2016 update: the tops are still going strong, and in high rotation. Both bras -> bin. Pink one stretched out. The teal one was a creeper, up over things it shouldn’t. So it moved on 🙁
Yesterday evening, I involved myself in some retail therapy. Planned spending on clothes (not planned on what clothes, though I did want a white top).
Oh my, shopping since reading blogs so extensively is such a minefield!
Firstly I was shopping in normal retail stores, so nice and new. Not like Economies of Kale, who is so much more patient and shops at thrift stores (where, incidentally, I bought ‘new’ lavendar blue skinny jeans, ie never used, but sold at Red Cross for a majorly reduced price last week). Sorry, no photo of those today.
Then everyone reviewed the Overdressed: Shocking Price of Cheap Fashion by E Cline. Consider
- Lucinda of Lucinda Sans: check out her book review, how she shops mindfully now, Oprah’s list of must haves and
- Dar of An Exacting Life: same book, another review, finding clothes made in Canada) and even
- MochiMac of Savespendsplurge.com: her decision to go Anti-China and more on why here, toxic chemicals in clothes, and in this post she slipped in her review of the book too!)
- Jen at Make Do and Mend a Year: about the dying for a bargain and searching for ethical underwear and then buying some!
But I also read personal finance blogs (the most extreme of which now deletes my comments as I challenge some of their ideas) and they talked about being frugal to become a millionaire, and I think, at what cost to the people who make the clothing? (Jacob from said blog probably stopped reading back when I posted about buying $300 shoes!) Admittedly, none of these purchases pushes the ‘clothes’ threshold the two clothing cost thresholds he mentions!
All this weights on my mind as I browse stores, and make decisions on what to buy. Here’s what happens on my shopping mission:
So it’s any wonder I came home with anything! This is even before I try things on, and the self esteem monster reveals itself. This monster has curves in all the wrong places!
In the end, I spent a lot (in the ballpark of three hundred dollars) for two linen shirts and a cotton light weight 3/4 sleeve sweater. The first two were made in Vietnam, the last made in China.
I then bought one bra (definitely made is a sweatshop, and ‘reduced’ to $19), and another bra from Myer, just as likely to be a sweatshop item, but priced higher, and both made in China.
Overall, I love my new purchases. I feel like they fit my style and age, and at least with the tops, I ended up with natural fabrics and a price that seems fair, even if they are made in developing economies. The bras are definitely not fair trade, but I’m just not sure where to even start for a ethical bra (though I have read about Jen’s search, linked above).
How do you balance cost vs materials vs where things were made, and assumptions you make about the conditions of the workers? Is your figure the last things from you mind when you’re shopping now, and how do you feel about that?