1. Your mindset about clothing.
Did you know that a handful of decades ago people spent a much bigger percentage of their incomes on clothing? Folks saved and then invested in quality clothing. Items were tailored, people were well-groomed, and they did it with fewer, yet nicer sets of clothing. Think Mad Men-esque. Items were made in the USA, and were probably much higher quality. Fast forward to today, and proportionally we spend way less on our clothing, yet own infinite amounts more. Do you know why? Because it’s cheap. We can snatch up shirts for $20 and jeans for $30. There is no longer sacrifice and investment required of us to add to our wardrobe.
I know for a lot of people – myself included – one of the biggest obstacles to purchasing ethically-made clothing (‘ethically’ meaning: the garment workers have been treated fairly, are paid fairly, work in safe conditions, and often the environmental impact is taken into consideration) is the price. Most of the time, taking care of the aforementioned needs, drives the price up, justifiably so.
So what if we changed our mindset about clothing? Instead of wanting to add as much as possible all the time, what if we channeled the ideas of a generation or two before us, who saved and invested in fewer and better items. Maybe for fall, instead of getting as much as possible from the big, major, discount retailers, invest in that alpaca sweater from Zady or those loafers from Everlane. You might be surprised how investing in quality elevates your style.
2. You think you’ll look like a hippie and possibly smell like patchouli.
As a girl who comes from the land of hippies and rainbows (Eugene, Oregon, represent!) the smell of patchouli brings back memories of patchwork clothing, hemp accessories and Birkenstocks, not the cute ones we love now, but the ones that have seen so many years you almost don’t recognize them. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that. 😉 ) I’m just here to tell you: name your style and pick your poison – you can almost always find it ethically made. The world of responsible fashion is mainstream now. You can be an aficionado of modern, bohemian, preppy, tomboy, even hippie, and purchase responsibly. The internet has made the shopping world a whole lot smaller. Sometimes you just have to be more patient. If you can’t find it in your price point than you need to wait and save up. If you can’t find it new, buy it used. There’s a whole world of ‘pre-loved’ clothing out there and the possibilities are endless. Some of my favorite places to go are Crossroads or Poshmark.
3. You have no clue where to start.
I think this is where a lot of people get hung up. They watch The True Cost, get very passionate about making better clothing choices, and then they hit a roadblock. How do they ever move their passion into action? It can be overwhelming, that’s why I wrote a series on using baby steps to get started. Another great resource is ProjectJUST, where you can research your favorite brands. And finally, if you want to know where to shop, start here, with my list of my favorite brands and companies.
I hope you’ll be encouraged, shopping for ethically-made items is not as hard as you might think!
I’ll be back tomorrow to share my last two 10×10 outfits – see you then!