F21 skirt | size large
Madewell Chambray top | size medium
n.d.c. made by hand sandals
Admonish custom leather tote
After falling in love with this top in the store, I got it, because I had a 20% off coupon. Then, I toyed with taking it back altogether, or exchanging it for a smaller size. Finally, I decided that I still love it, but it looks best when I wear it tied at the waist, with a long straight skirt or dress (not this way…).
I want to talk a bit about my shopping strategy lately, since I’ve been wearing a lot of H&M, some Forever21, Target, and Zara – and you’ll probably notice how unusual that is for me. Since I’ve been losing weight, I need/want new clothes, but I don’t want to spend a lot of money on them. I have bought a couple of pairs of not-cheap jeans, but everything else, I’ve tried to get for under $20 or at least close to $20. As always though, I’m concerned about what I buy, what it’s made of and where it’s made (the majority of my clothing is made in the US, and I try VERY HARD to seek out designers & pieces that ARE made in the US), so I’m very careful to only buy pieces I know I will wear A LOT, in the short time I can, and that seem like they’ll hold up to longer wear.
From H&M, I try to buy basics (I like my H&M linen tee, and it’s held up better than my Joie one) and “simple” items – my slouchy pants are a staple in my wardrobe right now. From Zara, I look for interesting details, and good quality, although I feel like a lot at Zara is too expensive for what it is (I do have this tee, and LOVE IT!!!). Or at least I don’t want to pay what they want for it…
Forever21 is another story entirely – I don’t like going in there, and never do unless I’m with my friend. In general, I don’t like the concept of Forever21; it’s more disposable and “faster” than H&M and Zara in my opinion, and I’m vehemently opposed to both of those ideas with regard to fashion/clothing. They also really don’t seem to make much of an effort to be different or environmentally friendlier (H&M at least tries, and has succeeded on many fronts). I understand the appeal of the store to a younger audience, but as a general rule, I don’t think it should be a staple of any woman over 30’s wardrobe. That being said…I’ve found three pieces there that are perfect for me, just my style, and hold up nicely to a lot of wear: the skirt I’m wearing today, the cardigan I wore on Friday, and the short sleeve jacket I got a year or so ago that I pretend is by Isabel Marant.
I’m not trying to apologize for my choices lately, but I have been rather vocal in my opposition to fast fashion over the years, so I thought some explanation was in order. I am still opposed to fast fashion, and I don’t buy pieces AS trendy, fast fashion items, but I do have a new appreciation for interesting, more affordable pieces now that I’m in a transitional weight phase. If I wasn’t, I might spend more on higher quality, more expensive pieces, but I also might not; I’m pretty happy with how low maintenance a lot of my cheaper pieces are.
Ultimately, with regard to sustainability and environmental-friendliness in fashion, what matters most is being wholly aware of what you’re buying, where it’s made and WHO makes it. As long as you’re conscious of that, and you make choices based on that knowledge, you’re doing the right thing. You know…trying not to buy things just for one or two occasions, or because it’s trendy – buying things that you love, and you know you’ll wear a lot… The key is knowing the TRUE cost of the items you’re buying, and making sure that you get the most value out of the item for both the dollar amount that you paid + the environmental/human costs involved in producing it.
What’s your shopping strategy lately? How has it changed over time?
Love that skirt! But I don’t want to shop at F21 (now that I’m at my goal weight) so I’ll search elsewhere for a fun geometric pattern maxi skirt (or dress – one I outgrew had a great OpArt pattern and I miss it!)
During my ~9 months of weight loss, Goodwill and other thrift stores were my friend. I got by on a very limited wardrobe (thankfully work is business casual) and changing up the look with accessories I already had) While I’m tempted to go crazy shopping now, I’m still in thrift store mode and trying to stick to a shopping list/wardrobe plan before spending money….
I also think mix and match is a great (sustainable) shopping tactic. However, given the horrendous incident in Bangladesh recently, all stores that have not signed the agreement to (minimally!) protect their workers are off my shopping list. H&M is one of them I think, and ZARA etc I am not sure.
As Kelly said, thrift stores are I think a great alternative for buying cheap, sustainably and high quality clothes.
First off, I have to say how much I LOVE the way you paired your denim shirt with the maxi skirt. I think this TOTALLY shows off your waist and is very flattering! (Hey, if I’m going to complain, I’d better tell you when I like it, right? 😉 ) And second, I love your bangs just a little longer and pushed off to the side…SO cute on you! Now, to the bones of the subject: I have completely come around to your way of thinking about buying American-made garments with longer sustainability because I know where my dollar is going and that it’s not supporting sweat-shops in another country (I’ve stopped shopping at GAP and it’s affiliates completely due to their refusal to sign the Bangladesh agreement). People are worth more to me than anything, so I have to put my money where my mouth is, even if that means spending more and buying less (and isn’t it about time for me to do that anyway???). Love this post, Grechen!!!