Responsible fashion and style – checking in

It has been a while since I’ve written a personal post about my Made in USA fashion journey. It has been a topic I have been passionate about since exploring the tragedies that left many people dead in Bangladesh when their sweatshop collapsed. Consumers and bloggers are caught in the crossfire of big fashion companies that just want you to consume. I could not turn a blind eye and neither should you. I’m going to share some of the things I have done and learned, but also some goals.

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1. Goodbye Forever 21 – the first and easiest thing I did was to rid my closet of all items from Forever 21. I bundled them all up and took it to Goodwill, and suddenly my closet felt much better. It was by no means easy. I hate being wasteful, and I felt like this was purposely being wasteful. Not everyone gets the luxury to do something like this or even want to do something of this scale. I know this, and I’m not naive about it. But it was something I needed to do to make the right steps towards this journey. The plan is to eventually repeat this with all the H&m that is left in my closet.

2. Last year, I made a big pledge. I promised and forced myself that when I bought new clothes, it would have to be made in the USA. This was HARD! Damn hard. Because the temptation is around you all the time. For the first few months while shopping at Target (and I loved Target clothes, collaborations and all) I had to make a beeline AROUND the clothing. I just didn’t want to be tempted. And you know what? This also meant I was shopping drastically less, WHICH WAS THE WHOLE DAMN POINT! It took me all that to realize that the big solution was to just shop less. We don’t need to be shopping all the time. I hope to continue this. But, this big goal with actualized with the help of the two points below.

3. When I started my Spotlight series researching and discovering brands that are designing, creating, and manufacturing in the US, I wanted it to be a motivation for me to introduce some of these brands into my own wardrobe. Some are affordable enough I can do this! I hope I can introduce you to some brands you’ll find interesting and notable too.

4. Besides regular thrifting and shopping second hand, another way I have been turning things around has been through thrifting ‘made in US’. Something I have been documenting HERE to show that if you can’t buy made in the US new, then you can always get it gently used. There is a misconception that shopping made in the US is expensive. But really, any shopping can be expensive – I’ve seen clothes at H&m for $100+. What’s really interesting too, is that you end up finding vintage items from brands when they used to manufacture in the US!

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5. I’m making small (very small) steps on this goal, but I want to continue making more clothes for myself. I bought myself some nice fabric the other day to get the wheels spinning. Because guess what folks? Making clothes is HARD! It requires precision and quick thinking, but also lots of patience. Sewing is one of those *ain’t nobody got time for that* things, so it’s totally not responsible to have a person get paid pennies so that you can buy $10 pants. I’m going to continue finding some library books with patterns and sewing tips (send any recommendations this way!)

6. One of my favorite things that has happened through keeping this blog and learning about fashion, is truly appreciating the clothes my mom makes just for me. And I’m going to keep bugging mom to make me clothes. She has a dress she can’t find time to finish between making stuff for herself, I’m going to give her a call to remind her! I have bonded with her so much over something so little. It’s truly a luxury I do not take for granted. If you can ever get something made just for you, do it. See if there’s a tailor in your neighborhood that can make a custom piece just for your body, pick your own fabric and fit – it’s a great feeling and you wear your clothes with pride.

7. One big thing that is my next long term goal, is to eventually buy more shoes not made in China. Because most large manufacturing companies have moved overseas, a majority of shoes are made in China. I still have to explore the world of shoes made in the USA (if that’s even a thing? Enlighten me if you know). But I know amazing quality shoes are often made in Brazil from their fine leathers, still hand-made in Mexico from fine craftsmen, and amazing shoes that have been made in Italy for many generations. Another thing that’s going to be difficult, but not an overnight change.

These are all long term goals that anyone can incorporate at any budget and lifestyle. Don’t ever think that you don’t have enough money to revamp or create your wardrobe in this way. Maybe you can’t while you’re in high school, or on a college student budget, but start thinking about it. And if all else fails, thrift first!

Let’s go shopping: more made in USA

I’m hoping to make this Made in USA ¬†‘shop along with me’ a new frequent feature, I’ve created a tag for it to follow those types of posts here. The goal being that you can shop Made in USA all over, be it new, used, or recycled.

I’m going to combine several days of window shopping here, over a range of shops. In hopes to show you that shopping made in USA can be achieved at many different price points and tastes.

Crossroads – trendy resale store, good for basics.

American Apparel skirt
shopping made in usa, thrifting made in usa, sustainable shopping

Splendid shirt dress
shopping made in usa, thrifting made in usa, sustainable shopping

Rag & Bone jacket
shopping made in usa, thrifting made in usa, sustainable shopping

Buffalo Exchange – equally trendy resell chain, I feel like they carry some hard to find items once in a while (I’ve struck gold here).

Corey Lynn Calter dress
shopping made in usa, thrifting made in usa, sustainable shopping

Pink hued JBrand jeans
shopping made in usa, thrifting made in usa, sustainable shopping

Printed Tucker blouse
shopping made in usa, thrifting made in usa, sustainable shopping

Wasteland – my go to place for items that are currently in store but at a fraction of the price. Very gently used.

Steven Alan shirt dress
shopping made in usa, thrifting made in usa, sustainable shopping

Helmut Lang moto jacket
shopping made in usa, thrifting made in usa, sustainable shopping

3×1 waxed denim jacket
shopping made in usa, thrifting made in usa, sustainable shopping

Goodwill – goodwill hunting will bring you down. I almost gave up this time cause I wasn’t finding anything. You’ll always have to dig.

White House Black Market dress (yes, made in USA!!)
shopping made in usa, thrifting made in usa, sustainable shopping

C&C top
shopping made in usa, thrifting made in usa, sustainable shopping

David Meister evening dress
shopping made in usa, thrifting made in usa, sustainable shopping

as a bonus, this vintage petticoat slip
shopping made in usa, thrifting made in usa, sustainable shopping

Nordstrom Rack – a little more traditional retail.

Trina Turk dress
shopping made in usa, thrifting made in usa, sustainable shopping

Sundry tee
shopping made in usa, thrifting made in usa, sustainable shopping

Nanette Lepore skirt
shopping made in usa, thrifting made in usa, sustainable shopping

Thrift Made in USA

Thrifting operations have changed gears somewhat – I feel very content with this direction my wardrobe has gone in and since I have shifted towards more made in USA items; I thought I would continue this Thrifting made in the USA bit I did a while back to show you that it can be done even on a dime. I approached it in two¬†different ways (and next, I’ll show you how you can shop made in USA in other stores too) – first at an actual thrift store (in this case Goodwill), and second at a re-sale store (at Crossroads trading). I surprisingly had similar results at both stores! The price points being a little different of course.

We’ll start with Goodwill! The only downside is that yes, you’ll have to sort through lots of things. Thrift stores have now become graveyards for cheap mall clothes, so it takes more time to find the hidden gems. But do not lose hope, gems are there to be found, even if you have to dig deeper.

A trendy black blazer by Aqua
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Or how about a vintage (had a made in USA label inside) midi skirt with oversized pockets?
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Surprise, this Betsey Johnson dress was made in the USA!
Thrift Eye, thrifting, goodwill, made in usa

A beautiful black party dress by Milly
Thrift Eye, thrifting, goodwill, made in usa

Summery and silky dress by Rory Beca
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Or how about a simple cotton dress by LNA?
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And now, moving onto Crossroads – stores like this will be less digging through, and consequently, prices will be much higher.

This well constructed coat was $50 and by St. John, you’d pay that much or more for a coat that was already falling apart the day you bought it new
Thrift Eye, thrifting, crossroads trading, made in usa

My new go-to denim brand, J Brand
Thrift Eye, thrifting, crossroads trading, made in usa

A bright dress by Cynthia Vincent
Thrift Eye, thrifting, crossroads trading, made in usa

Or how about this funky Marc Jacobs mainline skirt that yes, was also made in the USA
Thrift Eye, thrifting, crossroads trading, made in usa

My suggestions to you, is to always try something on before you buy and to resist the temptation to buy things that do not fit you (that goes without saying for any type of shopping!)

I didn’t buy any of these things, although the temptation was high – and I encourage you to ask yourself when shopping if you really NEED those things!

Made in the USA thrifting

I hope you thoroughly enjoyed my previous post and I loved hearing what you guys had to say about the topic! It will continue to be an ongoing discussion here! So I thought it would be a perfect chance to show you that yes, you can thrift Made in the USA too!

A few disclaimers first – I did not buy any of these things. I don’t need to buy anything right now (except a sister of the bride dress as you’ve seen), this was a journey to show you (and myself) that you can in fact thrift things that are Made in the USA. That being stated, I kind of want to point out that thrift store trends and how people shop now, it may be harder to thrift Made in the USA items because it’s easier for people to donate things that aren’t made in the USA and cheap. But also because if you’re buying something that’s of better quality, it’s harder to give it up to a charity store. So it may be harder, but not impossible!

The first store I visited was Wasteland – they specialize in gently used resale items (similar to Buffalo Exchange, Crossroads, Plato’s Closet, Beacon’s closet, etc). Wasteland seems to stand out because it carries more vintage and more high end designers than most of the other stores (their prices are a little higher too sometimes). These are just a few of the things I found there.

A cute little vintage wrap dress
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A sexy Black Halo dress (pretty cool that it’s still in stores!)
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A summery Ella Moss dress
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A cute little Theory dress ***not all Theory brand is made in the USA, this was.
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And as a bonus, I saw these two pieces coming together and was tempted to buy. A very pretty silky Steven Alan top (it’s still in stores, but in other colors) and this awesome vintage knit skirt that was actually made in Japan, totally giving Sonia Rykiel vibes!
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My next stop was an actual Goodwill thrift store! If it was hard at Wasteland, it was just that much harder at Goodwill for contemporary clothing because of the overwhelming supply of cheap trendy clothing, but you’ll also have some great pieces that are vintage!

A funky geometric printed vintage Bill Blass dress (I think if you could tie the bow around the waist, it would look better once on!)
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A punchy Ella Moss dress
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And a party or poolside ready Tbags dress
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Think about where your clothes come from, ask yourself do you need it in your closet. Be a conscious shopper – you can be conscious and fashionable at the same time, they’re not mutually exclusive! I hope you liked this little thrifting escapade, and hope to do more in the future that focus on the same topic!