Linen is an amazing fabric: it’s not only wonderful to wear, but is also the oldest known fibre, as well as one of the most sustainable!
Linen comes from the flax plant. The plants go through a process called “retting” to help separate the fibres. Flax is a bast fibre, which means that the structure is basically a bunch of long fibres inside of a thicker tube. The retting breaks down the outside and the “glue” holding the fibres together, which then allows the fibres to be separated, spun, and woven or knit.
Linen is absorbent, breathable, and stronger than cotton. The fibres are porous, and it’s great at keeping you cool in the summer but it can also be insulating in colder temperatures. It’s not very elastic, though, and is known for holding wrinkles.
I love linen because…
it gets better with use, becoming softer and silkier over time. It can be crisp and stiff or have a beautiful drape, and typically is woven with that signature linen texture. It also has a natural luster, which makes it more dimensional. While the wrinkles are seen as a downside for most people, I actually love the look of worn linen; the only pieces I avoid are tight-fitting skirts or dresses where you get a large straight crease across the front after sitting. The feeling of linen is lovely, the texture and softness is unique, and the fact that it just gets better with age makes me want to hang on to my linen pieces forever.
Why linen is so sustainable
Growing flax requires less water than cotton.
There is very little waste with flax; other part of the plant, like the seeds, can be used to produce linseed oil or flax seeds for consumption.
Linen typically requires fewer pesticides, herbicides and fungicides than cotton. They are still used, but you can avoid this by looking for organic linen!
The durability of linen means it lasts longer than other materials.
The process to make linen takes more time and work, which generally makes it more expensive.
Organic linen can be difficult to find, although according to Bead & Reel, “linen produced in China has been grown with agro-chemicals and the processing is also higher impact, whereas European and Japanese linen is produced in more natural and low impact methods… you can also feel confident that good quality linen from European or Japanese mills is a good sustainable choice”.
Due to the lack of elasticity of the fibres, they can break along permanent creases over time. In particular, this is something to be mindful of with respect to areas that are constantly bent or creased, such as where the collar of a shirt folds down.
The wrinkling can be a con, but I think you just need to be mindful of the kind of garments you choose.
Where to find linen clothing
My skirt is from NotPerfectLinen, who make all of their clothes from local linen in a family factory in Lithuania. The t-shirt is from Lanius, a company that uses organic linen.
Back in the 80’s my home town used to be rainy and chilly by the end of the summer, my neighborhood was at the edge of the city surrounded by coffee planters at top of a cute little hill. Now we got two malls, a hospital and big office buildings.
I was a very quiet girl, I enjoyed stay in doors with my coloring books and Barbie dolls, but from time to time my grandma pushed me outside to play. She set a patch work blanket (sew by her) under the apricot tree so I can take my Barbie dolls camping.
Every other week grandma’s daughters came to visit, I remember my cousins and I were about 4 or 5 years old, that was a rainy afternoon but it stopped during the visit. So I told my cousins I wanted them to see my pool in the garden, it was a big aluminum tub were my grandma collected rain water for the plants. So this little devil climbed to my shoulder to whisper to my ear “do bad things” and I encouraged Edith and Karla to jump in the water, of course I just watched. I guess the water was cold because they yelled at first, then we started laughing until someone inside the house wondered where we were.
Edith’s mom almost fainted, Karla’s parents got super upset because she didn’t remove her shoes and my grandma just laughed and asked “why did you do that to them?”. My grandma offered some of my clothes so the girls could change and leave, also packed a big bouquet of herbs to each one so they could take a hot herbal bath at home to prevent a cold.
The bouquet had rosemary, rue, peppermint and basil; it has to be boiled using about 2 liters of water adding a cinnamon stick, and then throw it into the tub adding some more warm water, trying to make a steamy bath. My grandma said that the natural scents and steam will act on the lungs and throat and help to sleep.
After one of those herbal baths, my grandma sent me straight to bed under a bunch of covers. I really don’t know what’s on that special herb combo but it worked in some way, it was very relaxing and definitely helped me to breathe when I was sick.
Don’t get me wrong, she was pro science, vaccines and antibiotics; she trusted doctors eyes closed but she believed that there’s always a way to prevent major illness by acting fast. She was never too tired to make a tea for a stomachache or a sore throat, also she knew when that wasn’t enough and took us to the hospital not without saying “if only you had worn a jacket”.
I challenge you to look deep into your memories and bring back those pieces of knowledge that you won’t find online and that bring us comfort and heal our bodies plus our spirits.
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Megan and Gab are walking (yes walking!) across Southeast Asia visiting artisans and slow fashion brands to tell positive stories about the people who make your clothes. Not only is their adventure fun and inspiring to follow, but they also post hilarious videos and IG stories.
Cossac embraces slow fashion through designing trans-seasonally and promoting capsule wardrobe dressing, as well as producing with ethics and sustainability in mind. I love their simple styles and beautiful images.
There’s a common misconception that capsule wardrobes need to be neutral coloured. Many examples are all neutrals or have a single accent colour but this doesn’t mean your capsule has to be white/grey/black as well. This misconception is also part of the confusion of minimalism as an aesthetic vs a lifestyle – you don’t need to look like a minimalist to live minimally.
My main tips for adding colour to your capsule wardrobe are:
Keep colour to one area, ie. tops. You can have whatever colours you want because you won’t be wearing them together.
Use prints that combine your colours in other areas of your wardrobe. This way you can wear those pieces with all the different colours.
Design your capsule around a colour palette (Pinterest is great for inspo) and assign colours that work well to different areas, unless you prefer monochromatic outfits.
Wear your favourite colours! The whole point of a capsule wardrobe is regularly wearing the pieces you love and feel good in, so your focus should be on how to make your favourite pieces work well instead of having a really cohesive colour scheme. It doesn’t matter if it looks pretty sitting together on the rack, only the pieces you actually wear together need to work well with each other.
If you love colour and that’s been holding you back from trying a capsule wardrobe, I really encourage you to challenge yourself to try it out! You can always go back or adapt things if it’s not working for you.
Underprotection is a Danish lingerie, lounge, and swimwear brand. They use materials like organic cotton, recycled polyester, bamboo, and lyocell. The products are made in a Fair Wear Foundation factory in India.
I needed a new swim suit and was searching for something cute, that I could actually swim in, with decent coverage (can’t do those super cheeky bottoms). Initially I was looking for a one-piece but wanted a brand I could try on, since I have a long torso and it’s sometimes hard to find swimsuits that fit. This definitely limits options, but I found a local store that carried Underprotection and went to try on suits. Unfortunately, they only had one style and it wasn’t what I was looking for, but I tried it on anyways to at least get a sense of their fit. After looking at their other styles online, I instead decided to get one of their two piece suits and having tried on the other suit, I knew I likely needed a S top and M bottom. It’s the end of the season, so they were having a big sale and getting low on product; the pieces I wanted weren’t available in my size in a matching set but, I’m happy with the top and bottom being different colours.
The fit is pretty good, although the top is a little tight. I probably should have actually gone with a size M top, but the zipper on the front makes the fit more flexible- it’s very comfortable unzipped a little and secure for swimming when zipped up. The material is recycled polyester (from bottles and other plastics), and it’s thin but double-layered and quite soft (no cup inserts though, if that’s something you like). I’ve only worn it once, so I’m not sure how it will hold up over time. However, the construction is not the best; the stitching on the top is wobbly and uneven in areas, and in a couple spots the elastic doesn’t lie flat. It won’t affect the performance, just aesthetically, it isn’t as nice. In comparison, the bras don’t seem to have any sewing issues, so it might just be that the factory isn’t as comfortable working with swimwear materials. I’d be disappointed if I had paid full price, but having gotten both pieces as part of their end-of-season sale, I don’t mind the few sewing issues.
Since I was ordering the swimsuit and also needed some more underwear, I decided to pick up a few other pieces as well. I ended up getting their Naomi bra and briefs in purple, and the Kira bra in nude. They have some really cute bralettes and soft-cup bras with different materials and styles. The sizing is difficult though, because everything is sized XS-L. Based on their size guide I could be an S or M, but I went with M (In both the bra and briefs) because I can always take pieces in a bit if needed. The size M fits fairly well, the band and straps are both adjustable. I can see maybe needing to take in the bands a bit though as the bras stretch out. The Naomi style does have more coverage with the cups so I probably could have sized down without any issues, but overall the bras are a decent fit and comfortable for such basic sizing. However, because the sizes are so simple I would recommend seeing if you can try their bras on somewhere before ordering.
The Naomi set is mainly made from lyocell while the Kira bra is recycled polyester lace. Something that was surprising, is both bras have plastic boning on the sides. It’s nicely encased in soft fabric but typically styles like this don’t have boning, and it wasn’t mentioned in the item description. I found the website in general to be lacking in good photos of the pieces to see both sides and the details, and their item descriptions could be a lot better. The material description is just for a base fabric, and they don’t mention things like the elastics, hardware, or boning and casing materials.
I would repurchase lingerie again from Underprotection. If you’re looking for soft fabric bras and bralettes (no under-wire) they have some really cute styles and nice materials, although the sizing can be challenging especially if you’re ordering online. I don’t think I would get another swimsuit from them, however; because of the sewing issues mentioned above, I’d try a different brand for swimwear.
I’ve lived in Cologne, Germany for the last couple years. It’s not really a big travel destination unless you’re coming to see the Dom or for Karneval but it has some great places for conscious fashion and veg food! Here are some of my favourites:
Fairfitters – Lovely store with lots of men’s and women’s clothes and accessories.
Green Guerillas – Selection of men’s and women’s casual wear, lots of tees and basics.
I’m late to the menstrual cup game; I had heard about them for quite a while before I actually tried one out. It’s too bad I waited so long, though, because I’m never going back!
Why I love using a menstrual cup:
1. The biggest personal benefit for me is how long you can leave them in (up to 12 hours!), so I don’t have to worry about changing it during the day.
2. It’s very sustainable – using a menstrual cup means a zero waste period. Every month menstruating women throw away pads, tampons, applicators, plastic and paper packaging. Using a menstrual cup cuts out all this trash.
3. They save money. While menstrual cups are more expensive up front (they seem to range from about $20-$40), you actually save a lot of money if you add up everything you would otherwise spend on other kinds of period products.
4. Tampons may contain toxins. There’s debate and not much research into whether tampons contain things like dioxins or pesticides, so I’d rather play it safe.
5. Less clutter. I love being able to minimize the things I own, so not having boxes in the bathroom or tampons floating around my purse is wonderful.
I decided to get the OrganiCup, both because I love the minimal and recycled paper packaging and organic cotton bag (it’s also certified vegan), and also because based on my research, it seemed like a good firmness and size to try as a beginner.
How to choose a menstrual cup
I did a lot of research beforehand and watched/read different cup reviews online. I really recommend the Youtube channel Precious Star Pads; she has a ton of great information and reviews.
size – the height of your cervix, your flow, and whether or not you’ve given birth can all affect the size you’ll need
firmness – firmer cups are easier to open but can be uncomfortable and press on the bladder, while softer cups might get squished and unseal if you have strong pelvic muscles
Using a menstrual cup
It can definitely take some practice to get used to inserting and removing a menstrual cup. Don’t give up if it doesn’t work right away; it took me at least a couple cycles before I really felt comfortable using it. To insert the cup, it needs to be folded (most manufacturers recommend a C-fold or “punch down” fold, but there are also others). After the cup is inserted, it should unfold – it’s good to check that it has unfolded properly by running your finger around the outside of it.
Removing the cup can be difficult at first – the first time I used one, I panicked a bit when it wouldn’t easily come out. The trick I found is to use your muscles to help push it down and squeeze it to break the seal. I have high cervix so I also really like the stretchy stem on the OrganiCup.
Finally you’ll want to sanitize your cup between cycles by boiling it. While there has been a confirmed case of TSS with a menstrual cup there is not at all high risk, and you also have a risk using tampons.
For me, menstrual cups are the perfect option for a green period. Have you tried them?
UPDATE: OrganiCup reached out offering a promo code for you. If you’d like to try it out, use MYGREENCLOSET for free shipping!
A new brand that I’m really excited about is Lara Intimates. They use reclaimed materials, re-purpose their fabric scraps, and make everything in their London factory/studio. The lingerie is not yet for sale, but I love following their production process and seeing their beautiful designs on Instagram.
We know that transportation has a large environmental impact, but it can also be very difficult to avoid. Flying is especially bad (although there are ways to fly better) and one way to help compensate for your CO2 emissions is through carbon offsetting.