As I am writing this, it is the last day of 2020. Phew. We made it…I hope.
We all have joked on social media about what got us through this year. My list would include binge watching Criminal Minds, binge reading The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series, drinking lots of coffee, making lasagna, hanging with my man and my pups, and, like probably everyone else, online shopping.
And sure, I shopped from Target, Wal-Mart and other large companies, but I really tried to shop from good places. I tried to shop ethically and from small businesses that I found on TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and Etsy. Some of them have become staple brands in my life and others were fun to try.
And that’s what I am here to talk to you about, what I thought about the “good” brands that I tried this year. I am putting “good” in quotation marks because I mean good in the sense that they are attempting to not harm the environment and their employees, are inclusive or are a small or local business. Good attributes to have, right?
I am going to discuss what I got from these companies, if I would recommend the products I bought and if I would shop from the company again. This list by no means includes all of the brands that I shopped from.
I hope you will let me know about the brands that you shopped from this year that you deem “good;” I would also like to hear if you tried any of the same brands that I did this year. Tell me if you agree with my reviews and if you were even influenced to buy items on this list because you saw me talking about it.
(Purchased at Mountain Trails in Winchester, VA)
I was highly influenced by my mom to buy Astrals. She has a pair and wears them all the time, so when I saw them on sale at Mountain Trails I tried them on. I didn’t want to take them off, so that was a sure sign that I should buy them.
The pair I got are mega comfy and water resistant. I also get a lot of joy from the color. I think I would have worn them more this summer if I would have left my house more. If you like to hike or take long walks, these are a good choice for you.
10/10 would recommend.
GLDN: Micah Ring with Mountain Symbol, Size 10.5 (custom), $47.25 including taxes and shipping
I bought this ring for myself because I really wanted a ring for my middle finger on my left hand to go beside my wedding ring. I found GLDN through Instagram; they are an ethical small business.
GLDN was kind of enough to customize a ring for my large fingers and the packaging was oh so cute. The ring has gotten some scratches on it fairly quickly, but that could be my fault because I was not more careful and didn’t clean it often enough.
My parents got me this necklace for Christmas and I love it! It is really simple and good for layering. It also is adjustable, which I enjoy because then you can wear it in many different ways.
8/10 would recommend for slightly upscale jewelry at a decent price and quality.
(Won a $100 gift card from giveaway with @moosoutfits on Instagram, paid $13.78 out of pocket for taxes and shipping and whatever was leftover.)
Look! People do win those Instagram giveaways! Also, this is a formal apology to all of my close friends and family that I tag in the comments of said giveaways.
I was excited to try this brand out because they are an ethical brand run by women! We love to see it.
I was disappointed when I saw that the prices were very high and that they were not inclusive in their sizing. I managed to find the biggest size they had on the site, which was a custom top in the clearance section. Then, I used the rest of my gift card to get scrunchies and hand towels.
The top barely fit me in the arms, but was loose everywhere else. I really liked the look of it and the fabric was really nice. It was one of those tops I could have seen myself having for a long time and wearing with a lot of things. Because it was so tight in my arms, I gave it to my mom who is smaller than me. She wears it regularly.
The scrunchies are sort of rough and don’t work all that well in my very thick hair. The hand towels, however, are very cute and soft.
5/10 would not recommend because of their exclusivity, even though they do custom orders, and their price point. I am still very grateful for the gift card though.
I heard about this brand on YouTube a long time ago and this spring, I decided to give them a whirl.
These eco-friendly shoes did not disappoint. I think they are very stylish and are the type of sandal that will never go out of style. I got the gray color so that I could wear them with a lot of outfits.
They are very comfortable and did not rub on my ankles. The bottoms were kind of slick at first, but the longer I wore them the more traction I got. They seem to be kind of loose on one of my heels, but I will attribute that to one of my feet being bigger than the other.
The price is excellent in my opinion and a little canvas bag comes with the shoes!
8/10 would recommend purchasing, but maybe sizing down.
LovelyEarthlings: Ride in your swimsuit TOTE BAG, $29.95 including taxes and shipping
I found this small business through Etsy in the beginning of the summer when the Black Lives Matter movement was on my mind. I wanted to support a black-owned business and that’s just what I did.
I thought this tote bag was so beautiful and I love all of the fat bottomed girls on their bikes. The quality is good and the price was probably low for original art.
10/10 would recommend.
If memory serves, I first heard about Rareform through an ad on Instagram and when the opportunity arose for me to buy a bag that I could wear when I was walking the dogs, I turned to them.
What I was seeking was a water resistant crossbody bag that I could fit my phone, a pocketknife, my keys and a couple of poop bags in. I got just that.
Rareform is so cool because they make all of their bags out of recycled billboards, so none of the bags are mass produced or like any other. The quality is pretty good. The only sign of wear has been a couple of loose strings on the bottom of the bag. The price is fair and I am considering buying bigger bags from them in the future.
9/10 would recommend.
I have been aware of Hara the Label for a long time and when my birthday came around my lovely husband bought some leggings for me from there. I had known them exclusively for their bras and underwear, but I was excited to try them out nonetheless. They are an ethical and inclusive company.
I wasn’t sure if an XL would fit me and since they came from Australia, I was hoping that they would fit me so I wouldn’t have to ship anything back to them. And, surprisingly, they did!
These leggings are more for lounging than anything else because they are pretty transparent and don’t offer much support. The color was beautiful, they seem to be made well and they are very soft.
I wear them napping or to bed and am trying to think of a way to style them out in the real world!
6/10 would recommend buying your size according to the size chart and for trying out their bras and underwear. I don’t think that the price was good for leggings that are see-through and, bless my man, he didn’t know what size I wore.
These underwear came highly recommended and as someone who bleeds, I want nothing more than to be as comfortable as possible during those times of the month.
I should have done a better job at consulting the size chart because I ordered an XXL and they did not fit me hardly at all. I would have probably sized up two times. Since they were a gift from my mom, we attempted to return them and their response was to immediately refund me and let me keep the pair that I already had.
Because of their excellent customer service and my size chart misunderstanding, I will be trying Thinx again and I would 8/10 recommend that you do the same all while considering their slightly off size chart.
You already know how I feel about Girlfriend Collective, so read this post to know the details.
10/10 would recommend. Obvi.
I found this company because it is owned by Meena Harris, vice president-elect, Kamala Harris’ niece. This company makes slogan tees and sweatshirts from pop culture.
The slogan “per my last email” spoke to me on a spiritual level, so I had to purchase it. I could have sized down to a 2XL and would have gotten the oversized fit that I was after, but I got the 3XL instead and I am still pleased with it.
The quality is excellent and I like the burnt out maroon color.
10/10 would recommend.
I found this small business on TikTok before I deleted the app for my own sanity. I thought Austin, the owner, was ambitious and cool so I wanted to support him during this trying time.
This Scorpio necklace is going to be good for layering and to tell people to watch out for my passionate self. I also really enjoyed the packaging and the note from Austin.
10/10 would recommend shopping from The Neighborhood, they have all sorts of goodies online.
I hope you enjoyed and are, once again, inspired to shop! Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from me to you.
See you next year for more shopping and more fashion!
Update on March 4, 2022:
My mountain ring scratched very quickly, so I don’t wear it often.
I sadly let go of the Hara leggings because I didn’t wear them hardly ever. I will forever remember how hard my sweet husband tried to get me something cool.
Update on March 7, 2023:
Of all of the things that I listed above, I still own and recommend supporting Girlfriend Collective, Rareform, Phenomenal Woman and The Neighborhood.