Happy Thanksgiving!

Thank you to all of you who sent me some great fashion requests  while I was travelling overseas! I am currently working on sharing some of my international fashion experiences with you, and you better believe I will get to work on your requests!

Today is the day millions of Americans gather with their families to give thanks. Thanksgiving is also a great excuse to be a glutton for the day.  On average, Americans will consume over 3,000 calories in just one meal! Craziness! At my home, its lean this and lean that, so fortunately and unfortunately, I typically do not get that post Thanksgiving guilt. What am I thankful for? Well after spending several days in Southeast Asia, I can truly say that I am thankful to live in the United States. The US is a country filled with great opportunities, and Americans are some of the kindest, most charitable people in the world. Some of the most genuine people I encountered during my travels were American, and they seemed to be the first people to help out when someone was in need.

What better way to give thanks than to give back?  Today, in light of Thanksgiving, I am highlighting fashion brands that give back when you purchase their products. Some have criticized the technique of buying items from companies that will donate to those in need for every percentage of dollars spent with the company. Their argument is that the purchase of those products, whether shoes, clothing, or accessories, is selfishly motivated and that they would have been purchased regardless. My thoughts? I don’t particularly care why people give. What matters to me is that others benefit, and that is always welcome.  Particularly during different economic times, I think it is a great way allow others to give. Buying items such as TOMS shoes for a child because they need new shoes for school , knowing that one shoe will be given to charity, allows that individual to give in a way that makes sense for that person. Plus, who knows, this form of giving my inspire others to continue to give.

That being said, here are a few brands that embrace the spirit of giving each day.

TOMS

By now most people are familiar with TOMS shoes. In fact, they have since branched into other items such as glasses and coffee. Founded in 2006, TOMS launched its “One for One” campaign donating one shoe to someone in need for every shoe purchased. According to their website, TOMS has given over 35,000,000 pairs of shoes to children in need! That is quite an accomplishment. At the time TOMS first launched, this concept of giving back for items purchased was not necessarily new, but the concept itself had not fully resonated with the shopping masses. Founder Blake Mycoskie has helped make giving a “cool” thing to do, and I applaud him for this.  It will be interesting to see where Blake will take his brand next in the pursuit of helping others. Did I mention that he is a native Texan?

I first started buying TOMS as a sophomore at Texas A&M, and the styles have truly evolved since then. Take a look at these fabulous blue suede wedges!

NAVY SUEDE WOMEN’S DESERT WEDGE HIGHS ($98)

TOMS Navy Suede Women's Desert Wedges

Warby Parker

I have had a lot of people ask me about this company, as it often is compared to TOMS. Warby Parker makes super cute and affordable eyeglasses and sunglasses. The company’s history and philosophy is really quite interesting. Warby Parker was founded by a group of students who, after losing a pair of glasses, continued on in school without replacing them due to the high cost of replacement. Glasses can be incredibly expensive, with many pairs costing between $200-$300 (with lenses factored in). I’m not even going to mention certain designers who charge over $700 for the frames alone. The company was founded on the principle that people have a right to see.  Sounds simple, right? If your sight is impaired, so is your ability to work and make a living for yourself and your family. Warby Parker decided to make affordable lenses to prevent students and others from struggling without the ability to see clearly and properly.

Many people assume that, like TOMS, they give away one pair of classes for every pair sold. Warby Parker’s strategy is a bit different. They calculate their monthly sales and donate to various charity partners. One of the most prominent partners is VisionSpring. This team works to help train both women and men from low-income backgrounds to sell glasses at price that are affordable in their communities. This is different from the “One for One” campaign.  As Warby Parker highlights on its website, it is one thing to simply give something for free, and it is another story when you can train people to help themselves and others around them. This can make a huge impact long-term. I really appreciate their strategy.

Unfortunately, law school has left me with poor vision (thanks…said no one, ever). So, I myself am in need of a new pair. How cute are the Winston glasses?

Warby Parker Winston Eyeglasses

Winston Eyeglasses

Glasses can be difficult to find, as you want to make sure they properly frame your face. Warby Parker makes this process easier, as they can ship several styles to you for free, or you can try them on virtually. Pretty cool!

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