It’s been a little while since my last Your Ethical Style post, so I’m delighted to bring it back this month with Mel Wiggins from the eponymously titled blog Mel Wiggins.
Mel lives in Northern Ireland with her husband and young son, Levi, and I’ve followed along with her crafty makes, interior design skills, thoughts on parenthood and stunning outfits for several years now. I am 100% sure you will also love her blog and was delighted when Mel wanted to take part in my Your Ethical Style series!
Take it away Mel!
Hi Mel, readers might know you from your blog but can you share three facts about you that they might not already know?
Fun fact numero uno: I have a weird phobia of a certain bumpy circular texture. I can’t describe it, but if I see it I feel a bit sick and shaky. It’s making me a bit nauseous even writing about it! (it’s got a name: trypophobia – please google it with serious caution!)
Fun fact number two: I have known my fella Dave since I was a wee girl. We grew up living in the street beside each other. I moved to Canada and we didn’t see each other for about 15 years and then got together and were married within 9 months!
Fun fact number three: I am obsessed with the Food Network and could happily watch even the cheesiest (pun intended) cooking shows all the live-long day.
You’re one stylish lady Mel. Can you share where your favourite places to shop for ethical clothing are?
There is nothing that makes me more content than a good rummage through a charity shop. I get a real thrill out of the searching. Some people hate it but I thrive on not knowing what I’m going to come across next and how smug I’m going to feel going home with something really different and beautiful for a good price. This would be my go-to way to buy ethically unless I’m looking for something specific – then it’s eBay or ASOS Marketplace or People Tree* if I’m able to spend a little more.
What’s the last ethical item that you bought?
I reckon the last ethical item I bought was a really fun navy blouse with little white triangles all over it. It was missing a few buttons when I saw it in a thrift shop but I saw past that knowing I could easily sew a few on – it has a scalloped collar & cuffs, how could I not?!
Is there anything ethical that you are lusting over at the moment?
I have a couple of eBay search alerts on for embroidered Mexican-style dresses/tunics for the summer and I’m also after light kimono-type jackets that I can throw on over a tee for the Spring.
Do you have a top tip for shopping ethically?
For me it’s less about the love of shopping and more about learning to be stylish with less. More and more these days I’m willing to pay a little more for better quality and assurance of ethics than just buying loads of second hand for the sake of it (I love Everlane for great looking basics and their ethos & practice is really sound). I ask myself a lot of questions before I buy (new or second-hand) but mainly my thought process is: a) do I REALLY need it? and b) will it stand the test of time?
Is there anything you find difficult about shopping ethically?
I do find it difficult to not get swept up with the trends. I love looking good and having a fun personal style but sometimes it’s hard to be patient and wait for that great item to slip onto the rails at your local chazza shop or to ping into your inbox on an eBay alert! The whims usually do pass; I just need to avoid shopping centres (which is easy these days because shopping centres are the pit of hell if you have small children)!
Where do you get your style inspiration from?
So many places! The usual online sources like blogs and pinterest are definitely a big deal in terms of inspiring fashion but I tend to get a colour combination fascination in my head and want to try it out with my clothes. Right now I am loving more neutral palettes: soft corals, navy, emerald green and mustard (always mustard)! When I see a great colour combo in any form I always think about how it could transfer into an outfit well.
What is your best secondhand or ethical find ever?
Oooh. That’s a toughie. It’s a toss up. I got an unbelievable Italian tailored dress at a second-hand shop in Rome. I’m pretty sure it’s Sanderson floral fabric and feels so rich and well put together (big pants needed to squeeze in!). The other would be a big comfy navy cable knit J.Crew jumper I found at a thrift store in Canada – normally it would cost about £100 and is so timelessly classic.
The Sanderson dress
What would be your ultimate thrifted find?
If a bright Mexican dress or smock top turned up in one of my local thrift shops I would not be annoyed!
Could you tell us your top three style tricks/DIYs?
1) If you love it but it’s too big – buy it anyway. I’ve had so much success buying charity shop/vintage dresses that are 2 or 3 sizes too big for me that I’ve had altered to fit perfectly. Spending the money on good tailoring is totally worth it to have a dress that no one else has that you love to bits.
2) Less is more. Maybe it’s the mum in me, but lately my uniform has been a good solid neutral-coloured tee and a great fitting pair of jeans (usually M&S) teamed up with a fun necklace or a vintage headscarf.
3) Know what looks good on your shape (fit, colour, necklines etc). I have spent a lot of time and money wearing things that I love but just don’t flatter me. The sooner you know that, the better you’ll feel and easier it will be to shop!
Do you want to share your ethical style with Moral Fibres readers? Whatever your age, sex, size, style, budget or location I’d love to feature you to show that ethical fashion is for everyone! Get in touch via email@example.com to take part in Your Ethical Style! There are no barriers to taking part – you don’t have to be a blogger to be featured!