The Baby Bag Guide

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When it comes to the perfect bag to tote around the numerous items your little one needs there's no one size fits all, or more accurately, one style fits all occasions. As I’ve quickly learnt, this can be said for many things you’ll buy as a parent, but for the purpose of this post I’m focusing on baby bags, because let’s face it, a bag is part of your outfit and so for me these purchases took careful consideration.

We started by investing in two styles, a his and a hers, or a formal and casual option, to best fit our daily needs and work for both me and my husband. Seven months in and I’ve just purchased my third baby bag to accommodate the smaller storage tray of our travel stroller (another additional item), because why should you lose all sense of your personal style just because you’re traveling…I’m all for the functionality of a backpack but it’s just not my everyday style! Just like the two bags featured in this post it’s not specifically designed to be a baby bag and comes from one of my go to sustainable brands Baggu…I’ll keep you posted on how well it serves me.

Here are my thoughts on what to look for and consider in your search for the perfect baby bag for you and your family:

The Handbag

My priority with this option was to still feel like me, you don’t have to lose all sense of your previous style for functionality! The gorgeous Fashionable Alem Utility Bag has allowed me to retain my personal style while also providing all the function necessary of a baby bag. With enough internal pockets to keep everything organised and large enough to fit mine and baby's stuff this bag is my daily go to. The detachable long strap was a must for me so I’d have the option to wear it crossbody and go handsfree, and to easily hang over the handlebar of my stroller...both of which I have never actually done, I guess some features you can’t be sure you’ll need until you’re in it. The external pocket is great and allows easy access to my phone and keys plus the full zip closure ensures the contents in the main compartment remain secure...no matter how tightly they’re packed in! The classic design and better when worn in leather of this everyday tote means it will easily transform and adapt to accommodate whatever is needed of it in the future.

Fashionable creates jobs in communities both locally and globally. They employ women who have often overcome extraordinary circumstances and by providing these opportunities have a vision of ending generational poverty. The Alem Utility Bag is handcrafted by artisans in Ethiopia and Mexico with 100% distressed genuine leather.

The Backpack

A necessary functional piece, this second baby bag is technically the hubby's although we did want it to be unisex. The main purpose of the baby backpack is to make family outings to the park and travel easy, and the Lo & Sons Hanover Deluxe Backpack does it all with style and simplicity. Multiple internal pockets keep everything organised and easy to find and with an entirely removable insert any spills are easily cleaned. It also has an easy access front pocket and necessary side slip pockets for the reusable water bottle and quick access to items like wipes. This bag is our go to for family adventures, the memory foam padded shoulder straps make all day carrying a breeze and a sleeve that attaches the bag to luggage handles makes it perfect for longer trips too. 

Lo & Sons creates thoughtfully designed and highly functional bags that are built to last for years. The exterior of the Hanover Backpack is a 600D high density, water resistant, recycled polyester made from recycled plastic bottles.

The Portable Change Mat

There are so many options out there when it comes to portable change mats but I think I've found the most stylish and functional option of them all! The Storq Kit Bag is cute enough to carry on it's own for quick trips out of the house and covers all of the necessary functions required of a change mat. It's large enough to fit diapers, wipes and a change of clothes, while a smooth zip closure and carry handle make it easy to transport. Plus the most genius design element of all is the exterior magnetic pocket that holds the actual change mat, making one handed use a breeze, which when you're holding a baby in one arm is kind of essential! This bag is durable, machine washable and will last through many a new family member! 

Storq creates thoughtfully designed maternity wear to mix seamlessly with your existing wardrobe. Eco-friendly and natural fibres are used where possible and all products are ethically made locally in the USA and in China.


Good luck with your search and I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you’ve found essential features for your baby bag (or bags if you’re like me and have multiple!).

5 Ethical Maternity Lingerie Brands For New Mums

Whether you’re planning on breastfeeding or not there comes a time during your pregnancy when maternity lingerie will be a necessity. This can be yet another daunting task on your road to motherhood as it, once again, involves areas of your body that have changed and grown! To take the stress out of your lingerie shopping, whether you’re investing in nursing bras or simply need maternity pyjamas for your impending hospital stay, check out these awesome sustainable options that will have you covered no matter what your needs:

Belabumbum

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This brand, hailing from Brazil and pronounced bela-boom-boom which means ‘beautiful bum’ in Portuguese, focuses exclusively on maternity and nursing wear and believes mums and mums-to-be need to take a moment to care for themselves. I’m sure we can all agree that’s something we can get on board with! In addition to this mission Belabumbum was founded as a social enterprise, with care, ethics and dignity in all of their work interactions built into the brands approach from the very beginning. Working with 9 factories across South America they nurture entrepreneurs and boost job security through microlending, lower profit margins and smart supply chain management.   

This ethically sourced range includes nursing bras, maternity sleepwear and also a selection of activewear styles, plus you can even get coordinating sleepwear for Mum and baby, too cute!

www.belabumbum.com

Sorella Organics

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Independent Australian label, Sorella Organics, builds their range of sleepwear and loungewear for men, women and expecting mums exclusively using certified organic and fair trade cotton fabrications. But their commitment to ethics and sustainability doesn’t stop there; collections are made both locally and in Fiji, where founder Anna McGregor spent 3 years upskilling workers in cutting, sewing and finishing to help build capacity and create opportunities for workers to partner with other Australian brands, contributing to sustainable employment. Because of her efforts Anna has become an honorary member of Ethical Fashion Forums Fellowship 500, an industry body for sustainable fashion.

With beautifully soft, all organic sleep and lounge collections you’ll find everything you need for relaxing at home in those last months of pregnancy and first few months with baby when your comfort will be key!

www.sorellaorganics.com.au

Boob Design 

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Boob’s patented nursing collection began when founder, Mia Seipel, realised that mothers, just like super heroes, deserve the right gear. Almost 20 years later and the brand now makes clothes for all stages of motherhood with a focus on double function pieces suitable for pregnancy and nursing. All of this combined with their dedication to use 100% sustainable materials, responsible production through building long lasting relationships with factories that share their human rights and environmental values, and having all products certified according to Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex to ensure no harmful chemicals are present, makes Boob Design a leader in sustainable maternity wear. 

For all of your maternity and nursing wardrobe needs from bras to dresses, swimwear to leggings, look no further. These pieces will live in your wardrobe for a long time and Boob Design will even take back what you’re done with to ensure they keep their clothes in the loop.  

www.boobdesign.com

Top Secret

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With a range catering to all of your nursing needs, Top Secret Maternity was founded with a desire to help expecting mums nurse discreetly in public. Creating collections that are fashionable, functional and versatile enough to take you from pregnancy to nursing and beyond remains the brands main focus. Top Secret Maternity achieves all of this while also producing all of their garments locally in Australia from all Australian made fabrics; and with their fabric supplier, garment maker and warehouse all based in Melbourne they’re also reducing their carbon footprint. If all this wasn’t enough the brand is also accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia. 

This carefully curated collection of thoughtful designs, which includes a selection of plus size garments, will help simplify your nursing journey.

www.topsecretmaternity.com

Majamas

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Committed to making beautiful clothes that don’t destroy the planet, Majamas produces all of it’s garments locally in the USA with fabrics that are also locally made. The brands women’s, maternity, baby and soon to be mens ranges all focus on the use of organic cotton or other more environmentally conscious fabrics like Tencel, Modal or recycled polyester. Local production is what helps Majamas ensure no chemicals are present in their garments, waste water isn’t dumped into the oceans and their garment workers are fairly paid, meeting founder Germaine Capiro’s mission to build a brand centred around responsibility to the environment regardless of the cost.

Discover responsibly made maternity and nursing friendly bras, sleepwear and more plus check out their cute pieces for baby while you’re at it.  

www.majamas.com

This article was created for and originally published on The Green Hub

5 Sustainable Brands For Your Baby's Wardrobe

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When it comes to dressing your little one there are so many adorable options to choose from, I mean what isn't cute when it's in a miniature size?! But, as we know, not all clothes are created equal. When you consider how delicate newborn skin is, what you choose to wrap your baby in becomes all that much more important.

Naturally my first stop when I found out I was pregnant was to check out the huge variety of baby clothes out there, and of course make a few purchases. Over the last few months I've discovered some amazing brands that are not only ridiculously cute but also offer ethical and sustainable baby clothes that are reasonably priced. So here are my top 5 brands to get your little eco baby on his or her way to a sustainable wardrobe:


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Nature Baby

Focussing their range on organic cotton and merino wool fabrications Nature Baby ensures it's garments meet babies needs for softness, breathability, warmth and durability while taking care of the world in which they will grow. The brands GOTS certified organic cotton is sourced in India and produced on farms that have become self sustaining while also offering factory workers fair conditions. This is achieved by paying above the minimum wage, providing equality between male and female workers and having zero tolerance for child labour. Merino wool is locally sourced in New Zealand, where Nature Baby was founded, and is ZQ accredited to ensure it comes from happy, healthy sheep.

Feel confident with Nature Baby for your sustainable little ones wardrobe from newborn to 4 years old, plus you'll find a selection of bedding, toys and necessities for Mum. 

www.naturebaby.com


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Purebaby

With a vision dedicated to creating beautiful baby clothing while never compromising on social responsibility, Purebaby's range is created predominantly with GOTS certified organic cotton fabrics that have been dyed with GOTS certified natural dyes. The brand substitutes only natural fibres where organic cotton fabrications are not suitable, ensuring their garments are soft, durable and strong while also allowing young, delicate skin to breathe. Purebaby partners with social organisations, St Kilda Mums and Global Sisters, to give back to the community and also offer Nesting Workshops in their stores to pass on practical tips to soon to be parents. 

Clothe your babes responsibly from newborn to 4 years old, plus Purebaby have you covered with beautiful nursery and gifting options.

www.purebaby.com.au


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Huxbaby  

A minimalist approach is what sets this brand apart. Focusing their range on gender neutral designs in a minimal colour palette, think black, white and grey, combined with graphics that pop, Huxbaby wants parents to buy once and buy well. As well as offering thoughtful designs, Huxbaby primarily uses GOTS certified organic cotton and AZO free dyes to ensure their clothing is of the highest quality, constructed to last and most importantly delicate on your baby's skin. This range of basics that are anything but basic will work hard for you well beyond baby number one and ensure your entire brood is clothed in timeless and sustainable style.

Dress your little minimalists in Huxbaby from 0-3 months through to 5 years old...and all over again as your family continues to grow. 

www.huxbaby.com


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Milk and Masuki

As well as their namesake brand, Milk and Masuki offer a curated selection of the best organic kids products from Australia, New Zealand and around the world, all of which align with the brands ethics and aesthetics. With a commitment to organic cotton from the outset this brand offers creativity and unique designs through their hand painted prints and are proud to be part of an ethical and environmentally friendly supply chain. Designs featuring koalas and kiwis mean you can represent your baby's homeland in a completely adorable way, plus you'll find a beautiful selection of responsible accessories for Mum so you can treat yourself too.

Clothe your kids in creativity from newborn right through to 8 years old with Milk and Masuki's unique range and more from their handpicked selection of local, ethical and sustainable brands.

www.milkandmasuki.com


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aden + anais

Standing firmly behind their preferred fabric choice, this brand has become known for it's signature muslin products which provide softness, breathability and comfort for your little one as well as durability. Beginning with the multi functional swaddle, aden + anais now offer a full range of clothing, sleepwear, blankets, bibs and bedding made out of this natural fibre they believe so much in to keep your baby safe and comfortable. Because of its aforementioned durability muslin is easy to wash and will last for years, plus aden + anais now offer ranges made from 100% GOTS certified organic cotton and a silky soft muslin which is combined with rayon made from bamboo.  

Wrap your babies in natural comfort with these infamous multi purpose swaddles from aden + anais that will last for years, plus clothing from newborn to 18 months and sleepwear up to age 4.

www.adenandanais.com


This article was originally published on The Green Hub

Shop Your Wardrobe Like A Pro In 5 Simple Steps

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After experiencing a bit of a style rut of late (because let's be honest, below freezing temps combined with a limited portion of your wardrobe fitting you can pretty easily result in feeling uninspired by your clothing options!) I started thinking more about the concept of shopping your wardrobe. While it may seem pretty self explanatory it can also be one of those tasks that's easier said than done. So next time you're feeling the need to add to your wardrobe with some "retail therapy" instead try these 5 simple steps to successfully shop your wardrobe:

1. Set Up Shop

Start by grouping together each garment type and only having out items that fit you and are season appropriate. Imagine it like you're walking into a store where everything is your size and available for you to wear straight away. You don't want to be distracted or disheartened by items you can't currently wear! Dividing your wardrobe into categories like pants, tops, jackets etc. will then make it easier to recognise what you wear the least, what you wear the most and will also be helpful when it comes to putting outfit combinations together. 

2. Highlight Neglected Items

Within each category pull out any items that may have been neglected of late and ask yourself why. The fun part is figuring out how these pieces can be brought back into the rotation of your wardrobe! Does it need to be made more weather appropriate? Maybe some layering with other items will make a piece workable. Is a particular item not making you feel great anymore? You may be able to pair it with an item you love or style it with accessories to make it work for you again. Or are you simply feeling bored with an item and need to hit the refresh button? Then get creative! Have some fun and play around with different ways you can incorporate neglected items back into existing favourite outfit combinations or even create totally new ones with them!

3. Incorporate Loved Items

Rely on your most frequently worn pieces to pull your looks together and help restore your love in those neglected items. You may also want to consider how these pieces can work harder for you...chances are they might be in need of a little revival themselves as their high rotation in your wardrobe could have you feeling little bored. That's where creating new combinations in the previous step comes in, a neglected item may breathe fresh life into a loved piece, and how you can maximise a garments feel good factor by making the most of accessories in the next step...

4. Focus on Accessories

Just like with your clothing it's likely you have your favourites when it comes to your accessory collection too. What's key to keep in mind is that there's nothing like changing up a necklace, wearing those boots that have been at the back of your wardrobe or even adding a bright lipstick to make your outfit feel new and fresh. It's easy to overlook the small details and go for the same tried and trusted accessories but in reality it's these pieces that can make the biggest impact. So focus on how you can make the most of your accessories, all of them, by pulling out those pieces you haven't used in a while and really considering how they can add to an outfit.

5. Reflect On Photos

As well as taking snaps of any new outfit combinations you come up with it can often be useful to look back on photos from 12 months ago and provide yourself with some inspiration through the outfits you wore last year. It's surprising how often all it takes is to be reminded of a look that you loved last season and are yet to wear this year. And you never know, it may even spark an idea of how a piece could be worn differently with this years style in mind.


Most importantly, the next time you're in a style rut and feeling uninspired or like you have nothing to wear, try to remember this...you're the only one that sees your wardrobe everyday! Yes it's easy to get sick of your clothes and even easier to get caught up in the notion of needing new ones, so instead flip these thoughts and reverse them, be proud of your wardrobe and get creative with your style!

Brand Spotlight: Lois Hazel

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Founded in Melbourne, Australia in 2015, Lois McGruer-Fraser, armed with a background working for large fashion houses overseas and a desire to combine fashion with honesty, set about creating her timeless and chic label Lois Hazel. Almost three years down the track and Lois has created a brand that epitomises what it means to be transparent, achieves responsible and sustainable fabric sourcing, and has built it's foundations on strong relationships with local factories and seamstresses. Read my Q&A with the pioneer herself to learn more about this game changing fashion label and visit Lois Hazel to view the latest range...you won't be disappointed!  

What was your inspiration behind starting Lois Hazel?

I wanted to create an honest womenswear brand. A brand that didn’t just offer more fashion to the world, but something that gave back too. I wanted to create pieces that my customers would cherish for more than a season, and allow them to be engaged with the brand's story as much as I am, by communicating a transparent supply chain. 

Why do you think transparency is so important for the fashion industry? 

I think the consumer needs to be more in touch and aware of what is actually involved with making clothes. We interact with them on a daily basis without even really realising that each piece that we wear is made by someone, somewhere. Even the fabric, or the trims have gone through multiple people's hands and it’s time to start bringing that journey into the light and I think being transparent is a great start. 

In letting the consumer see the list of people and other businesses involved in each garment hopefully will help them understand why it is so important to make sure each level of the supply chain is being looked after, paid fairly and in a safe working environment. Consumers have the most power to see change happen in this industry, so the more people who ask for transparency in the brands they love, will hopefully shine the light on areas that need improvement in the way the fashion industry currently operates.

Your range is manufactured in house or locally, why is this important to you and the Lois Hazel brand?

Being able to pop over to one of our factories, or have dinner with one of our makers is so incredible. I don’t have to wait months before I can finally touch the final product but rather, I am able to be involved in each step. Making sure everything is being made well, and knowing that the people who make my clothes are able to earn a decent living out of it, and provide more jobs within the industry here in Australia.

How do you go about sourcing fabrics for your collections and why do you choose to incorporate dead stock textiles? 

Wall Fabrics is a New Zealand company who specialise in offering dead stock textiles to the market and we work with them each season. Often, I start the design process by heading to their Melbourne showroom where I find at least one fabric that sparks a new range. 

I want to start each range here as I know I want to incorporate or even offer majority of my range out of these textiles. In doing this means instead of creating more, I’m able to reuse what is already available and prevent more textile waste going to landfill. It also helps my design process, as often I’m limited in choice which helps me narrow down the concept for each range. Not having the world to choose from in a range does push your creative juices a bit further, allowing me to create unique, limited pieces. 

What’s your advice to women who want to build a more sustainable and timeless wardrobe that they’ll love for years to come?

Invest. Don’t be afraid to invest in good quality clothing. Yes sustainable pieces are normally a slightly higher price point, but they are more likely to last you longer, be with you through multiple phases and won’t go out of fashion as soon as the next trend appears. I also feel when you spend more on something, especially with a strong ethical focus, you end up taking more thoughtful care of it and feel a lot prouder when you wear it. Why not look great, feel great and know that you are contributing to something great like a fairer fashion industry. 

View the latest range at Lois Hazel