wanted a simple earring that I could keep in all the time and these fit the bill. They add just a little shine to every outfit and are easy to keep in if you’re lazy like me and don’t want to take out/put in earrings every day. 🙂
- Noonday Opalescent Necklace: This is my go-to necklace for daily wear. Just like my earrings, this necklace is on me most days unless I decide to wear something different to church or work. I appreciate simple accessories that I don’t have to think about, and I basically forget I’m wearing this one. I don’t take it off unless I’m picking a statement necklace for a dressier outfit.
- Everlane Classic Crew: There is nothing more classic than a cashmere sweater and honestly, this is a good price point even for cashmere AND from a fair-trade company. Pick a classic color that you know you’ll love FOREVER, and do pay attention to caring for your clothing. I just found the Laundress and they have great products to help keep your clothes looking good for years to come!
I used to think that a plain colored sweater was so boring, but now I realize that a sweater like this can be worn in SO many ways – wear it with skinny jeans and booties, wear it with straight jeans and cute tennies or mules, wear it under your favorite blazer or jean jacket, or wear it with a cute skirt. Classic clothing is just that – classic. It defies trends and though you may not have the latest fashion, you’ll have clothing that looks good now AND in 10 years as well.
- The Root Collective – Lili Mule: I love the Root Collective – they sell beautiful and unique shoes and other accessories. They also are a fun follow on Instagram! These mules were my first purchase from them and I did have to size up, but I love how versatile they are – I’ve worn them to work with my black pants, I’ve worn them with multiple styles and shades of denim, and I could totally see them with a skirt or dress.