Ethical Lingerie and the Slow Acceptance of My Body

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You are imperfect. Permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.
— Amy Bloom

Beauty is, as I've written before, a fluid concept. I'm quicker to notice the beauty in other women than I am to celebrate my own, but as I've "gotten older" (I can say that at 24, right?) I've slowly and surely learned to accept my own "inevitable flaws" and, if not love them, appreciate them for what they are. 

Today is International Women's Day. A day that symbolizes empowerment, progress, and the many (many) flaws in the "system" that women face in the workplace, home, and world at large. And while all of these things are incredibly important and need to be discussed, I want to use today as an excuse to share about a topic that I've written on several times, but never felt comfortable "donning" for the world wide web. Lingerie, yes, but more than that, insecurity. And, in turn, the way a beautifully made piece of clothing, even one that no one else sees (unless you're silly enough to post it on the internet...), can empower you in its own small way. 

When I've shopped for lingerie in the past, it's usually been for one of two reasons:

1. for practicality's sake, usually while I was breastfeeding (easy access and comfort are key...everything else can go to underthings' hell). 

2. for enhancement's sake. In an effort to "disguise" my reality. (Ie. you've had two kids and still have no boobs to speak of). 

Shopping ethically, for either of those reasons, is difficult in its own way. The first, for sheer lack of options and, because, nursing bras, well, they get destroyed.

The second, because most non-Victoria's-Secret slow fashion shops don't rely heavily on "enhancement". More clearly stated, my days of push up bras comprised of two-inches of sheer non-boob foam were coming to an end and I'd have to accept my body for the way it really was if I wanted to support brands who were doing things in a truly empowering (and ethical) way. 

Of course, not all ethically made bras have to be un-padded bralettes for A and B cups, but by and large, the majority of brands I've come across focus on celebrating, protecting, and appreciating a woman's natural form, not her enhanced "socially accepted" form. 

And although it has been a hard acceptance on my end, the correlation between my own self-esteem and the types of clothes I choose to buy isn't lost on me. That's not to say that you can't rock a Victoria's Secret push-up bra (because I still do from time to time), but when I feel the need to wear pieces that don't honestly reflect my body, I've learned to re-evaluate my "why". Is it because I'm unhappy with my body? Is it because I feel like I need to be "enhanced"? 

And so I've begun the slow process of accepting my body - disproportions, stretch marks, acne, hairy arms, small boobs and all. See that "stomach roll" in the next photo? I accept that too. 

I've learned that acceptance can be both practical and beautiful. Un-enhanced and feminine. Beauty doesn't have a definition or "type", so why should my underwear? 

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A few brands I've been wearing (and genuinely loving) lately that have helped me feel beautiful in my skin: 

Hara the Label: 

Hara is an Austrailia-based lingerie company selling body-positive, organic, unbelieveably comfortable underwear and bras made from bamboo. I'm wearing their Stella low cut bra in Ivory and I forget that I'm even wearing a bra when I have it on. 

AmaElla Lingerie: 

AmaElla sells underwear, bras, and nightwear made from organic cotton. Their bras (both bralettes and non-bralette) and underwear are all made from OEKO TEX STANDARD cotton. I have their Organic Cotton Brazillian Knickers and they're the perfect amount of sexy and comfortable (the perfect combination, if you ask me). 

Aikyou Lingerie: 

Aikyou is a label designing specifically for women with small busts (hallelujah, right?) Their pieces perfectly blend femininity, uniqueness, and comfort, without compromising support or fit. I'm wearing their Milla Triangle bra in mint/white. 


Click here for a larger list of ethical lingerie retailers.

**This post was sponsored by Hara the Label, Aikyou Lingerie, and AmaElla Lingerie. I received product for review but wasn't compensated. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this site running!**

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Ethical Holiday Guide || Affordable Gifts For Her

Ethical Holiday Guide || Affordable Gifts For Her

She may not be hard to shop for, but she may not speak her needs as quickly as everyone else. She may seem to "have it all". Or, she may carry herself so gracefully with what she has that you have no idea where to start when shopping for her. Whether she is your mom, your girlfriend, your sister, your aunt, or your best friend (or, if you're gathering some great ideas for your own Christmas list), she deserves a gift that is as beautiful as she is, but won't compromise on ethics. 

All of these pieces are practical, can fit a wide range of ages/personalities/styles, and of course are made as ethically and sustainably as possible. Each of these brands have been hand selected (by me) for this guide with affordability and practicality in mind, things I've either personally used or think would fit well into a wide variety of lifestyles. 

Whoever she is, she is sure to appreciate one of these consciously beautiful gifts. 

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Thankfulness Is More Than A Day: 3 Ways to Encourage Thankfulness After the Turkey Is Gone

It's no secret that Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Mostly for the food, but also for the sweet childhood memories from years ago, and the new traditions my husband and I are now creating with our girls. I remember when I was young, it seemed like our entire family came out of the woodwork for Thanksgiving, traveling from all over the country to one common spot — usually my grandmother's house — to eat too much, catch up on lost conversations, and enjoy each other's company. 

I was always so, so thankful for Thanksgiving. It felt like a pause before entering a crazy holiday season — like a breath of crisp, Fall air.

But the gratitude didn't last long, as Christmas was only a few weeks away and I had lists to make and presents to dream about. As my extended family members traveled back to their respective homes, my thankfulness seemed to travel away with them as the anticipation of "more" and the routine of daily life set back in. 

Thanksgiving only happens once a year, but what about the other 364 days a year? Simple living is in itself a kind of thanksgiving that can last all year long. Here are three tips for remaining thankful as the rest of the holiday season sets in.

Obviously, for a child, there's nothing wrong with the anticipation of the holidays and excitement over receiving gifts. However, as I grew up and, slowly but surely, adopted a purposefully simpler lifestyle, the premise of celebrating thankfulness for only one day seemed a bit odd. 

Sure, reminders are necessary, and it's great to have one day set aside for being thankful. But what about the other 364 days each year? Are they dedicated to working away, forgetting the many blessings we count on the fourth Thursday of each November? 

To the minimalist, I would argue that thankfulness is a lifestyle, a daily choice. Not merely one day to celebrate. 

Choosing to live with less, to consume responsibly, and to be intentional with the items you bring into your home in itself is a type of thanksgiving. We're taught the value of what we have, the value of the way we spend our time and money, and we choose to use it accordingly. 

At it's core, a minimalist's lifestyle says "I know what is valuable to me, so I'm going to cut out the excess so I can pursue it with everything I have." It is intentionally searching your home and heart for discontent and weeding through why you have those feelings in the first place. It replaces the desire for more with contentment and (when needed) higher quality things.

Even though Thanksgiving lasts only a day (followed by, ironically, the day with the highest consumption of the entire year) fostering an "attitude of thanks" can last all year long if you let it. Here are three easy ways to make sure discontent doesn't sneak back in once your Turkey dinner wears off. 

Choosing to live with less, to consume responsibly, and to be intentional with the items you bring into your home in itself is a type of thanksgiving.

1. Shop With Purpose

If you do choose to shop on Black Friday (there's nothing wrong with waiting for the good deals!) choose stores that produce ethically, when you can. I know that many of the goods Black Friday shoppers look for are things like electronics, home goods, and Christmas gifts, but you'd be surprised at the amount of ethical retailers out there that offer mark downs as well. Obviously, these shopping habits should carry on into the rest of the year, but with Black Friday, and Cyber Monday leading the charge, remember that you, as the consumer, have the power. 

For clothes, check out this list

For home decor and more go here or here.

For info on shopping as ethically as possible for electronics, go here

2. Don't Limit Your Thanks To Things

It's strange how on Thanksgiving, we remember just how much we really have, and seem to forget about it only a few hours later. But our thankfulness shouldn't just be limited to the amount of "stuff" in our homes. Are you healthy? Be thankful for that. Do you have a job that pays you money? Be thankful for that. Do you have a spouse or children or family or friends who care about you? Be thankful for that. 

I'm preaching to myself as much as anyone else, because (as I mention often) I struggle with discontent probably more than the average person. 

3. Keep The Rest of Your Holiday's Simple

As Christmas, Hanukkah, Boxing Day, New Year, National Maple Syrup day (it's December 17th. You're welcome.), all approach, remember to keep the same spirit alive that you cultivated on Thanksgiving. However you decide to do (or not do) presents, traditions, and all of the holiday hubbub, keeping it simple will usually translate into make it even more special.

Happy Thanksgiving-week, my friends.

I truly am thankful for each of you.

Simply,

Liv