Introducing a recurring series: Tradlands Worn Well. Interviews with people we admire who are changing the way we get dressed. We talk about living well in clothing you love and how wardrobe choices are shaped by the day-to-day.
We chatted with our Canadian style muse, @petraalexandra, where she shares from all avenues of her life: cruising around in a VW, decorating her 1926 home, her love of slow fashion, minimalist decor, and sustainability tips.
How does your day to day inform what you wear?
I am so influenced by weather and how much sleep I get! When I outfit plan, I usually batch it all on a weekend and photograph each outfit so that during the week, I can open up my phone and choose what to wear from the catalogue of photos based on my mood. It’s all very “Clueless”! When I do my planning, I look at the long-term forecast and make sure to put together a bunch of looks that will be comfortable, but flexible with layering if the weather changes. Each morning, I check the weather again and choose.
How would you describe your personal style?
Classic, simple, easy. I love feeling comfortable, but I almost never wear leggings or sweatpants out of the house. Not sure why! I just feel so at home in jeans. I’m a big fan of simple, casual looks that are accented by a refined shoe to elevate the whole thing. Pointy toes are my weakness. But they instantly have the power to make an outfit with ripped jeans way more refined.
Where do you look for style inspiration?
Oh, everywhere! I find most of my true inspiration comes from watching other people in the city on my commute. Seeing something in a little square on Instagram is great, but there’s no comparison to seeing how things function and flow in real life. There are so many interesting little styling quirks that people use in real life, which I then use for my own outfits. Even down to: why do some people’s jeans look great with booties, and others don’t?
I use these real-life opportunities to study the typical length that tends to have a more polished finish, versus why I might feel less put-together. And when it comes down to it, a lot of my conclusions were: it’s time to tailor my jeans that are too long! If you work in a big city, there’s an endless data set to study.
Why do you choose to shop ethically?
It started as a way to manage my finances when I moved to my own house. I had no room for extracurriculars (let’s be honest, everything was tight!) so I gave up shopping for clothes and started posting photos of how I was trying to get creative with what I already had. When I did have a gap in my wardrobe or household, I would visit the antique mall and find vintage jeans or dresses or cheese graters (true story), whatever I needed.
I also work full-time at a charity that partners with artisans around the world to provide a fair market for their work, and that’s what motivated me to think critically about who was making the products I was purchasing new. I got to know the people behind the products, their lives, their ambitions, their wit and community – the combination of this with my objective to live more intentionally snowballed to where I am now.
What inspired you to start your #WearRewear initiative?
When I first started in my career, I remember feeling like it’d reflect badly on me if I wore the same thing too often, or too soon. I would obsessively (and successfully) not wear the same thing for weeks. It was a draining process. Once I moved and knew that my budget in independent, single life wouldn’t support that, I said “to hell with it!” I made the decision that my new thing would be how to make the items I DID have work hard. It became a challenge to wear them in as many ways as possible.
I didn’t want to perpetuate the idea that Instagram bloggers should always have something new, or always need something new to keep engagement up. So I created a hashtag where I could celebrate the items I was wearing again and loving. That was the first step. Then it became: how much do people in real life pay attention to the clothes you’re repeating? I wore the same dress to work for 8 days, in different ways. 10% of the people noticed. To me, #WearReWear is about us saying, YES, I love this garment! And I am proud to keep wearing it. .
What are 3 must-have items in your wardrobe?
A GOOD pair of jeans. A crewneck t-shirt/long sleeve. A solid button-up that I can layer, wear overtop, tie at the waist, tuck, button all the way… (I could keep going, but we’ll end up in a Bubba-Gump Shrimp situation). Those are always the 3 I reach for!
Tell us something special about you.
I have a café-au-lait birthmark on my left elbow that’s the exact same shape and size (and placement!) of one on my Nonna’s opposite elbow. We can sit and place them side-by-side. They’re identical!
Thank you so much, Sara!
Check out more of her style, decor, and sustainability tips on her blog and Instagram.