Friday, June 8, 2012

Overdressed


These ideas have been tossing around in my mind for a while now and I know I wont give the whole concept justice but lately I have been thinking a lot about the kind of clothes I buy.  The last few years I have bought one pair of pants and worn them almost everyday until they "give up" and then I switch to a new pair of pants. Don't get me wrong I have loads and loads of clothes, far too many clothes, but very few of the clothes are the type I feel really good in or are my favorite.  So I resort to a few items that I love and wear almost everyday and the rest I can't seem to part with. So my most recent pair of favorite pants died this week and I have been thinking about where I want to get my next pair.  I am guilty, like most people in the blogosphere, of wanting to buy the latest item seen on a fashion blog c/o modcloth/forever21/h&m/target.  The prices are perfect of a 20 something on a student or nonprofit budget.  But how long do they last?  My partner buys a good pair of shoes or carhartt pants for $100 and wears them for 5 years before he has to replace them.  I buy a cute pair of flats at target for $20 and need to replace them in three months.  At that rate I spend $400 for his $100.  Now, that's not to say that I want to wear the same shoes for 5 years but I do think about the money I waste from buying cheap clothes that I don't agree with the conditions that they were made in.

Its hard not to think about this when  I sell vintage clothes.  Americans used to spend 11% of their income on clothes yet would buy only a few outfits a year.  These outfits would be well-made, tailored items that were meant to last.  Now we spend 3% of our income on clothes and they are meant to be thrown away after a few wears.  I am making a resolution to myself (and the Internet world) to buy better quality items that I intend to have for years to come.  Sure I will make exceptions with thrift shop and vintage finds but I want to break my cycle of thinking something is cheap (financially) so I should buy it, when it is just as cheap (quality).

So, my new pants that are catching my eye?  I think I will save a little more and invest in a pair of imogene + willie jeans. Are the expensive?  Sure. But I have been spending $70 of urban outfitters jeans that last 3 months and are made in sweatshops.  If these last a year I will have spent the same amount and bought something made in the U.S..

How do you balance ethics and shopping?

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