Daily Outfit: The Outfit that makes me think about Society

Hair looks awful. It was windy as all heck when I took the photos – I’m just glad my camera didn’t fall over again and break it or another tripod. Aside from that I have worn this maxi about half a dozen times since last month and I just can’t help it. I absolutely adore it. And every time I wear it I get compliments from someone. This time it was a little 7 or 8-year-old girl who told her mom that she loved how pretty my dress was. Way to go Sealed with a Kiss Designs!

Anyhow on to the explanation of the title. I’ve been reading a brand new book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline (it first came to my attention via Blue Collar Catwalk and her review). And while I wore this exact outfit just a few weeks ago in Las Vegas and loved it then I look at it now and it makes me sad. Everything about this outfit is exactly what is talked about in the book (I’m only halfway through so give me some slack here – and I hope to have my own review of it up later this week or next once I finish). While I have no idea how the SWAK maxi is made (it could be sourced and sewn here in the USA under fair labor or not. I really don’t know and that is part of the problem) I do know where everything else came from and I do have guesses based on that. It’s all from cheap trendy consumer stores like H&M, Torrid, Target & Forever 21. Which means all of it was mass-produced in Asia somewhere with little design applied to it. Simple pieces, simple cuts, simple stitches. Simple and easy to outsource.

I can remember buying clothes when I was a kid, as a teen or even 10 years ago and it wasn’t like it is now. So many cheap trendy pieces everywhere. And I’m as guilty as the next person. I helped cause this mess. I can remember a sweater I was lusting after at Torrid about 12 years ago. It was $50 then (about $70 now) which is exactly what they still charge for sweaters. I couldn’t afford it at the time, I made just about half of what I make now. And none of that speaks to the quality. I had clothes as a kid that lasted years – YEARS. And most of my cheap clothes now fall apart within months. And I was only born in 1981.

What have we done to ourselves? What is the point of new “body paint” all the time when it costs American jobs, industry, products?

I know how to sew. Matter of fact I know how to sew quite well I just don’t. It’s not something that interests me beyond one-off pieces. But I also know I am an exception and not the a rule anymore. I know my clothes, I know my construction (mostly) and I know how to tailor my own clothes to make things work (though I don’t always bother doing it). What has happened to society? Why have we gotten to where we are? And how do we – Americans that is – fix this? The divide between the haves and the have-nots just keeps increasing and by allowing entire growth industries to die – evaporate – we just make it worse. We are killing ourselves.

I’d like to say I would pledge never to wear one-off tissue paper foreign-made clothing ever again but I can’t promise that. I wear basics that aren’t made anywhere but in Asia, that are cheap (I’m too chubby for American Apparel for instance). And buying “designer” isn’t any better as most of those are inflated (if they even make items in my size which almost no one does). Designer name recognition is part of this same problem and they priced themselves beyond what I can actually afford, even one piece at a time. All I can do is promise to be a hypocrite as I don’t know what else I can do.

06.18.2012a

06.18.2012b

Navy Veronica sleeveless maxi dress: SWAK Designs (March 2012)
White plain sleeveless: Target (April 2011)
Silver beaded circle black leather flip flops: Torrid (July 2011)
Silver Wonder Woman cuff: H&M (May 2012)
Large teardrop cutout textured earrings: Charming Charlie (May 2012)
Multilevel drapy chain necklace: Forever 21 (October 2011)

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2 thoughts on “Daily Outfit: The Outfit that makes me think about Society

  1. Mia says:

    Oh man, I’ve been avoiding reading that book just because I know it would make me feel so terrible. (Which is not a good reason to avoid it, but you know what I mean.) I try to mitigate my own impact by doing a lot of thrift shopping, but admittedly, most of the off-the-rack stuff that I buy is from fast-fashion places like Target and Old Navy. And it’s so complicated, too, because just because a place has garments that are manufactured in the US, that doesn’t mean they aren’t problematic in other ways (a la American Apparel and sizeism issues, etc.). Especially in the cases where higher-end, more ethical designers and manufacturers don’t make garments that it’s possible for one to wear (due to cost or size or what have you), one just has to make do as best one can. It’s definitely worth being aware of, though, so that hopefully when the opportunity comes up to make a different choice, the push is there!

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    • The book definitely makes you feel terrible more so now than ever before. I felt somewhat prepared as I was on the Speech team in high school (persuasive speaking) and my speech my Junior year was about sweatshops. I lettered so I figure I must have had a decent argument in there somewhere but it didn’t prepare me for this book. Ultimately it made me want to make my own cloth and sew my own clothes! Not going to happen but the impact was felt so I believe that was the point. I should have the review up soon (I hope tomorrow, I hope…but I’ve been busy and haven’t had a chance to flesh it out yet).

      Your absolutely correct about the multi-prong fork of this issue as well. Has to be a happy medium in there somewhere.

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