Follow us to pastures new


You may have noticed SexyOrSusty went quiet for a spell. That’s because I’ve been working these last few months on a new project, Thoughtful.

Adopting more of a magazine style, Thoughtful picks up where SexyOrSusty left off.



In many ways, Thoughtful is a lot like SexyOrSusty. It’s about inspiring people to buy better by connecting them through stories to the people, places and things helping us live the lifestyle we want and change things for the better.

To do these stories justice requires a more flexible format and a wider reach. So Thoughtful was born. Read more on how it all came about here.

SexyOrSusty will be signing off now, so I hope you’ll join us on Thoughtful. You can also follow Thoughtful on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Thanks for reading and keeping me company on this journey.

Thoughtfully yours,

P.S. In the spirit of SexyOrSusty, one last poll:

Jaunty Flaneur socks

jaunty-flaneurWhat is it? The Jaunty Flaneur sells luxury men’s accessories and shoe care products.

What makes it susty?  Every pair of silk blend socks purchased on its website triggers a donation of warm socks to homeless Londoners through charity partner Crisis. The Jaunty Flaneur also helps homeless people move back into work by training them as shoe shiners for its sister company Shoe Shine Crew.

What makes it sexy? 70% cashmere, 30% silk. What could be sexier? I haven’t worn them (I’m not a gentleman, after all) but I did handle a sample and they’re just as soft and luscious as they sound.

My verdict: I can’t fathom paying the regular price of £55 for a pair of socks, or even the £40 sale price at the time of writing. But that’s cashmere for ya! Thankfully, the wool/silk blend socks also trigger donations and cost ‘only’ £35 (£25 on sale…now we’re talking).

So long as you love socks, I’d say these are BOTH sexy and susty. 

Plicopá iPad case/base


Discount code for 10% off*: s7u9s9t1y3
Click to buy

What is it? Plicopá is a new take on the iPad cover-stand combo designed by a pair of London-based Brazilians.

What makes it susty? Believing great design combines form, function and footprint, the pair chose Plicopá’s inks, adhesives and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified cardboard to minimise environmental impact. Each product is printed digitally, locally, on demand to reduce production and transport waste.

What makes it sexy? Compared to the Apple-designed ‘Smart Cover’, Plicopá offers better protection as a case and a wider range of positions as a stand. It also allows for greater customisation, offering a few dozen illustrations created by its international community of ‘friend-designers’. And it costs less, to boot!

My verdict: It was a shaky start. Despite my engineering degree, I was incapable of interpreting the instructions on how to fold my Plicopá into a stand. The online video, however, shows it’s really quite simple. And frankly, I just can’t help but be totally charmed by this plucky, entrepreneurial casal and their vision, determination and commitment to great design.

At the end of the day, I think this is BOTH sexy and susty. 

*Order by 3 Feb 2014 for guaranteed deliver before Valentine’s Day.

GiveMeTap water bottle


What is it? GiveMeTap looks a lot like any other stainless steel reusable bottle. But there’s a lot more to it…

What makes it susty? First, there are the obvious benefits of a reusable water bottle: the decrease in waste and in energy needed to truck bottled water around. Beyond that, GiveMeTap operates a ‘buy and give’ model similar to Tom’s Shoes and Warby Parker. For every two bottles sold, one person in Africa gets a clean and safe supply of water for life through the building of boreholes and wells.

What makes it sexy? Sure, there are a variety of sizes, colours and caps. But what’s really interesting is what GiveMeTap has done to remove a major barrier to drinking tap on the go. It has recruited a network of cafes that promise to provide visitors with free tap water on request—no purchase necessary, no questions asked. An app helps you find the nearest source.

My verdict: As I’ve said before, I’m no fan of bottled water. So anything that makes tap more appealing gets a big thumbs up from me. By going beyond the bottle to provide a service that connects consumers to retailers to people in need, GiveMeTap is gushing appeal.

Definitely BOTH sexy and susty. 

KIND snacks

kind_snacksWhat is it? Available in the US, KIND snack bars are made with whole grains, fruit and nuts.

What makes it susty? For a start, ingredients are all natural, visible and easily pronounced, with no synthetic additives or preservatives. But they go further. Through their online KIND Movement, they encourage people to practice unexpected acts of kindness, from writing a thank-you note to helping rebuild the damaged home of a retired New Jersey firefighter who saved lives during Hurricane Sandy.

What makes it sexy? I tried one last time in was in the US and have to say it was pretty tasty. For the health nuts among us, the range includes bars high in omega-3s and antioxidants, and low in sugar.

My verdict: I love that these products aren’t just good for the body but also good for the spirit, and not just for the people eating them but possibly for those around them too. Something’s troubling me though. They used to encourage simple everyday acts of kindness, which they captured and shared online to inspire others. Lately, however, they seem to be more focused on mobilising big philanthropic efforts. That’s nice and all, but for me it loses some the magic.

Benefit of the doubt given, I’ll say they’re BOTH sexy and susty. 

To buy, or not to buy

Our usual thing is to write a post about a sustainable product we think is rather sexy. It might be sexy because it’s cleverly designed. Or maybe it works like a dream. Or it looks great, or tastes great. Perhaps all the above.

We’ve been chuffed at how many of these products are out there. Over the past year or so we’ve only just scratched the surface. And dutifully, after each post, you’ve voted on products to tell us what you think of them.

What if we made it easy to buy the stuff you like, right here on the site?

We’re making some changes over the next few months, and one idea is to help you buy products from here so you don’t have to hunt them down yourself. We’d still keep writing product reviews too, and of course we’d remain totally neutral on all our reviews, no matter what.

What do you think? Votes and comments welcome!

Photo credit: Mister_Jack

Superfront furnishings

superfrontWhat is it? Superfront sells a range of custom fronts, handles, legs, tops and sides for customising IKEA cabinets.

What makes it susty? Much like its Swedish cousin H&M, IKEA could be considered fast fashion for your home. Something so mass produced is hard to feel attached to, and all too easy to get rid of. Enter Superfront, a stylish way to extend the life of old furniture that might otherwise be destined for the dump.

What makes it sexy? It’s an affordable way of making your affordable furniture a little more unique. No stranger to IKEA, I love the idea of giving my Bestå a more stylish and customised facelift. Their colours, patterns and little details can be mixed to make all sorts of good-looking combinations.

My verdict: Superfront’s cool, but by no means the first to reincarnate IKEA products. They claim to be environmentally friendly because “all of our products are made in Sweden”, but look a little closer and some come from China and India. And can’t they tell us more about how it’s made? Virgin or waste wood? Synthetic or natural resins? Non-toxic finishes?

On the fence, but for now I’ll have to say just SEXY

Snow Leopard Vodka

snow_leopardWhat is it? Produced in Poland, this luxury vodka is made from spelt grain.

What makes it susty? Spelt is grown without pesticides and fertilisers—good for the land, good for the drinker. More importantly, 15% of the profits go toward snow leopard conservation projects. They aim to sell 100,000 cases of vodka each year to help get the snow leopard off the endangered species list.

What makes it sexy? It certainly looks the part, with a bottle styled much along the same lines as Belvedere or Grey Goose. It’s priced just below these—reassuringly expensive, but pleasingly ‘affordable’. As you’d expect, it’s made the rounds at predictably stylish events hosted by the likes of Burberry, Stella McCartney and Gwyneth Paltrow.

My verdict: I tried this a few days ago at a reasonably stylish marketing industry event. I’m no vodka expert, but it seemed to do the job. And I figure if you’re going to drink a clear flavourless spirit, you may as well choose the one that does more than just get you tipsy.

On balance, I’d say this is BOTH sexy and susty. 

The Body Shop

body_shopWhat is it? It needs no introduction, I’m sure. But in case you just joined us from outer space, The Body Shop has been selling cosmetics for nearly 40 years.

What makes it susty? The pioneer at pairing mission with commerce, The Body Shop has always campaigned against animal testing, and for fair trade, human rights, the environment and self-esteem. And did you know The Big Issue started as a project by The Body Shop Foundation?

What makes it sexy? It’s certainly one of the most well-known beauty brands, up there with the stuff in department stores. And yet it always kept its distance, notably selling through its own retail outlets. It was a brave and successful strategy, and its products aren’t half bad either.

My verdict: I get the feeling things have gone downhill since Anita passed away and L’Oreal took over. Its stores have lost their charm, its packaging is nothing special, the brand just isn’t all that interesting any more.

It still seems pretty SUSTY, but that’s about it. 

OAT Shoes

oat_shoesWhat is it? Dutch label OAT makes sneakers in a variety of styles.

What makes it susty?
OAT prides itself on making “shoes that bloom”. Constructed of fully biodegradable non-toxic materials, once they’re worn out you can throw them on the compost heap or bury them in the ground. There they’ll decompose in just a few months and sprout wildflowers embedded in the shoe.

What makes it sexy? They’re certainly good-looking. The range of high-, mid- and low-tops come in canvas or leather with cheeky, brightly coloured soles. I think honesty is pretty sexy too, and OAT’s candidness about the challenges of making these shoes is refreshingly charming.

My verdict: At €129 to €179, I find them a bit pricey. But then, there are lots of people out there who pay a lot of money for cool sneakers. Including Puma, who I hear bought a pair of OATs around the time it announced its own forthcoming line of biodegradable shoes.

As OAT says, “We want to be able to choose green and style.” We concur, these are BOTH sexy and susty.