I’ve had a few ethical shopping slip ups (a cotton/rayon jumpsuit made in China and a sweatshirt made in Vietnam) recently and I wanted to share a few reasons why I think that is.
Planning: I am a planner to a fault (yes this is a real thing) but I have been sooo busy lately (it has not been glorious) that when planning a few outfits for back to back semi fancy events, I came up short.
Confidence: I succumbed to the “they’ve already seen me in this” dilemma that I’m sure we all know very well. I generally revel in wearing the same things to work everyday and on the weekends. It makes my life easy. Yes, I mostly look like a librarian but I’m that cool, hip librarian who occasionally looks like Professor Trelawney (side note: I love that google knew what I was trying to spell here, HP fo life!). So why was I panicking about wearing the same outfit to a birthday party? Well it was because I was going to be a tad out of my comfort zone and I wanted to look/feel really good.
Innovation: I couldn’t look and feel good in my own clothes because... well maybe they’re feeling a little tired and I’m not getting very creative in my combinations, also perhaps there was a hole in my wardrobe that I hadn’t seen until I really needed to fill it.
Cost: Let’s face it, ethical clothing isn’t cheap. And after buying a house I’m watching my money more closely then ever. So somewhere in my head, alarms are going off when I fall in love with yet another Reformation dress (still have not dropped the $$$ on one of these, maybe if I win the lotto I’ll be able to budget it in).
So I bought a jumpsuit for the party that I like the style of but I don't feel very good about the ethics of. It was made in China and I got it at Target... so yeah probably not great. I’ve said before that China has better labor laws than many other countries where clothes are made, but collective bargaining (i.e. unions) is not a part of the picture.
With the sweatshirt, I have no excuse. I had no event to go to, I didn't desperately need it because I was freezing. I put it down and walked away after I saw where it was made (Vietnam) but I went back to it. When I fear that I will not be able to find something similar that is ethically made, I tend to buy. And that’s what I did. The tags are still on it. I might still return it.
The guilt that I feel over these purchases is hard to deal with but it’s also driving me to be less complacent about what I’m wearing. We all know that when you don’t bring snacks and plan accordingly it’s going to be real hard to talk yourself out of taco bell or donuts or whatever other delicious thing lies in your path. It’s the same with clothing. If you’re not feeling super great and confident in your wardrobe and you don't have a couple kick-ass outfits up your sleeve you are bound to fall prey to buying something that you might feel guilty about later.
So in the spirit of planning to make better decisions in the future, I’m including pictures of some outfits that help me to get the creative juices flowing. I do this to try to see different ways that I can wear things that I already have. This will help me to avoid “last minute outfit panic” in the future.
Looking at these images all put together helps me to realize that I can incorporate more of my work wardrobe into my everyday items to get a fancier look. Also wide leg pants are my everything.
Let me know if you have any techniques for outfit planning or avoiding last minute purchases of less then ethical clothing! Would love to hear from you!