6 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting A Fashion Business

Thank you Arlington Magazine for the cover feature!

When I was starting a fashion business and consignment shop back in 2007, I expected to run into some obstacles and challenges. Most entrepreneurs are optimistic, but we’re also practical and pragmatic.

I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I knew there would be ups and downs. Launching a new business is like having your first newborn: a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of stress, and a lot of “am I even doing this right?” and “am I cut out for this?” But there’s also a lot of excitement and hope when looking towards the future. (Working moms, you know what I’m talking about!)

You know it’s going to be new and hard–but you’re also sure it’s worth it.

Here I  am, going on my 13th year in business. After over a decade, I’m still growing and learning about business every single day. And I fall more in love with my business-baby with each passing week! 

Still, like having a newborn, there are some things I’d wish I’d known before going into business. Some tips and tricks to keep my head on straight while amidst the whirlwind of my new business. 

So I’m giving it to you straight today. What do you need to know when starting a fashion business or other type of organization?

1. You need to have a strong passion for the mission.

I have always loved bargain shopping. But more than that, I love high-quality craftsmanship and sustainability. 

I was getting frustrated with the fashion industry, which (in 2007) was at the brink of the fast-fashion explosion. Quality was decreasing while waste was increasing, which was putting a huge strain on our economy and environment.

I saw an opening to create a store that would meet the needs of today’s busy, modern woman. That woman who wants a trendy yet timeless wardrobe, always current and fashionable while also emphasizing sustainability and quality. So I decided to create not just a store but a community of fashion lovers–women who could sell their pre-loved designer items and find new hot pieces (at bargain prices) for their ever-revolving wardrobe! 

My mission stays true to this day. Quality, sustainability, and fashion are the three pillars of our brand, and they permeate every decision we make. 

Now for the hard truth. That passion and drive was only half the battle. It’s critical to business success, because it’s that passion that lays the foundation for everything else. 

But then you have to build on top of that foundation. You have to get the merchandise in-store, you have to figure out how to replenish and prep the goods, you have to hire people, you have to fire people, you have to stay compliant and do taxes, you have to make sure your pipes don’t leak in the warehouse and in-store… You are responsible for every detail and decision of that business. 

What I realized, though, was that it was my passion for the brand’s mission that kept me going. With all of the chaos of starting a new business, I kept my “purpose” in mind. Nothing felt all that overwhelming because I knew what I was reaching for and why. No decision was too hard, because I made choices in alignment with my mission. 

So here’s the first tip that can change the way you approach your new business:

Know what you’re in business for. Believe in it with every fiber of your heart and soul. See your business as the vessel to achieving that mission. 

2. You don’t “work for yourself.”

One of the biggest draws to entrepreneurship is the idea that you get to work for yourself. No boss, no problems, right? 

It’s true that you may not have anyone above you telling you what to do. But… 

  1. That means you’re the sole decision-maker and responsibility taker. And that can be stressful and frightening (yet sometimes exhilarating). 
  2. You still have a responsibility to your customers and employees. Your “boss” is everyone involved in your business. Your job is to make your employees and clients happy first and foremost. 

So don’t think you’re going to go into work and do whatever you feel like doing that day. Nope. Your job is to always be available for anything and everything your business “community” needs. Your employees and customers run the show! 

“Freedom” of schedule doesn’t mean you don’t still have a responsibility to your clients and employees. 

3. Don’t ride the roller coaster. 

When I was starting a fashion business, I was mentally preparing myself for “the highs and lows” of business. Owning a business is both blissful and stressful, exhilarating and frightening. 

And you’re going to be on a roller coaster ride. It’s thrilling and unpredictable. You’ll fail 100 times, and you’ll pick yourself up and push for success over and over again. There are some horrible days and some days that are just too incredible to put into words. You might feel extreme joy and extreme fear even within a single day! 

But you can’t let yourself “give in” to the roller coaster. You can’t let the bad days bring you down. And you can’t let the good days cloud your judgment. 

Instead of the idea of “riding” the roller coaster of business, I like to imagine myself as the operator of the coaster. You get to watch those ups and downs from the sideline, but you keep your distance from it. You maintain a level-headedness and composure that allows you to enjoy the thrill without jeopardizing your business with too much emotion.

Enjoy the ride, but make decisions from the operator’s seat. 

4. There’s no safety net. 

You’re responsible for everything. And you’re going to feel stress. A lot of it. Starting a fashion business or other brand creates a deep level of pressure that non-entrepreneurs simply don’t understand. 

You’ll be dealing with everything from recessions to insurance rate increases, supplier mishaps to competition, tech problems to managing personnel. Even when you make a “good decision,” it can come with side effects that can create a whole slew of problems. 

These aren’t just business stressors, either. These choices can put your business and your livelihood at risk. 

I don’t tell you this to scare you. But it does mean that in order to make it as a business owner, you need a tough skin and great coping mechanisms. It’s time to start learning how you’ll deal with stress, so you don’t let it affect your business or health.

You are going to face a lot of risk. But the biggest risk of all is never taking any risks. 

5. Building a team is one of the best parts. 

Along with having a personal passion for your mission, there’s something really special (and even magical) about building a team that also believes in your mission. You get to curate a community with the same desires and purpose, all working towards the same goals together. 

Cultivating this kind of team can be one of the most rewarding aspects of being a leader. 

You’re also responsible for the lives of your employees. You handle their wages, their healthcare, their work-life balance, and even their happiness. You’re responsible for their growth and learning, and you can continue to push and promote them to the next stages of their professional lives.

I absolutely love creating a culture that makes my employees happy and excited to come to work. There’s no greater feeling than seeing smiling employees and customers walk through your doors. You’re responsible for those smiles!

Starting a business is hard work, but being a leader is one of the most gratifying and enriching opportunities out there. 

6. Starting a fashion business is a lifestyle, not a job. 

You’re never off the clock. Forget about “clocking out” at 5pm. 

Even if you leave the office or the store, you’re still “on” 24/7. You’re solving problems, thinking about how to grow your business, making adjustments. Your brain isn’t your own anymore. It belongs to the business. 

Still, you definitely don’t want to neglect your home life. For most new entrepreneurs, this is the hardest part. You have to figure out how to blend and integrate “home” and “work” into a single lifestyle that makes you happy. 

Hopefully, your family is supportive of your dreams and wants you to succeed in your business. So it’s fun to include them in your excitement and tell them about what’s going on, so your business and home life can grow in tandem. 

It’s not a work-life “balance.” Try to nurture a work-life integration

I love this life with Current Boutique!

Starting a fashion business is hard. Owning a business as it grows and expands can be even harder. There are failures and stressors, and there are a lot of learning opportunities. 

But I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Our mission, our team, and our experiences here at Current Boutique make this crazy entrepreneurship lifestyle the only way I want to live. 

If you’re looking to start a business yourself, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll reach out to you directly! I love connecting with and supporting other entrepreneurs in their journey. I’m here for you- let’s grow this world together!  

10 Winter 2019 Fashion Trends That Are Totally Irresistible (and Sustainable!)

I’ve been very excited for Winter this year, maybe it’s because winter fashion trends for 2019 are so gorgeous, unique, and fun! 

I’m giving you the rundown on the hottest winter 2019 fashion trends, so you can see if any tickle your fancy this season. Remember, though, that timeless, sustainable fashion never goes out of style!  Enjoy my list of 10 Winter 2019 Fashion Trends That Are Totally Irresistible (and Sustainable!)

1. Overall: Western 

There is Western everything popping up on the runways and in street fashion. But this trend is a little different than what you might initially think of. Ladies are taking cowboy style and making it sophisticated.

The trend has been dubbed “urban cowboy,” taking the country into the city for a cool juxtaposition that’s strikingly eye-catching. You’ll find all kinds of fashion brands getting involved with this western trend, from cute cowboy hats to leather boots to chunky belts. Denim and leather reign supreme in this style. 

2. Print: plaid 

The hottest print this season is plaid. It’s back to those (oh-so-comfortable) days of plaid flannel shirts paired with denim for an effortless cowboy look. Plaid skirts and sweaters are also making an appearance everywhere we look, so pull out those timeless holiday red and white plaid sweaters and you’ll instantly be 100% on-trend. 

3. Decade: ‘90s

Oversized denim is equally western and ‘90s style at the same time. ‘90s looks have made a huge resurgence, from hair scrunchies to neon turtlenecks to glitter eye-shadow. What has been dubbed the “VSCO girl” look is really just a recreation of the ‘90s—and we are all for it at Current Boutique! All the fun from my youth is back in full force, and I love how playful and easygoing this style is!  

Part of the ‘90s look that’s hot for winter 2019: flared denim jeans (especially high waisted) and Doc Martens shoes.

Is ‘90s right for you? Take our Ultimate Personal Style Quiz to see what style you should rock right now! 

4. Colors: neutral with a pop 

Although the 1990s was filled to the brim with vibrant colors, its rebirth is a little more subdued. The hot colors for winter 2019 are neutral camels, tans, creams, and black—spiked with a pop of color. So throw on your favorite brown sweater, pair it with some cowboy boots, and accessorize with your favorite color—and you’re perfectly on-trend (and comfy cozy). 

P.S. Monochrome outfits are still very much trending. Throw together different shades of the same color to create a look that’s attention-grabbing, yet totally refined.  

5. Footwear: snakeskin 

Animal prints have been hot for a while, but this winter 2019 is narrowing in with snake print specifically. Slithering on scene, snakeskin has become one of the most popular footwear prints for the season for boots and even slippers. It’s also become a popular material for bags, trousers, and skirts. 

Snakeskin print or material can feel a little wild and foreign to some people. I always think it’s a great idea to step outside of your fashion comfort zone and take a walk on the wild side. Studies show that the clothes you wear have an impact on your psychology—so maybe those snakeskin boots will make you freer, a little more daring, and ready to take on the roaring ‘20s (2020s, that is). 

Fashion forward tip: Knee-high boots are also in fashion. Snakeskin knee highs are sure to get you feeling seductive and stunning! 

6. Silhouette: square 

Square lines are popping up everywhere this season. Over the summer, “milkmaid” tops were hot and trendy. That same style is reimagined with square line sweaters, blouses, and winter dresses. This square silhouette creates a plunging look that exposes some of your chest, but it’s still conservative and flirty. 

I’m also seeing square-toe shoes and square sunglasses pop up all over street fashion. The boxier the silhouette, the more in fashion it is this winter 2019!

7. Jewelry: pearl hoops 

I’m absolutely obsessed with the new “in” jewelry piece: pearl hoops. These are gold hoops with pearls hanging down from them or floating freely inside the hoop itself. These hoops are dainty and elegant, and they’re the perfect addition to any holiday or winter outfit. 

Pearls are always in style, and they’re a winter must-have year after year. But these pearl hoops keep the trend modern and stylish, and we anticipate they’ll be a more regular staple in the months (and years) to come. 

8. Accessories: silk scarves 

Silk scarves are reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn days. Throw a silk scarf around your neck, put on your sunshades, and you’re ready for a Hepburn-worthy journey through a winter wonderland. 

My favorite look: Throw on a satin midi skirt, which keeps you warm but still free-flowing and feminine. (Plus, satin midis are on every runway for the winter season in 2019.) Pair with a white or neutral sweater, and top off with a silk scarf. This pairing of soft textiles lets the materials do the talking for a gorgeous, comfortable outfit that you’ll re-wear again and again all season long. 

9. Hair: “message” hairpins

Personalized hairpins are a fun way to pull your hair out of your face—while showing off a cute and clever message. Bedazzled clips might say things like “diva” or “princess” if you’re feeling cutesy, or you could keep it refined with messages like “breathe” and “joy.” You can even custom order one to say your name or any phrase you want!

There are a lot of Etsy sellers with personalized hairpins, or you may also be able to find some at Ulta, Target, Anthropologie, and other chic stores. This is more of a passing fad than an enduring one, though, so you might want to be mindful of cost and waste.

10. Our winter 2019 fashion fave: leather bottoms 

Leather jackets are a timeless wardrobe essential every lady needs in her closet. But this winter, leather bottoms are also so hot and stylish. From leather skirts to trousers, this comfy print is hitting below the belt—and we absolutely adore it. Leather is a heavy, resilient material, so it’ll keep you warm and cozy as you wander through the winter season.  

Is winter white still in? 

Yup! Winter white is still going strong in 2019. So, don’t be afraid to wear white after labor day. White can actually be a cozy color reminiscent of snowflakes, snowmen, and holiday cheer. 

Learn the ins and outs of wearing winter white here

What’s “cool” for winter 2019? 

Let’s sum up this winter’s fashion trends in one phrase: western ‘90s. Throw on your oversized denim and flannel shirts, pair it with leather cowboy boots and skirts, tie a silk scarf around your neck, pull your hair back in a fun pin, and top it all off with an elegant pearl hoop.

It sounds like a jumble of interesting trends—but the altogether look is actually effortlessly chic and gorgeous! 

Now is the time to start winter clothes shopping. Don’t wait until the weather is too cold to go outside to start buying your jackets, warm dresses, and boots. Make your New Year’s style resolution right now—to dress in clothes you love, to shop secondhand and sustainable, and to be the totally [email protected]$$ woman you are! 

Start shopping our favorite winter picks with Current Boutique! Check out our “just in” aisle to see some of the hottest winter dresses, bags, and accessories to complete your look!

The Best Eco-Friendly Clothing Materials To Keep You Warm Through Even The Coldest of Winters

Wool is completely recyclable & biodegradable. A must-see is Current Boutique’s pre-loved collection colorful wool coats. A favorite winter weather fabric of ours to keep you warm!

You want your winter clothes to be three things: fashionable, warm, and sustainable. If you are like most consumers these days you are sick of fast fashion that destroys the environment, is bad for your health, and doesn’t actually keep you warm and safe in the middle of winter. But how do you find quality eco-friendly warm clothing for winter that are good for the environment and for your health—without breaking the bank? 

That’s what this guide is all about. I’ve got your back with environmental warm winter materials and eco-friendly clothing pieces that meet all of your winter fashion criteria.  Please enjoy this read: The Best Eco-Friendly Clothing Materials To Keep You Warm Through Even The Coldest Of Winters

Start with wool. 

Wool is the warmest natural fabric. A lot of blankets are made from wool, because wool provides natural warmth that’s hard to beat. Wool sweaters, dresses, scarves, and hats will keep you toasty and cozy throughout the winter season. 

Wool is also super sustainable, made from the fur of sheep and other animals. Harvesting wool doesn’t harm or hurt the animals (as long as you’re buying from a high-quality company), and it’s completely recyclable and biodegradable—so you don’t have to be guilty about its nearly-negligible environmental impact!  

The only downside to wool is that it isn’t water-resistant or weatherproof. You don’t want to wear your wool overcoat in the middle of a snowstorm! So what can you do for water resistance? 

Stay dry with recycled synthetics. 

Most natural fabrics, like wool and cashmere, aren’t waterproof or weatherproof. But if you live somewhere snowy, keeping the wetness out of your jacket is a must for your health and wellness. So, unfortunately, synthetic materials (essentially made of plastics) are a necessity to stay dry. 

But synthetics aren’t the best eco-friendly warm clothing. Not only are they not biodegradable, but they also are filled with chemicals and release a lot of toxins during production. So we recommend looking for outerwear made from recycled synthetics, which helps minimize the impact on the environment while reusing materials that have already been produced.  

Warm up with ethically sourced down.

“Down” refers to goose or duck feathers that fill your puffer jackets to keep you warm. It’s one of the warmest stuffing materials, and it can be eco-friendly and sustainable if the down is recycled or ethically sourced. This means that the companies treat their ducks and geese lovingly, producing a guilt-free, cruelty-free warm coat. 

Learn more about ethical down from the Responsible Down Standard.

Invest in cashmere. 

Quality cashmere is a little on the pricier side, but it’s definitely worth it. Cashmere can last for decades if treated well, and it’s one of the most luxurious warm materials you can own. You’ll feel like a queen in soft, gentle cashmere, which creates a feminine silhouette that looks gorgeous on every lady.  

Plus, cashmere is a natural, eco-friendly warm clothing material that won’t do damage to the environment or community. But make sure you buy quality cashmere from an ethical company—fast fashion cashmere can still be rough on the environment.   

Search for alpaca.

Alpaca wool is insanely warm and soft. Plus, alpacas are soft-hooved and gentle grazers. That means they have a minimal impact on their pastures, so they’re actually good for their environment while also being good for your clothes! Sustainable and soft—what’s better? 

Don’t ignore hemp.  

Hemp is the OG in eco-friendly clothing material, but it’s a lot more than its reputation. Hemp doesn’t have to be thick, woven, or smelly. A lot of companies sell thin, gorgeous hemp that looks more like cotton or wool. Plus, it’s super sustainable; it grows faster than any other crop, produces more fiber per acre, and it has a low agricultural and production impact on the environment. 

The best part of hemp is that it’s great for both cold weather and warm weather. In the winter, hemp traps your body heat, so it will stay warm and cozy. As spring comes, hemp’s fibers actually allow it to breathe so it will stay cool. 

Get more info on hemp here

Current Boutique carries hemp clothing, because we love how durable and reusable it is for secondhand purchasing. But our customers are crazy about hemp, so you have to keep an eye on our shop to buy these pieces up before they’re gone! 

Try out vegan leather. 

Leather is a winter wardrobe essential. It’s warm, durable, resilient, and oh-so-chic!

But if you’re looking for cruelty-free products, though, leather unfortunately isn’t sustainable. Vegan leather feels like leather, but it’s made from natural and sustainable plant products like pineapple leaves, cork, apple peels, fruit waste, and recycled plastic. A lot of fashion designers—and even car manufacturers—are starting to offer vegan leather options if you’re looking to minimize your impact on the environment. 

Learn more about vegan leather here

Look for sustainable brands. 

Some brands have a mission of sustainability, so you can trust that whatever you buy from them will be eco-friendly and healthy. Having a few sustainable go-to brands makes purchasing ethically even easier.

Current Boutique carries a lot of sustainable brands on consignment–including our own clothing line Current Collection! We are committed to eco-friendly warm clothing materials- just check the heart to see the natural fabric that we use. You can find the hottest and trendiest clothing, that’s also timeless and high-quality–without paying exorbitant amounts of $. Check out our Current Collection to start shopping sustainably for natural materials.

Stella McCartney is the pioneer in sustainable designer clothes. All of their coats are made with recycled or natural materials, and their central mission is circular fashion. Current Boutique carries a lot of Stella McCartney—at a lower price—so give it a search

Reformation is also a fashion-forward company with a commitment to sustainable fashion, with their five categories of “Ref standards.” Learn more about the Reformation initiatives here before you start shopping

Patagonia is an awesome go-to for environmentally friendly outwear too. As we said, it’s hard to find sustainable outerwear that’s waterproof—so check Patagonia.

Check out our list of 6 most sustainable brands—which includes yours truly, Current Boutique! 

Eco-friendly warm clothing materials

You don’t need to sacrifice warmth and comfort to be eco-friendly and sustainable. You can (and should) care about the world just as much as you care about your closet and fashion. With just a quick search on Current Boutique, you can be doubly sustainable: buying secondhand gives clothing new life, and purchasing natural or recycled materials minimizes your environmental impact even more. 

What’s your favorite eco-friendly material for the winter? 

8 Sustainable Gift Ideas for Everyone on Your List!

The holiday season is here—and we can’t stop celebrating! Here come the snowy days and warm scarves, hot chocolate and good books, and fun holiday parties with friends and family. And, of course, it’s the season of sustainable gifts! I hope you enjoy The Ultimate Gift Guide: 8 Sustainable Gift Ideas For Everyone On Your List! Giving can be a beautiful way to show loved ones that you care about them, now and all year long.

Unfortunately, though, the holidays have become a consumer epidemic. The average American will spend $700 this holiday season, totaling to more than $465 billion in the U.S. Even worse, most of these goods end up returned, unused, thrown out, or forgotten about.

The holidays fuel buying, buying, buying—at the expense of the environment and your hard-earned dollars. There has to be another way to cut the waste!

And there is another way. Giving sustainably is the name of the game this 2019 holiday season. 

What does giving sustainably mean? 

“Sustainable” gift-giving has several parts to its definition:

  1. The gift is eco-friendly. It has a low impact on the environment with minimal chemicals and a low carbon footprint. Often, this also means the goods are made from natural materials and are managed for waste
  2. It’s ethically sourced and made. During production, the workers and people in the surrounding community are considered for safety, wellness, and economic growth. 
  3. It’s good for health. It’s not chock full of chemicals that will interrupt your wellness in any way. 
  4. The gift is enduring. You want to give a gift that the recipient will use and love for seasons to come (unless it’s a consumable gift). That’s why we never recommend fast fashion as a gift option.
  5. It’s sustainable for your wallet. You want to protect your finances without blowing your entire annual budget in a single season. 

All those definitions of “sustainable” gift-giving can feel a little overwhelming. It’s a lot to remember and keep in mind when purchasing gifts. So I’ll simplify it even further in the rest of this guide—and even give you some awesome ideas to get started on your gift giving

You can give the best gift, while keeping sustainability in mind. 

What are the types of sustainable gifts? 

There are 8 main types of sustainable gift giving you should consider giving this season. Not only are they low-impact on the environment, but they’re also super thoughtful and filled with love!

Below I give you the types of sustainable gifts—and some practical examples you can give to your friends and family this season!

Hint: Figure out your recipient’s primary love language. This can help you determine what kind of gift they will appreciate the most. The five love languages are words of affirmation (so the card will be their favorite part), a gift (a physical item), an act of service, quality time, or physical touch (like a hug). Give what your recipient wants to receive. 

1. Secondhand/thrift

There’s something really fun and special about selecting an item your loved one will adore, wrapping it with care, and watching them rip it apart with glee. But there’s a lot of waste that can come with the gift giving process. If you give them a “new” gift, there’s a good chance it’s a cookie cutter gift from one of the big box stores. And even if the gift is high-quality and sustainable, it can be expensive to buy ethical gifts for everyone on your list. 

That’s why secondhand gifts are the BEST solution for gift giving. They’re proven quality, novel and unique, super thoughtful, and best yet—sustainable! Check out the 5 reasons why secondhand items make the best gifts to learn more. 

So how do you give a secondhand gift? 

  • Search your local thrift stores or vintage shops for cool, unique finds. 
  • Find a quality consignment shop like Current Boutique that offers professional cleaned, designer items from clothes to jewelry to bags and beyond. Pre-loved items deserve a little love this holiday season!
  • My favorite part about giving a consignment gift is letting the recipient know where you got it. Add a little note about where you got it and how it’s sustainable. They’ll love learning just how unique and cool their item is! 

2. Act of service

Not only is an act of service easy on your wallet, but your loved ones will also seriously appreciate it. Think of this like that coupon book you gave your mom when you were little (that basically said you would do your chores or cook a meal without making a fuss). It’s like that, but more adult. 

But you don’t want to just take out the trash and say, “Merry Christmas.” You still want it to be thoughtful and meaningful to what the recipient truly wants to receive. 

If their back has been hurting them, shovel their walkway or wash their car. If they’ve been stressed at work, make them king/queen for the day and don’t let them lift a finger. Or make them a five-course meal with their favorite healthy ingredients if they’ve been stressed at work. 

A little act of kindness can go a long way—for friends and strangers alike!

3. Experience

Even better than just giving them an experience is doing it together! This quality time will mean the world to your friend, and you’ll both get to enjoy the spirit of the gift together.

Choose an experience that you both already love and share, or try something totally novel together! (P.S. New experiences help keep romance and desire alive in a relationship, so this might be a great option for you and your partner.)

Check Groupon to explore local experiences that you can get at a discount. This can be anything from a private helicopter ride over your city to an archery lesson to a “paint and wine” night to a comedy club or escape room. The possibilities are endless—and you’re sure to find something you and your friend will love (and that’s in your price range). 

Or you can DIY an experience! Create a scavenger hunt around town that brings them to the local hot spots. Curate a spa day for them, or get them tickets to see their favorite sports team. The possibilities are endless!

4. Charity donation

Give a gift that gives back by making a donation in your friend’s name. 

Give to a charity that supports a cause the recipient is passionate about. They’ll love that you thought of them, and supporting their cause is a direct support of your friend. 

If you’re not sure what the recipient likes (if they’re a colleague or friend of a friend), then give to a charity that you are passionate about. They’ll feel a bond with you, they’ll appreciate the donation, and you’ll be spreading awareness about an organization that matters to you. 

Want some ideas for awesome charity donation gifts? 

Domestic animals: Support animal rescues around the country… by buying chocolate! Rescue Chocolate is 100% vegan, 100% delicious, and gives 100% of its net profits to shelters and rescue organizations. You can give a gift and help save a pup at the same time.

Wild animals: World Wildlife Fund allows you to symbolically adopt an animal. This donation helps protect endangered animals and their habitats, so we can keep our world diverse and beautiful. With your donation, your recipient will get a plush toy, certificate, and kit to enjoy their adopted animal. There are so many species you can adopt; there’s a gift for everyone on your list! 

Health and education: The International Rescue Committee offers “rescue gifts.” Your symbolic gift can provide a refugee survival kit, a year of school to a girl, emergency food for children, and so much more. This is a beautiful and meaningful gift that will touch the heart of any recipient. 

Small business: Help fund small businesses all over the world by giving a Kiva gift certificate. Your recipient can choose to whom to lend their money, and when the loan is repaid, they can re-lend again and again. This is truly the gift that keeps on giving in a circle of sustainability

Families: The Unicef market offers two ways to give. Purchase an item from one of their artisans, which helps provide income and support for that artisan and their family. Or you can send an “inspired gift,” which sends lifesaving supplies to a child in the name of your recipient.  

Children with cancer: Buy a St. Jude’s product, and the proceeds will go directly to funding research to save children’s lives. You can also give a “donation” gift, like donate a day of oxygen or a no-more-chemo party. This will pull on the heartstrings, and truly make a difference in the lives of a child and their family. 

Toys for Tots: An awesome Christmastime charity, marine-run Toys for Tots provides gifts to children all over the country. You can make a toy donation in the name of your friend, or you can pay a monetary donation in their honor and Toys for Tots will send them a personalized card. 

Remember this Jim Rohn quote: Only by giving can you receive more than you have.

5. Consumables 

No one can say “no” to a consumable gift. We can never get enough goodies—for your tummy or for self-care. “Consumables” is anything like food, coffee, tea, or body products—things that you enjoy until they’re gone. 

Food

If you love to cook or bake, consumables are an awesome, low-cost option to give your friends. People love receiving yummy treats that show you’ve put time, energy, and love into their gift.

If you’re a cook, consider making them a homemade meal and freezing it. They’ll love having a home-cooked meal that only takes a few minutes to reheat and enjoy. If you’re a baker, make them your specialty for them to snack on when the Christmas cookies are gone. Also check out these edible gift ideas by the Food Network for yummy treats that are easy to give. 

Not big on baking or cooking? Give them fair trade chocolate, coffee, or tea. My favorite is a homemade hot cocoa mix, made with only vegan and fair trade ingredients. Also, check out this list of 11 sustainable gifts for fair trade foodies

Products

Body products are also a popular gift item, especially if you don’t know exactly what the recipient likes or wants. Plus, a lot of people won’t buy luxurious body products for themselves, so it’ll be an extra indulgence they’ll absolutely love. But make sure you’re buying ethical, fair trade, cruelty-free products to ensure sustainability and health.

Some of my favorite ethical skincare brands (that are also great for your skin) include:

6. Plants

I’m usually not a fan of giving “responsibility” (like you don’t want to give a dog or a turtle). But a small, easy-to-care-for plant is an awesome sustainable gift that will make your friend’s home a little brighter, airier, and healthier. Taking care of plants is actually good for your mental health and physical wellbeing, so gifting a plant is like gifting wellness to your friend! 

We recommend giving a small plant, like a succulent or snake plant. It will freshen up their home without taking up a lot of room. 

7. Subscription/membership

If your friend loves the local museum or has been dying to try out a new yoga studio, consider gifting them a membership for a set period of time. They’ll think of you every time they go, and they’ll love having access to a new and fun experience! Consider giving them a subscription that they are interested in but wouldn’t necessarily spend the money on themselves. 

Subscription boxes like Causebox are also a cool idea, but some people don’t want to get “stuff” each month. So be wary of wine of the month clubs or magazine subscriptions, because your recipient might be eager to unsubscribe after a month or two and they’re not sustainable gifts for the long-haul.

8. Homemade/DIY

You can upcycle or repurpose items you already have or have purchased secondhand to create something new. If you’re crafty, you can DIY just about any gift, from turning old concert tees into reusable shopping bags or transforming mason jars into holiday lanterns. Check out some awesome DIY sustainable gifts ideas here.

These were just some ideas to get you started. But a little research on Google and you can find other awesome companies and gifts out there that are great for the environment, the community, and your loved ones! 

Want to give a “new” item? 

If you’re going to buy a new item for your friend, why not choose something that’s sustainable and gives back to the community? There are a lot of products out there that help fund research, give a portion of profits to a foundation, or offer a one-for-one gift to someone in need for your purchase. Take a look at the company’s mission and commitments to find awesome products that will actually make a difference in the world. 

There are also a lot of products that actually help their environment and community, like Current Boutique.

Here are some ideas for sustainable “new” items that your loved ones are sure to adore. 

Pura Vida bracelets

Pura Vida creates gorgeous, simple jewelry—made by more than 800 artisans in Costa Rica, El Salvador, India, and beyond. Purchasing a bracelet helps provide an income and healthy work environment to individuals across the globe. Pura Vida is also committed to their communities and have donated over $1.9 million to more than 175 charities. 

They even have a charity and awareness bracelet section. So you can buy a bracelet for a cause, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to a relevant organization. 

Socks by Thought

Giving socks isn’t a grandma thing anymore. A cute pair of patterned socks are so fun, cozy, and thoughtful—you can’t go wrong! These sustainable socks by Thought are made from organic cotton and bamboo, are sustainably sourced, and super high quality (and so soft, too). They offer a lot of cute patterns, and they even have sock gift boxes to make your gifting even easier. 

Baby alpaca scarves by Fair Indigo 

Everyone on your list will love warming up with a baby alpaca scarf from Fair Indigo. Alpaca is one of our favorite eco-friendly, sustainable winter materials. Alpaca wool is not only warm and comfortable, but it’s great for the planet too. Alpacas do minimal damage to their pastures, and they’re not harmed when their wool is shed—so there’s little damage to the environment. And baby alpaca wool is some of the softest material out there! 

Plus, Fair Indigo has a commitment to sustainability, social impact, ethical production, and forever-fashion. You can feel good about buying their products—and wearing or gifting them! 

Current Collection

Current Boutique has our own line of clothing! We bring you pieces each season that are a mix of trendy and classic, eclectic and timeless. The majority of our pieces are made from organic, sustainable materials like cotton and linen—just look for the heart to identify the fabric. 

You just have to browse our Current Collection for all things gifting for the ladies in your life. From gorgeous dresses to stunning jewelry pieces, you can find something perfect for everyone—from your mom to your best friend to your daughter. 

Our commitment to circular fashion means you can browse sustainable gifts, knowing you’re helping the community and environment. 

Encircled 

Encircled is an awesome clothing line with a commitment to transparency, environmental consciousness, and fair labor and office practices. Not only do they function ethically throughout the production process, but they also make gorgeous + practical clothing. 

Their goal is to offer clothes that can go from travel to work to sleep with ease. For example, one “scarf” can become a T-shirt, dress, and more—perfect for the person who over-packs or loves multi-function clothing. Their clothing is high-quality and weighty, so it’s sure to last for seasons to come! Your recipient will love how comfy, practical, and trendy these pieces are.

Check out these 6 sustainable fashion brands for more ideas on where to shop.

Sustainable gifts tips

  1. Focus on quality over quantity. One awesome gift is better (for you, the recipient, and the environment) than 10 just-okay gifts. 
  2. Shop local whenever you can. Supporting neighborhood businesses helps your community’s economy, while finding unique gifts that your recipient will love. 
  3. Try to buy in-store rather than online. This will save a ton of packaging materials, so you waste a lot less. 
  4. If you do buy online, reuse the shipping boxes to wrap your sustainable gifts. 
  5. Use recyclable wrapping paper. Old newspaper is a cool way to recycle and give a vintage, minimalistic feel to your gifts. Check out these eco-friendly gift wrap ideas from Ecocult

What sustainable gifts have you found this season? Share this article with your own tips and tricks for sustainable gifts and giving. We absolutely love getting advice from our Current Boutique community of awesome ladies, like you!

Ultimate Guide: Holiday Party Outfit Ideas for Every Event You Have This Season

Sweaters, skirts, scarves, and sequins—it’s time to pull out your holiday season wardrobe! But it can be a challenge to dress for all the different kinds of holiday events you’ll be attending. How fancy should you get? Should you wear pants or a dress? Heels or boots? Should you go timeless or trendy or elegant? There are a lot of variables to consider…

So I’m going to help you stress less about dressing up—so you can see outfit success this season! In this guide, I’m going to give you specific outfit ideas for every event you’ll be attending this season. 

I’m giving you recommendations based on everlasting trends and essential pieces you should already have in your wardrobe, with winter 2019 trends and styles mixed in as accents. But don’t be afraid to put your own style spin on these looks. I hope you enjoy the Ultimate Guide: Holiday Party Outfit Ideas for Every Event You Have This Season!

Psst… Check out our Holiday Designer Dress Guide (under $150) for an easy go-to holiday outfit for any occasion. 

Thanksgiving

For Thanksgiving, you want to be stylish & comfortable. You want your clothes to be forgiving as you eat your way through turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. Here are some options to look Turkey Day festive while staying comfy and cute for dinnertime. 

Outfit #1 (For a casual day with friends and extended family)

  • “Fall” colored sweater, like tan, brown, orange, or olive green
  • Blue jeans, light or medium wash 
  • Brown knee-high boots or booties 
  • Colorful earrings (to accent the neutral colors)
  • Chunky necklace (depending on neckline of sweater)

Outfit #2 (For a put-together look)

Outfit #3 (For comfort and practicality)

  • White tee shirt 
  • Neutral solid or print cardigan (you can remove if you get hot)
  • Black leggings 
  • Large purse (to add some dimension to the look)
  • Gold watch or bracelet

Black Friday/Cyber Monday

Are you going shopping for Black Friday weekend? Whether you’re hitting the stores or buying from the comfort of your home, there’s only one directive for your Black Friday outfit: sustainability.

Black Friday is all about consuming. We spend so much money, and it’s easy to get caught up in the craze of the “buy, buy, buy” holiday season. It’s fun to buy, but it can also be really wasteful.

So let’s do it a little differently this year and buy gifts that are good for the environment, good for our communities, good for our health, and good for our wallets! 

This season, we’re all about buying sustainable gifts. Check out our sustainable gift-giving guide here!

That’s why I recommend choosing an outfit that’s totally sustainable, preferably secondhand or pre-loved. Why? Because it will help keep sustainability top of mind while you’re shopping. If you’re wearing an organic cotton tee you bought from Current Boutique, you’ll remember to think about ethically and organically sourced materials when buying for your mom. If you’re in your favorite consignment designer jeans (that you bought at a fraction of their original price), you’ll start looking for other articles that support the longevity of timeless fashion. 

Start shopping for your stylish, sustainable, preloved outfits here! You can also check out these 7 websites to shop secondhand designer clothing and accessories.

Work Holiday Party

Work holiday parties are always a dressing nightmare, especially with the question of how fancy you should be. 

I have one rule of thumb for work parties: The basic dress code from work should still apply, unless otherwise stated. If jeans aren’t permitted at work, you probably don’t want to wear them to the holiday party, unless the invite says to dress casual and everyone is talking about wearing jeans. If you wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing a revealing top to the office on Monday morning, you probably shouldn’t the night of the holiday party either. 

Dress as though you were going to the workplace—but with a little more glitz and glam! It’s always better to look more refined than not.

Recommended read: 15 Work Wardrobe Essentials For Every Boss-Lady

Outfit #1 (For a party that’s right after the work day)

  • Black blazer
  • Sequin tank top (under blazer)
  • Black pants (jeans or trousers) 
  • Tan heels (a wardrobe must-have)
  • Chunky bracelets

Outfit #2 (For a fancier party at a restaurant or venue)

Outfit #3 (For a relaxed party at your boss’s house)

Another awesome option for any of the above events is a black jumpsuit with a blazer or sweater on top. Pair with gold jewelry and tan heels, and you’ve got a gorgeous look that’s both stylish and totally work-appropriate.  

Friends’ Holiday Party

Every year, I attend three standing annual Christmas parties. One is a friend’s ugly Christmas sweater party. One’s a casual event for a family friend, and the other is a fancy party that goes all night. 

So how do you know what to wear to each of your parties? Take note of the invite (which might define a dress code), remember what everyone wore to last year’s party, and don’t be afraid to ask the host or another attendee what they’re wearing! 

The outfits we’ve listed below are some options if you don’t know what to wear.

Outfit #1 (For the “fun” friends hosting a party)

  • A whimsical sweater, like one with penguins or snowflakes
  • Dark blue jeans or black jeans 
  • Dress it down: black Converse or ballet flats
  • Dress it up: black or colorful heels 
  • Pearl earrings 

Outfit #2 (For something timelessly trendy)

  • White knit sweater, elbow-length
  • Red high-waisted skirt
  • Black heels or flats 
  • Gold jewelry accessories, like a chunky necklace or bracelet
  • Hair in curls or a braid 

Outfit #3 (To feel a little sophisticated and fancy)

  • Holiday-colored dress with lace neck and arms (a lacey burgundy or black dress is my go-to holiday outfit)
  • Black tights (a winter fashion hack)
  • Ballet flats or booties 
  • Snakeskin or colorful purse 
  • Gold dangling earrings

Hanukkah or Christmas Eve Dinner

Are you going to a nice dinner at a restaurant or friend’s house to celebrate the holidays? Need an outfit that’s not super fancy but also a little more dressed up? We’ve got your looks!  

Outfit #1 (For something effortlessly chic)

  • Little black dress
  • Knee-high leather boots 
  • Dangling earrings 
  • Red, white, or gold clutch or crossbody purse 
  • Bright lipstick

Outfit #2 (For a trendy yet sexy look)

  • Black or white turtle neck 
  • Plaid skirt (reds, greens, golds, blacks, and whites)
  • Black knee-high boots 
  • Leather jacket, neutral or black 
  • Gold drop earrings

Outfit #3 (For a feminine silhouette and vibe)

  • Tan or white long-sleeve blouse
  • Satin midi skirt, light-colored
  • Tan heels
  • Pearl accessories
  • Optional: black tights (if you’re going outside and want to stay  warm)

Christmas Day 

It’s a great day of family, food, and giving. But what to wear?

Outfit #1 (For chilling with the fam)

  • White long-sleeve top
  • Red plaid sweatpants
  • Pearl earrings 
  • Warm slippers 
  • Hair pulled back with a ribbon (like a present)

Outfit #2 (For going out on the town)

  • Winter white sweater
  • Black jeans 
  • Holiday scarf 
  • Ballet flats, slip ons, or booties
  • A new jewelry or clothing item you received for Christmas (show it off!)

Outfit #3 (For attending a fancier Christmas party)

  • Velvet dress, red or black 
  • Thin, hanging necklace 
  • Sheer tights or pattered
  • Black strappy heels 
  • Optional: denim jacket (to get in the winter 2019 look and to dress it down)

New Year’s Eve Party

There’s no reason not to dress up for New Year’s Eve—even if you’re just staying home with your family. It’s the start of a new year, so you want your fashion game to be on-point when the clock strikes midnight!

Have you made your New Year’s style resolutions yet?

Outfit #1 (The NYE go-to holiday dress)

Outfit #2 (For something minimalistic with shine)

  • Black jumpsuit 
  • Sparkly heels
  • Sparkly earrings (top and bottom of outfit are sparkly!)
  • Black cross-body purse 
  • Gold watch (to make sure you don’t miss midnight!) 

Outfit #3 (For a girl’s night out)

  • Sparkly tank top
  • Black leather leggings 
  • Colorful pumps (that are easy to walk in)
  • Clutch purse
  • Black drop earrings 

Your Holiday Dress Guide

For the holidays, you can’t go wrong with deep red or winter white, leather or velvet. And for the New Year, sparkles and satin are always in fashion. 

At Current Boutique, we love dressing up in gorgeous, quality clothes that make us feel great. And we think the holidays are a great excuse to get dolled up! 

We believe you don’t have to sacrifice quality and style due to price. When you buy secondhand, you have access to stunning designer pieces—at a fraction of the price. 

So start browsing our holiday looks at Current Boutique. Order today to make sure you have your new look in time for your holiday event!