Friday, January 8, 2016

Made in the USA

For several months now I have been very conscious about what I buy. It seems like each time I look at an article of clothing, shoes, household items, etc., it has the ubiquitous tag "Made in China."

So I made myself a promise -- try to buy Made in the USA.

This has proven harder than it sounds. For several reasons:

  • You have to hunt for Made in the USA items -- Nordstrom's has a Made in the USA search that will bring up various items -- but few other departments stores do. Reading through various research most department stores carry less than 2% of US made clothing. 
  • Made in USA items are often found in the high end stores -- Neiman Marcus, Barney's, Bloomingdales's, Von Maur. Many of us don't even consider going to a high end store because of the prices.
  • What I want is just not made here --Sure you can find socks, some jeans, men's wear, workout clothes, t-shirts and stockings, but what about clothes to wear to work? Almost nonexistent.

So what is a girl to do?

Dig around. Check smaller boutiques and local stores. 

And Google, Google, Google.

And be prepared to pay more.

Pay More?!?!

Yes, pay more. But the trade off is that most Made in the USA clothes are a better quality and will last longer.

With the advent of H&M, Zara, Forever 21, TJ Maxx, Marshall's and others, we have become addicted to and slaves of fashion trends. And brand names.


Yes. Just google fashion blogs.

One blogger who has a regular Fashion Over 50 column in her blog states " I headed to one of my favorite shopping spots, TJ Maxx and Marshalls to see what they had.  I scored at Marshalls this time and found 3 summer dresses that I’ll enjoy wearing this year. I found 2 knee length and one maxi dress.  These will be perfect for so many occasions and they are in between sort of dresses and can be dressed up or down. ... The best part, all of these were $30 each, definitely a good deal. And you know how I love a good deal."

The good deal. That is the perception of today's discount fashion stores.

But is it really? Most people today do not know how to recognize quality clothing. This blog caftans&malbec has an excellent post about identifying quality in a garment.

The wastefulness encourage by buying cheap, throw away clothes and chasing the latest trend has hidden costs that most consumers are unaware.

According to one source: "The average American throws away about 65 pounds of clothing per year, and along with other textiles that get tossed, like sheets and bedding, the total comes out to 14.3 million tons of textile waste per year. That’s almost 6 percent of all municipal waste. While some of those textiles get recovered, most of it remains in the landfill, posing a variety of problems."

So what is the answer? 
I don't know, I don't have a good answer.

But I do think that perhaps buying less, buying better quality so it lasts longer may be part of the solution. And when I buy, I am checking for the tag. This tag:

If you want to learn more, read this book:    


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