Plaid and Lace

Since May 1, I’ve been able to put together 5 work outfits per week without repeating any pieces(for the most part, occasionally I did repeat pieces when I had events to attend).  I didn’t do this by going out and buying a ton of new clothes(I bought a few things here and there, but nothing crazy) or even making a bunch of new stuff.  All those outfits, for the most part, were from pieces I already had in my wardrobe.

It really has made me stop and examine my clothing purchases and wants for clothing.  Why do I have so many pieces of  clothing and yet still feel like my wardrobe is lacking?  Just like most of my friends, family and blog friends, I’ve always sought out finding the biggest bargain or the very cheapest prices for my clothing.  I always wanted the most pieces for my money.  I would have rather had 10 $10 pieces that might fall apart or go out of style than one $100 piece I could have the rest of my life.

Lately, I’ve been feeling though, that I have a closet of shoddily manufactured/cheap clothes(with a few exceptions such as my hand-made goods).  I just have tons of disposable clothes but no real “meat”.

Last week, I started reading “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion”  by Elizabeth L. Cline.  It definitely is line with what I’ve been thinking/feeling over this challenge.

According to the book, around 100 years or so ago, families spent on average around 15% of their income on clothing.  Now it’s closer to 3% yet we have so many more individual pieces of clothing.  Last year, I felt like I spent too much on clothing, but when I look at these figures I spent less than the 3% average.

Back then, average priced dresses and suits would be, in today’s dollars $200-400 each.  And instead of 50 skirts, you’d have maybe 4 or 5 skirts, 4 or 5 day dresses and a few nicer dresses for events.  Everything would be very well made, in the US by workers paid good wages and you would make repairs or small changes to your pieces so that they would last for decades.  Or, you would make your own custom clothing.

Our desire for extremely cheap fashion has led to a major decline in manufacturing in the US which has led to loss of TONS of jobs(mid-range pay jobs that require lots of skills but not lots of education) and an overall loss of average income earned by ALL workers in the US.

I can really relate to some of the points in the book made by US manufacturers about the difference in cost to produce a garment here versus overseas.  People tell me all the time they’d like to buy one of my skirts….but when I priced it out, I’d have to charge(at minimum) $60-75 per skirt just to cover all my costs and at that I’d basically make no profit.

The book is obviously much more detailed but it really makes you stop and think about your clothing consumption.  It has made me want to basically NOT buy any “fast” fashion EVER again.  I want to make all my own clothing or save up to buy from the few manufacturers that are still producing quality clothing in the US.

I’m not going to go through and throw everything in my closet away or anything, but I will slowly be weeding out my fast/disposable pieces and replacing them with custom made quality pieces.

I highly recommend reading this book.  Just to be clear, I’m not advocating that any of you change where/what you buy.  This is just what I”m changing in my life(and I definitely feel that it is very much in line with the tenets of the Paleo diet, if the paleo diet were to care about fashion at all haha)

Anyways, moving on to today’s outfit.  In the spirit of the book, I am wearing a skirt I made myself with a blouse I altered from Goodwill(that was made in the US).

laceandplaid-1

{Blouse: Goodwill, Skirt: Made by Me, Shoes: Payless, Necklace: Etsy}

Altering this blouse was basically the easiest alteration ever.  It was a size Medium and I typically wear a small or x-small in ready to wear tops, so you I just sewed the sides up by 1 inch on each side and 1/2 inch in the sleeves.  It actually fits a lot better than it appears to in this picture(shadows are making it look baggier around my armpit/sides than it is).

I feel like I look really bloated in the face in these pictures.

Anyways, have a terrific Tuesday(yes I went there and did an alliterative sign off).

-Tamara

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