So, while this is something I've despaired of in the past, I've never really made it a priority to change my behavior until the last year or so.
As a feminist I find it difficult to buy any clothing whatsoever without the feeling of blood on my hands. For years - for centuries really - females in particular and children in particular have been the victim of the textile and fashion industries to the point of madness.
The documentary "The True Cost
" talks about what I'm talking about way better, but it's often so easy to forget that my Forever 21 $11 jeans are that cheap for a reason.
A child-labor-y, factory-with-no-windows-or-bathroom-breaks-y, women-abused-around-the-globe-y reason.
So, obviously, I don't love that.
But I also don't make a whole lot of money, and that leaves me with even less to spare. Call me pretentious, but I feel self-conscious walking around trendy Brooklyn and where I work in Chelsea, in the clothes that I bought at H&M in 2007 that I have yet to get rid of and am wearing until they're threadbare because they fit, I'm broke, and I feel too much guilt to replace with *new* cheap stuff from H&M.
And don't even get me started on shoes. I'll wear shoes forever. I'll wear them until my toes poke through the bottom. I'll wear them until they fall apart, and then usually I'll despair of it and hang onto the corpse of the shoe believing fully that I will eventually get them repaired, which I won't. This because A- a pair of shoes is like a love affair for me, and, just like lovers, I keep their leathery scraps long after I stop wearing them, and B- I cannot even muster the human rights energy to look up what underage child slave is being held in a concrete factory for ten cents a day in order to feed their family is the underage child slave that made my shoes and so I cannot buy new ones.
But this leaves me with again the very pretentious problem of feeling like I look scruffy in an environment where I'd very much like to not look scruffy.
So some self-hateful Googling on the cusp of my fall wardrobe lust-rush led me to this great article
in Bushwick Daily about shopping ethically and affordably in Bushwich, which spoiler, is where I live.
And I guess the author, like myself, passes 4 Rainbow stores full of cute $10 items, every single day, with pangs of desire and pains from capitalism-related guilt coursing through her bones and wallet.
So to make myself feel a little bit better about the season, I took her advice and hit up The Thrifty HoG
across from my office. The Thrifty HoG is not just any thrift store - all the proceeds benefit homeless mothers and children, and the boutique itself provides unique job training opportunities to the beneficiaries of this Hearts of Gold
I was bad and bought more than I should have - BUT - I was good! And bought more than I would have! Which means more money going towards a great cause, and more cute fall clothes for me.
I ended up getting this adorable Sparrow wool skirt and a soft navy J Crew sweater, both of which were probably more than $40 in stores, for $40 total.
That's two more items off my list of crap I want for fall/winter, leaving me with just:
A wide-brimmed wool hat because I'm a hipster
A poncho because wearing blankets is important to me
A wool skirt that isn't a weird shape
A sweater that I will wear every day
- A plaid skirt in a color, that's not school-girl-ish
- A wool wrap of some kind, also probably in plaid
- Thick, knee-high socks, because socks are another thing I wear until they die
- Thick, thigh-high socks, because sometimes at home I like to not put on pants, but I hate being cold.
- A plaid flannel in red/or buffalo plaid
Disclaimer: Buying items thrifted does not mean they are blood-free. I'm well aware of that.
A- technically buying thrifted items takes money away from companies that are currently employing women and creating fashion etc etc.
B- both of these items were made in China, and whether or not I bought them from the factory, the factory exists, and that's where these clothes were created.
C- I haven't delved far enough into the textile industry to know if the fabrics themselves were ethically sourced etc etc.
But buying thrifted fashion, for a good cause, for cheap, does ease the sting of my non-optional subscription to capitalism just a little bit, and I bet it would for you, too.
Check out The Thrifty HoG, and any other local thrift store (but remember to be wary of bedbugs) for nearly-guilt-free-sort-of fall fashion, on a budget.
(and, if your clothing-budget-purse-strings are tight - let your inner social justice warrior and all her anxiety take over, and let that be your excuse not to shop. )
Photo Cred: Conor McAdam https://instagram.com/cjmcadam/