6397 Shorty jeans (size 28) | 20% off at SLOWRE
James Perse v-neck tee (several years old)
Lauren Manoogian Capote coat
Rag & Bone nylon backpack
Rag & Bone aston booties (no longer available)
Prada scores disturbingly low on the Forced Labor index. Adidas, H&M, Lululemon scored better, but still not 100. Why not 100?? Also
“One recent study found that in nine countries (including China, India, Uzbekistan and Pakistan), which produce 65 percent of the world’s cotton, forced labor is a significant issue” Know the Chain
So disturbing, and why it’s better to buy as small as possible. But even then, where does the cotton come from? Sometimes we don’t even know that. Trying to buy better isn’t as easy as it sounds. But we must do what we can I think.
Buy what you love?? I don’t know, if I hear this one more time I think I’m going to scream. Zady featured this article in their link roundup this week, which brought it to my attention, even though it’s an “old” article. It’s a familiar refrain among those of us who encourage each other to buy less, and buy more thoughtfully, but it’s not so simple to just “buy what you love.” The reasoning is that you buy what you love, presumably spending more on it, but having it, using it, cherishing it for longer because you love it.
I have learned that hard lesson over and over and over the last few years: I buy what I love, thinking I will wear it all the time, and it will be an integral part of my wardrobe, and then it ends up sitting unworn, unused, and ultimately unloved. But you’re inevitably going to make mistakes when emotion is involved. Even when it’s tempered with some practicality.
I keep saying I will write more on this, and I will, but I find these soundbites so frustrating. Buy what you love, less is more, quality over quantity, etc. etc., are easy to say, but they don’t always WORK or end up actually leading to buying/having less, or a more coherent closet.
Amour Vert still has some gift boxes left, and a nice sale section. This cable knit sweater is beautiful, feminine, and knit from sustainable merino wool, AND on sale for $138.
It’s the last weekend for the James Perse holiday sale. If you haven’t bought anything, and are interested in trying JP, I recommend this long sleeve split skinny dress. I had this in gray that I bought last year and sold it because I wished it was black, but I loved it; the brushed jersey is really cozy and comfortable and the back slit makes it easy to walk in. It layers nicely under a big cardigan too. I still haven’t bought anything yet.
I placed an order at Garmentory (< when you use my referral link to create an account you’ll get a $20 credit and so will I) late last week for a Chan Luu cashmere/silk scarf (can you believe I don’t have even one lightweight scarf? And I keep reaching for one…) and an Organic by John Patrick bias cami. I used mostly store credit to pay for it. I haven’t received the scarf yet, but I got the cami earlier this week and have already worn it (under my Everlane cashmere turtleneck). I ordered the large because according to the size charts, that’s the size I needed to fit my hips, and it’s a good thing I did get the large! I had to cinch the straps up a lot, to make it shorter, and to make it fit my hips, but I’m so happy with it. I would actually like it to be even shorter, so I may cut it off (the hem is “raw” anyway) a few more inches, but we’ll see…It’s such a great layer, and really soft and satiny under a cashmere sweater. I’m very pleased, and happy to add another Organic by John Patrick item to my wardrobe. (here’s the black cami at The Dreslyn on sale + extra 20% off!!)
From Shopbop I ordered (with store credit I earn for displaying their widget) Rag & Bone/JEAN capri jeans in gray/distressed since they were on sale + an extra 30% off – they’d been 0n my wish list for a while. I have a pair of capri jeans that a friend gave me and I love them, but they are a mid-rise and these new ones are higher. And I’ve searched for years for a great pair of gray jeans. I also ordered this Rag & Bone/JEAN turtleneck (in stripes!!) because I keep wishing I had another striped top, and I need one more slim turtleneck (I only have the James Perse brushed jersey one and it seems to always be in the laundry…) for layering. I saw it in the store yesterday though and it is REALLY thin, so I may not like it on me.
Speaking of adding to my wardrobe: my goal is to keep my “number” around 200, adding and subtracting as needed. With the new additions and subtractions, it’s currently at 198 (you can see my wardrobe spreadsheet here). It’s been really cold here, and I have been having “moments of hotness” (I’m not going to say hot flashes), so I really need to wear more layers that I can remove. Now that I have the Lauren Manoogian “coat” and Patagonia jacket I can wear thinner layers underneath to be comfortable inside when I have a “moment.” So I’m trying to add more of those thin layers, and take out some of the heavier ones I can’t layer/remove as well.
Don’t forget about 20% off nearly everything (except new arrivals) with code HOLIDAY at SLOWRE through the weekend. You may also notice if you click over that my Rachel Comey Mars Mules in gold are there for sale. I thought I was going to hold on to these for “just in case” moments, and because I think they’re pretty, but I got really frustrated putting them on and taking them off every time I thought maybe I’d wear them. If they were flat, I’d keep them, and wear them happily, but I just DO NOT WANT to wear heels anymore. And the fact that they’re not a platform, or a clog, throws me off a little too – I feel like with my “sturdy” legs, I need a more sturdy shoe. I feel better with that anyway. So. There they are.
What are your plans for the weekend? My sister is in town for the company holiday “party/dinner” (she works with my husband), so we’re doing that. And having friends over tonight.
OMG, I am totally with you on this post. Slavery is alive in many parts of the world, supplying us with far too many of our everyday products, including shrimp and chocolate. I also cringe at the buy what you love thing. Clothes are not bikes, or refrigerators, and I’m speaking as someone who still wears my clothes from the 1970s (those that still fit….obviously nothing with a waist! 😉 . I’m not going to be buying just one dress a decade, or even just one a year, and frankly in my experience my cheap clothes are as cool and last as long as my expensive clothes. (I am pretty careful about workmanship.) And IMO (am I alone in this?) I really don’t need any more clothes than the average non-sartorial man does. (I’m self-criticizing here, as I feel that in the past couple of years my purchases are out of control.) That said, I love beauty, I love artisanal fabric and design, I get bored quickly with my clothes/look, and I am deeply committed to supporting the very best labour and environmental practices. Why do I feel that the subliminal message of many of the brands I love is “buy less, except for our stuff, which you should buy more of, because it is sooo much more in tune with your (insert value of choice: aesthetic, moral values, individuality, other….) Why do I feel that it is working on me to the extent that I am buying more than ever (after all, I want to support these wonderful businesses). And why do I feel that I would have less impact on the environment if I just stopped buying clothes (except to replace items with specific uses that no longer do the job), and stayed away from all those glorious artisanal online brands that I love so much? Sigh. Conflicted. I think you are my new role model, Grechen, with your in and out practices. Hopefully I can better emulate you in future! I think I need more of your interventions 😉
Yes!! Any company that uses “buy less, buy better” in their marketing is knowingly sending mixed messages.
I’ve been pondering some of those same issues, I think because your “Wardrobe Audit” got me thinking, even tho I have yet to complete it. What does it really mean to “buy what you love”? Of course, I love it in the moment or I wouldn’t buy it! And “spend more” truly sounds like a marketer’s dream! If I’m honest with myself, money doesn’t always have a lot to do with what I end up loving and wearing (Hello, Gap fairisle leggings!) A post about your thoughts would be great.
I did buy a J Crew oversized striped turtleneck in navy/camel stripes and I think I’m going to wear it a lot! It was 40% off and I was just browsing while waiting for my husband. Sometimes, those are the best finds. My mom bought me the Black Crane Painter Dress in Forest for Christmas, and I intend to wear it over black leggings. Unfortunately, Totokaelo has lost track of it right now…:-(
My husband and I watched “A Christmas Carol” from 1984 with George C. Scott, which our kids HATE! (18, 28, and 30 and they think it’s “scary”! Haha!) So now they won’t have to watch it with us when they come home. 😉
Yes, Kathryn and Leah!!! I should’ve read your posts before commenting.
So glad you wrote some about Buy What You Love and contemplate examining ideas like this in more detail. I’ve learned to smile ironically whenever thoughts fly into my head like “I’ll wear this forever”, “I’ll wear only this every day.” “This is the thing I’ll wear from now on.” Because my experience has been like yours.
In general, lately, I’ve been drawn to re-examine the advice that everyone gives and many say benefits them. While I don’t have body issues what I’ve found is that trying to follow a lot of these advices – without any success – makes me feel I’m failing to reshape my *inner* self according to some norm. Done with that!
Is my clothing expected to reveal “who I really am”? No. I don’t want that. The word “private” keeps coming up for me. I’m a well-rehearsed introvert – can do public speaking, ran for minor political office.
“Don’t buy for a fantasy life.” Am I supposed to find gratification in exhibiting my efficiency,
organization, pragmatism, independent initiative? I’m a romantic at heart and get a lot more out of pretending that my task-filled life is just a cinematic-style role I’ve stepped into on “the set.”
Jess Cartner-Morley of the Guardian said something offhand about a style looking as though you were on your way to a meeting of the disciplinary board. Yeah, well, I’ve been denuding my wardrobe of clothes like that.
Good for you! Sending hearts your way.
I grew up with parents who believed if it was clean and still good you wore it. Clothes were serviceable. All of our clothing was given to relatives with younger children and we wore our older cousins old stuff. When I started buying my own clothes I had no limit if I could afford it and wanted it I bought it. Now being older and more aware of my carbon footprint and other factors Ive been trying to buy American and not buying clothes from companies that dont work ethically with their labor. I still hear my mother’s voice, ‘it’s still good” and donate and recycle my clothes. Maybe some of her Depression era mentality rubbed off on me, I don’t waste anything and when I do buy something I take care of it . I’m attracted to people who look comfortable in their own skin and put some effort into their outfits to look like themselves. That’s when I feel the best too. Another reason I’m drawn to your closet.
I had my hair cut and colored yesterday, mani pedi and lunch with my best boyfriend Matthew today and relaxing now sounds like a weekend of beauty. Tomorrow yoga and brunch with our neighbor Ellen. Apple pancakes, yeah!
Enjoy the rest of your weekend, gena
Any advice on the sizing of Amour Vert? I’d like to purchase the Kendra cable knit sweater you mentioned but their size chart is not very helpful (this will be my first purchase from them). What size do you wear? I’m 5’7″ and 125 lbs. Feels like I should be an XS but their model is wearing sz S; I can’t be skinnier than their models…
Grechen Reiter says
Hmmm. All I have by amour vert is a
Linen tee in the size small and it is huge on me!! But linen stretches a lot with wear too…
Did you decide to stop wearing heels entirely or mostly? I recently made that decision and my Mars booties were the last to go… I’m going flat now, with the exception of special occasions.
Grechen Reiter says
it just turns out that i DON’T wear heels anymore. i wear a very low wedge, and i wouldn’t be averse to wearing clogs again (I’ve sold them all!) either with a heel or a wedge, but i just don’t reach for anything but flats anymore. i’m more comfortable, and they fit into my lifestyle/style better overall…
That sweater coat, O M G, I’m green with envy. Even though it’s 75 degrees here, lol. It does get down to 60s & 50s at home in the evening so I guess I could curl up in it with the kitten in bed.
I totally agree with you that a cohesive wardrobe can’t be boiled down to sound bites. Like many things in life, we need a plan. Also self awareness. Buy less means almost nothing to me without further info on how I can accomplish buying less by getting the most use out of less pieces.
I was a little surprised by the Prada note so I went back to “Know The Chain” where the original report was published and it didn’t say Prada is engaging in poor labor practices. It seems they scored low because they aren’t being transparent about their sources. I also noticed other luxury companies also scored low. I do think part of this lack of transparency is just part of a culture of secrecy and privacy in luxury. I worked for Prada for ten years and they are very private for proprietary reasons and it’s also just how luxury brands typically are. That said, there has been much written about European luxury brands moving some production of goods or materials to China as the small luxury good market got bigger and profitable (in order to be able to meet demand) but these brands still make more of their goods in countries with craftsmanship (like Italy) than fast fashion brands. I don’t necessarily agree that say H&M is paying a fairer wage/benefits on an overall level than Prada because of disclosure. H&M is selling shirts for under $10, it just doesn’t add up. It will be interesting however to see if the culture in luxury goods starts to change if consumers express transparency and info is important in their purchasing decisions. Here’s the link: http://fashionrevolution.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/FR_FashionTransparencyIndex.pdf
Grechen Reiter says
good points you make about prada/luxury brands. yes, most still manufacture bags/shoes, etc. in Italy and using expert craftspeople, which is superior to mass-production in china, but lack of transparency is a problem. I think/hope they will become more transparent over time, since that seems to be where the industry is headed. supply chain monitoring is KEY and once you open that up, so much changes – they can’t hide behind anything anymore. even though H&M, Wal-Mart, etc. SAID they weren’t using the Rana Plaza facility to manufacture their products they didn’t KNOW because work had been outsourced so many times by sub-contractors. That has changed now, because of that tragedy, and companies are doing much better at more closely monitoring the ENTIRE supply chain, subcontractors, manufacturers, raw materials, etc. so that there is at least increased awareness. Without that, what do we know, really?
it’s complicated 🙂 but transparency is so important, since knowledge is really our only power/leverage