The Garbage Pile

The Garbage Pile finds a New Home

To whom it may concern,

We’ve relocated to a new website! The Garbage Pile now resides at:

We have so many vintage goodies, interviews and more in store for you so head over to the shiny new site and check it out!

We also have a Facebook page now, so just type in The Garbage Pile and give us a Like so we can update you on all the exciting upcoming projects!

Happy Monday to all you beauties.

Sartorial Problem Solving and Fast Fashion Rehab: An Interview with Tara St. James of Study NY

I’ve begun to see a bit of the reason we have so much wrongdoing here on earth.

All too often, doing the right thing takes work.

Telling your Mother you accidentally knocked over her priceless antique vase is a far more daunting task than simply lying about it and walking away is easier than going to help that man who’s just dropped all his groceries in the middle of the street.

It terrifies me to think that coming generations will follow this paradigm. An age of apathy does not bode well for the future of, well, anything really. So how can we motivate the incoming class of humans to accept challenge as the necessary path?

By showing them the rewards, of course.

Enter Tara St. James. Founder and creative director behind Study NY, a Brooklyn-based ethical womenswear label. One glance at St. James’ sustainable production methods and the painstaking attention to detail is more than apparent. From zero waste cutting to ensuring that even the dye used on the fabric is environmentally responsible, Study NY is grabbing the fashion industry by it’s baubles. But it takes just one glance at the resulting collections to see the bountiful reaping of these efforts. A slow, conscientious design process leads to exquisitely crafted pieces made to conquer the test of time.

Tailoring cleaner than Danny Tanner’s home combined with captivating detail and strong lines. Who says aesthetic and sustainability have to be mutually exclusive?

Good luck finding that sort of craftsmanship at your local Target.

Garbage Pile: What first inspired you to create a sustainable label? 

Tara St. James: When I first started recognizing the importance of sustainability in the fashion industry I was sourcing and producing collections in China and India. At the time organic cotton started making an appearance on the textile market and that prompted me to start researching the effects that pesticides, chemicals, water waste and cheap labour had on an industry I loved. I had first hand experience seeing the negative effects through my work with many mass market denim companies-one of the biggest polluters in the fashion world. Once I learned the information I couldn’t “unlearn” it and I haven’t looked back since.

GP: You’ve mentioned a love of mathematics in previous interviews. How does problem solving factor into your design process? 

TSJ: Fashion IS problem solving. Finding the right fabric for a design, finding the right way to cut and sew that fabric, figuring out the least amount of waste when cutting a pattern, etc…perhaps most designers don’t see these problems as potential equations, but that’s just how my brain works.

GP: I hear designers speak constantly of the specific sort of woman their brand is intended for. Others say, however, that this practice limits the creative process, leaving no room for fluctuation of aesthetic. Where do you stand? Do you have a certain type of woman in mind when creating your pieces? 

TSJ: I try not to limit my inspiration to a mythical woman who may or may not wear the pieces I feel compelled to create. Instead I ask myself whether I’d wear the style. Or my mom, she’s incredibly stylish and has always been a source of inspiration and a muse. If she’d wear it (and not just say she would because she loves me and wants to support me), then I know I’m on the right track.

GP: Study NY seems to truly realize the importance of long-lasting pieces. What are some staples in your own wardrobe? 

TSJ: I have such a large collection of Breton stripes (like Coco and Jean Paul) I could wear a different piece every day for two weeks without repeating. And of course oversized jumpsuits, my collection of vintage and Study jumpsuits fill the other two weeks of the month!

GP: It seems to me that fast fashion companies such as H&M, Zara and Forever 21 have become something of an addiction. I often hear people speak as if the prices are too good to resist, though they may want to cut back on their shopping habits. Any advice for those in fast fashion rehab, so to speak? 

TSJ: The customers in rehab are the lucky ones, they at least have the good fortune of having seen the dark side and want to rehabilitate. It’s the customers who are still addicted to fast fashion, or those who have no choice due to economic reasons, that I would really like to reach. My best advice for those who want to wane themselves off fast fashion is to try vintage where you can find incredible prices for really original – often one of  a kind – items. And then to begin investing in well-made uniform pieces that you can wear forever. My rule of thumb is figuring out the cost-per-wear of each item you already own and then applying that theory to new purchases. Suddenly fast fashion doesn’t seem so cheap.

 **Photo credit goes to the fantastic Sacha Maric. Find him on Instagram as well @sacha_maric
Want to find out more? Visit the Study NY website or Follow them on Instagram Twitter and Facebook under Study NY

For more Garbage Pile goodness, find us on Instagram here

The Club can Definitely Handle me Right Now

I wrote a piece for the Man Repeller Writer’s Club Prompt a week or so ago. It wasn’t selected, but I still think it’s worth reading. So here you are!

Allow me to break down the scene for you.

Outfit: Neon and Sweat Soaked

Location: Somewhere alongside the road

Activity: Sprinting (Read: Jogging) … (Read: Jog/Walking) …

Motivation: Beyoncé’s booty

Headphones: Fastened securely to my head and blasting Get Low Radio via Pandora

In the midst of all this, a vision unfolds.

I’m up in the club and will be turning down for no one…despite the fact that I’m claustrophobic and would probably have a mild panic attack should this fantasy suddenly turn to real life.


Strobe lights flash and the music pounds.

Slowly the crowd begins to ebb, forming a circle around one person, nay, one deity of dance as she casually tears up the floor.

The surrounding mortals stare in wonder, heads shaking. Tiny slips of paper with phone numbers scrawled on them fall in abundance like snow flakes over the figure twerking expertly in the center of it all, blithely unaware of her cheering fans.

That’s right, folks. If I could do it all over again, I’d start taking hip hop dance lessons as soon as I could totter on my voluptuous (actual word used by my doctor to describe me as an infant) little legs. Alas, instead I was kicked out of ballet class at age three. Apparently swinging from the barre is not a condoned activity in ballerina world. I never fully recovered from my shame.

One time, on a cruise to Mexico, my friend Kristen and I took a hip hop dance class. I entered the tourist-infested room expecting to be hailed as the most talented student they’d ever seen. Clearly the next step would be a starring role in Step Up 6: At it Again. But after failing to excel in the first lesson, which may or may not have been walking in a straight line, Kristen and I were forced to take our talents elsewhere, namely the karaoke machine.

My dream died that day, living on only in the form of mid-jog delusions, so often interrupted by leg cramps and frequent pauses to weeze attractively.

At 23, I’m a classical music school graduate whose most legitimate work experience to date is brunch-spot bartending and teaching six-year-olds where Middle C is on the ole piano keyboard. I’d love to say it’s not too late to realize my dreams of winning Season 357 of So You Think You Can Dance. However, my past failures have inflicted wounds which no amount of popping, locking nor dropping will ever be able to heal.

Here’s to living that uncoordinated life. Forever and always.

Pimp Your Shoes

MTV Circa 2005 is probably rolling in it’s bedazzled grave after this one.

Today, I’ll be showing you how to add a dash of sartorial pizazz to your shoes.

Although ideally the fabric covering our bodies creates a cohesive statement with the material encasing our feet, it’s rare that the two elements share space.

Did I lose you?

What I mean to say is…how often do you stick scraps of fabric into your shoes?

It’s a practice I highly recommend if you enjoy feeling like your feet have been gift wrapped.

The effect is simple to achieve. All you need are some relatively neutral shoes and two small fabric swatches. Not a hard-core crafter or a Parsons student? Don’t fret. Run to your nearest all-purpose thriftery; they will most likely have a wonderful selection of antique napkins/pillowcases/placemats, all of which work exquisitely for this project.

Now. All you have to do is pretend you work at Macy’s and your feet are Christmas presents soon to be shipped off to unidentified grandchildren in Michigan. I treated my scraps a little like socks, wrapping them round my feet before stuffing it all into the welcoming embrace of my effortlessly adorable flats.

But the options are endless here, so go ahead and do your thing. Just remember to coordinate your dance moves with your choice of fabric. Me, I’ll be tangoing the day away in these sassy selections.

Here’s what I paid to look like this:

Shoes: $5.00 (I went crazy and splurged)

Fabric Scraps…stolen from my Mom’s sewing room

Denim cutoffs: Made from some tacky-ass jeans I got for 54 cents

80’s-tastic swimsuits worn as leotards: 54 cents each

Neck scarfs: 54 cents each

If you like what you’re seeing here, go like my Instagram page! @TheGarbagePile

Take a Look:

They say romance is dead. Articles pop up relentlessly on the world wide web lamenting that social media (I’m looking at you, Tinder) has squashed our ability to have healthy, committed relationships.

Though I partially agree with those sentiments, I think it’s high time we realize that the same issues apply to our bond, or lack thereof, with our clothes.

All too often, we view new additions to our wardrobes as one night stands rather than potential long-term partners. Many of us say that we love fashion, but it seems we’ve diluted that term down to a more fleeting and shallow connotation, much like we sometimes do with our personal relationships of late.

I mean, do you really love that Forever 21 dress? Sure it was only $7.99, but have we reached a sartorial point where cheap has become synonymous with worth? You know that after only a few wears, that dress won’t even be fit for Goodwill donation. Yet so many of us seem to think that it’s more economically savvy to shop at these low-price, lower-quality sorts of places.

It’s time to raise our standards. Kristin Glenn, founder and CEO of is not only on board, but co-captain of the ship. She has a vision of a world in which we treat our clothing with the respect it deserves. All of her products are made ethically and sustainably right here in the United States. Denver, Colorado to be exact. In an industry where honesty is often overlooked, it’s a breath of much-needed air when a company can be 100% honest about the production of it’s clothing because, *gasp*, there’s nothing to hide.

From the perfect comfy Tee to beautifully crafted maxi-dresses to the awe-inspiring 30-pieces-in-one Versalette, has the tools you need to build a wardrobe that will last.

Keep a sharp eye out! is set to launch a brand-new jacket on Kickstarter this Fall. website here

Find them on Facebook and Instagram under

Want to shop the pieces you see here in the slideshow? No problem.

Vallynne Tank here

Stretch Blazer in Navy here

Basic Tee Stripes here

Basic Tee (On Sale!) here

10 Times I Tried to Look Normal in a Photo and 100% Failed

I won’t be surprised when Kendall Jenner hits me up asking for tips after this display of photographic excellence.

Why you should own: A Denim Man Shirt

Strong, yet soft.

A shade of blue akin to the rippling tides of the Atlantic.

Envelopes you with feelings of ease and security.

Am I referring to the gaze of your dream man or the perfect oversized denim shirt? Does it matter? Both can be obtained with the right amount of perseverance, creativity and bribery.

The two denim creations featured here today were found in the Men’s section of my local coalition. I realize I’ve mentioned this once already in my analysis of Pajamas, but I just can’t stress enough the importance of checking every single section when attempting to thrift. Sort of like switching up coffee shops every few days hoping that it will increase your chances of glancing across the room and noticing that the espresso-sipping deity two tables over is reading the same book as you. And happens to be looking your way. Sticking to the norm rarely leads to the discovery of treasures, don’t you agree?

In any case, browse through these photos and keep all this in mind on your next shopping excursion. The kids section may just have the best “shrunken” jean jacket you’ve ever laid hands on and even if you’re a size negative 2, the plus size section may have what has the potential to be your new favorite tunic.

A note: In case you were wondering, I may have sewn the ruffle of a disassembled pillow case onto the hem of the second look. I wanted to wear the shirt as a dress and it was just a few inches too short for public decency standards. Hooray for easy sewing hacks!

Here’s a price breakdown:

Striped Button ups: 54 cents each

Man shirt made of denim and worn as a skirt: 54 cents

Shoes: Ferragamo. $2.00

Other manly denim shirt made feminine by adding pillow fabric: 54 cents

Neck scarf: $1.50

What’s Your Fancy Threshold?

The time for Couture Fall 2015 has arrived and with it one resounding sentiment hammering at my psyche.

Who in the hell dresses up this much and enjoys it?

Don’t get me wrong, I love getting gussied up and feeling pretty just as much as the next female. But a floor length, jewel encrusted gown that I can neither breathe nor eat pizza in? I think I’d last about ten minutes before a full-blown panic attack commenced.

Maybe I’d get used to it. And I’m not saying I wouldn’t give up pickles AND Netflix for a year just to try on one of Elie Saab’s ethereal creations for a few moments. But when it comes down to it, I’m about as close to the conventional standard of Glam Style as I am to winning the Heisman Trophy (Though, ahem, I did manage to run around the block without stopping yesterday).

The interesting thing is, I’m sure plenty of women would wear Vauthier couture out for an entire night and love every minute of it. Being a hard-core fancy pants just comes naturally for some ladies. But everyone has their unique capacity for that sort of thing. To some, “dressing up” means wearing pants. For others, getting ready for a night on the town leads to a two-hour long ordeal that inadvertently but consistently leads to late arrivals and angry friends. I love the immeasurable range of perspectives when it comes to personal style.

The look I’ve featured today exemplifies my typical “dressy” look. I used quotation marks because it’s not actually dressy at all.

But what about you? Where do you fall in the Fancy Threshold spectrum?

In case you were wondering, I’ll leave the prices right here:

Silk Nightie worn as a dress: Victoria’s Secret. 54 cents

Shirt tied round my hips: 54 cents

Blazer: 54 cents

Shoes: Ferragamo. $2.00

Head Scarf: $1.50

Don’t Kill my Vibe: A personal style experiment with Eenvoud

Perhaps Netflix and I spent a little too much time together during our Once Upon a Time marathon this weekend, but don’t you feel like there’s something magical about style? Cinderella’s fairy godmother wasn’t the only one with the power to transform. We’ve just had to figure out a way to do it senza wand.

In my book, Houdini’s got nothin’ on the magic that occurs when fashion meets personality. One piece has the potential to take on an endless number of forms, all depending on who’s wearing it. But like most things in life, some are better than others. When it comes to clothing, there’s that which speaks and that which allows the person wearing it to do so on their own. In the case of Eenvoud, I’d say  the latter choice is more than accurate.

I had the great honor and pleasure of showcasing just a fraction of that transformative quality using the Sleeveless V-Back Top from Eenvoud’s upcoming collection. Six stunning women graciously volunteered to style the top their own way using pieces from their closets. In order of appearance in the gallery, we have: My best friend since pre-school Alexa, her mom Patti and her sister Morgan, Hester, Petra and last but not least my gorgeous mother Katie. The ages range from 22 to 90. It would be a crime to try and cover up even an ounce of the unique beauty I see in each of these women. Thankfully, we have companies like Eenvoud who understand that clothes are merely a vehicle for expression. I think what’s being said here today in these photos is something worth taking a second, third and fourth look at, wouldn’t you agree?

For more insight into the genius behind Eenvoud, take a look at our interview with owner and designer Jesse Syswerda. And you can browse through more of her wonderful designs here.

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