A Week Of Outfits With Michelle Chavez From Michelle For Good & The Tote Project
The Good Trade's Week of Outfits Series highlights women that have personally inspired us to shop and live with intention! Each woman takes her own unique approach slow fashion and demonstrates how beautifully sustainable fashion can come to life. Today we're excited to share a week of outfits from Michelle Chavez, the conscious blogger behind Michelle For Good, and co-founder of The Tote Project!
/ / A B O U T M I C H E L L E / /
Age | 31
Location | Los Angeles, CA
Job | Director of Publisher Operations, The Tote Project Co-Founder, Writer
Where To Find Her | Her blog Michelle For Good and Instagram
Favorite Brand | I may be slightly biased, but I have to go with The Tote Project ;)
When I first learned about the link between human trafficking, child labor and clothing supply chains I felt discouraged. I didn’t think it would be possible to commit to shopping ethically because conscious brands that I liked were difficult to find, let alone afford. Although ending modern day slavery was one of my biggest passions, I kept wearing fast fashion for several years, convinced that I didn’t have any other option. Eventually, I realized that while I kept telling myself it was impossible, I had never even attempted to change. At that point I decided to do my best to shop ethically for one year and then reassess.
Around the same time, my best friend Fay and I launched The Tote Project, which was a crash course in ethical manufacturing and fair trade business. We started going to trade shows and meeting like-minded entrepreneurs, and pretty soon I had a network of brands that made caring for people and the planet a priority. My goal that once seemed unattainable became easier and easier, and people started noticing the change. Friends would say that they wanted to change their shopping habits too, but like me, they didn’t know where to start. After hearing that a couple of times, I asked for a list of items that they were looking for, and I found several brands that fit their styles and price points. Soon I was getting referrals, and strangers started messaging me on social media asking for help with their shopping. I truly love connecting people to brands that are making a difference, and in 2016 I decided to do so on a broader scale by starting a blog and writing about my favorite products. I want to be a reference for anyone who is ready to take the next step and start supporting conscious companies, because I’m confident that there are affordable, stylish AND sustainable options for any item of clothing you want to buy. I want to see ethical products evolve from a niche to a norm, and increasing the demand is the first step.
It’s been four years now since I pledged to shop ethically. I thought I’d be relieved to go back to the mall after that first year was up, but changing my actions changed my mindset. This whole process has been fun! I try not to be hard on myself because it’s about progress not perfectionism. I’m also happy to say that I didn’t have to compromise my style. I’ve always loved bright and bold designs, and as a huge music fan I tend to gravitate towards pieces I think my favorite frontwomen would wear. I once thought fast fashion was my only option, but as all my old clothes disintegrated after several washes, I replaced them with these ethical options that were made to last.
I work in a tech office where people dress casually, and I’m grateful that instead of a suit coat, I can wear this vintage velvet overcoat I found at Wasteland in Santa Monica. These jeans are from my favorite Australian denim company, Outland Denim; they provide jobs to human trafficking survivors in Cambodia, and they have the most flattering fits to choose from. My husband bought these Italian made Justin Deakin shoes for me in London for my birthday, they are really high quality and I have the happiest memories every time I wear them. Tying it all together is my super soft Amour Vert top; for each one sold they plant a tree!
Seeing live music is my favorite pastime, and this is one of my tried and true concert outfits. I opt for layers so that I’m warm walking to and from my car, comfortable shoes with some height to help me see over the crowd, and a purse that’s light on my shoulder. I call this Junim Los Angeles dress my “Clueless” dress because it reminds me of something Cher Horowitz would have rocked. It was handmade in Eagle Rock out of upcycled fabric, and although I’ve thrown it in the wash and worn it for years, the color hasn’t faded. I paired it with my Eileen Fisher linen blazer, my Louise & Eleanor purse that gives back to help human trafficking survivors, and my Sydney Brown shoes with natural rubber crepe soles.
I combined blue-hued prints for this midweek outfit. My top is another piece from Junim Los Angeles. One reason I love shopping there is that designer Haley Solar has her sewing studio connected to the storefront, and she will hem her clothing for customers to make sure they leave with the perfect fit. These YSTR jogger pants were also custom sewn for me for a panel I spoke on at the Los Angeles Green Festival. Sadly this brand is not around anymore, but the pants have lasted! My clutch is from my favorite new ethical accessory brand, Scenery Bags. Each one is made from a retired theatre backdrop that would have been discarded, and a portion of each sale is donated to take kids to see theatre. Also, fun fact, I’ve worn this necklace since elementary school. Now it fits me like a choker, and I hope to pass it down to a future daughter someday.
There’s a great Farmer’s Market near my apartment on Thursdays, and of course I always bring one our Tote Project bags with me! Each one gives back to help human trafficking survivors pursue their dream jobs, and while my favorite design changes each time we release something new, for now my go-to is our “Free to Grow” herbs. I’m wearing a vintage Moschino dress I thrifted, and I paired it with TOMS sandals, a 31 Bits ring, and studs from Dear Survivor that also give back to help fight trafficking.
Fridays are extra casual for me because that’s the one day a week that I get to work from home. I live in these TOMS slides and my “Freedom Fighter” tee from Citizen & Darling, another company using its resources and profits to end slavery. You’ll recognize my Outland Denim jeans from Monday because I’m all for repeating outfits. My UNCVRD Jewelry tassel earrings add some flare to this look, and they give back 40% of their profits to fight trafficking in Long Beach. They coordinate well with this eff.Y.bee bracelet I borrowed from my dear friend Brooke of Charity Girl Problems. We swap items to switch things up in our wardrobes without breaking the bank.
I bought this dress from a vintage store for my 1970s themed bachelorette party. I was obsessed with the sleeves and had to have it, even though it was 5 sizes too big, so I took it to my tailor and she worked her magic. At the time it felt more like a costume, but I couldn’t bear to shove it in the back of my closet after the wedding, and now it’s become a staple for my weekends. I paired it with coordinating sandals from TOMS, and an old clutch I’ve held on to for years.
This rainbow dress from Reformation is not your average church dress, but it’s definitely my Sunday best. I’m a big fan of Reformation and I’ve had my eye on their rainbow print for awhile, so I was excited to finally add this piece to my closet. I wore it with my TOMS sandals from Thursday, a mini picnic style bag from 31 Bits, and more jewelry that I borrowed from Brooke—her “Love is Louder” Giving Key and Half United bracelet.