Style

A Week of Outfits: Melissa Lee

A Week of Outfits: Melissa Lee

“I don’t box myself in fashion-wise. If something looks good, it doesn’t matter to me if it’s my ‘style’ or not,” says Melissa Lee, a neuroscientist getting her Ph.D. at Columbia. But even though she doesn’t stick to a certain look, she still has some sartorial rules. Melissa’s goal is to buy mostly or all ethically made clothing. She even put together a directory of the brands she discovered when going down internet rabbit holes. Here, she talks about weaning herself off fast fashion and shows us five outfits she wears in a week…

A Week of Outfits: Melissa Lee

Shirt: Everlane. Skirt: Everlane. Purse: Elleme, similar. Watch: Daniel Wellington. Shoes: Sevilla Smith.

“My little sister introduced me to ethical fashion. She’s a photographer who works with brands that emphasize doing good, like Thirty One Bits and Nisolo. I went through a phase where I wore lots of Urban Outfitters and Forever 21. I had a huge wardrobe of cheap, trendy pieces that I’d wear once or twice. But I realized that these companies often have bad practices; I didn’t want to be putting my money towards sweatshops or causing environmental problems. Over the last few years, I’ve donated all my fast fashion items. Now I only get things I know I’ll wear for years, and I shop from brands like Elizabeth Suzann and Everlane. I often wince when buying something because it tends to be pricier, but then again, I buy much less.”

A Week of Outfits: Melissa Lee

Shirt: Amour Vert, similar. Jeans: Rag & Bone. Backpack: Fjällräven. Cat pin on backpack: Boy Girl Party. Watch: Daniel Wellington. Shoes: Nisolo.

“I work in a research lab studying a disorder called Fragile X syndrome. Though science is still a male-dominated field, both of my bosses and mentors are badass women. This is an outfit I wear to work, under my lab coat. I have a watch, but necklaces get in the way if I’m leaning over a microscope. I always pull my hair up and wear long pants since I work with chemicals. I’m 5’2″, so jeans are often too long. I cut these because I was too lazy to get them hemmed — but I actually like the way they look with a frayed hem. With other clothes, I just buy what I like and get things tailored. Everything looks better tailored!”

A Week of Outfits: Melissa Lee

Shirt: Elizabeth Suzann. Pants: Aritzia. Purse: Skagen. Shoes: Everlane.

“I recently decided to quit bras. I’d been wearing lots of off-the-shoulder and backless tops, which didn’t work with bras. I thought, why don’t I just skip them all the time? It’s much more comfortable and I have tiny breasts, so I don’t need one. Instead, I’ve been using pasties, but I’m trying to find a way that isn’t so wasteful. My friend showed me a gauzy medical tape which works quite well, but it’s also disposable. I’m experimenting with different things. (Any ideas?)”

A Week of Outfits: Melissa Lee

Shirt: Jamie + the Jones. Pants: Cynthia Rowley, similar. Sunglasses: Jonathan Saunders. Purse: Steven Alan, similar. Watch: Daniel Wellington. Shoes: Dieppa Restrepo, similar.

“I’ve tried to create a capsule wardrobe, where you buy basics that mix and match. This green shirt doesn’t really follow that rule, since it won’t go with everything, but I’m a sucker for emerald. I do a thing called ‘The French Wardrobe,’ which I read about on Reddit, where you have a core of basic clothing, but then get only five other pieces for the spring/summer and five pieces for fall/winter — including accessories. If I find myself going back to an item over and over, then I’ll get it. There’s a cool website called Parcel that consolidates all the things I’m looking at and helps me keep a shopping budget. So, when I say ‘slow fashion,’ it’s not just slow fashion in that things are made slowly and will last, but I’m also trying to slow the process down from the consumer end, too.”

A Week of Outfits: Melissa Lee

Dress: Isabel Marant, similar. Bag: Nisolo. Shoes: Nisolo.

“I try not to put too much pressure on myself to be perfect about my shopping habits. This dress was an impulse buy on the outlet site The Outnet. Every once in a while it’s nice to wear something really pretty. I still browse websites like Zara to see what’s out there. Wearing a trendy outfit is tempting, but I try not to give in. Making big changes in life is always a process; you are constantly getting better at it. That’s what’s important.”

Thank you so much, Melissa! You are awesome.

P.S. More women share their go-to outfits, and nine summer looks.

(Photos by Christine Han for Cup of Jo. Interview by Megan Cahn.)

  1. I love Melissa’s outfits! While they’re simple and easy, they all seem to have a cool flair or vintage detail. Such great style!

  2. Heather says...

    Love love love! Seeimg ethical fashion habits featured so beautifully here is making my heart sing–Melissa, you really are awesome ? There are so many great designers in this post, and I can’t wait to try that twist with an oversized shirt!

  3. I think I’m the only woman in the world who actually prefers wearing a bra. I feel so uncomfortable without one! :D

    • Megan Cahn says...

      I actually feel the same way :)

  4. Yes! I love everything about this post. It’s so great seeing ethical fashion talked about in the ‘mainstream’ and, I LOVE Melissa’s take on slow-fashion translating into slow-purchasing. A great philosophy!!

    http://www.seasons-and-salt.com

  5. Nicole Brant says...

    I love this post! I’m very into sustainable, environmental & HUMAN conscious fashion. Glad to see COJ promoting this ideal.

  6. Lauren says...

    I’m obsessed with this series. It’s fun but also so insightful and always makes me take pause and reflect on my own choices. I love this!

  7. Janine says...

    Hi! I’m a long-time reader but have never commented before. BUT, this post made me so happy I just had to share! I’m a young PhD student, I also study neurodevelopmental disorders, and wanted to share how much it means to see you featuring badass women in science, showing that female scientists are NOT the outdated, homely stereotype, and that having style and having brains are not mutually exclusive! We need more of this so that young girls have a more diverse set of smart, accomplished AND stylish ladies to aspire to be like someday :)

  8. Rachel says...

    I love this profile! And I’m definitely bookmarking the roundup of sustainable clothing companies. I try to buy responsibly too, and it’s hard. But I firmly believe it’s the right thing to do.
    Regarding going bra-less: when I nursed my babies, I hated the disposable nursing pads. Instead, I used something called Lily Padz, I think. They’re reusable clear silicone adhesive circles that you can just stick on over your nipples. I wish I had kept mine! They were awesome.

    • Suzie says...

      I used reusable nursing pads and thought they were very comfortable. I think I had about 8 of them and they lasted through the whole last nursing cycle and I will reuse them for the upcoming one. I’m sure it’s not hard to make your own if you have the skills – just a few pieces of fabric stitched together in a circle. So something to think about for nursing moms who are still using disposable nursing pads!

  9. Miki says...

    I’ve been reading this blog for years but don’t think I’ve ever been brave enough to leave a comment before… However, this post really resonated with me and is perfectly timed. I’ve recently been considering making the switch to ethical clothing (and quitting bras!), and it’s so encouraging to see 1) someone like Melissa who’s modelling those life choices so positively and realistically, and 2) all of the wonderful women in the comments section who are also embracing it and have tonnes of valuable advice to share.

    One issue for me is that, living in the UK, a lot of ethical fashion brands that I’m aware of (and Nippies, actually) are US-based and I would love to find out about some options closer to home as well. I’m currently searching for answers online, but if any fellow Brits have some tips of their own then it would be much appreciated!

  10. Sylvie says...

    I’m loving these new outfit posts with real women in real clothes! Keep it up!

  11. Shannon says...

    I want to forgo the bra!

  12. Hannah says...

    Yes yes yes!!!

  13. Hurry for a fellow PhD student! I love her views on fashion and her style ! I’m loving the third picture I need that outfit. Those pants and low back shirt is so cute. I think a bandeau could work it’s not a bra but is but also covers. This is coming from a girl with big boobs. Lol but it works! Also I need to cut my jeans. Hemming is so tiring and pricy lol.

  14. It’s great to see a wardrobe feature that focuses on sustainability. I’m a proponent of buying fewer, better things to avoid sending a portion of my wardrobe to a landfill every year. Melissa, I love your style and your philosophical approach to fashion. Thx for the tips!

  15. Maïa says...

    I’m very happy to see this conscious and ethical week of outfits! I try myself to reduce fast fashion and to slow a lot of things in my life (less meat, more local vegetable, I try to buy less stuff or if possible in second hand…)

    Also, I’m French and I’ve already heard that Americans don’t have the same relationships to nipples than in France, but I had no idea that so many woman would were nippies (I thought it was only a kind of burlesque thing until today!). In France, if you don’t wear a bra, it’s totally ok if we can see the shape of the nipple through shirts or swimsuits.
    But, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a very uncomfortable thing to do (both visually and also I often don’t like the feeling of it), so I’ll consider buying nippies. But I have a daunting question : my nipples are VERY sensitive. For the ones wearing nippies : Is it comfortable ? Haven’t you ever lost one in the course of the day ? (I read one comment that seemed to have a story like that). I’m curious.

    • mindy says...

      yes to nippies, 100%!

    • Alex says...

      I call nippies, “pasties” from where I’m from (Florida). I think it depends on what kind of pasties you buy- the material and quality of it. Cheap ones will usually not stick very well and the outline of them are visibly obvious through shirts or bodysuits. A coworker of mine recommended a certain brand on Amazon that I highly recommend. Search ‘Hollywood Fashion Silicone Cover Ups Reusable Nipple Concealers 1 Pair.’ They are very comfortable, do not show through your clothes, and durable. I’ve never lost one and they stick on all day/night.

    • maïa says...

      Thank you very much ladies for the infos!

  16. Marina says...

    I love this conscious and environmental-friendly idea!!!

  17. So impressed with her style and resolution to wear ethical clothes! At this point in my life, with kids and a small budget, I buy almost all of my clothing secondhand – not giving support directly to disposable/cheap/sweatshop clothes, but not as great as supporting ethical sources. Or I sew my own clothes (but where does that fabric come from? I’m afraid to ask).

    • Amy says...

      Secondhand is totally just as good! Arguably even better as no new resources are being used at all :)

    • Kara says...

      I too, am a mama with limited budget and similar goals about consumption, and in addition to buying most things second hand, I also make clothing from second hand textiles. The way I do it is I buy clothing with fabric I like that is wayyyy too big, and then I cut it apart and make new clothing out of it. This is especially easy to do for littles: an XXL men’s t-shirt had enough fabric for two pairs of toddler elastic waist pants, and three shirts. I bought a giant gray tweed men’s coat and made it into a fitted trench for me and a couple simple, neutral throw pillows. Thrift store sheets are also great for making simple tunic-style dresses. It can feel a little “Maria Von Trapp and the Curtain Playclothes,” but there are worse comparisons. It’s how I got around the textile sourcing problem. It also takes longer, which means fewer things, so that’s good too.

    • Suzie says...

      Actually, I think it’s better to buy secondhand non-ethically made clothing than to buy a new ethically made clothing, so I think you’re doing the right thing! You’re using something that’s already been created and no waste is coming from creating something new.

  18. karine says...

    this article was an inspiration to shop less but simultaneously gave me so much new clothing brand / website inspiration that thank goodness you mentioned thisisparcel Melissa – a much needed tidbit after the flood of amazing sources in the article & comment thread. love the COJ community. xx

  19. Sarah says...

    THANK YOU! I research the health of women who work in garment factories in places like Bangladesh, so I am thrilled to see this directory of ethical clothing companies. Jo and team, I would love to see more features like this. Thanks to Melissa for sharing!

  20. Mandy says...

    Love this! If you’re looking for a great, re-usable no-bra solution, try lilypadz! They are technically silicone breast pads to use while nursing, but they work great as nipple-concealers. My girlfriends and I wore them all the time in college. A pair runs about $20, but they last a long time. https://lilypadz.com/

    • Marianne says...

      This is what I was going to suggest. I tried to use them for nursing. Which didn’t work for me. But have often recommended them as nipple concealers.

  21. Bianca says...

    I just loved this feature! It made me spend a good part of my work day (shh!) looking at all the links/resources she provided! Great work! Loved her style!

  22. Wow! Fabulous! I love the idea of giving up fast fashion and slowing down the process of consumption. I think that goes a long way towards eliminating waste. And she looks amazing!

  23. Emily says...

    I love her style! As for the no bras issue, try a thin lace triangle bralette. It feels like not wearing a bra but is reusable and pretty too.

  24. I love this! I bookmarked your directory of responsible brands – awesome resource. I’m wondering if you’ve tried Grana (similar to Everlane in terms of transparent pricing, but lower price range) and what you think if so. https://www.grana.com/r/35839/

    • Loribeth says...

      I have a silk blouse and silk slip dress from Grana and I love both. I don’t know much about their sustainability though.

    • I love their silk too! (I have a silk blouse, a silk racerback top, and some great t-shirts). I found this info on their ethics and sustainability: https://projectjust.com/brand_grana/ Basically, it says that they seem to be doing a good job but that not all the information is public or traceable. I see them compared to Everlane a lot (although Grana’s shipping is so much faster!) but I think Everlane publishes more information about its sustainability.

  25. Jamie says...

    I absolutely love reading this series…and thank you for the highlight on slow fashion! I’m trying to make that shift as well and it’s challenging, so it’s really encouraging to hear about the experience of someone else who is a little further down that path!

    I also love that that the clothing in these posts are actual clothes that are worn, shoes that show signs of wear, etc. instead of someone just showcasing a new sponsored outfit.

    Thanks for being so wonderful, CoJ! xo

  26. Alex says...

    Oh my goodness no bra = happiness. I’m a dd cup (but a small back) and I’ve been wearing sport crop tops under my scrubs and lacy bralettes (or nothing) for the past year. I think my boobs look better! Plus the shape feels more sensual and is more flattering in most garments, and I can’t believe I used to wear padded bras during sex – my goodness so many missed opportunities . I’ll definitely look into the nippies!

  27. Rachel says...

    YES I’m so glad you featured someone who makes such an effort to shop consciously!!! I started my own lil journey of conscious consuming about a year ago and while it’s supremely rewarding, it can definitely also be frustrating, especially since many of my favorite blogs (from whom I get a lot of fashion inspiration) aren’t necessarily showcasing ethical and sustainable brands… A lot of what Melissa said resonated with me in a way that my fave blogs just haven’t as much since I started making this switch. The sustainable/ethical fashion community is so wonderful and diverse and I’d love to see more of it in the mainstream. I’m so glad you featured her and I can’t wait to dive into her database of ethical/sustainable retailers since I already saw some new and exciting names from the outfits in the post! Please more posts like this!!! Thanks guys!

  28. GFY says...

    Tape is not ideal as a daily nipple cover because adhesives are super toxic – and strangely, medical tapes of all types seem to be the worst! I always get a horrible raw rash whenever I’ve needed to use medical tape, so I avoid it while cursing the friggin medical industry. They have so much financial power and they can’t come up with a non-toxic adhesive, surely something that they use literally tons of? Annoys me!

    • GFY says...

      I’ve used silicone covers and they are great! For times when perspiration will be an issue I celebrate the opportunity to get to use one of those otherwise useless ultra lacy bralette’s to hold the nipplet in place. Works great as the bralette’s are not hot at all!

  29. Liz says...

    A THOUSAND TIMES YES!!!

    I couldn’t be happier that you featured someone so focused on sustainable and ethical clothing! I love the brands here and I’m excited to look into her long list of brands I may not be familiar with.

    Shopping ethically isn’t as quick, easy, or cheap…but it’s the only way I don’t feel guilty over what I put on my body.

    Thank you for sharing Melissa’s great style!

  30. MA says...

    Loved this one!!! I am also a petite female scientist who strives for ethical fashion. Melissa has great style – so inspiring. I love the

    I want to give a shout-out to Tradlands for really well-made (in the USA) button-down shirts with no boob gap. I stopped buying button-down shirts years ago because I couldn’t find ones that fit without the boob gap. I have been sewing my own clothes for years now and have made several of my own button-downs (which takes me a long time!). I invested in a few Tradlands button-downs over the past two years and really appreciate the quality of Tradlands garments.

  31. Sally says...

    This is beautiful and I love the no fast fashion ethos. As a fellow biologist, I also love that Cup of Jo is beginning to showcase more of us. But, it seems like only one of these outfits is something she actually wears to lab — which is where she likely spends 60+ hours a week. I can say from experience it is really hard to find lab-appropriate clothing that also look nice (and the potential for ruining your clothing is also so high in lab settings — so much of my clothing is in a state of disarray from accidentally spilling bleach or getting snagged on equipment) so I would love some advice to tackle this challenge.

  32. I love that she quit wearing bras! I’ve done that off and on and it’s so freeing!

  33. Going to echo all the other recs for silicone nipple covers – I also use nippies! My only complaint with them is they don’t stick when wet so if you sweat when it’s hot… Learned that one the hard way lol.

  34. Just when I think the week of outfits series can’t get any better, it does! Dutifully taking notes from Melissa and all these lovely comment recommendations. My wardrobe is very casual and the only pieces I invest in are jeans because I live in jeans, but I would love to extend that to the rest of my wardrobe and invest in some more ethically conscious pieces.

  35. Andi says...

    I, too, have been trying to make more ethical choices when shopping for clothes. Thank you, Melissa, for posting your directory. Bookmarked!

  36. I’m trying to be more conscious in what I buy – after seeing the documentary The True Cost, I became very aware that a $15 sweater powers a sweatshop where conditions are bleak for the workers and their families. Instead, I utilize the apps like Poshmark and Depop. I sell the things I don’t like and use the profits to buy pieces I want. Our thrift stores aren’t as good as NYC or LA, so I have to get creative!

  37. Ana says...

    Watching “The True Cost” changed not only the way I buy but how I live my life. Thanks for the directory! I’ve been trying to do something similar on my own.

  38. Love your style Melissa! When it comes to bras, I am eagerly awaiting the launch of the Evelyn Bobby kickstarter campaign:

    http://evelynbobbie.com/home

    I don’t know whether the actual product will be everything I hope, but I am intrigued enough to keep my eye on it!

  39. Beautiful style and I love her approach! That emerald top!!

  40. Laurab says...

    Dressing for lab work can be a serious challenge. My bracletes always got caught in the vent of the tissue culture hood, we’re not allowed to wear open-toed shoes for safety reasons, and it can be hard to strike a balance between looking professional and being practicle for work that includes messy solutions, bacterial cultures or animal work. So nice to see real world fashion posts for non-office based jobs.

    Good luck with your research project and Go Lions!

  41. Arielle says...

    I love this! It’s so refreshing to see the diversity of the women you’ve been posting – ranging in ethnicity, race, profession, style, etc. How nice to read about interesting, strong, and varied women! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  42. Becca says...

    This. Is. Amazing. I’m so happy you posted this. I have been looking for similar resources as I am also trying to wean myself from fast fashion and focus on ethically made clothing (for people and the environment)!

  43. yael steren says...

    This is one of my favorite posts that you’ve done for this series! I love her way of thinking, that she gets things tailored (it really does make a difference) and her free spirit! The only outfit I’m not feeling is the last one. You always want to think of splitting your body into proportions and the ratio should be top 1/3 bottom 2/3. Here the inverse has happened! xx yael http://www.yaelsteren.com/blog/

  44. Lauren E. says...

    I love this! I’m a huge, huge fan of minimalist fashion but find that when I try it myself I often feel boring. Melissa’s architectural shoes and swingy tops keep these outfits super interesting! Pinning them all to my insp board :)

    • jillygirl says...

      minimalist clothing requires super polished hair in a modern cut. that’s what makes it look intention vs boring. !

  45. emily says...

    hooray for a feature on a woman scientist! i really admire melissa’s commitment to an ethical wardrobe, which isn’t easy to do on a grad student’s salary (i’m also a PhD student and scientist but in the field of nutrition). It’s really difficult to contemplate buying a top for $100-200 when that may comprise my shopping budget for half the year. another issue i’ve encountered is that many of the clothes are not made for petite women or don’t fit me well. i echo other readers in that i’d love to see a piece on how women of different sizes, incomes, and geographical regions (and therefore varying seasons) made/are making the transition to slow fashion within a reasonable budget.

    • jillygirl says...

      TJ Maxx…easy to find quality pieces for far far less than retail.

  46. Thao says...

    Absolutely love her style – and the fact that her career situates her in a male-dominated industry. Yay for women doing what they love, in whatever field suits them!

  47. what a timely post. our household has been slowly Marie Kondo-ing the abode and culling our closets. i find myself saying out loud: DOES THIS BRING ME JOYYYYYYY? i also loosely follow capsule fashion blogs for ideas and inspiration, putting items together from my closet that i wouldn’t otherwise do because i’m uncreative like that, and then asking again, DOES THIS BRING ME JOY? (joy and laughing at myself are not the same things…)
    anyway, i’ve been putting a big pile together to ThredUp and so liberating. now i’ll have to reign in my desire to replace with randoms, and instead, invest in proper, timeless and ethical pieces. i’m loving the directory of ethical clothing options.

  48. Cazmina says...

    Great post! I love her style!
    The ethical fashion thing is so interesting. I have been thinking about this recently – I am totally guilty of thoughtlessly buying fast fashion (Lord help me when I see that sale rack at Zara) and I would like to move into a more sustainable approach. I have a very small budget and I think the prices of some of the sustainable brands can be off-putting at first – even if you know in theory that you will wear it for years, it can be hard to get over that mental hurdle of handing over $100 for a skirt. Right now I’m on a new-clothing ban (thrift shopping allowed) until I can make a proper plan of what I need and save up for the right thing. As Melissa said, it’s a process!

  49. Thanks for this one. I’ve been less conscious of my clothing purchases lately, and this is an inspiring reminder. I will check out that directory in the next while, too, as I want to learn about some good places to support. I think her attitude resonates – she isn’t all or nothing, and that works for me: start where you can and improve as you go.
    Though I must confess, going braless is not an option for me! ?

  50. Lo says...

    I love all the shoes in this post, as well as that emerald shirt – it really pops against her skin!

    Lo
    http://www.themixtures.com

  51. Jill says...

    I love Melissa’s style!!! As always, thanks for featuring women with a diverse range of professions and looks in this series. This one really clicked for me. And now I’m totally inspired to try out these Nippies everyone is talking about too :)

  52. I love Melissa’s style! Simple but not lacking in personality. I’ve slowly been making the transition from fast fashion myself, but it’s a struggle to find local brands in the Philippines that are both ethical and affordable. I’m sure it’ll be worth it to spend a bit more, as soon as I find a company that produces pieces I would actually want to wear. For now, thrift stores are my go-to. The clothes may be used, but it’s not impossible to find well-made pieces without breaking the bank!

  53. Vibeke Jullum says...

    I love ‘A week of outfits’!

  54. Jojo says...

    I love this to pieces. It would be awesome to also spotlight someone who has a bunch of kids but only buys from sustainable and ethical sources.

    • Cristina says...

      I was going to suggest the same thing!

  55. Marie says...

    I love the effort to stick with ethical fashion, and I am all for buying pricier pieces; as Melissa says, it simply means you buy a whole lot less clothing.
    However, I wanted to ask about slow fashion for kids. I want to stop buying from big brands, but I just can’t afford the expensive options for babies and kids who cycle through them so very quickly. Any ideas?

    • We get a lot of clothes from our local parents’ list serv. Especially with babies, who outgrow clothes before they’ve really worn them at all, you can buy used clothes for super cheap and they still look pretty new. If you don’t have a local parents group, maybe trying thrift stores? Patagonia also has a kids section that’s not as pricey as some of the others on this last. And pact organic makes their clothes out of 100% organic cotton (and they have baby/toddler stuff) – not sure what their trade practices are, but their prices are much more comparable to regular retail.

  56. Kelly says...

    Hooray for nisolos and bralessness!
    I use washable silicone nipple covers. I’ve had these over a year with no issues.

  57. Meghann says...

    It’s encouraging to read about someone striving hard to make shifts in their clothes buying habits. I am trying to do the same. But I find myself so frustrated and overwhelmed about where to shop, what is best to buy. I sometimes feel the only truly ethical option is to start growing my own flax, buy a loom, and learn how to make homespun. Then learn how to cut and sew clothes…! A recent opinion piece for CBC news (a reputable Canadian media outlet) on “transparency” fashion has only reinforced for me how challenging it is to find clothing brands TRULY committed to environmental sustainability and worker well-being in the garment industry.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/transparency-garment-industry-1.4096227

  58. I really admire her approach to shopping and I love her style! And I love that she is a woman in science too!

  59. Love the green top! You look great as always

  60. Elliesee says...

    Amazing! I actually need to learn about Fragile X and the comments have Canadian clothing websites. I may need laundry tips – I like fitted clothes and they eventually get ruined. I have had some luck with Patagonia. Dressing my girl (13) also has its challenges. Lastly, I like her bra less look as it usually makes me uncomfortable.

  61. Lisa G says...

    She is wonderful! Supporting local or small business is always worth the price. I’m a Nashville native so hearing that a New Yorker wears Nisolo and Katherine Suzann makes my heart happy. Also, I have two cousins (brothers) with Fragile X syndrome. So glad to hear she’s part of that research :)

  62. Kathy says...

    Love this whole approach. Great feature. I’m waiting to receive my Jamie and jones t-top — Melissa how did you tie/twist it? Looks awesome!

    • Ann says...

      I was hoping to learn the same thing!

  63. Leigh says...

    I’m so impressed with Melissa’s philosophy. I stopped “shopping” in 2012 when I moved to a country town with no major retailers, so it kinda forced my hand. It was like a detox! I only realise now, now that I’m moving into my new house and finding boxes upon boxes of clothes and shoes that maybe, perhaps I had a bit of a shopping problem back then. I’ve since had a baby, and so I’d say about 70% of the clothes filling up my wardrobe are unnecessary. Nowadays, of all of the clothes I’ve purchased in the last 4 years, I reckon about 95% of them have come from charity shops (we have REALLY good second hand/charity shops here in Australia!). My next plan is to get into my wardrobe and weed out most of it – I want to whittle it down to a few key pieces that I love, the problem is that I feel really bad about throwing away the old pieces that cant be given to charity – unfortunately they’ll go into landfill. Off I go to read about the French Wardrobe Philosophy! x

    • Alex says...

      Country town op shops! The best!

    • Suzie says...

      You should look into whether there are any companies or organizations in Australia that will take back any condition clothing to be recycled in textile recycling. I was researching this in the U.S. and it looks like Levi (the jeans company) and the Northface both have programs where you can go drop off old clothing (Northface will also take shoes) that is no longer suitable for donation, and they will recycle those. Then you could keep them out of the landfill!

    • our farmers market takes old no-longer-wearable clothes for textile donation. maybe somewhere near you does the same?

      or maybe a teacher near you could use some extra fabric for an art project, maybe if you cut the clothes up into squares or something?

  64. lucie says...

    oh, i just started following her on instagram recently! I really like her approach to buying clothes. it’s better for the environment for sure, though I find it hard to pare down my closet… I’ve done a lot of massive purges and built back up again. It is probably easier to get dressed with fewer pieces, i just love having a lot of variety

  65. Grace says...

    Love the diversity, the slow fashion, and the bralessness! Especially love that she is a scientist that works in a lab showcasing a variety of closed-toe shoes – in my lab, the safety officer will call you out for too much skin exposure even if you wear ballet flats or ankle pants without socks!

  66. Jess says...

    Love the style, intelligence, and commitment to sustainability and ethics!!

  67. I really admire those who stick to their own beliefs when it comes to shopping (and could also go completely braless!). I did go through an ethical fashion phase but also realised that i won’t be able to completely eliminate fast fashion from my life, especially with a changing body shape like mine right now.

  68. Naomi says...

    As a recent college grad who is striving to shop more consciously, I love this piece & resonate with it 268474852892648957363846 percent!!! I’m working in building a capsule wardrobe with good quality pieces for work & casual weekend wear. I’m excited to try out the Parcel site that she references to think more deeply about my purchases. Thank you for this, Cup of Jo team!

  69. Jenn I says...

    You can buy silicone “pasties” at Nordstrom. They are reusable – not forever, they eventually stop sticking, but if you take care of them they’ll last a good amount of wears. I think they also give you a bit more coverage. They’re more expensive than the paper or fabric nips, but I think they’re better in the long run. They also don’t hurt when you take them off or leave your skin irritated like the sticky/band aid types can.

  70. Alex says...

    Great post, love that you covered someone who takes an ethical approach to buying.

    And the most ethical thing you can do is to buy second hand! Easy on the wallet and the planet :)

  71. Julie says...

    Love this post, especially the directory. Thank you so much!

  72. My favorite of this series so far- and that’s saying something because I’ve loved all the installments. But every outfit here is one I’d love to wear and the discussions about slow fashion were so interesting.

  73. NICOLE MUNSON says...

    Love seeing a petite gal represented!

  74. Kelsey says...

    Honestly, I quit bras too and I don’t bother with putting anything over the nips. I just ’em be out there and free!

    • Tina says...

      Good for you! I started going braless with a couple of summer dresses recently, and frankly I feel super self conscious about it.

  75. Jenna DuBose says...

    I see that someone posted about reusable pasties but these also work!

    http://www.target.com/p/lilypadz-reusable-nursing-pad/-/A-10737386?ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&AFID=google_pla_df&CPNG=PLA_Baby+Shopping&adgroup=SC_Baby&LID=700000001170770pgs&network=g&device=m&location=9007324&gclid=CjwKEAjw9MrIBRCr2LPek5-h8U0SJAD3jfhta6t1siVP0CupbdHTggvWkBOxfnq8eDQETL8lfhhqKRoCqKLw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

    Also, this is by far the most inspiring week of outfits post to me. Cutting back on buying from unethical companies and also from buying so much in general is something that can have such a positive impact on our environment. It is a practical way to be a part of the resistance (of materialism, corporate culture, big businesses, etc) in my view.

  76. Jeannie Pham says...

    I love buying vintage off Etsy and Ebay – it’s affordable and SO well made. I’ve bought wool pants, wool skirts that were gently worn and used varying from $35 – $55 a piece. I find that it’s important to have a large enough wardrobe so that you aren’t putting SO much wear and tear onto the same pieces otherwise they will wear out in a few years. And, actually, depending on their fabric type, don’t wash them often (just be sure to do so before storing them).

    In terms of sustainable clothing, it’s important to mention the KIND of fabric that they’re made of as well. Microplastics from clothes have been ad HUGE problem in our oceans :-(

    I’m a fellow small lady who doesn’t really need to wear a bra and instead, I wear a cami top that has a built in shelf bra. It does the trick!

    • Megan says...

      Can I ask you what brand camisole do you wear? I too prefer camisoles with a shelf bra but can’t find any with the right length and fabric that’s not constricting (like spanx). Banana republic used to have some but no longer, thanks for your advice!

    • Rachel says...

      Megan, you might want to look at Coobie for camis. Given their prices and frequent discounts I can’t imagine they’re a good ethical choice, but I find their bras super comfortable and perfect for my needs. https://shopcoobie.com/

  77. Lisa says...

    Is there any way you could suggest ethical fashion for ladies in larger sizes please…meaning at least a 20W and that were a bit more suitable for those that are over 40 but still have children under 5 years old?

    • Celeste Warf says...

      Check out Universal Standard. Not perfectly ethical fashion, but better quality materials/better than fast fashion, I think?

    • Julia Christensen says...

      This is a great request. I have noticed that a lot of ethical clothing companies only make up to a size Large or US 12 or even “One size fits most.”

    • Kara says...

      I stumbled upon Universal Standard (https://www.universalstandard.net/) a few weeks ago that only sells sizes 10-28, with a good variety of basics and more trendy pieces.
      In terms of ethics, here’s what they say:

      Our clothing and fabrics are manufactured and sourced across the USA, France, Peru, & China. Our founders have personally vetted all the factories we work with to ensure that they meet and surpass all ethical standards of manufacturing and production. We work hard to ensure that the price point, quality and ethics of our clothing are at the highest level possible.

  78. Rachel says...

    everything about this is so inspiring! (including the bra breakup… #smallboobperks)

  79. Greta says...

    This is so inspiring!! Way to go and thank thank thank you for the ethical fashion directory!!

    Ps. I love to see cup of Jo discussing clean and sustainable fashion and beauty! Keep doing this!

  80. Julia says...

    1. You look gorgeous and so cool
    2. Thank you for putting the word out there on slow fashion! My new year’s resolution was to only buy sustainable clothes & shoes and organic skincare this year. So far, so good! I love hearing about other people’s journey through this.

    • Amanda says...

      That was my resolution too! So far, so good. And we’ve made it halfway!

  81. Beth B. says...

    This is SO wonderful! That same subject of making ethical purchases has recently been on my heart and mind lately. And the directory for ethical fashion industries??? YES. THANK YOU! Beautiful style, Melissa!

  82. Thank you, my little girl just looves this.

  83. Emily K says...

    Such a great post, thankyou!

    My only wish with ethical fashion is…. colour! and the patterns! When I look at all the fab pages that people have suggested I see beautiful clothes, but I also see a sea of camel, blue, black. If anyone in the Cup of Jo community has any recommendations for clothes that are bright, fun, playful and also ethical that would be amazing!

    • Lo says...

      I feel you, and while I love my neutrals, I have struggled with finding good ethical sources for my color- and print-loving husband. For women’s clothing with more color variety, try Amour Vert, Loup, Jamie + The Jones, Grana, Reformation, Rachel Comey, Mara Hoffman. Everlane also occasionally releases staples in fun seasonal colors.

    • I recommend checking out Birds of North America clothing for your print & pattern fix. Her clothing is made independent in Toronto, is amazing quality, and honestly fits every women’s body so beautifully. Plus she makes everything in sizes 2-16, which is very unique in the independent fashion world

    • Beth B. says...

      I hear you, Emily! Have you ever heard of the DoneGood app? You can find ethical goods and clothing through this app based on what’s important to you such as finding organic pieces, companies utilizing green practices, gives back, supports workers, cruelty free items just to name a few. They have items with color and pattern that I think you might like! Hope this helps :)

    • S says...

      Winter Water Factory makes some great women’s pieces! Cute kid’s stuff as well.

    • AB says...

      I love Amour Vert! They have vibrant striped tops and dresses, as well as other fun prints.

    • Kathryn says...

      Check out Leota, they make all of their clothes in New York. The founder, Sarah Carson, has also done many inspiring interviews about her business practices.

    • Melissa says...

      Mata Traders!! They use such pretty patterns made with traditional techniques, and work with fair trade organizations in India and Nepal to ensure that women from marginalized communities are paid fairly.

    • Lis says...

      An idea is to buy basics in “boring colors” via the ethical retailers, and then add interesting stuff and pops of color by shopping at thrift stores and vintage shops! You don’t need to feel guilty buying second-hand, even if it’s normal fast fashion stuff.

    • Hope says...

      Yes! I’m with you. I do love Mata Traders and Global Mamas for ethically made clothing that is colorful and covered in fun patterns.

    • Aimee says...

      Check out Zuri (www.shopzuri.com) — one dress, awesome prints, and responsibly made.

    • Emily K says...

      Thank you thank you thank you every one! I’ll return the favour and share one of my favourites, demestik.us

    • hk says...

      ace and jig for color and pattern! they are hard to snag bc they sell out quickly but you can find alot on ebay

  84. Sommer says...

    “I recently decided to quit bras. ” Fave quote.

  85. So gorgeous!

  86. ks says...

    stylebee.ca, lee v., has a great list of independent designers & clothing shops too (and a handy visual style inspiration to learn about brands irl). here’s a link she posted to responsible designers: http://www.stylebee.ca/2016/03/04/shopping-smart-small/ – karine x

    • Florrie says...

      Great article. Thank you.

  87. Kirsten says...

    Thank you COJ for listening to reader’s request for some featured women in stem!! I find her so inspiring :)

  88. Leah says...

    I love this series so much and this girl is so me! Love her ethos and style. I’m also trying to be a more conscious consumer and change my shopping habits. This is great-thanks Cup of Jo team, would love to read more on this topic.

  89. Carly says...

    Love this! Thank you for the inspiration. Melissa- Have you heard of ARC Apparel? It’s an online retailer carrying only responsible brands. https://arcapparel.ca

    • Thanks for the shoutout Carly! I’m the founder of ARC Apparel :) Due to the influx of traffic from the US, I just opened up shipping to the United States!

  90. Katie says...

    SO admirable! Love this approach to consumption AND honoring what makes her feel best. Love her style & outlook, right on!

  91. Sarah says...

    I would wear every single one of these outfits and am so inspired by her pasties usage! I’m also in the same short and small breasts situation and am getting thoroughly annoyed with bra straps, cups, and various things showing on the cute clothes I wear but I’m far too nipple-y and (TMI?) areola-y to go sans bra completely. Pasties! DUH.

    I’ll be scouring this comments feed for eco-friendly/reusable options.

  92. Love this post! I run a shop in Canada that focuses on slow fashion and Canadian-made clothing. Customers often wince at the price at first (I did too!) but when you are able to wear the same piece over and over for years, you really start to see the value in it. Plus, independently made clothing is usually made WAY better as well – which just makes it look and feel great! Love these outfits and this post!

    • Sasha says...

      Jane, I’d love to know the name of your shop!

    • It’s called White Elephant – we have two locations in Hamilton, Ontario and an online shop as well. We’re a female owned and operated small business that is going on its 9th year. We were two highschool best friends that opened a shop together in our 20s and it’s still going strong. We carry primarily Canadian independently made clothing (as well as a couple other smaller brands) and handmade jewelry, gifts and accessories. Thanks for asking!!

      http://Www.whiteelephantshop.ca

    • Katie_B says...

      I’m a loyal White Elephant customer in Hamilton – how fun to see it mentioned here! Every piece of clothing I’ve bought there has become a favourite – later today I’m wearing my lovely Ursa Major top to a conference:) I also love Wildcraft skin care line they carry. Clean and handmade in nearby Toronto!

    • Hi Katie!!!

    • Joanna says...

      These are life-changing!!

    • Annie says...

      Second this! These are amazing, I wear them ALL THE TIME.

    • Karolina says...

      Same here – just remember to wash them regularly. Soap will do just fine and they don’t lose their stickiness.

  93. Kate says...

    I’ve been living in New Zealand for the past two years and it has totally changed my attitude toward purchasing, especially when it comes to clothes and accessories. Because everything it so much more expensive here, and I am living a temporary visa-to-visa lifestyle, I just can’t justify spending money on, and accumulating, clothes. So here I have one hat, one scarf, one winter coat which is about to see its third winter. I question whether I really need something before I buy it and then I wear it to death. I think back to how I used to live in the UK and how I frittered my money away and feel relieved not to be caught up in such a consumerist cycle.

  94. Katie. H says...

    We are struggling with fertility issues, and I recently discovered that I’m a carrier of FragileX. It was such a surprise (in a great way) to see someone who actually works in the field. Love these posts, and I’m truly inspired by her approach to ethical shopping.

    • Anne says...

      Hi,
      I’m a FragileX carrier as well – recently discovered my status while I was pregnant and found it overwhelming and confusing. Wishing you the best on your path to having a baby. Loved her ethical shopping stance and this post overall but really was happy to see someone doing research on this condition.

    • Katie. H says...

      Thanks, Anne. It’s definitely overwhelming and confusing! Thinking about you as well…

    • Julia Christensen says...

      As someone who also struggled with infertility for a long time, I just wanted to send you a hug over the internets. Wishing you strength on your journey.

  95. This is my favorite so far! So pretty and all I love the ideas behind her smart choices! xx

  96. Alyssa says...

    I’ve been wanting to go braless for awhile now!! I enjoy the prettiness of bralettes but the straps are still annoying in the warmer months, so I’m eager to try the “nippies”!

  97. Jamey says...

    I really enjoyed this article and Melissa’s style. Do you happen to know where she found her shoes in the first outfit? The link is to a similar shoe but doesn’t seem to be the same one. I’ve been on the hunt for shoes just like those and would love to know if they are still available somewhere! Thanks!

  98. Alexis says...

    I love the idea of ethical fashion. It’s a little tricky though when you have multiple kids and your body keeps changing in size/shape as ethically made clothes are so much more expensive. I have tried to recycle as much of my wardrobe as possible and buy versatile pieces. Also, love the capsule wardrobe, i did it when I returned from maternity leave recently and it made getting dressed so much easier with less options.

  99. Lindsey says...

    Thank you so much for this post! The past few years I’ve felt responsible for where I purchase my clothing, and I’m a HUGE fan of Everlane. I wish more people were on board with this concept!

  100. celia says...

    i really appreciate her thoughtfulness in consuming ethical products and also in limiting the amount of pieces she buys. less is definitely more. and she looks great.

  101. NIPPIES (by Bristol6 I think?) are THE BEST, reusable, invisible, you don’t feel them and they actually stick. They come in different shades to match your skin tone and in a larger size if your bustier. They’re on shopbop/amazon and revolve!!!!

    • Van says...

      I totally agree. Also super easy to clean. Just a bit of gentle soap and water will do the trick.

  102. I love that she’s a neuroscientist!! Thanks for featuring brainy women as fashionistas. :-) (Now if you could just do a feature on moms who live in their running clothes, I’d be all over that.) ?

    • Sarah K says...

      Ha! Me too! Because there is only so much time in life…and if I have to pick a run or cute clothes, I’m picking the run. ?

  103. Kate says...

    Thank you so much for including Melissa in your week of outfits. I have been trying to dress more ethically for the last several years and am a fan of brands like Everlane and Tonle, where I volunteered 2 summers ago. It’s reassuring to see someone else trying to make the change, admitting that perfection is not totally realistic and (yay!) sharing resources.

  104. Jessica says...

    Loved this. Perfect timing as I had all kinds of tabs open with carts full of all kinds of unethical fast fashion items. What about a post on capsule wardrobes? I’m so curious. Profile a few women who have made that work?

  105. Beth says...

    Loved this! I have been working toward 100% ethical fashion for years. Fast fashion has become so ubiquitous that I feel like people react viscerally to a well made piece of clothing, without always realizing why! I do sometimes feel a bit plain in my Everlane-heavy capsule wardrobe and will occasionally pick up a vintage accessory off Etsy to add an interesting twist to my my outfit. A bold signature lipstick and a cool hairdo go a long way, too.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “A bold signature lipstick and a cool hairdo go a long way, too.” = love this!

    • yael steren says...

      Totally agree about the lipstick! It can really change your look completely!! http://www.yaelsteren.com/blog

  106. Rachel Simmons says...

    I can’t IMAGINE not wearing a bra….but I also can’t imagine having tiny Boobs.

    • Sasha says...

      Big boob problems, little boob problems, not the same problems at all, right? ;)

    • Eliza says...

      I have big post-nursing-sag boobs and am trying to convince myself that I could be okay with myself in a soft/not structured bra that doesn’t have underwire because since my post partum body changes I find underwire extremly uncomfortable. Swing low sweet chariots.

  107. G says...

    This girl is my hero. I’m always looking for more sustainable, sweatshop free alternative to fast fashion- thanks so much for sharing. This is the best post I’ve seen from cup of jo in a long time :)

  108. Corey says...

    Also, does anyone know about DoneGood? They have a free plug-in that recommends sustainable and ethical alternatives to popular brands. So, for example, if you go to Forever 21’s website, a list of ethical brands with similar styles will pop up. I’ve discovered a lot of great brands, and they often offer discounts too!

    • G says...

      This sounds awesome :) thanks for sharing

  109. Corey says...

    This is by far my favorite A Week of Outfits post yet! I also try to buy all ethically made and sustainable clothing, and I absolutely love all the outfits. Thank you so much Melissa, and thank you A Cup of Jo team for doing such a good job (especially lately) at featuring fun, useful posts that also touch on important and timely issues.

  110. Rachel Q says...

    Thank you so much for featuring someone who cares about ethical clothing and highlights ethical brands. We need so many more people to wake up to the immoral impacts of the garment industry.

    • Corey says...

      To anyone who’s interested in learning more about the social, environmental, and economic consequences of the fast fashion industry, I highly recommend watching the documentary “The True Cost” (it’s available on Netflix).

  111. Samantha says...

    I also have small boobs and skip the bra most days. I found these at Target (NOT ‘slow fashion’, I know), but they’re reusable and you can’t see them under even my sheerest white tees. The same can’t be said for bandaids or other disposable pasties I’ve tried.

    http://www.target.com/p/fashion-forms-women-s-bring-it-up-breast-shapers-s/-/A-15724067?ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&AFID=google_pla_df&CPNG=PLA_Women+Shopping_Brand&adgroup=SC_Women&LID=700000001170770pgs&network=g&device=c&location=9060325&gclid=CIWWiMaM5tMCFYJnfgodAkQNig&gclsrc=aw.ds

  112. Caro says...

    I love the outfit with the green top. Beautiful colour on her!

  113. In the vein of getting nicer things and stop buying “fast,” I’ve been trying to figure out how to take better care of the clothes I do have. For example, I sweat enough that sweat stains are a constant laundry struggle. It makes me not want to invest in more expensive pieces since I know they can have a similar shelf life! I try to pretreat underarms of shirts with some extra detergent before I wash, but it isn’t fool proof. Any laundry advice from readers on sweat-stains, keeping whites white, or any other clothing/shoe care?

    • Celeste says...

      Have you tried Mrs. Stewart’s Bluing? It’s an eco-friendly option to bleach. With that in mind, you have to be careful using it because it will stain if you drop the concentrated stuff on fabric, but I’ve found it gets my whites *so* much whiter. I use it all the time in my white loads on the recommendation of my cousin who is a chef and wanted an alternative to bleach to keep her smocks bright.

    • Megan says...

      I second this request. I especially have this issue with shoes. I must stomp around like an elephant the way I beat up my pointy toe flats and heels I wear to work.

    • White vinegar is great at sweat stains – soak in white vinegar, rinse in plain water, and then wash as normal. I’ve written more here on other natural stain removal techniques that work! http://moralfibres.co.uk/natural-stain-remover-tips/ I promise your clothes won’t smell of vinegar!

    • Samantha Zimmerman says...

      Treat the stain with Dr Bronners peppermint soap! It has worked on literally every stain I’ve had on my clothes.

    • Van says...

      Line drying clothes will keep your clothes in better condition for longer (even with weekly washes). It’s a bit of a struggle at first but after a few weeks, you’ll get used to it.

    • A post about clothing and shoe care would be awesome! Lots of people don’t know that natural fibers “self-clean” and can be hung or steamed instead of washing so much, which preserves the fibers and makes the items last longer. Also ideas like taking shoes to a cobbler (and when to do that), doing easy mending at home and befriending a local seamstress to help with repairs or alterations. I want to read that article! P.S. there’s a product called Folex in the carpet cleaning aisle that will literally remove any stain. I speak from experience!

    • KayN says...

      Best thing to both prevent and treat sweat stains: keep some hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle and spray the armpits of everything you sweat in (especially things like tees) before they go in the wash. No more yellowing.

    • Sargjo says...

      I’ll add that when I switched to a more natural deodorant rather than using antiperspirant, the stains came out in the wash. It turns out for me the stain was actually antiperspirant discoloring my clothing. Go figure!

    • Taylor says...

      Megan, you can take your pointy-toe shoes to a cobbler and they will put on toe caps for you to help protect the fronts of your shoes. (I’ve given up now and just wear sneakers on my commute!)

    • RBC says...

      I have to agree with SArgjo – since I’ve switched to a deodorant-only (not antiperspirant) I’ve never had yellowing armpits! I don’t use natural or organic or anything fancy deodorant – I use men’s – they have a lot more non-antiperspirant options! For the clothes that are already yellowed, I’d give the inside of the armpits are good scrubbing with a brush the next couple times you wash the item and it should come out. Good luck!

    • Oh my goodness! Thank you all so much for all the responses and recommendations! Glad to know I’m not alone ?

  114. It’s so timely that you linked to Boy Girl Party, since she’s recently posted about being the victim of chain stores (among others) ripping off her work. Art theft/copying is sadly very common (Zara has been guilty of this in the past) and buying directly from designers instead of the chain stores is a great way to help stop it.

  115. Jessica says...

    I envy her for being able to go braless! My F cup would not allow such luxury. I did it when I was in my early 20s rebellious / hippie / misguided confidence / halter top phase – which was fun, but gotta at least try to keep the boobs perky these days.

    Anyway, she’s so awesome! Loved this one :)

  116. Alexandra Marie says...

    I made the decision to switch to ethical clothing brands, and then I got pregnant. It’s been tough. Not everything that I’ve found has been ethical but I *have* bought quite a few things second-hand, which is a great way to shop a little more consciously. I am trying to spend full price mainly on things I will be able to wear afterward.
    Also, I think it’s important to not let perfect be the enemy of good.

    • Alanna says...

      Yes– it’s been SO hard to shop ethically for maternity clothes. I’ve mostly borrowed from friends this time around (3rd and hopefully last pregnancy).

  117. I heartily agree with all the comments suggesting Nippies! They come in different sizes and colors and they work GREAT! I wash mine with a little bit of Dr. Bronner’s and they clean up beautifully. XO

  118. Sasha says...

    What a great post. I love your fun style and ethics Melissa. And yay for science & scientists!! And little boobs too lol.

    Anyone tried just letting their nipples show? I’ve given up wearing a bra, at least sometimes, and honestly, NOTHING happens if your nipples pop up. No one stops you and lectures. My daughter told me about the free the nipple movement, hey, why not? It’s about time imho.

    A shout out for ethics – how about a post (or a bunch!) about veganism? Probably the single biggest positive impact you can have on the environment, and for the lives of other beings too.

  119. jen says...

    I’ll admit I got distracted from her lovely clothing by the NYC background shots.

  120. “The French Wardrobe”–I love that! Even better than a capsule wardrobe, which seems to me to be a lot of money/clothes, even though it’s a “capsule.” When I was in Europe I loved how people had two or three main outfits that they just wore all the time. But being in the States, I keep flip-flopping on it. I want to commit to a French wardrobe type of philosophy, and then I get so bored of what I’m wearing and also self conscious when I see the women in my office wearing a great variety of outfits. I toy with investing in quality basics, then the next day ponder signing up for a subscription service like Le Tote. Obviously not a real “problem” but definitely something I’ve been thinking about!

    And I LOVE that emerald green top, and also the deep back V top…though I don’t think I’d have the courage to free-boob it!

    • Mayoli Weidelich says...

      I agree with you 100%!! I have considered doing a “capsule” wardrobe (had never heard of the French Wardrobe but will have to look into it) but I LOVE playing with fashion and clothes and think I might get bored. If I’m being 100% honest, like you, I also know that I will probably feel very self conscious at work since I work other people that have incredible style and buy clothes often. I guess at one point we just have to decide that we are doing it, but I would love to read about what the process of transitioning from fast fashion to slow fashion was like for people – the good, the bad and the ugly!

  121. Angela Li says...

    Love this post! I was just thinking today I need to do a closet edit to decide what I really need this season.

  122. Rebecca says...

    Melissa is awesome! Love her style and her ethics. Can anyone with a Fjallraven Kanken backpack fill me in on them? I have been wanting a durable backpack for carry-on and walking around while traveling. Are these comfortable? Any particular style you recommend?

    • Annie says...

      I have a Kanken and love it! Very durable, comfy, and the size is just right–it carries a lot, but isn’t so big you’ll end up hurting yourself by carrying too much. Keep the foam padding in the back pocket that comes with it, a Swedish woman told me that it’s the Swedish way to do things (you can use it as a seat cushion if you are at a sporting event/picnic/etc).

  123. Annie says...

    She’s very inspiring! I would love to make that kind of commitment to ethical clothing. I enjoy how you have been representing a more diverse set of bodies and professions… now if we can only get you to do one of these clothing segments on someone who doesn’t live in NY. The rest of us in ‘murica are fashionable too :)

  124. VY says...

    Does anyone have recommendations for plus sized sustainable clothing brands. I know of Universal Standard, but would like to explore some more options.

  125. Emma says...

    I LOVE this post. Ethical fashion is so important! Buying is voting and Melissa proves that you can invest in good AND still look amazing.

  126. Elizabeth says...

    Fragile X is such a fascinating genetic abnormality!

    Thank you for featuring a woman in science.

  127. Amanda Cranney says...

    Lily Padz would probably work. They’re intended for nursing mothers to prevent leaking breastmilk, but they would work for nipple coverage as well.

    • Sara says...

      They do! I used these while nursing and still use them when I want to go braless. Great coverage, just clean and reuse.

    • Emily Crowder says...

      I was just about to say this Amanda :) And hot tip for anyone using them, you can use Dawn dish soap to clean them instead of that tiny and very expensive bottle of product-specific cleaner they make.

      Free the nipple! (even on cold days)

  128. Lo says...

    Yay, thank you for featuring ethical fashion brands! Would love to see more of that on the site whenever you link to clothing suggestions.

    I also use nippies and they work pretty great, even with slightly larger breasts.

  129. Lindsay says...

    I’ve used the small spot bandaids (small circles or squares) in the past and they’ve worked out pretty well. I’ll have to check out the nippies referenced in the other comments.

  130. Alison says...

    I love this feature! I’m inspired by Melissa’s approach to shopping. Also if you’re looking for sustainable clothing options my friend recently started her own fashion line. She had been designing for large companies for years and left to pursue her dream of creating sustainable clothes. All the shirts are recycled, the designs are her own that she screen prints, the tags are plant-able, AND a portion of proceeds is donated to the charity of your choice! I bought the pink recycle tee for myself and love it. Susty Clothing is based in Brooklyn, NY. Check it out if you’re interested: https://www.sustyclothing.com/

  131. Melissa is so inspiring and these are really great resources to browse through.
    I often fall into ethical fashion rabbit holes and finally decided to open a “shop” (it’s actually just recommendations compiled on a nicely designed web page) so I can share it with my friends and readers who are sometimes overwhelmed by the offer and prefer to have someone do the research for them.
    You can find my ethical (and mostly US made) recommendations here: http://shop.consciousbychloe.com
    Thank you so much for these diverse and inspiring weeks of outfits! i can’t wait for the next one!
    xx
    Chloé

  132. Amy P says...

    This is great! I’m struggling with slowing down my clothing choices as well (I hesitate to call it fashion, since I feel like I’m not keeping up with any trends at all ;). It’s especially hard clothing our three kids, who outgrow/ruin clothes so quickly. It was so, so easy to hop on oldnavy.ca and pick up $50 of clothes (free shipping!), and now I’m trying to shop thrift stores more often to use up some of the excesses of consumerism – thrift shopping is not my favourite thing in the world but it’s more practical for our budget than the smaller brands with ethical choices. Thanks for all the links! Now I’m going down the rabbit hole ;)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      do you have any friends/relatives with slightly older kids? we’ve had great luck with hand-me-downs in our neighborhood. but only really works if you know older kids!

    • Heather says...

      Have you tried thredup.com? I have had some success there, and it’s much easier than actually going to the thrift store and pawing through racks and racks of clothes myself.

    • Jessica says...

      Agree. Any good ethical/slow fashion choices for kids? I know Mabo is pretty good and thrift shopping/hand-me-downs but any other ideas out there?

    • kathy says...

      https://www.shopboyandgirl.com/ has a focus on sustainability and is all made in l.a. the clothes are super cute and high quality! disclaimer: the owner/designer is my sister.

  133. Anne says...

    I love this series! As a fellow grad student who is attempting to clean up her shopping habits, I am so interested in how she does this!
    I’m hoping to ask the awesome Cup of Jo hive mind to help me find some ethical fashion brands in larger sizes? The only ones I know of is Hackwith Design house and Elizabeth Suzann. But does anyone have a source for jeans, for instance? Thanks!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      good question! i just read this online about eileen fisher: They plan to continue on their path toward fiber sustainability by using only organic cotton and linen in their clothing by 2020.

      here are some of her plus-size pieces: http://bit.ly/2q3Hzis

      and here is a pair of her jeans: http://bit.ly/2q6pP48

      i love the look of her clothes.

  134. Zoe says...

    Love the feature of ethical fashion! Also love when you feature smart women doing excellent things.

  135. Elli says...

    Wow – I loved this one! Really great reflections on fashion and consumption, so good to hear. She looks fabulous. I loved her outfits and am feeling inspired to follow suit and be more reflective on what I buy.

  136. Rachel says...

    This post is exactly what I needed right now. I’m trying to make this transition after KonMari-ing my life and seeing how much fast fashion I got rid of that I’d only worn a couple times. After months of saving up I’m finally ready to buy my first couple of ethical core pieces but it’s so hard to actually push buy when you’re used to clothes that cost $25. This is a good reminder of what I’m trying to accomplish with my wardrobe. Thank you.

  137. Ximena says...

    Love her fashion philosophy and style <3

  138. Chantou says...

    Love her style so much!

  139. JAR says...

    i want all of her clothes — and she sounds really smart and cool. great feature!

  140. Love her style and love the idea of being more conscious when purchasing from brands. In high school I of course followed the trends and mostly shopped from Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters too. After learning more about the process of fast fashion in my business classes in college, not only about the questionable manufacturing processes but also how it encourages a culture of over consumption and waste of clothing materials, I now cringe at the thought of shopping from some of these stores. I’m excited to look for new ethical brands to shop from, thanks for sharing!

  141. Rachel says...

    I love how thoughtful your reflections and choices are. And your smile is radiant! :)

  142. Sarah King says...

    YES!!! i love her approach and have been patiently waiting for a week of outfits about ethical fashion. thank you melissa!

  143. Colleen says...

    I heard that Nippies are great! They’re reusable nipple covers that you can buy on amazon.

    • Crosby says...

      I use my nippies all the time! They’ve been a total game changer

    • polyana says...

      i’ve used the reusable nippies (i also have small breasts and barely ever wear a bra, or nippies for that matter, haha), and they last a while! if the ones you get don’t come with a case or something, i’ll find a ziplock or small tupperware to store them loosely so they don’t lose their stickiness!

    • Huge fan of Nippies! I was just going to recommend them too – they are so easy to clean and never lose their stickyness. Plus if you are tiny breasted (like me!) they actually give you a little more boob in there – haha!