An Ethical Blogger’s Best Buys of 2019

Best Buys of 2019

I feel like I have lived several lifetimes this year. From applying to divinity school at the last minute in January to getting in and realizing I could actually make it work in the Spring to moving to New Haven in July to completing (unbelievable!) my first semester.

As much as I enjoyed my 5 years at the thrift shop, it has been a blessing to no longer work in a tempting retail environment. I got to experiment with lots of styles thanks to access to low priced, secondhand goods, but it also kept me from being really pragmatic about what worked for me. And years of hoarding meant I had a lot of clearing out to do before moving.

Downsizing to a one bedroom apartment with only one functional closet (and dealing with the inconvenience of a 3rd-floor walkup) has been a really helpful exercise for me. I only have so much room, so if it’s not working, I don’t need to keep it. I was such a clutter bug in the larger space, and it’s surprisingly WAY easier to be a neat freak when you only have as much room as you need.

I’ve also felt less compelled to keep up the Joneses since I stopped using Instagram for “influencing,” and that has made shopping and getting dressed a lot less stressful. I trust my gut more.

I wanted to do a retrospective on the things that have worked well for me this year. It’s always hard not to favor the season I’m in when doing these types of posts, but I did my best to look back over the year’s posts to jog my memory.

Most of these purchases are ethical according to my criteria of being secondhand or ethically/sustainably produced, though the AE Jeans and Doc Martens are debatable, purchased for their usefulness rather than their straightforward ethics. This post contains affiliate links.


Vintage Irish Wool Cardigan (similar) | Featured here and here

Tightly knit, thick wool that keeps me extra warm, and they’re easy to find at reasonable prices secondhand.

Thrifted Gingham Skirt (similar) | Featured here

The perfect, classic pattern in a swingy rayon.

MATTER Prints Oversized Blazer | Featured Here

Just the right slouch, in a nice woven cotton that gives when you move.

AE Curvy Fit Denim | Featured here

Truly the perfect jeans for my proportions, I only wear the AE Curvy fit now.

Everlane Denim Jacket in Ivory | Featured here

The right amount of room in the shoulders and a looser weave than most denim, which makes this much more comfortable than most jean jackets.

ABLE Slouchy Denim | Featured here

A low rise style with a more comfortable, higher rise in the back, I got a lot of use out of these in the spring and summer.

Thrifted Merino Wool Cardigan (similar)

Professional and cozy at the same time, the narrow, long line of this cardigan makes me feel put-together.

Thrifted LL Bean Insulated Barn Coat (new // similar used)

My very favorite coat for temps in the 30s and 40s. And it fits right in here in New England.


Everlane Day Glove Flats | Featured here

Once I discovered I needed a half-size up, these were the perfect fit. I wear them as often as I get the chance.

Everlane Day Crossover Sandals | Featured here

Another perfect shoe, I wore these almost every day from June-August.

Everlane Day Boots | Featured here

These make me feel really put-together, and the gray goes with everything. Plus, they’re really comfortable for a heeled boot.

AllBirds Tree Skippers | Featured here

They’re like slipper you can wear outside. I wear these whenever my feet need a break, and also run errands in them.

Doc Martens

The thick sole keeps my feet really warm in cold weather, and the traction can’t be beat (outside of a snow boot anyway).

Nisolo Amalia Boot | Featured here

Truly the best purchase I’ve made in fall/winter footwear because these actually are waterproof (I stepped in a few puddles last week without any issues) and the dressier quality means I can wear nice shoes even when the weather is frightful.

Leah Wise

Leah Wise is the founder of StyleWise Blog. She has been writing, speaking, and consulting on sustainable fashion, the fair trade and secondhand supply chain, and digital marketing for over ten years. An Episcopal priest, Leah holds a B.A. in Religion from Florida State University and an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School. When not working, you can find her looking for treasures at the thrift store.

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