In the fight against fast fashion, one of our most powerful tools is American-made and U.S.-based fashion. Once centered in New York’s Garment District, U.S.-based retailers are popping up in Los Angeles and gaining massive fanbases.

As they cater to a younger, more stylish crowd than many New York-manufactured retailers (such as Nanette Lepore), this new wave of American fashion is changing the scope of the industry for the better–they’re alternatives to both fast fashion *and* traditional high-end labels that tend to be outdated and impractical.

Below, I’ve gathered five of my favorite U.S.-based retailers whose pieces have earned their place in my day-to-day wardrobe.

Top and trousers both by Reformation

Are You Am I: A favorite among bloggers, Are You Am I was founded by a blogger herself named Rumi Neely, also known as “fashiontoast”. This collection of upscale, not-so-basic basics puts a younger, more modern spin on must-have pieces like plain white t’s, bodysuits and day-to-night dresses.

Backbite: If you’re a vintage lover like me, look no further than Backbite, an LA-based, online-only thrift shop. It’s no secret that the best vintage is found in large cities like LA and New York, but for those of us who live outside these metropolitan areas, reliable vintage shops are few and far between. Thankfully, there’s the Internet.

In addition to stunning, one-of-a-kind vintage pieces, Backbite also specializes in unique in-house designs. Personally, I am a huge fan of their vintage-t’s-turned-bodysuits. Plus, it’s run by a team of boss babe BFFs who put SO much attention to detail into their work.

Like most good vintage, their pieces are on the pricier side, so be sure to sign up for their mailing list and follow @backbite_ on IG for updates on the shop’s sales and giveaways!

Minimale Animale: So, this one isn’t technically fashion; it’s solely swimwear. But, I just had to include it because these smokin’ hot ‘kinis and one-pieces are designed and manufacturing right here in the U.S. of A. I am a huge fan of this label for so many reasons, but the fact that it is U.S.-based is at the top of the list.

The simple, yet unique designs set these swimsuits apart from the rest. Inspired by old-school swimwear of the 1980s and 90s and ultra-skimpy, Minimale Animale stands out for all the right reasons. They will make you wish for summer all year long.

Reformation: Impossibly chic but far from trendy, Reformation, another LA-based shop, is the antidote to a world plagued by fast fashion retailers. No matter their personal style, it seems It girls everywhere love this eco-friendly retailer.

Founded in 2009 on the basis of sustainability, Reformation offers both seasonal and timeless pieces that can be styled for a multitude of occasions from the office to happy hour and beyond. And like I said, they’ve got something for your steez, be it preppy, boho, athleisure or anything in between!

Revice: Good denim is a necessity no matter what. But surprisingly, a great pair of jeans is hard to find nowadays. The first time I ever put on a pair of jeans from Revice, however, I was so pleasantly surprised because they are suspiciously comfortable and couldn’t be more flattering.

With a quality pair of vintage or vintage-inspired jeans costing upwards of $100 today, Revice Denim’s prices really can’t be beat. And although killer denim is definitely worth investing in, their prices range from about $58 to $98, so Revice won’t break the bank.

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Thrifted vegan moto jacket (Poshmark), Levi’s (Melrose Trading Post) and shoes (NYC)

I am an expert thrifter; my entire family is, really. I grew up thrifting alongside my mom, my aunt and my cousins. (My cousin Devon even bought her wedding gown secondhand from a vintage shop, which is ah-mazing. Hey, Dev!)

Over the years I’ve gathered a ton of tips and tricks for successful thrifting, and I am thrilled to be able to share them with my community. Not only is shopping secondhand an environmentally friendly alternative to fast fashion, it is a great way to find unique, high-quality pieces at an affordable price.

It’s no secret that clothes, shoes, accessories, even home furnishings aren’t made with the craftsmanship of yesteryear, and for this reason alone I believe thrifting is worth the hassle it can sometimes cause.

Thankfully, technology has made thrifting something you can do from the comfort of your couch with a bowl of popcorn. For more of my preferred methods, keep reading!

  1. Your local, trusted tailor is your best friend! This is my first tip because it is the most important! Americans don’t utilize tailors like they used to, and for that reason, we modern Americans suck at dressing ourselves. By supporting your local tailor, you’re actually doing yourself a huge favor, too: not only will you be more comfortable and confident in your clothes, you’ll actually get more wear out of them. Because thrift shops almost always stock one of each piece, it is unlikely all your finds will be the right size. DON’T LET THAT DISCOURAGE YOU. I cannot emphasize this enough! If you find something you love, but it’s a little to big, a little too long, or needs some patching up, take the time to bring it to a tailor you can trust. It’s worth it. This tip is especially useful for petite gals like me; I’ve found that vintage retailers tend to stock sizes 27 (i.e., size 4) and up. Sizes 24 (00), 25 (0) and 26 (2) are super hard to come by.
  2. Download buy & sell apps! Poshmark and Depop are my favs, but there’s also a handful of others like Mercari or even Etsy. You can make bank by selling your own pieces, and you could also score pre-loved goodies from across the country or around the world! Spend a Saturday or Sunday uploading to your virtual closet so that others can shop from you, then settle down and explore what’s out there! Though a scammer may try to contact you every now and then, they are pretty easy to spot, and the apps, which are businesses in and of themselves equipped with 24/7 support teams, are safe and reliable. Poshmark even allows returns if your purchase doesn’t arrive as listed. However, I will say this: STAY ON THE APP AND ONLY BUY/SELL DIRECTLY FROM THE APP. A surefire way to spot a scammer is if they message you, reply to you or comment on your page asking if you’ll buy from them or sell to them off the app (either through Paypal or some other method). Politely tell them that you only buy/sell directly from the app, and block them if necessary. And definitely don’t give them your email address.
  3. Pictures matter! When it comes to selling on apps like Poshmark and Depop, pictures matter! Your potential buyers want to see clear, well-lit, unfiltered and unobstructed images. Think about it–you wouldn’t want to purchase something if the picture of it is crappy, so why would others? Invest some time in taking good quality pictures for your virtual closet (smartphone cameras work fine!), and remember that if you model your pieces, they are more likely to sell.
  4. Be patient! This tip applies to real-life shopping, as well as shopping through apps. Every once in a while, you may get lucky by finding your dream piece right away, but most of the time, it will take time! For this reason, thrifting digitally has a clear advantage over thrifting IRL. Most of the apps allow you to save a piece for future purchase by “liking” it, whereas leaving a piece behind on a thrift store shelf in hopes of finding something better can give you that one-that-got-away feeling. If there’s something super specific you’re looking for, apps are your best bet. You can check for it by typing a word or phrase into the search bar multiple times a day and on multiple different apps to maximize your chances. With a little patience, you’re sure to come across the right one in a matter of weeks, days or even hours! As far as thrifting IRL, strategic searching takes time, energy and even a little research, but it is almost always rewarding!

Some of my absolute favorite pieces were thrifted by yours truly. If you’re in LA and love thrifting as much as I do (or are a first-time who wants to get into thrifting), stop by my go-to spots Melrose Trading Post (open only on Sunday’s–get there early!), Reformation Vintage (8253 Melrose Ave) and Wasteland. The best part is that these spots are all on the same street, with walking distance of one another (although Wasteland has two other locations in Santa Monica and Studio City, both in the LA area).

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Happy birthday, America! What better way to celebrate than with a fresh swim editorial?

For the holiday I’m rocking a patriotic string bikini by LA-based brand Minimale Animale. Designed and manufactured in the U.S., these killer ‘kinis are not for the faint of heart.

Minimale Animale suits are made for celebrating–or so it seems. All their pieces are gorgeous, but lately I cannot get enough of this blue star-spangled bikini.

For me, the more minimal the coverage, the better–at least when it comes to swimwear–which is why I am so drawn to this label. I am much more comfortable in basic, minimal styles than I am in unconventional ones. So, I always feel my best in Minimale Animale’s ‘kinis, and this one is no different. It is super simple, so when I’m in it, I feel free to be myself because it lets my personality shine through.

I have never been a huge fan of “fashionable” swimsuits; I tend to favor classic cuts and string bikinis over trendy styles. When I want to make a statement on the beach or at the pool, I’ll opt for bright colors and eye-catching patterns, instead. On the Fourth of July and beyond, this retro-inspired suit definitely stands out.

The classic string style of this top is super flattering and allows for minimal tan lines, while the high-cut briefs provide cheekiness I look for in a swimsuit. This blast-from-the-past high-cut look is making a major comeback this season; it is a great way to spice up a plain bikini without looking overdone. In fact, the skimpy cut gives this suit the slightly undone vibes I am always coveting no matter what I wear.

Shop my suit:

The So Choice Top, $100

The Skinny High Cut Lucid Brief, $80-$90

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It seems everyone has been loving fishnet stockings this season, and I am definitely on the bandwagon. Last week I decided an oversized white pair was the perfect change of pace from the basic black pair leftover from Halloween. So far, they’ve been making a great transition piece from winter to spring given the mild weather we’ve been having in West Virginia.

I also picked up an old school denim miniskirt from Poshmark that I’ve been oh so obsessed with styling because it is super versatile. To play it safe I found a plain, medium rinse denim mini (originally from Guess Jeans), and I just can’t get enough of it. Denim minis make the perfect alternative to all my favorite jeans; they match everything, but they’re much flirty-er and more feminine.

The white fishnets and this denim mini are a match made in heaven. I absolutely love the classic, vintage vibe the white and denim combo gives off, so much more than I love black and denim together. So, I’ve been styling this look with plain white t-shirts and bodysuits. It looks clean and put-together, but it is still really simple and casual.

I tied everything together with a faux fur statement coat and black Chelsea boots, and opted for no other accessories or jewelry besides my nameplate necklace.

Faux fur coat, Free People, no longer available

Bodysuit, American Apparel, $26

Fishnets, thrifted via Poshmark

Denim miniskirt, thrifted via Poshmark

Booties, Free People, no longer available

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