Dec 28, 2015

Traveller’s Guide to Practical Packing: Part 1 + free download

Written and illustrated by Emmi Ojala, originally published in Square1 Magazine. Check their website to find lots of interesting articles on sustainable style (mostly in Dutch)!

Most of us travel, some less, some more. Most of us have also sat, jump and performed acrobatics on top of our suitcases whilst trying to zip them up. Every time we travel, we tend to drag at least a few extra kilos with us, because we are not very conscious packers or just “can’t” know in advance what we might want to wear during our travels.

If packing your whole closet with you will make you happy, go ahead and do that! However, the chances are that the heavy bag will end up causing only less than cheerful feelings. Been there, done that! I used to fill my bag with multiple outfits, accompanied by multiple options for shoes and a few garments that had never fitted me nor my style, but in my mind had potential to fit the picturesque setting of my destination.

Those days are over now, as this year I was given the ultimate lesson in practical packing, a challenge called Five Weeks, One Bag, One Wedding, One Beach Vacation And Another One In The Chilly North. Basically, I had five weeks, during which I needed to be prepared for everything except snow. Having learned a thing or two from my previous packing disasters, I decided to pack as lightly as possible, bringing only the things that I would really need. To do that, I followed these steps:

1. Break your trip into parts according to locations and occasions.
In my case, the list looked like this: a summery holiday in the South, autumny vacation in the North and a wedding.

2. List the items you will definitely need for each part of your holiday.
For example, my list for a holiday in the South looked like this:
  • 1 bikini 
  • 1 pair of shorts 
  • 3 Tshirts 
  • 2 casual dresses; one that can handle sand, sweat and dust, another fancier one for dinners and such. 
  • flat shoes 
  • 1 medium bag that can fit sunscreen, water and a wallet. 
  • 1 big scarf for sun protection and chilly evenings 
  • 1 tank top 
  • 1 pair of jeans 
  • 1 pullover 
  • 1 cardigan 
  • 1 pair of sneakers 

3. Read through your list. If you come across an item that has already been mentioned, cross it out. Try to spot chances to replace two similar items with a one multifunctional garment that would fit both purposes.
I had three dresses on my list: one dress for the wedding and two casual dresses for the summery holiday (one that could handle sand, sweat and dust and another fancier one for evenings out). By choosing a dress that could be dressed up or down easily, I ended up using the same dress for the wedding and fancier occasions on the holiday.By following these steps, I survived through the whole five week journey with a bag that was two kilos lighter than my bag for a one week trip used to be. There were a few occasions when everything didn’t go according to plans and I had to face the pitfalls of travelling lightly, but I’ll tell you all about that in part 2!

Do you have some tips for packing lightly?
Download your own practical packing list here!

Apr 23, 2015

Fashion Revolution

Tomorrow it will be 2 exactly two years since the Rana Plaza clothing factory collapsed in Bangladesh. Although it is important, we might not think about issues related to the (un)sustainability or fairness of fashion every day nor bring the topic up with our friends or acquaintances after daily how-are-yous. But here comes the good news: tomorrow all of us will have a chance to join the global Fashion Revolution movement and raise the question about the origins of our clothes by wearing them inside out!

Are you joining...? We sure are! Let's wink at all of our fellow revolutionaries and their visible clothing labels at bus stops, offices and on the streets. Let's not ignore the elephant in the fashion industry!

Nov 27, 2014

LENA The Fashion Library

The fairy godmother of fashion must have heard us talking about fashion libraries in Sweden and Finland, wishing there was something similar a bit closer to our home in the Netherlands, because - believe it or not - our wishes have come true! Let us introduce to you LENA The Fashion Library, founded by a creative team of three sisters and their friend, all of whom are passionate about fashion, vintage and sustainability.

LENA has just opened its doors in the heart of Amsterdam, just around the corner from Noordermarkt. Filled with hand-picked vintage pieces in all the colours of the rainbow and items from brands such as Filippa K, the library is truly a heaven for anyone who'd like to play with their wardrobe without going bankrupt. What we also really like about LENA is their "try before you buy" policy. The policy allows you to borrow an item you fall in love with, and keep it in your closet for a while before deciding whether you would really like to own it. If it turns out your crush was just a fling and you don't really have use for the item, you can just return it back to the library. However, if you believe in a long term relationship between you two, you can easily purchase the item from LENA with a reduced price. Speaking of awesome ways to minimise mis-buys, eh?

Next to borrowing clothes with monthly subscriptions varying from € 19,95 to € 49,95, LENA also sells a number of fashion-oriented publications that fit the library's sustainable ideals. Amongst others, you can leaf through books such as Marieke Eyskoot's Talking Dress (in Dutch), our little sister Dear Fashion Diary…and yes, and there's a stack of Dear Fashion Journals, too!

You can find more information about the library at, or if your Dutch skills aren't enough to translate everything, just stop by at the library to find out more!

Images by LENA The Fashion Library

Apr 1, 2014

Pencils, skirts and pencil skirts

“I’d like to wear things that are a bit more classy, a bit more mature,” I said. “Yea, me too,” my friend replied. She was wearing her boyfriend’s jogging pants, whilst I wore a sloppy T-shirt with a picture of a bunny printed on it. Both of us sighed.

Later on, I started wondering what I had really meant. What exactly is “classy” or “more mature”? I turned to my dear old friend, Google. ‘Classy’ brought me Audrey Hepburn in a little black dress, and ‘mature‘ threw Meryl Streep and her pencil skirt in my face. Erm….not exactly what my sartorial soul was longing for. Classic style, as fashion knows it, is typically made of timeless basics: jeans, trench coats, A-line skirts and such. Also the colour black tends to give clothes a classy flair with its simplicity. I know this all too well - for years, I was obsessed with colourless this and that, because black was such an easy choice. However, when I hung out with my friends, who were like the fireworks of fashion in their playful outfits, my own attire made me yawn. I have also had a fling with the so-called classic smart casuals: straight pants, slipovers, white blouses and black heels. Long story short; none of it worked. I am not a serious office kind of a girl with pearls, neither am I a monotonous minimalist. In fact, just thinking about classic items or the ever so smart wardrobe essentials gives me an urge to sit up straight, cross my legs and raise my pinkie ready to grab a glass of wine. However, the truth is that I spend majority of my time sitting in less than ladylike positions, snortling at stupid jokes, tinkering on the floor and drinking tea from a chunky mug that is a far cry from any kind of elegance. Conclusion: the answer to my longing for classiness won’t be found in pencil skirts, but in something that lets me be me without having to be afraid of breaking seams or smudging fine silk.

Magazines keep on praising wardrobe essentials in their collages, but it’s better to think twice before you swallow everything they say. Fashion classics might be universal, but classics of personal style are very subjective. The rebel inside me has come to believe that you can be classy without owning a trench coat or a pair of straight pants. In fact, your classics can be anything you like as long as they make it easy for you to build the rest of your uniform around them. Pencil skirts are fine, but if you prefer keeping your pencils and skirts apart, that’s perfectly fine, too! Flourescent colours and plastic necklaces can be just as essential to you as belted coats are to Vogue.

After running these thoughts through my mind, I might say goodbye to my pyjama worthy T-shirts and pursue something more pleasing to my eye. However, I won’t ditch all my printed tees. Why? Because just as there are days when I would like to have a graceful flair, there will also be days when a bit of funny, printed sloppiness will sooth me like nothing else. Perfect classy-sloppy balance – that’s what’s essential to me! Besides, isn’t there enough of Serious Suit Mentality in the world already?

These are the thoughts I penned down on the pages of Oh Marie! magazine's latest issue. You can find the entire article here.

What about you...? What are your personal "fashion classics"?

Mar 18, 2014

The Organic Fashion Utopia & interview with Manuela Minimarini

Dear readers, we have some exciting news from the world friendly fashion front! Manuela Minimarini, a recent graduate from Amsterdam Fashion Institute, has created a vegan fashion magazine titled T.O.F.U. and is hoping to publish it with the help of the fashion crowds through a crowdfunding platform We Make It. To get a little taste of T.O.F.U. (pun intended), we asked the golden hearted veganista some questions about her project and what lies beneath it:

1. Who are you in one sentence?
I am Manuela Ernst Minimarini, a vegan lifestyle lover who prays to unicorns and wants to make this world a fresher, healthier and more lovable one.

2. How did you become interested in vegan fashion and lifestyle?
I have been a vegan for 2 years now after having been a vegetarian before. I have had a big heart for animals ever since I can remember. While studying fashion, I figured I need to combine those two passions of mine to not only make myself happy, but also to change the world a little bit.

3. Where does the magazine's name T.O.F.U. come from?
T.O.F.U. became the name, because I wanted to make the vegan lifestyle more accessible and people just like to approach things they are familiar with - everyone knows what tofu is. Also, it is a funny fact that lots of meat eaters think that all non-meat eaters/vegans eat lots of tofu as a replacement for meat. I like the irony in the name, but T.O.F.U. is also an acronym of The Organic Fashion Utopia, which is what I want to create with this magazine. A new organic, plant based fashion world that opens up to you through the magazine.

4. In the era of apps, blogs and websites, we must ask the worn out question: why a printed magazine?
That is a very good question, but next to being an online era, this is actually also the golden age of new titles. People like magazines that are for niches. T.O.F.U. is one of those, because it is targeted to the vegan community, which is in fact growing a lot as veganism is becoming more and more trendy. This and the fact that there is no other printed magazine like T.O.F.U. combined with my personal passion for print feels like a very good reason to make a printed magazine.

5. What inspired you whilst making T.O.F.U.?

Might sound a bit odd...but Me, I and Myself inspired me. :) I was my own target group as well, as is everyone in the new vegan community that is growing all the time.

6. Close your eyes for a minute and picture a scene with someone reading T.O.F.U. What kind of a person she is and where and how is she reading the magazine?
I picture a fun woman, who wants to stay young at heart and always has a smile on her face. She is dressed in her own individual fashion-oriented way and is living the vegan lifestyle or aspires to live it.
She would read the magazine in a cafĂ© with a freshly juiced organic orange juice, at home on the couch with a cup of tea and a piece of raw chocolate. She would keep the magazine in her bag with all her fruits, ready to be read. T.O.F.U. is a magazine to enjoy over time, and each time you read it, you can discover something new.

7. What are the three best and the three worst things in trying to lead a sustainable vegan lifestyle?
The 3 best:
1. You feel wonderful with lots of energy.
2. The Karma is in balance - you give and you receive.
3. You lower your carbon footprint and help the environment

The 3 worst:
1. You can't close your eyes in front of the sometimes brutal reality anymore.
2. You might feel alone at times in the world that can be ignorant to all the pain that there is.
3. You are unfortunately still the minority...but this will change: veganism is the future!

8. What can T.O.F.U. give to
a) vegan fashionistas?

It will be your partner in crime and support you in your choices for cosmetics, fashion, food and animal love. Plus it gives you a way to connect with others.

b) someone who is not vegan?
It can inspire the non-vegan by showing how easy and fun the vegan lifestyle is by presenting the things in our lives in a trendy, fashion-oriented way.

9. Could you give a little sneak peek and share your favourite spread from T.O.F.U? Why is it your favourite?
It's difficult to choose my favourite spread, I love so many of fact, I love the whole magazine!
Amongst others, this one is very dear to me. It shows how easy it is to make your own fruity and plant based vegan cosmetics. I made the pictures and had a fun day with Jeannette van Raaij, who is also a big inspiration to me.

For more sneak peeks, check

10. Last but not least: could you recommend something to us?
I of course recommend supporting T.O.F.U. at We Make It (you can find it here)! By making a donation, you will also make sure that you will be able to read the magazine in spring. For the rest: I love the raw chocolate bars of Concious, mmm, and I am addicted to pink banana pudding that I eat almost every morning. Here's how to make it: put min. 5 bananas with frozen raspberries into a blender with some water, blend it and add some raw chocolate nibs, brazilian nuts and coconut flakes. It's pure heaven on the vegan earth :)! The book I read while eating this dream breakfast is "Angel Detox" by the fabulous Doreen Virtue and Robert Reeves. More secrets of mine in the hopefully 2nd issue of T.O.F.U. Magazine!

Find out more about T.O.F.U. here and show your support at We Make It! 
You can also follow the magazine on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Feb 13, 2014

"Sometimes good things need to end for better things to begin"

Sad news: After growing from a small idea into Amsterdam's very own clothes swapping event, Krijg De Kleren's story has come to an end. We feel so honoured having met the great people behind the event and getting to be part of their venture. It is always sad to see great things disappear from a city's agenda, but we've no doubt that we will get to hear from the power behind Krijg De Kleren again in the future! Rock on!

However, there are also some good news: Krijg De Kleren's last edition will be held in Amsterdam (SSBA Salon at Leidseplein) this Sunday, the 16th of February. Join in with your clothes and swap your forgotten fashion pieces with other fashionistas! We and our ex-clothes are participating, too, so hope to see you there!

More information on Krijg De Kleren's Facebook page and the event's page.

Feb 12, 2014

Winter wonders

Fashion industry has spoken and the February issues of magazines have splashed pastel colours on their pages - the long mid-winter months are almost over and spring will start to show signs of arrival soon! However, despite the light spirits and baby tones in editorials, majority of us are still wrapped in winter coats and big scarves. Some love it, whilst others loathe it.

Now, if you have less than loving feelings towards the cold period of the year or are utterly fed up with your winter gear, here are a few nice things about winter fashions that can help you survive through a few more months:
Mittens, mittens, mittens!
Mittens keep your fingers warm, but they have other functions, too! Put your public transportation card inside your glove and ‘beeb’ yourself a trip easily without having to fiddle with your wallet. Tired of freezing in front of the door, looking for the keys that have been swallowed by your handbag? Attach a little pouch inside your mittens and keep your keys at hand – literally!

Pocket paradise
Winter wear is every guy’s dream, as most winter coats have plenty of pockets in them. Inside, outside and in well hidden places. You will have more places to put your napkins, lipsticks and combs without overfilling your bag. If you want to make your life really easy, prepare your winter coats by filling their pockets with all your necessities; you will never end up in desperation after having forgotten something! You can also hide candies inside your pockets to be unwrapped in an emergency. 
Note: Unless you want to turn yourself into a walking jar of chocolate spread, avoid melting candies and choose gummy bears instead. 

Don’t have enough pockets…? Make yourself more! 

Be a Matryoshka 
Here’s a different to layering: you know the elaborately painted Russian dolls inside a doll? Although layering is praised mostly for the practicality of keeping you warm, it is also a great way to reveal a sassy mini dress under a casual pullover-jeans combo under an ice skating outfit. Layering lets you do tons of different activities without having to worry about not wearing the right things. Besides, when everyone is wearing layers, someone is bound to feel warm and willing to borrow a scarf to a compadre who is cold.

Hat trick
This one is for those who A) like hats or B) have bad hair days or C) both. Wearing a hat is the easiest way to keep yourself warm (“You lose most heat from your head,” as the association of mothers’ states), but it is also a great way to spice up your outfit or help yourself worry less about what the wind will do to your hair. Winter is an ideal time to save a severe case of hair catastrophe with headwear, as people are going to be less likely to start wondering why you are wearing a hat indoors – trust me, it’s experience speaking here!

Everyday oddities
Babies with fuzzy hats. Toe socks. Dogs in sweaters. Onesies for adults. Do we need to say more?

Pssst...! We have dedicated an entire column to woollen socks and winter wonders. You can read it on the blog of Oh Marie magazine here.