How Eco Mama changed me…

A Year in Review – Day 29

In October I tried out Eco Mama style — an attempt to wear all organic, fair trade and cage free clothing.  I thought I lived a pretty healthy lifestyle before I tried out Eco Mama.  After all, I live in Northern California and it’s kind of the law here.  Also, my oldest son, Buck, is gluten free, so for years now we’ve been slowly saying good-bye to all the delicious wheat products that make life worth living.  And, whenever possible, we try to eat organic.  One of the first things my youngest son, August, said to a waitress was, “Is this orgluten?”  He’d heard the words organic and gluten so many times in his little life that he just blended them into one super word.


But Eco-Mama style shined a huge light on all that I have been doing and more importantly, all that I haven’t.  Things like, Why am I drinking coffee and shoving cookies down my throat all day?  Sure, they’re organic, but does that mean they’re healthy?  How about trying to eat a vegetable every now and again?  And why am I still using Secret antiperspirant?  Sweating is our body’s way of releasing toxins.  Do I love my toxins so much that I just can’t let go of them?  Or maybe somewhere along the way of my life I believed some piece of advertising that said, sweat on a woman is gross


And I know “cheap chic” is great on the wallet, but why is it that clothes are so inexpensive these days?  Where are they coming from?  What sad person is being forced to make them?  And what kinds of chemicals are being put on the clothes that I’m wearing on my body all day?  Chemicals that then get dumped into waterways and harm animals and nature and uh, EVERYTHING!


So Eco Mama isn’t just a style, it’s a lifestyle.  The clothes themselves are kind of simple and easy, but very heavy… just put them on and suddenly you have the weight of the world on your shoulders.

I discovered that ignorance is bliss when it comes to retail, but out of all my styles this year, I am the most grateful to Eco Mama.  It changed me the most.  I became a conscious consumer.  I know now that I have the power to help the world around me just by what I choose not to purchase.


Like jeans, for example.  I had no idea how bad jeans are for the environment so I made the rash decision to never buy a pair of new jeans again.  After all, aren’t there enough used jeans in the world for all of us?  I was afraid the answer to this question would be, Yes, there are enough used jeans for all of us, but they’re all skanky and disgusting and stuffed in a big, smelly bin at Goodwill.

So I went to Goodwill to see if my fears were true and I’d be stuck in a pair of stone-washed Wranglers for the rest of my life — and after about five minutes of searching I found a pair of awesome Vera Wang jeans in my size for four dollars.  I’m not kidding.


Now when I wear my Vera Wang jeans I’m happy on so many levels.  My Vera Wang jeans make me feel empowered.  My Vera Wang jeans not only saved me money, but they’re  saving polar bears too.

It always feels better to know stuff — even if it’s stuff you’re wincing while you’re reading about it.  As Gloria Steinem said, “The truth will set you free — but first it’s going to really piss you off.”

I totally agree.

Oh, and use coconut oil on everything.  Drink it.  Eat it.  Rinse your mouth with it.  Wash your face with it.  Slather it all over your body.  It’s nature’s magic wonder ball.


  • Marsha Calhoun says:

    I am, for now at least, wearing leggings rather than jeans, which means longer tops, so I am breaking out my much-loved oversize men’s broadcloth shirts that hang down over my butt and saying to heck with what anyone thinks – I am comfortable and I look fine to me! Also, I had meant to thank you, or rather, one of your readers, or one of your readers’ readers, for the suggestion to use Milk of Magnesia as a deodorant – it really works, it isn’t messy, and I have no reason to believe that magnesium hydroxide, sodium hypochlorite, or purified water will give me Alzheimer’s, as it has been suggested that aluminum might. Yet I am still vaguely skittish about admitting that I use it.

    • My Year of Fabulous says:

      Wow! It really works? That’s great! I’ll have to try it. By the way, have you tried fleece-lined tights? They are amazing! I just got my first pair! I’ll never go back to regular tights!

      • Marsha Calhoun says:

        Yes, it does work – I am even willing to wear my new cashmere sweater without fear. Just pat it on, using a cosmetic pad or a bit of toilet paper (that sort of fades away if you aren’t quick), or even your fingers (which rinse off easily). And I forgot to mention that cocoanut oil and I are now best friends – thanks to you! So, thanks to you. I will now explore the world of fleece-lined tights.

  • Lisa says:

    I loved your Eco mama month, too! And YES to the coconut oil. I’m a believer. And yes to the “No New Jeans” pledge for me, as well. You enlightened me (and I’m sure a lot of other people) with your post on that topic. Now can you please recommend a good deodorant, because I would love something natural that actually works ;)

    • My Year of Fabulous says:

      I’ve been using Primal Pit Paste and I think it works great. For some reason, I’m having trouble linking it for you — but the website is Hope you like it!

  • Cynthia says:

    This coming year I plan to be buying only clothes made in the USA and fairly valued. It will mean I can buy a lot less crap, but hey, that will mean I will own a lot less crap. Yay for less crap! Also, can I say I hope this turns out to be the style you stick with, at least partially? You look so happy and comfortable in it.

    • My Year of Fabulous says:

      Good for you! I think you’ll be so pleased with your decision and the quality of your clothes is going to go way up and last much longer!

  • Von says:

    p.s. I did actually have a genuine fashion dilemma yesterday so I shall share it. I really liked a dress Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, wore earlier in the year and I wanted to find something similar for the wedding I mentioned where I am a guest. I wasn’t after a copy but I had been inspired by what she wore. So, is imitation the sincerest form of flattery or is it just creepy copying? There is even a word for this as a copycat dress is a repli-Kate.

    • My Year of Fabulous says:

      I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being inspired by someone who has great style — whether it’s Kate or your neighbor, right? I love it when I’m inspired by anything and anything!

  • Von says:

    Oh dear, eco wasn’t even on the radar when I was doing my dress shopping for my sister’s wedding yesterday. I am wearing a second hand top off ebay today though but in all honesty the choices are being driven by the look I’ve aiming for rather than eco. There was me getting my teeth into the eco debates in October too…Not so much eco as ethics thing on the radar has been the horrible news about angora, the awful videos that are highlighting the cruelty of it all. I would never have thought people were being so cruel just for a bit of fluffy wool and I’m so glad that customers have complained to the shops so that lots have now stopped stocking angora. It just goes to show that a little knowledge really can change things, especially with social media. It is so hard to be informed about everything eco/ethical and I certainly felt that in eco month but I’d rather know than not and I was so impressed by the clothing you did find at the prices you paid.

    • My Year of Fabulous says:

      I haven’t heard of the angora videos and I’m so glad you didn’t link one! If animals are used in any way for profit, chances are they are being mistreated (if it’s a big company). Thanks for giving me the heads up on it though!

Comments? Fire away.