What I Wear
I've already waxed on extensively about how I feel about the fashion industry, it's restraints on us, and all the awesome things we can do to make a difference here. What's especially important to me, and why the subject deserves a second look, are the often overlooked and quite literal restraints that clothing puts on our bodies. The restraints that limit breathing, the shackles that stop the natural flow of the digestive and lymphatic systems. And the stupid shoes that mutate feet into fragile lumps of bunions and gangly toes.
Here are a couple excerpts from my previous post, which I recommend reading to get a low-down on my views as a former insider:
On conformity: "...I am talking about the very real way in which clothing is manufactured to hold your body and all its parts in an unnatural way that limits how you move, breath, digest and function. Here is some more info on the subject and 'the skinny jean injury' in Australia. Shoes are a big one here. Most shoes are absolutely stupid, hurt your feet, put your entire body out of alignment, and aren't actually comfortable. I have too many memories of women proclaiming that some high heels are just, "sit and look pretty shoes" for when you go for cocktails and don't need to move. That line is still in the Top 10 Most Ridiculous Things I've Heard While Working Retail (but that's another post)."
Clothing that promotes freedom of movement: "Freedom to move your body and freedom to drift through trends and moods. Clothing shouldn't restrict your capacity to do something you love. Whether it's swinging on the monkey bars with your kids or wandering for hours on cobble stone streets in Venice. Don't compartmentalize your wardrobe into 'clothing you can't move in but wear all day' and 'stuff I can't wait to change into when you get home'. I have a rule for my clients: at the end of the day, if you can't wait to tear whatever it is off your body as soon as you walk in the door (and it's not for naughty reasons) then why the hell did you wear it all day? It begs you to ask yourself if what you're wearing is because you want to or if there is an outside pressure that expects you to wear it. Also, you are more than allowed to switch your styles from day to day and not worry that you're not trendy enough. Who says you can't wear yoga pants all day or a medieval gown to walk your dog? Uppity fashion assholes, that's who. Don't let their insecurities or agendas dictate your decisions."
Freedom of movement.
Did you know that belts, tight waisted pants, and panty hose (the absolute worst) squeeze all of your digestive bits and hinder their abilities to function, absorb nutrients, and filter toxins and waste? Which, as a nutritionist, this is a pretty important step for me. I'm also big on the function of your lymphatic/immune system. Another system of your body that requires unimpeded circulation to help fight infections and filter toxins. Bras are a big one that hinder the flow of lymphatic juices. And boys, don't forget how important it is to keep your bits hanging free, if you need a refresher, this article is for you.
Here's a great point from Katy Bowman, (taken from the article that I link to in my section on conformity) that specifically addresses the impact of compressive garments on pregnant women but is extremely applicable to all restrictive clothing:
"You’re not a Nerf ball, you’re a person. Pressing your belly in toward your spine means your guts have to go up toward your diaphragm, making breathing or digestion more difficult, or down, increasing the strain on the pelvic floor... What I mean by “you’re not a Nerf ball” is, you don’t come with extra space, like the foam used to make a Nerf toy. Compressing your parts comes with consequences, and pushing on one part pushes on another and another and another. Compressive garments don’t only push on the larger pressure chambers of your thoracic, abdominal, and pelvic cavities, they push on what’s inside of these chambers."
I intend for this list below to be forever evolving and changing. I welcome your feedback and can't wait to hear about your favourite brands and how they strive for movement, sustainability and an all around happy planet.
These are brands that I personally support and wear on a daily basis. I have moved, danced, and played in their pieces with endless joy.
- Seed Yoga
- Made in Calgary and on the edge of the Rocky Mountains for yoga, movement, and hanging in the mountains. All the fabric is selected with comfort and environmental impact in mind. The founder, Blake Ward, sews a part of every pair of pants himself. Doesn't get more sustainable or fair-trade than that.
- I probably wear a Jungmaven hemp shirt everyday or have one stored in my backpack for an extra layer. I dig their motto of everyone in a hemp tee by 2020. The fabric only gets better with age.
- Daub & Design
- All made, hand-dyed, and designed in Vancouver. I only have their leggings but I love how the fabric allows for complete freedom of movement. I never have to shimmy the pant legs in any way during a movement session (girls with booty, ya feel me?) My only beef is the high elastic waist. It's a little too tight for my liking and can hinder digestive and lymphatic flow. I end up rolling my waistband down. Problem solved. I'm actually wearing a pair right now. *update*: I have been informed by Daub & Design that they have added length to each waist band for more comfort and that some new and amazing stuff is coming for fall.
- Some of my most complemented pieces are by ZhenNymph. The focus of this brand is comfort and flow. I use these pieces to get fancy but also wear them all for movement and meditation.
- This was the first organic and fair-trade socks and underwear line I found. None of their products contain toxic dyes or pesticides and they are advocates in the industry for ethics, sustainability, and human impact. Botton line, they make clothes that don't hurt people.
- All of their products are made from recycled and BPA-free plastic bottles. All the prints are designed in house and the entire production line is in the US.
- This is one of the first activewear lines I turned to when I was fed up with all the phoney and completely unethical lines like Lululemon that dominate the market. Everything is knit, dyed, cut, and sewn in LA. Everything that they make allows for complete freedom of movement. The line is pretty big, so you can find a ton of pieces to help you transition away from fast-fashion activewear lines.
- This line is great for pieces that transition from adventure to city. I love their pants and shorts because they are rugged enough that I can slide down a rock face in them, flexible enough that I can climb in them, but cute enough that I can still wear them in the city.
- Brook There
- The sexiest everyday organic lingerie I have ever found. I love how simple and clean the pieces are.
- Best mountain gear on the market. The stuff is hella durable and they are pioneers in the sustainable industry and are an example for all mega-brands to follow. Their Bluesign guarantee and commitment to transparency is top notch.
- This line is new to me, but I have a couple of their sports bras that I love. I'm excited to give some of their shorts a try this summer. Everything is made in Vancouver.
These are brands that I don't personally own but am a big fan of their ethics and practices.
- I have been following this line for years, but have yet to buy anything. Every piece is so eco-friendly and peo-friendly (new word) that it hurts. I can imagine a lot of their dresses and skirts being great for those who require a bit more of a business-casual wardrobe that wouldn't limit freedom of movement.
- Groceries Apparel
- An extremely transparent brand that uses all organic textiles and let's you shop by ingredient. You can choose from 'organic cotton', 'recycled cotton', 'hemp', 'vegetable dyes', or 'eucalyptus'.
- The Reformation
- In their words, they made killer clothes that don't kill the environment. This line is the most fashion example that made the list with the least focus on movement. But I really like what they represent and the pieces are cutting edge. It's a very fashion-forward and progressive brand that is aware and willing to make a positive impact in a very polluting industry.
- A collection of timeless basics that never go out of style. All the fabrics are organic and the cuts classic.