Looking for sustainable and ethical fashion brands have become my hobby since I started this blog. I came across Miss Green and instantly fell in love.
Sustainability is at the core of the brand. For the owner, Maaike Groen, is very important to produce her clothes as responsible as possible with the environment and with the garment workers. The people who make the clothes earn a fair salary and work under good conditions. They only produce in European and Indian workshops with a GOTS certificate and a SA8000 standard, which means that they ensure organic and socially responsible production. During the production process, no harmful chemicals are used and the substances are as biological as possible. Besides, Miss Green rely mainly on her gut feeling. They regularly visit the factories and workshops to view and choose fabrics, but above all to talk with the people who make Miss Green´s clothes. They only have two collections per year.
On these series of pictures, I´m wearing a jumpsuit of Miss Green. The pictures were made in Amersfoort by the photographer Marisa Broekhuizen Check her work HERE.
Picture by Marisa Elisa Photography
Picture by Marisa Elisa Photography
What I´m wearing:
Jumpsuit // Miss Green (Get it here)
Turban // Second-lifestyle Amersfoort (second-hand shop)
Ankle boots & jacket // Not second-hand or ethically made – bought it before my conscious time
This month I celebrate that I’ve been living in The Netherlands for two years. It’s the third country I have lived in and the third one I call home. Before NL I lived in Germany, so I thought I didn’t need to integrate or learn about the culture anymore. I genuinely thought that Dutchies are similar to my last homies, the Germans. These two years have totally shown me the opposite. With you, today, I want to share the things Dutch people do that I haven’t seen people doing in any other place I’ve lived before. Get ready!
1. Three kisses
Dutch people greet with three kisses. I had to get used to that. But it get’s even more confusing when after you gain some trust with the person you greet, three kisses will eventually turn into one. This makes you feel totally weird because you finally got used to the three kisses. I know my in-laws for seven years now, and it still doesn’t get less awkward.
2. Congratulations to everyone!
When someone of your family or friends celebrates his birthday, not only the birthday person gets congratulated, all the family members as well! Please note that only the birthday person will get a present and not you.. 🙂
3. Boterham Instead of just calling it a sandwich, in NL there is one right word to name the piece of bread you eat during breakfast or lunch.. ‘Boterham’! The Dutchies take the word very serious because they spread butter on the boterham before any other spread comes over it. So here is how it goes: Bread + butter + Nutella. Or, bread + butter + jam. Or, bread + butter + peanut butter, bread + butter + hagelslag… You get the point?
4. Werkse, sterkte, sportse!
Dutch people are very kind. So kind that they have a word to wish you a good day at work: werkse! A good day at the gym: sportse! A good day when you are feeling sad or sick: sterkte.
5. The cheaper, the better
If you ever give a nice compliment about a piece of clothing or accessory to a Dutch person, they don´t only thank you for that. As well they will answer you with pride that they bought it on sale for 70% less of the price. Oh! how they love to show you they made a cheap deal..!
6. Names Gijs, Thijs, Tijn, Matthijs, Stijn, Marijn, Merijn, Martijn, Tijmen, Jasmijn, Gert, Meike, Verlee, Kaj, Joost, Koen… Odds are that if you don´t speak Dutch, you are pronouncing them all wrong! Dutch parents like to give their kid names that are very hard to pronounce for non-Dutch speakers. On top of that, some kids have two names. A real name and a ‘roep’name”. Example: His real name is Gerrit but the name of how to call him is Gert… Say Whut!?
7. The weather
It is very common to see these highlights in the news: ‘today is the coldest/warmest day ever since… last month?’, “Today a heavy storm is coming to the coast, code red everyone! The storm will last two minutes. Better be safe!” Everyone in The Netherlands loves the news about the weather. Better yet, they all know everything about it, thanks to the app: Buienradar. On this app, they can see the exact time it will rain and for how long. Can you imagine how I feel, when at 11 am the sun is shining, and then I hear my Dutch colleagues telling me “Oh but today there’s going to be a storm around 8 pm”. I think Dutch people secretly love the rain.
8. Biking to anywhere. Regardless the weather. There is nothing that can stop Dutchies biking to work or school. Rain, snow, ice… Dutchies are unstoppable. My first surprise ever was back in 2013 when I did an internship in a design office in Amsterdam. It was the first rainy day since I started and while I was looking through the window, wondering if I should wait until the rain stops or go walking to work with an umbrella, the outside life looked as normal as ever. People wear their Hema rain suits, hop on the bike and off they go. Some even biked with an umbrella! I did go walking to work that day and when I arrived all my colleagues were soaking wet, hair all messy, jeans wet. But that´s not a reason to stop working. Just hang your wet jacket, shake your hair and the day can begin.
Oh, and the Dutchies are so handy with their bikes. Don´t be shocked to see how they bring their three kids to school on a bike, with the dog on the leash and while biking they are putting on their jackets! In the mean time, it still takes me five minutes to lock and unlock my bike.
9. Lekker The favorite word of the Dutchies: ‘Lekker’. It means tasty, and mostly it refers to food, but Dutchies find some other things tasty as well. It´s common to hear:
– lekkere broodjes of soep (tasty sandwiches, soup – food related)
– lekker rustig (when it’s nice and quiet)
– lekker weer (when the weather is good, finally)
– niet lekker (when something is not tasty)
– slaap lekker (sweet dreams)
-lekker gezond (when something is healthy)
– lekker ruim (when a place is spacious)
– lekker biertje (when they drink the first beer of the weekend)
– lekker! (the answer when someone asks if you want coffee. Please note: You never answer yes or no, you answer with lekker and always accept the coffee)
10. Coffee O´ Clock
Dutch people drink coffee ANYTIME, the WHOLE DAY and I am not exaggerating. The first coffee is in the morning, then in the middle of the morning, then after lunch, then 4ish, the last one is after dinner around 7pm or 8pm. To stimulate the amount of coffee they drink, the supermarkets dedicate one whole isle to cookies and taartjes! Most of these cookies are with butter and a looots of sugars, so I don´t eat them anymore, but before my vegan time my all-time favorite where the bokkenpootjes and gevulde koek. Oh and the stroopwafels and stroop cookies.
11. Fries are a Dutch´s best friend
The Netherlands biggest delicatessen is fries. You can eat them on the street, in fancy restaurants, at the beach and even during weddings. They sell fries at every train station, and on every ten meters of a city center in places called “Snack Bar”. What makes the patat so special is the way you can eat them. In a puntzak and with A LOT of sauce. And by sauce I mean mayonnaise. I never understood Pulp`s Fiction scene about The Netherlands until now. For your education: these are some toppings with their official names they use:
-Patat speciaal: Fries with mayo, ketchup, and onions
-Patat oorlog: Fries with peanut sauce, mayo, and onions (oorlog means war, I leave it to your imagination why they call it like this)
-Patat joppie: Fries with a secret sauce called: Joppie
-Patat met: Fries with mayonnaise unless you ask for another sauce like ketchup, curry, peanut sauce.
-Patat zonder: The least chosen one. These are fries without any sauce.
I have to admit, I used to find it too loco to eat fries with onions. The smell is truly awful, but after two years I have blended very well with the locals. Now I can enjoy a good puntzak of patat speciaal.
12. Wedding celebration of 12,5 years
Dutch people celebrate 12,5 years of marriage. Why? I don´t really understand. Where I am from, we celebrate complete years. 1, 5, 10 etc The first time I was invited to 12,5 years of marriage I thought it was a joke, but no, it´s a real thing to celebrate, and it´s actually a nice reason to get together (maybe that´s the reason?).
13. When a baby is born… Not only your family get´s the memo, but the whole street has to know that there is a new baby in the world. Parents go loco and decorate their house with blue or pink (depending on the sex of the baby) banners, balloons, an inflated stork and anything they can possibly find baby related. While in Colombia, when a baby is born, you call the parents, the grandparents and eventually go and visit the baby. In the Netherlands, the parents send birth cards to the whole family and friends. Normally the card shows the time and date of birth, the weight, the length (very important) and a picture of the baby. I can´t help but wonder when on earth do the parents have the time to do all this, while there is a newborn in the house?
If you got the birth card, that means you have to make space in your agenda to go visit the newborn (kraambezoek). During the kraambezoek you will get a treat from the parents: A biscuit with (of course) butter and little aniseed balls colored pink for a girl and blue for a boy. “Beschuit met muisjes” Oh! it makes the visit more gezellig and totally stress-free.
I´m going to leave the house birth, the haring, the real life doll when someone turns 50 and some more loco things for another post. For now, I can only say that even though the Dutch culture is different than mine, I have learned to like it and embrace it. Some things I find funny, other I really like and I´m learning from them.
Thanks to all the Dutchies that have embraced me and made me feel welcome in The Netherlands the past two years.
Three months ago I decided to do project 333: The minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to create and live with a wardrobe of 33 items or less for 3 months.
I wanted a smaller wardrobe to be conscious of the clothes I like to wear and to get to know my style a little bit better. I also wanted to see if I would have less decision-stress at the moment to choose what to wear every morning.
Three months have passed and here is what I learned from wearing the same 33 pieces of clothes over and over again. (Check HERE to see my 33 pieces)
During these three months, I didn’t feel guilty of not wearing an item of my wardrobe. Before I occasionally felt bad that I had clothes I didn’t wear so often – almost never – but still had a place in my closet. This guilty feeling didn´t come back.
I found it very easy to choose what to wear every morning. This challenge made me a lot more creative with clothes and outfits combinations.
I took better care of my clothes. During these months I washed my clothes less often and I stopped letting the clothes I used during the day on the floor. Once you own less, you feel more the need to be kind to few clothes you have.
Social media can be your worst enemy. Even though I know social media is not real, some days I felt bad about myself and sometimes even boring and ugly. When I scrolled down Instagram and saw all the amazing bloggers with amazing new clothes I felt a little bit left out. This took me some mind work, but I just kept on reminding myself why I started this challenge and I just left my telephone aside and went back to feeling good with the challenge.
This challenge learned me that the most important thing is to feel good about myself. This is what I will reflect, regardless what I wear. You will never find something that makes you feel beautiful, smart, and loved. until you believe you are all of this.
The last two weeks of the challenge were very hard. At some point, I was a little bit tired of wearing the same. I eventually had favorites within my small closet, so I kept on repeating those items, making me feel a little bit done before the end. I could have replaced the items that I didn’t like anymore but I was almost ready with the challenge. The last week I cheated a little bit and wear two different pieces of clothes that were not in my closet.
The weather where I live (The Netherlands) is bipolar. This made it hard for me to chose my items, so I opted to have basic pieces making my wardrobe looking to save and sometimes boring. Even though I chose only pieces that I love, next time I would like to choose more colorful and printed pieces. To be honest, I missed more dresses and summer clothes, but I was so scared of the weather that I played it safe.
I can not say that I know my style 100%, but I know which are the pieces that I like, and which ones I don´t. I hope this will help me in the future to buy more consciously clothes.
The item that I wore the most was my black destroyed jeans and the black jeans, what I wore less was the striped dress.
What I had less trouble with: repeating shoes.
At my work, I didn’t hear any comment regarding me, repeating clothes. When I talked about the challenge with my colleagues they didn’t notice before that I was repeating clothes. I was so scared of people realizing that I was wearing the same clothes over and over again, but soon enough I realized that nobody cares! I was maybe too egocentric to think that people would notice, but the truth is that the only person who cares what you are wearing is yourself.
The challenge is over. What now? No polyester! I want to start removing polyester from my life and start having clothes from more sustainable materials. I shop a lot at second-hand shops and markets but I want to be more aware of this low-quality material and start refusing it. I want my clothes to last and to be good with the environment.
More ethical brands. I started investing in fair fashion brands, and I would like my wardrobe to have more of these brands. I do combine it with second-hand because that’s also a more sustainable way of shopping.
Buy only what I need. Even though I am most of the time a conscious buyer, sometimes I do buy things that I regret later on. From now on, I want to have less of this and more smart shopping.
Own fewer clothes. Now that the challenge is over, I took back my box of clothes that were not in the challenge and I still love them, but I feel that I have too much. Maybe I won´t own only 33 items, but I will definitely stick to 50 or less.
Here are some pictures of my favorite outfits:
I hope you feel inspired to start this challenge. Read more information about it here.
The color yellow represents sunshine, happiness, positivity, clarity, energy and other positive feelings. Still, it is a complicated color to use on a regular basis. I wanted to experiment a little bit more with that color and realized that I do like it, and it fits good with my skin color. While second-hand hunting I found this yellow top and I made it part of my 33 items.
Hese are my favorite pictures wearing it:
These series of pictures were made by the photographer Marisa Broekhuizen Check her work HERE.
What I´m wearing:
Yellow top // Second Lifestyle Amersfoort
Black destroyed pants // Kringloop Amersfoort
Birkenstock sandals // Episode Utrecht
Bandana // Vintage shop in Berlin
Last month I joined the most challenging diet that I have ever tried: A Plastic Diet. The goal was to reduce single-use plastics during 30 days. This diet made me realized the amount of plastic we use in our everyday life. Plastic is a big problem to the environment, it ends up in landfills, is regularly eaten by numerous marine and land animals, to fatal consequences. It does not biodegrade. Ever. It just sits and accumulates in landfills and in the oceans forever.
It might be difficult to stop using plastic from one day to the other, but little by little it is possible. Here are some plastic products that I stopped buying:
1. Plastic bags Even though I have reusable bags at home, occasionally if I forgot a bag, I would accept one when I go to a shop. Now I am more aware of this so I always leave one reusable bag in a pocket of my purse so I always have one with me.
2. Plastic bottles I have a reusable glass bottle that I take with me everywhere. It is more delicate than a plastic one, but I haven’t found any inconvenience yet. I even find it easy to clean and I like that the bottle doesn’t get a bad smell like plastic bottles do. When I happen to forget my bottle and I have to go to the supermarket, I discovered that there are some juices that come in a glass bottle. I opt to buy those instead of a drink that comes in a plastic bottle. Also when I go out to eat or to the movies, I only take drinks that come in glass bottles.
3. Plastic straws
I stopped buying straws a long time ago, but this one was hard for me when going out for dinner or lunch. I constantly kept on forgetting to asks drinks without a straw. I guess it happened so much that now I learned from it and it´s becoming part of my “ordering food” routine to add “Can I please have my drink without a straw – Thank You!”.
4. Plastic toothbrush I made this switch a couple of months ago and I´m happy to see bamboo toothbrushes becoming trendy. I bought mine at the “Natur Winkel” in Amersfoort, but you can also get one at Waar, Eko Plaza, Holland & Barret and at Blur.
5. Bread in plastic Some supermarkets have paper bags where you can put the bread. Otherwise, you can get a cotton bag and bring it with you when you go grocery shopping. There are some unpacked loafs of bread that you can put in your cotton bag. I ordered mine here.
6. Fruits and vegetables in plastic In mostly all supermarkets you can find some fruits and vegetables without plastic. The ones that you can not find without plastic, you can find at the fruits and vegetable shop. Here in The Netherlands I go to the Fruit Company and bring my own reusable bags. Most of their products are plastic-free.
7. Rice, pasta and dried food in plastic When you to the supermarket, look for the products you want in a carton box. Most of the supermarkets have options without plastic.The products you can not find plastic-free, try then going to the closest bulk shop. I go to De Nieuwe Graanschuur.
During the past month, I became more aware of plastic, it is really everywhere. The list above is just some little things I started changing and my goal is to reduce every month a little bit more my usage of plastic. The past month I also had some plastic waste that I couldn’t avoid. I like to eat corn, quinoa and rice waffles, and these are hard to find in a paper package. Also occasionally I bought chips and candy and they only come in plastic. I also ordered food once, and got only plastic. In these situations, I felt a little bit bad, but I also realized that I am starting a process and I need more time and experience to have a plastic-free lifestyle. See the reasons why I wanted to start this diet here.
I hope you get inspired to and see how easy it is to make some little changes that have a big impact on our environment.
Cleaning up my closet has become a routine for me. Ever since a little kid, my mother encouraged me to donate the clothes that didn´t fit me anymore. With the years I have gathered some experience and here are my tips to help you clean up your closet:
1. Prepare yourself with a nice drink and a happy playlist.
2. Start by taking every single item out of your closet and place them on your bed or the floor.
3. Place one by one the items back in the closet. Before you do it, ask yourself the following questions about each item:
Does it still fit?
Have I worn it in the last 12 months?
Would I wear it again?
Do I love the way it looks on me?
If the answer to these questions is yes, then put the items back to your closet, if the answer is no, put them aside and start making two piles:
To donate: If the clothes are too worn out or need to be fixed.
To sell: If the clothes are still in a good state to give it a second round.
4. Hang the items that you want to keep neatly back in your closet. Do so into categories. I like to start with shorts and skirts, then pants, shirts, blouses, dresses, blazers, and jackets. This way the items you want to keep in your closet are organized and clutter free so you can see everything you own at once. Put the shoes neatly on the floor of the closet.
5. Store your seasonal clothes that don´t fit the current season in boxes in your spare space. (Under the bed, in the attic etc) Having only in your closet the clothes that you currently wear, makes it easier to choose what to wear.
6. If you have clothes to fold, do it in an organized way and also into categories rather than in colors. Make sure your organization works for you and won’t confuse you as to where your things are.
7.Use the backward hanger strategy when putting clothes back into your closet to get a better idea of the items you actually wear often. Face all of your hangers away from you and replace each one the “right way” after wearing the item hanging on it. Check back in a couple of months then a year to see which hangers are still facing the wrong way. Maybe it’s time to get rid of those articles and clean out your closet again?
8. Once your closet is organized, move on to the two piles you made.
9. Put all the clothes of the “donate” pile in a box and leave it close to your door so you bring it to a charity shop as soon as possible.
10. Put the clothes of the “sell” pile neatly on a box and bring it as soon as possible to the nearest second-hand shop. Another option is to sell it in a flea-market or to sell them online via an online platform for selling clothes.
I hope you like these tips and get inspired to clean up your closet and start selling the clothes that you don´t wear anymore. Do you miss any tip? Let me know in the comments below.
P.S.: For all my Dutch followers, I´m organizing a second-hand market in Amersfoort! Read here all the information about it.
It´s been now more than 5 years since I started buying second-hand clothes. I have to admit that at the very beginning I was skeptical and didn’t like the idea of buying clothes previously worn by someone I don’t know. That feeling went away as soon as I found clothes that look as good as new and from brands that I would normally also buy new.
Buying used clothes, it´s a more sustainable way to shop because it saves the resources needed to produce an entirely new item. Purchasing used clothing is an easy way to reduce your impact on the environment.
I know that walking into a second-hand or charity shop can be totally overwhelming. Racks overflow with t-shirts, dresses, jackets, shoes, that you don´t even know where to start, I’ve been there too. But practice makes the master, and in the past years, I’ve picked up some tricks for managing the chaos.
Here are my ten tips to help you become a successful second-hand shopper just like me.
1. Do a little research and google the second-hand and charity shops that are around the area you want to go. Once you know where they are, make a little route of where are you going to go first. I save the places as favorite on my phone in the google maps app and the best route will show.
2. The best is to go with a friend and to make a date out of it. It can be fun to help each other out and you can finish it with a coffee and cake in a nice place ;).
3. Go with a blank idea of what you want to find. Second-hand shops are constantly changing and you will never know what you might find.
4. Once you are in the shop, walk around the entire store and grab everything that catches your attention, even if you are not sure about it and if it´s not your size. You can go through your selection later and decide what to keep.
5. Try on the clothes that you are not sure if they fit you. Then you might decide what to buy and what to leave behind. Please note: Buy only items that fit. Even if it´s something you are looking for. If it doesn’t fit, it is going to end up in your closet doing nothing.
6. Be aware of stains, and clothes that are damaged. The best is to check before you buy them. On all second-hand and charity shops I go, they have a no-return policy.
8. Save your energy and just try the clothes you chose during the first round. Once you tried on and decide what to buy, pay for your clothes and move on to the next shop.
I go to the closest charity shop at least twice per month. I quickly go through racks waiting for something to catch my attention. Every visit is short and since a lot of the merchandise, I’ve seen before it makes it easy for me to spot what’s new and worthy.
9. Don’t Be Disappointed if you go back home empty handed. Having an all second-hand wardrobe takes time and a couple of visits to the shops. Lots of the time, I go back home without anything, if there’s nothing I like on the racks, I just leave it and save my money for the next visit.
10. If you do find amazing items, as soon as you get home, make sure you put all your new clothes directly into your washing basket and wash them as soon as possible so you can start wearing them.
I hope you like these tips and get inspired to go second-hand shopping. Do you miss any tip? Let me know in the comments below.
P.S.: All my outfits from this post are second-hand.
Almost two months have passed since I started the project 333. I keep on repeating outfits and for most of the time I love it, but some days I get tired of it…
These are my outfits from the past 3 weeks.
During the 5th week, I replaced a basic white v-neck t-shirt for a blue and white striped top. I didn’t like the feeling I got when I wore the basic white tee so that´s why I decided to replace it.
Some truths about this challenge:
I feel good about my clothes and about this challenge, but some days when I go out of the house and see people wearing new clothes, I get caught looking at the latest trends and start feeling that I am left out. This doesn’t happen so often, but somehow I do get influenced by the trends and in the “must-have” feeling.
Checking social media too much can be dangerous. More specific: Instagram. This channel is a constant reminder that your life is not as good as the life of an Instagrammer. They wear the coolest clothes and the latest trends. This can be discouraging while doing the challenge. I have to admit that sometimes I do get bad feelings and have to remind myself why do I do this challenge.
Some days I do feel a little bit bored of my clothes. I chose for basic colors because of convenience, but I do miss some colors and patterns. I might add some items if the feeling stays.
I haven´t wear it yet
Until now, the item that I wear the most is the black ripped jeans, and the one that I wear the least is the denim skirt.
Are you also trying this challenge? Do you come across similar issues? Let me know in the comments below.
Red is a very trendy color. It represents love, fun, and other fervent feelings. While I was in Colombia, I went through my older sister´s closet and found the perfect red top for the summer season! The top is not part of my 33 items, but still, I wanted to show you how I like to combine it. Last month I had my second analog shooting and this color was perfect for the vintage effect of the film. These are my favorite pictures of the shooting:
Fair fashion clothes have the bad reputation of being expensive, lumpy, itchy, hempy and unstylish. Nowadays producing ethical fashion and good looking pieces is becoming more of a priority for brands. It can be hard to look for those brands but luckily some web shops make it easy for us to find them. I want to show you my latest discovery: www.geitenwollenwinel.com This shop sells only sustainable clothes from green, fair and vegan brands.
After checking out their current collection, I listed out my favorite items under €50 for you:
These Melissa rain boots are made out of 100% Melflex which is an hypo-allergenic, void of animal products, and recyclable kind of plastic. This brand pays its employees above average wage, and their benefits are exemplary. When their shoes can’t be sold from a previous season, they are melted into new styles. About 99% of their industrial waste is recycled including painting residues, production water and PVC. Price: €39,95