101 ways to style a thrifted blazer

101 ways
remember rana plaza?

way number 34

By now you know I’m being sarcastic when I say “101 ways to style a thrifted blazer,” I’ll never get to 101 ways but I’m going to continue and see how far I do get. To see what I did last, go here.

The point of course is, with just a tiny bit of effort, it can be done.

I’m also having a lot of fun doing this fundamentally good thing. It’s good for my budget, it’s good for the local and charitable organizations I buy from, and it’s good for the earth.

If there is any “secret” to doing this it’s to go wild when looking at the possibilities of styling. If you don’t think it’s going to look good with your jeans, skirt, boots, that’s all the more reason to try it. 

I find that freedom occurs when you’re working with something thrifted. 

For some reason we’re much less likely to go wild with a garment we’ve had for a long time,

we tend to wear that garment in the same old way. When you just bought it at the local vintage store, that’s when the creative juices start flowing.

So how do I look? How do you like the head-gear? The dress is a sequin number from Universal Standard. I had been wanting a sequin skirt for years, but I could never find one maybe because I was looking specifically for second-hand. So, I dived and made an increasingly rare “brand new” purchase from a company I admire.

I was thinking that a dress would be harder to style than a skirt.

Well that notion was wrong. While this dress is sleeveless, see here, it can of course be worn over some kind of “top.” Perhaps a lace lingerie type thing? To dress it way down, an old, beloved t-shirt? You could wear it over jeans, slim pants, or leggings of course. 

I wore the dress for New Year’s with a big black leather belt and “combat boots.” It was a hit! What do you think of this, the 36th. look?

rana plaza

Do you remember Rana Plaza in Bangladesh? I wrote about it here, on August 11, 2015. It feels like ages ago.

So what’s happening now with the garment workers in Bangladesh?

I had heard that it wasn’t good, so I went to a meeting sponsored by the Model Alliance of New York to find out. Honestly, the news the Garment Worker Center of Los Angeles and the International Labor Rights Forum gave us was quite discouraging.  

After the 2013 tragedy of Rana Plaza, things got better, The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh was founded and established for 5 years, things got better. Then, in 2018 a “transition accord” was put in place, but the “details” and hows, and who’s responsible for what are tenuous. 

We’re talking about governments, bureaucracy, unions, and multinational companies and their profit margins here.

One thing I learned today was that 85% of Bangladesh’s GDP comes from the garment industry. So of course there is a continuous dance on the line between the welfare of garment workers and the welcome mat for fashion brands.

The backsliding on the Accord is real and frightening though. There have already been demonstrations, “industrial police,” and people hurt, one man has died.

Yes, all of this makes my head ache and my heart hurt, but I think it’s important to remember, that no matter how complicated all of this is, on a fundamental, human level, we’re talking about women workers and children, burning factories, and a few more cups of rice a week. 

It comes down to how important that $5 t-shirt is to you, and do you think a 5$ minimum wage is enough for the woman who makes it?

So, what can we do? That part, actually, is not that hard. We can educate ourselves. This is a list of the companies that signed the original Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, those who failed to do so again, in 2018, and those who never signed.

There are names of companies on the list all of us know and see everyday. 

I hope you find the list enlightening, I know it makes me think about how we choose what we choose and why.

*I was lucky today at the meeting, when I happened to sat down next to, Elizabeth Cline, the author of Overdressed: The Shockingly High Price Of  Fast Fashion.

I don’t know if I’ve ever put it this way before, but if you read only one book about fast fashion and its adverse effects, Overdressed, is the one. But if you don’t get around to it, you can preorder her new book, The Conscious Closet, here. Yeah, I’m name dropping…


“Doing a little something is a lot better than doing a lot of nothing.”

—Stella McCartney



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