Saturday, August 11, 2012

Voting With Your Wallet.

In a non-hippy way, I've recently decided that I would really like to start being even more conscious about my purchasing power and as the saying goes, "vote with my wallet!" Both of my plans of attack are pretty standard and people might just say "duh" to-- but frankly, it's a departure of how people normally behave.

New Clothes? No such thing!

l to r: BurdaStyle #119, BurdaStyle #131, BurdaStyle #114, McCall's 6555

First off, I've made the decision to not buy anything new when it comes to garments, my exception being undergarments and (MAYBE) higher end goods. It's honestly a combination of things that really add to this resolution:
  • I feel guilty when I buy from big box stores. As much as I love the cute looks marched out of H&M, Target, and Forever 21, I just feel guilty about the entire thing. Yes, that cute blouse might be 15$ on clearance and fits me so well... I just don't want it. Not only is it not always ethically made, but being decently versed in textiles and construction, it's easy to tell when something isn't made properly. 
  • Half the time, RTW doesn't even fit me properly. I have to get things tailored to fit me correctly and it's not worth it for a 15$ blouse that will fall apart after a few months.
  • I'd like to transform my closet into vintage, second hand, and handmade. It gives me an excuse to flex my sewing skills and become a better seamstress. It allows me to have garments made for ME that fit my large bust, petite frame, and oddly shaped body. Having made a few garments in the last couple months, I can say with confidence that the clothes I made specifically for me are the ones I love the most and feel the most comfortable in. 
  • With my exceptions, let's face it, making underwear and pantyhose is stressful and I can honestly say that it's not my priority. I will concede that for now. Though to say I make custom lingerie would be amazing! And as for higher end goods, well, they're higher end. If I buy a dress from Oscar de la Renta, a trench coat from Burberry, or scarf from Alexander McQueen, I know I'm paying top dollar for something made with amazing construction and attention to detail. As for a Chanel jacket... I want to make one inspired by the traditional look- though it'd also be fun to own a real one.
Of course, there are always exceptions to any of my above ideas. Neiman Marcus is teaming up with Target for a collaboration in December that I'm actually looking forward to. I just find, however, that the only reason I have shopped in the past at any of the lower-end retailers is because I needed something on the fly, not necessarily because I wanted to shop there specifically. With better planning, a fast sewing foot, and better construction techniques, I can make my own. 

Natural Nom Noms

I can't be vegetarian or vegan. It's not necessarily stubbornness-- it's just that I love cheese, love milk, and the taste of chicken and beef. I understand the ethical concerns for animals that are out there- I get it, and I sympathize with the plight of poor piggies being stuck in terrible cages and drugged up like there's no tomorrow. But if the animal is treated correctly, leads a happy life, and is killed in a decent way, I have no problem with eating it. Food chain and all that.

I guess the reason I say "natural" is because I'm trying to make a better effort at acknowledging and keeping track of what I actually eat on a day to day. I've started making more and more handmade goodies-- from scones to pancakes to pizza. The crockpot my dad gave me is being put to use. I am trying to buy less processed goods-- I actually want to know what's in the food I'm eating.

On that same token, I'm also slowly starting to switch to organic. I'm well aware that it's going to take time and money; I figure with a steady transition, it won't be as shocking, though. Organic lettuce, grapes, blueberries, carrots, and even oatmeal. It's not much and everything so far has fit into my budget. I think once I just become more used to it, it should be simple for me. Either way, it gives me an excuse to make more homemade treats with great ingredients.


  1. I took a similar sort of "pledge" around this time last year -- no more fast-fashion, quality over quantity, and try to up my own sewing skills.

    I think it is working alright! I ditched a lot of my wardrobe and used what I know from sewing to refine what I had left. And because I wasn't shopping as much (I used to shop for the sake of shopping, not for the sake of the resulting purchase) I was able to save and acquire my first pair of designer shoes on sale. :) so that was definitely a boost.

    there are lots of blogs out there by other people who are taking on similar challenges too -- dead fluerette is one (she doesn't sew though) that i really like, even though we don't share the same fashion style.

    1. Thanks for the encouraging words!

      I think it's so easy to fall into the fast-fashion tendency that a lot of people seem to perpetuate. I think we all like to be appreciated and complimented, but when the response is "Oh thanks! I bought it at ______."- it feels a little bit depressing. Saying that you made it yourself or that it's vintage or repurposed or whatever, is so much more rewarding.

      I actually would like to make a lot of the dresses featured on this page:

      Thanks for the tip on dead fluerette-- even though the blog is on hiatus :(! Still though, inspirational images!