Sunday, May 20, 2018

A Vote With My Dollar: My Secondhand Graduation Dress

Photography by Maria Daniela Lynn 
Happy graduation week! As of yesterday, I am officially a Villanova University graduate (click here to see my speech for the Villanova School of Business Ceremony! Believe it or not, I started searching for my graduation dress over a month ago because I knew I wanted to purchase sustainable or secondhand dress.

My initial search for a sustainable dress brought me to:
While I found dresses I loved at Reformation and Christy Dawn, I just couldn't convince myself to spend $200+ on a graduation dress that I knew I would likely only wear once. I couldn't help but think that money could go towards my travels to Eastern Europe this summer. I wholeheartedly support and understand that prices need to be higher for sustainable clothing due to the materials which the clothing is made of and the responsible conditions under which the clothing is made. However, given that I would only wear this type of dress one or two times, it didn't make sense for me to make that kind of investment. If the item is versatile and I know I will wear it often, then I am happy to purchase sustainable clothing. In fact, I just purchased my first pair of Reformation jeans! The important thing to remember is that fast fashion, while it appears cheap, comes at a high cost to the environment and the people making it (for more info, I suggest watching the documentary, True Cost).

My next option was to search for a secondhand dress on the following platforms and stores:
After searching on each of these platforms, I successfully found the dress in the pictures above at Value Village which was the dress I wore for the Commencement Ceremony on Friday! This was my first time at the store and I liked it a lot better than Goodwill because there was a larger selection. I used to shop at Goodwill frequently, however I found that most of the clothing is outdated for my style. This isn't to say there aren't some hidden gems in the store, I just won't be frequenting it as often as I was before. 

I also bought a dress on Depop that I wanted to wear for the Business School graduation yesterday. Unfortunately, it didn't fit right so I couldn't wear it. Overall, I like Depop for vintage and more fashion forward clothing, and Poshmark for classics. Both platforms are also great for selling used clothing. 

Okay, so you may be wondering why I spent so much time and put so much effort into finding a secondhand dress. For me, it was really important to purchase a dress that aligned with my values and embodied all that I've learned about the fashion industry this last year. What better way to celebrate the end of a chapter with knowledge that will create a greener future? I firmly believe that we vote with our dollar about the type of world we want to live in. I voted and will continue to vote for a world with less waste, less pollution, and less toxins. What type of world do you vote for? 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Book Every Aspiring #GirlBoss Should Read

Vintage Levi's Jeans // 
Sustainable Tee from Visible Clothing (the company no longer sells women's clothing) //

Ever since I was a little girl, I always loved reading. My sister used to take me to the library once a week and I would end up picking out way too many books, more than I could read before the following week when we would make our way back to the library. However, during high school and throughout a majority of my college years, reading for fun was placed on the back burner and instead was overridden by reading Business textbooks and English novels (I'm a Marketing major and English Minor at Villanova University in case you didn't know). Despite being consumed with reading for class, I made a point to start reading for fun again about six months ago and have since read about a book a month...pretty good for a gal trying to balance all that comes with being a college student!

Back around October when I started reading again, the first book that I picked up was #GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso. My friend, Jerica, actually lent it to me when I visited her in San Francisco. I loved it so much that I read the entire book in just a few days! I won't give the whole premise away, but it's an inspiring story about Sophia Amoruso, the woman behind the successful fashion brand, Nasty Gal. She started her career by selling vintage clothing on eBay, grew her customer base in an organic way (unlike influencers and brands paying for likes/follows today), and used her knowledge to create what Nasty Gal is today. Throughout the book, she shares her ups and downs and how she was able to embody the true meaning of a #GirlBoss. I'll leave the rest of the story for all you girl bosses and just share a few of my favorite quotes below. 

Positive Thoughts:
"We control our thoughts and our thoughts control our lives. This is an extremely, simple totally straightforward concept, but for a lot of people, it's so alien that it might as well be magic. Chances are you know someone who is really negative. These people are convinced that life is shit..and so it is. It's the age old concept of like attracts like, or the law of attraction. You get back what you put out, so you might as well think positively, focus on visualizing what you want, and send the universe your good intentions." 

So simple, yet so powerful right? I used to be the negative person she was referring to...the person who would complain about my order being wrong at Dunkin' Donuts or be annoyed that I got stopped at a light when I was in a rush. I shifted my mindset 360 degrees after studying in Milan for a year. I finally realized that whether I was annoyed, complaining, or impatient, the same result would still occur so I might as well just be positive and happy instead! This shift has drastically changed my day to day life and I will never go back to being that person again! 

"Though there was no doubt I was depressed, I refused to take the pills that the psychiatrist prescribed, instead throwing them away. I knew then that my utter misery and universal discontent were not due to a chemical imbalance. This wasn't something that could just be medicated out of me - I just hated where I was." 

Preach, preach, preach. Among other reasons, this was one of the reasons why I studied abroad three times and traveled to 20 plus countries. It goes back to another one of my favorite quotes that I've shared on Instagram before, "When a flower doesn't bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower". (insert praising hands emoji) 

"Own up to your mistakes and apologize for them. Everyone will make a mistake at some point, and the sooner you can admit where you went wrong, the sooner you can start to fix it. Be honest with yourself about your abilities. Many people accept titles beyond their experience to only later find themselves up to their neck in problems they can't solve, and too embarrassed to admit they weren't qualified in the first place. And what's the first rule about holes? If you're in one, stop digging."

I'll let this one speak for itself. Been there, done that. If you're in a hole, stop digging. 

Planning vs. Leaping:
"Had I waited to finish a business plan, or waited for investors to validate my idea, my 10,000-hour clock might never had begun (in reference to the idea that it takes 10,000 to be an expert at something). Don't get me wrong: I'm not knocking business plans. What I intend to illustrate is that just going for it can be much more rewarding...The best entrepreneurs know to listen along the way. This advice applies to life as well. Turn on the jets and ready, set,...listen." 

I began to realize the power of this after I made my vision board back in January. I visualized all of my goals with no idea how I was going to accomplish them. I jumped right in and began to take advantage of every opportunity I could while listening to all the advice I could get along the way. I'm still happily enjoying the ride and chasing after all of those goals. 

I hope you enjoyed this post and let me know if you read this book! Also, if you want to read another blog post about being a #GirlBoss, check out this post. xx