5 Brands That Make Giving Back Your Best Accessory
Accessorizing can transform an old outfit into a new look. Adding a piece of jewelry, selecting a certain pair of shoes, and even just wearing glasses showcases your personality. When that item you incorporate into an outfit is truly cherished, it can even make you feel better. But why stop at making yourself feel better when you could be improving the lives of others, or empowering another person through your choice of accessories? Fashionable giving is the best accessory for style-setter, and by shopping these five brands, you’ll look great and feel great about your purchases.
1. Warby Parker
Glasses are just as much of an accessory as a piece of jewelry, or handbag. Like a beloved ring, people wear glasses every day — albeit for a different reason. When choosing frames, it is important to consider how they look on you, and if they fit your lifestyle. People pick a certain pair based on how they make them feel, tapping into the same process that goes into selecting other accessories. So even though glasses are not an optional choice like a necklace, they are still an accessory.
Warby Parker sells their frames in the brand’s storerooms and online. Among the eyeglass offerings, you’ll find classic styles in chromes, tortoise shell, and neutrals. Equally noticeable are sages, reds, and blues slipped into the sleek designs. For its sunglasses line, Warby Parker sells aviators, wayfarers, and for women, Jackie O-worthy rounded shades. There is even a monocle available, if that suits your style. All glasses cost $95, and when a pair of are purchased, Warby Parker donates a pair to someone who needs glasses but cannot afford them.
There are over 1 billion people who cannot access eyeglasses, Warby Parker says on its website, and it is trying to cut that number down. So far, the company has been able to donate over 500,000 glasses to people in need. Warby Parker does this by providing either glasses or funding to a non-profit partner. That partner then distributes the glasses, along with entrepreneurial training, so the recipient can open a shop selling glasses in their own community.
2. Project Paz
The woven bracelets for Project Paz (for sale on L-atitude) are so simply pretty, you’ll be ditching your sterling silver more a casual look. Each is embellished with a little heart-shaped bird with “Paz” engraved on the charm. The bracelets are the most extensive part of Sara Beltran’s designs as part of Project Paz’s accessories line, but there are two necklaces as well. Each has a Paz heart too, and colored tassels at the end of the chain, but even with the necklace you aren’t escaping the bracelet. Since it is not your usual chain-clasp option, you can tie the necklace as a bracelet if you prefer a non-woven option for your wrist. The bracelets and the necklace/bracelet each cost $65, but if you have deeper pockets, there are two other options.
The first is another bracelet, designed by Eddie Borgo. Every bit of Borgo’s punk rock aesthetic shines through, with spikes on the brightly colored bracelet. Second are a pair of wedge boots from Alejandro Ingelmo, who took inspiration from the Aztecs for the patterns on the heel of the wedges. The boots will set you back $795, and the bracelet retails for $600.
Much steeper prices than the $65 Beltran jewelry, but every penny is headed to a good cause. Project Paz, through a variety of sources, donates all money to promoting peace in Ciudad Juarez Mexico. Project Paz chose the region specifically because of its strong economic and social ties to the United States. People are attracted to the area because it has tremendous potential for work opportunities, but unfortunately, its location attracts drug cartels too. Murder and violence have declined in recent years, but the people who went to the area to work need assistance building up their community, which is where Project Paz steps in with economic aid.
3. Roma Boots
Every rainy day calls for its own set of accessories, and it doesn’t get much cuter, or practical, than a pair of wellies — and that is where Roma comes in. The classic boots were done in muted hues, and are available in a glossy or matte finish. The plum is particularly covetable for its rich color. The kids aren’t left out of this trend either, with short boots that will keep their feet dry all day. The classic line features primary tones and an explosion of hues are available for newer boots.
The bright, playful colors will brighten any overcast sky, and are available in the adult line too. If banishing the storms with your radiant rainboots sounds too flashy, there is a black boot under the new line. Trading a little visual excitement (like the magenta, or yellow offer) is a small price to pay for a pair of boots you can wear with almost any outfit. The boots are affordable, with adult boots costing $89, and children’s boots priced at $49. There are also certain styles on sale in the adult line for $59.
More importantly, in the words of Roma, you’ll be giving “poverty the boot” with your purchase. Founder Samuel Bistrian was born in Romania where he witnessed hardships that inspired him to do something. When one pair of Roma boots are purchased, another pair are sent to a child in need. In addition to boots, the child receives school supplies, and 10 percent of all sales go to the Roma For All Foundation. The aim of the organization is to break the cycle of poverty by offering aid and education.
4. Headbands of Hope
In the search for Blair Waldorf-worthy hair accessories, Headbands of Hope will have just what you’re looking for. It is affordable, so you can build a collection worthy of the Gossip Girl character. There is variety in what is sold, and the designer is attuned to current trends, so your bands won’t cause a fashion ban.
The beaded headbands are glitzy accessories that give a nod to the flapper era without looking like the headband was borrowed from your Halloween costume. Chiffon flowers, lace bands, and bows create a polished looked from an every-day accessory. On the functional side, knitted headbands will keep your ears from becoming a raw red accessory as the winds whip around your head in the colder months. You can even maintain your fitness goals while keeping your hair out of your face with patterned no-slip headbands.
While you’re staying perfectly Waldorf at all times of the day, you’ll be helping children with cancer. Jessica Ekstrom started Headbands for Hope after an internship with Make-a-Wish. “During my internship, I saw that girls loved to wear headbands after losing their hair to chemotherapy,” Ekstrom writes on the website. “Being a young girl presents many struggles with self-esteem already, and losing their hair as a result of a life-threatening illness is traumatic.”
Since starting Headbands of Hope, Ekstrom has branched out and created Headwear for Hope to assist boys with cancer too. For every hair accessory someone purchases, two things happen. First, another piece is donated to a girl or boy with cancer. Second, $1 is given to St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a charity that aims to fund childhood cancer research in order to find a cure and assist survivors.
5. Raven + Lily
When you need the perfect piece of statement jewelry, turn to Raven + Lily. While you’re at it, you can search for a clutch or scarf too. Unlike many pieces of stand-out jewelry, Raven + Lily’s line proves that the biggest impact doesn’t have to come from the boldest, or flashiest necklaces and bracelets. The long bird charm necklace from the Ethiopia collection draws attention for its detailing, but won’t weigh you down beneath layers of chains and gems. The same goes for the Asmir: Leather + Triangle Necklace, which uses a limited amount of geometric prints for maximum accessorizing potential.
Every single “Jacquelina: Steel Blue Stripe Infinity Scarf + Copper Leather Accent” is unique. Made from remnant materials, each scarf will have its own look and feel, so you’ll never have to worry about copying anyone’s style — or anyone copying yours. The metallic hint adds dimension to the scarf, elevating it from the usual fabrics and prints seen everyday. More metallics are in the handbag collections, creating shimmering clutches that will shine day or night. Cotton bags are perfect for toting your belongings, and are a great alternative to the normal backpack or carryall.
Kristen Dickerson and Sophia Lin started the brand to lift women out of poverty. The pieces are made by women in the U.S., Ethiopia, India, Cambodia, and Kenya. Employees are paid fair trade wages, and have access to healthcare and education. All products are made by hand, and are eco-friendly — often crafted from recycled and unusual sources. The Ethiopia Collection, for example, uses melted down bullet casings from former war conflicts for charms.