Our featured Canadian influencer this month is Jen Pistor, whose sustainable September pick in VITA is simultaneously old and new! Read all about Jen below, and watch for more fabulous influencer insights in the coming months! —Vita Daily
Hi Jen! Please tell us a bit about yourself to start.
Hi! I’m a model, blogger and mom of three girls. I had an early start to the fashion world when I started modelling at 10 years old. I’ve modelled off and on over the years and now, after babies, find myself getting back into it for sustainable, size-diverse brands. I’ve also been blogging for the past 10 years. The blog has evolved over time and I feel I have now finally found my voice. I primarily write about slow, ethical and sustainable fashion as well as personal style and self love in a size 14 body. My main gig is being a stay-at-home mom to my three littles (a six-year-old and twin three-year-olds). If you’re thinking “that must be busy,” yes … yes it is. Motherhood, these days especially, has tested and pushed me in ways I didn’t know possible. It might sound clichê, but it is truly the most difficult and rewarding job I’ve ever had.
How do you use your platform to impact those who follow you?
My goal with my blog and social media has been to normalize what’s normal. Many platforms today share aspirational ideals of what life could or should look like. Perfect outfits, perfect bodies, perfect home, perfect kids. I take the approach of sharing the normal and being myself, right alongside my followers/readers, rather than pointing out what they aren’t. Do I share pretty pictures? Yes, of course, but I show beauty through my own eyes. I share anything from my dimply, 40-year-old tush in a bathing suit on my Instagram feed to a dreamy photoshoot on my blog to a rough day with the kids on my Insta-stories. I’ve never felt like falsely representing my life as perfect would serve any value to those who take the time to read and view what I post.
What’s your personal style/beauty mantra?
Never sacrifice comfort! I’m all about wearing what I like and feel good in. Fashion and beauty are a great form of self-expression. Some days I’m expressing my deep love of fashion and style with an adorably curated outfit, and other days I’m expressing how freakin’ exhausted I am in a pair of seven-year-old sweatpants and a tee with a hole in it.
What are your top tips for making our wardrobes more sustainable?
There’s a common idea that in order to be sustainable with our wardrobes we need to spend a lot of money. While I have found myself investing in sustainable brands for classic wardrobe items, I have also discovered many easy ways to make changes with spending little to no money at all. Three easy things anyone can start today are:
- wear what you have. Our most sustainable wardrobes are the ones we already own. Extending the life of clothing by nine months reduces carbon, waste and water footprints by 20 to 30 per cent;
- opt for natural fabrics like organic cotton, Tencel, wool, hemp, silk and linen whenever possible. Synthetic fabrics like polyester are made of oil and are considered a plastic. Plastics are never good for our planet. While it can be difficult to avoid synthetic fabrics completely, try to choose natural when you can. Sure, you need your bathing suit to have stretch to it, but perhaps your T-shirts can be where you skip the polyester; and
- try shopping secondhand before shopping new. Value Village is usually my go-to but since the pandemic hit I’ve been shopping from home. I’m a big fan of Poshmark for my secondhand-shopping needs.
And your top tips for making our homes more sustainable?
Making your home more sustainable isn’t an overnight process. It’s a long-term commitment to doing better whenever we can. I am constantly finding ways to improve. A few changes we started with, and continue with even now, years later, are:
- switch from paper to cloth napkins;
- my girls all have hankies. Most of our need for a tissue is just to wipe away tears or runny nose. What’s better than a pretty vintage hanky? Our recycling bin in our house is also a great craft-supply bin. The kids create all kinds of works of art with cereal boxes and toilet-paper rolls;
- reuse glass jars when they are empty and extend their use. We use peanut-butter jars to sort our markers, as vases, to store bulk foods in and even for drinking glasses; and
- learn to be content with what you have. Moving around your home décor can freshen up a room without buying a thing. I also like to separate plants into new pots (I have a little stockpile at home). A “new” plant is better than any little trendy bobble you might go out and buy.
It’s Second Hand September! Will you be taking any new steps to creating a more sustainable life this month?
Last year was my first year to take the pledge and participate in Second Hand September. September is typically a big shopping/consumption month. By pledging to only shop secondhand for a month, makes you really have to work harder, and smarter, to get your fall wardrobe together. Plus, it can help point out what you already own. This year I’ve been editing my wardrobe as I have downsized the physical space I use to house my clothes. A smaller closet has been a welcome change. I will be hosting a sale in September with items I am purging from my closet as well as some other curated thrift finds. You’ll be able to find the sale over on my secondary Instagram page, @jenpistorcloset. As I have made the effort to buy less for myself and shop secondhand whenever possible, I am working hard to do the same for my kids. I bought only five new items for all three of my kids combined this summer! All their other pieces were thrifted or secondhand. That is my goal for the upcoming seasons for the kids. Shop secondhand first. I bought a pink Peppa Pig sweater for my daughter Lily on Poshmark. It’s to replace a much-too-small Peppa Pig dress she loves that my husband found for her at Value Village.