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From fast fashion to slow style

Simplifying my wardrobe has been such. a. long. road! When I lived in Florida, I would run to the mall after work or on the weekends just to pick up a cheap "fast fashion" type outfit for Friday night.

My closet was bursting with Forever 21, H&M, and Target clothes yet I wore the same ten things each season. If you could've seen my closet you'd be embarrassed for me! Ha!

All the shopping was a distraction for me...that's a whole other ball of wax we can talk about. I dive into it a little bit HERE. But what about the copious amounts of cheap clothing?

Turns out, I didn't need 90% of it, actually I feel more like myself without it! I've never had a smaller closet than I do now...and I share it with my fiancé.

Now, I focus on strategic high quality investment pieces, scratch my fashion itch with thrifting, and repair clothing when need be.

This approach is so much better for me AND the planet so let's dive into my ride or die wardrobe!!

My Essentials:

The two outerwear pieces I will have for the rest of my life!

This is going to sound nuts but I get cold really easily. "But don't you live in the coldest part of the lower 48?" Yes...yes, I do. Which is why when I suggest warm clothing, you can bet your sweet tush it's a reliable recommendation! Without further ado, my two warmest winter wardrobe staples:
 

The Carhartt Bibs

The Askov Finlayson Parka

Askov Finlayson is the world’s first climate positive outerwear brand! Their mission is to #KeepTheNorthCold, which I am 100% in support of!

This was my first winter with their parka and WOW! I've NEVER had a warmer piece of clothing. When they claim it's comfy at -20, they aren't kidding. Not only does it do its job but it's also made sustainably with 3M™ Thinsulate™ 100% Recycled Featherless Insulation!!!

*Their parkas run pretty darn true to size but the smallest they come in is a small, which is what I have. I'm 5'7" and I think it's the perfect fit.

Oh AND Askov FInlayson is a Minnesota company!

Check out their parkas HERE.

Oh Carhartt! My old friend! Bury me in Carhartt.

In all seriousness, Carhartt makes indestructible and shockingly affordable clothes. I'm really really tough on my clothes + Carhartt has been up for the challenge.

I fought the bibs for a solid year because they aren't exactly flattering BUT they are *hands down* the best hundred bucks I've ever spent on clothing.

It's like wearing your sleeping bag while playing in the snow. So comfy. So toasty. So bomb proof.

*Carhartt always runs big so be sure to size down! If you're petite, don't even bother trying to find bibs in stores. They never seem to carry anything below a size small (if that). Order online!

Click HERE for free shipping.

I live 90% of my life with a hat on...

Let's talk about mittens!

...and it's probably one of the two hats below! Why? 1. I prefer the way I look with a hat on 2. I don't have to fuss about my hair 3. a hat shields my face from the sun and keeps my noggin warm! What's not to love. 

The Carhartt Beanie

The Fiddler Hat

In the warmer months, you'll probably find me wearing this hat. It's both stylish and functional.

Whether I'm running errands or on a paddle trip, this is my go-to. I've had this one for over a year now and I'm sure folks are almost as tired of this hat as they are my Carhartt beanie. Not me though!

Snag it for less than 20 bucks HERE.


Y'all are probably so tired of seeing me in this hat. Sometimes I even sleep with it on when it's really cold out. What can I say, it's warm and indestructible. I've had the same one since HIGH SCHOOL.

These hats stretch out really well to fit any head, which is great because I have a big ole noggin. 

Click HERE to get this hat for 10 bucks. 

I've tried A LOT of mittens. (never been a big glove guy)

Up until this winter, the only mittens I've trusted were a pair of boys XLL mittens I had since middle school. Sadly, they became...um...past repair thanks to Arlo.

So my thoughtful hunny ordered me a pair of Give'r mittens for Christmas and MY GOSH! My hands have never been happier.

If you don't know anything about Give'r, they're based out of Jackson Hole, WY. Their business began as a Kickstarter campaign with the Give'r gloves and then the mittens in 2019.

Both their mittens and gloves are "the warmest, 100% waterproof, all-leather mitten. Give’r tested for protection & longevity." Their motto is "Own your frontier & give it your all!"

Aside from being warm hugs for your hands, these bad boys are INDESTRUCTIBLE! Literally, I can grab ahold of burning logs in my wood stove with these mittens.

The best part: they've got an option for all seasons.

Check 'em out HERE.

It all starts with a good base layer!

If you've got a good base layer, you're on the right track! My ride or die base layer is wool. That being said, I know lots of folks are allergic to wool. If you're in that boat, I would love to know what your suggestions would be so I can share them here. Shoot me an email!

Borealis Wool Co.

Another Minnesota company! *applause*

If you're a fan of the vibe here at AOE you're going to love Borealis Wool Co.'s motto: "Life can get cluttered if you let it, that's why we started with a simple and sustainable approach."

Any given day during the winter, you can bet I'm at least wearing the Lotus Tank.

All their pieces are made from Merino Wool, which is the warmest you can buy.

The owner, Matt, has a great story about how he started Borealis Wool Co. You can check it out HERE.

If you're in the market for wool pieces, these oughta do the trick and last you for many many years to come!

Click on each piece to the left to be directed to more information or visit the Borealis homepage HERE.


If I could own these two pants in every color, I would!

I know, I've been beating on this drum about bomb proof clothing but I think it's important. Nowhere is it more important than the "pants" category! I have two pairs of pants that I wear ALL YEAR long. One is more of a work pant and the other is more of a hiking, paddling, camping, active sort of pant.

Carhartt Crawford Pants

If the hammer loop didn't give it away, these are my work pants! But don't let them fool you, they are the comfiest pants you'll ever own.

I'm still not sure why that is because they're pretty darn rugged but they break in quickly and feel like pajama pants. Seriously!

The second reason why I love these - they have SO MANY pockets! Ladies, ladies, ladies! Finally, pants with a pocket big enough to fit more than chapstick.

Also, regardless of what you might think, these pants CAN be stylish. I've work them high waisted with a belt and crop top and I've worn them low on my hips without a belt. I feel very Kim Possible when I wear these.

Click HERE for free shipping.

Prana Halle Pant

These I actually do own in three colors.

The Halle pant is water repellent, stretchy, and you can roll them up into capris, making it the perfect pant for all things outdoors.

I bought my first pair over three years ago and still own that same pair today. Actually, that's the pair I wear the most.

These are the ultimate pants for paddling. I don't wear shorts in the canoe on long paddling days anymore. Strictly these pants! That way my legs don't get sunburnt but they stay cool.

*They run a little big so it might be worth sizing down.

Click HERE for free shipping.

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