I Am A Lying Liar


Sweater: Audrey in Unst by Gudrun Johnston; madelinetosh dk twist in onyx; my notes and modifications on Indispensable
Dress: Dorothy Perkins; similar styles at H&M, ASOS, and Kohl's
Belt: ASOS; similar styles by Mango and Lafayette 148
Shoes: Christian Louboutin Apostrophy pumps; more wallet-friendly options by bcbgmaxazria and Schutz
Lips: Bobbi Brown high shimmer lip gloss in Hot
Nails: Essie in chinchilly with matte topcoat

I was all bluster and promise, wasn't I? Oh, you're going to be totally amazed by my amazing outfit and new sweater and it's going to be totally off the hook and OMGPONIES! Funny thing. I finished the sweater last night - it's awesome, by the way - and then took a look at the designer's email which asked her testers, politely, if they would refrain from posting photos of the sweater until its release. So....no photos for you until the release and no superfantastic matching outfit for me.

I wanted to use this time, instead, to discuss fast fashion since I seem to spend a lot of time discussing why you should forego this month's mortgage payment in favor of a new pair of shoes. I adore fast fashion. And I kind of hate all the people who have taken to bashing it and linking it to our conspicuous consumption culture and rape of the earth. And if you'll allow me to skirt politics for a moment, I'll try to explain in an apolitical way. There's a New York chef who holds a place in my heart for a) being a fellow alum of my high school, b) giving my brother a job at his super fancy restaurant while my brother was still in college, c)serving delicious, farm fresh, free-range, fair trade, blah blah blah blah blah food without making you want to stab him in the face with his own sharpened self-righteousness. Since he was the beneficiary of such a stellar education, you can find him writing about his food and farm and such and you know what stuck out for me most? When he said that the only reason he free range fair trades organicohydroponicoantibioticfreeomegawhatevers is that it TASTES BETTER. Not to put words in his mouth (and I'm not going to identify him just in case I'm grossly misinterpreting him), but he more or less said that he might be all in favor of eating lab-grown four-assed monkey if that happened to taste good. That his food is better for the environment/people's health is icing on a delicious cake. And I kind of feel the same way. If the apple from Stop & Shop tasted as good as the apple from Whole Foods, I'd be buying it at half the price; I shop at, and defend the practice of shopping at, Whole Foods not because it's an important part of my insufferable yuppie identity, but because the shit I buy there is, for the most part, better than the shit I buy elsewhere.

So how does that relate to fast fashion? I think I mentioned it yesterday. Over the past 20 or so years, the shit one buys at Banana Republic or J. Crew is NOT better than the shit one buys at H&M, Forever 21, ASOS, etc. It just happens to be 4-10x the price. To me, shopping at J. Crew full price would be like buying a mealy apple from Whole Foods. If my apple's going to be mealy regardless of where I buy it, I might as well buy the cheap one. This Dorothy Perkins dress is terrible (and would it not have cost me almost as much to return it as it did to purchase it in the first place, I would have done so - word to the wise: DO NOT buy from Dorothy Perkins unless you are positive you want the thing you're buying). See that incredibly flattering shelf on top of what looks to be my boobs? I didn't just grow a second set of boobs over my existing set, nor am I wearing a fantastically crappy bra. No, that's the facing on this dress and I'm seriously considering cutting it out (since I only noticed how terrible it was while looking at the photos - but much like my increasingly erratic hair, I like to paint a picture of myself that approximates accurate and I have hair this terrible for real). The obi belt (more on that in a moment) is obscuring the fact that while, in the online photo, the pattern mostly matched going across the seam that separates bodice from skirt, my particular dress has no such aspirations. Long story short, this is a terrible dress. It was also a $25 dress. Thing is, I look at clothing all the time in stores where things cost more than $25 and these problems still exist (the failure to pattern match is of special offense to me because it basically says that while it would only cost the company a dollar AT MOST (in wasted fabric) to match the pattern, you're not worth that dollar now shut up and eat your shit that you just paid $300 for). So when someone on (and I single out this outfit because I happen to have heard a diatribe about fast fashion here on two separate occasions) NPR tells me that I ought to care about where my clothing comes from and not buy from fast fashion stores, I want to set that person on fire - or take her on a tour of what passes for "quality clothing" in all but the highest end of brands. Now it would be nice if my closet was filled with Dolce & Gabbana dresses, but I will likely never own one unless I find it at a thrift store because I don't have $3500 for a dress. So when the blazer at Zara is just as good as the blazer at J. Crew, I'm always buying the Zara one because it is ALWAYS less than half the price. Sometimes, though, you can get really lucky. This belt, which I still don't know how to style on a waist as short as mine, but which I deeply deeply wanted, is a super find. It was less than $40 and it's made of real leather. I don't know how that happens unless it was a sick or somehow inferior cow. I got it at ASOS and while ASOS is a crapshoot when it comes to what you get vs. what you thought you were getting (do not buy any of their items made from "ponte" which is code for t-shirt material which can be sourced at Forever 21 or H&M for far less), you can often find pretty quality stuff there.

I happen to like the earth and its resources. I happen to care about the welfare of people not in my immediate social circle. I happen to also know that the cat is out of the bag. Much like we're not all going to give up our cars and ride bikes so the choices are - wait the CHOICE is - find an alternative to fossil fuels so we can keep driving, the solution to the problem of finite resources to make clothing and the deplorable conditions many who make that clothing suffer is not NO MORE CLOTHING FOR ANYONE, but advocating for better choices within the existing system - ok so that might be a little political, sorry it's election day, stop reading this and go vote.

1 comment:

  1. Good food for thought. There's not much more frustrating than spending extra money for something shoddily made (why I had to stop shopping at Anthro), and little as pleasing as finding something super well-made for a bargain.

    I shop handmade as much as I can afford to, but I agree there need to be more options. The hoi polloi deserve to be just as well-dressed as celebrities. And I want makers to value themselves and their work, but also realize not everyone can shop their conscience. . . . Not sure what the answer is beyond people buying less, buying used, and buying for quality when they do buy new, and also learning to mend and maybe do some of their own making. . . .