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?