Today I'm channeling a look I saw in a J. Crew catalogue.
But instead of pants, which I could have done, I decided to break in my cheapy Gap mini skirt. I bought it quite a few months ago on clearance for $15. It has lots of stretchy goodness, which I love. For a mini, it's pretty darn comfortable. And it has pockets! Every skirt should have pockets and spandex, in my opinion. Oh and that pudgy tummy just keeps rearing its ugly head. Or maybe it was 4th of July ribs. Nahh.
I also received my Zara dresses over the weekend, which I can't wait to show you. I'm not only excited about the dresses themselves (been eyeing the fish V-neck back dress for a couple of months now), but I'm excited that they fit! I can typically only wear Zara blazers and some tops and only in XL. Zara clothes run small and typically an XL equates to a size 12 or smaller. I can't fit into any of their pencil skirts. But the dresses bow out at the waist and the XL fit.
So since I'm on the subject of fast fashion, I'm reading a book about it ("Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion" by Elizabeth L. Cline) and conducted my own little experiment this past weekend. I went to my local mall on Saturday looking for any apparel that wasn't made out of celluostic fibers (plastic) or wasn't trendy and cheap. I found nothing. Granted, my mall does not have a Nordstrom, Saks, or any other upscale department store (Macy's is about the best you get in that mall). In fact the entire first floor seems to be made up of cheap one-off stores that sell hoochie-mamma apparel. The top floor is mostly comprised of fast fashion, such as H&M, Forever 21, Abercrombie, etc. The book talks about how most of the manufacturing of apparel is now done overseas for pennies, that consumers are paying increasingly lower prices for trendy knock-off fashion, and how disposable and ill-constructed clothing is nowadays. People wear their clothes a few times and expect to throw it away. Gone are the days of quality stitching and details that adorn hand-made clothing, not to mention using fabrics that aren't comprised of Viscose, Polyester, Acetate, Nylon, and other cheap imitations.
While I'm guilty of buying fast fashion all the time and will probably continue to do so in this economy, I also see the author's point. I'm only halfway into the book but it has already opened my eyes to just how much we shop for cheap, disposable goods. How many times have you worn a J. Crew tissue tee only to find pin holes in it after a few washings? Off to Goodwill it goes.
In all honesty, I can't afford to feature a $300 dress a few times a week like the big fashion bloggers do. I stopped following the blog This Time Tomorrow when Krystal featured an almost $600 skirt that she bought 'on sale' and made it sound so commonplace. And while I'm sure she will most likely have that skirt for years to come, shelling out that kind of money every month is just not a place I can be right now. And here's the paradox. I'll shell out a few hundred dollars a month to drive a nice car that will last me well after its paid off. However, I am in the mindset of not paying over a certain amount for shoes and clothes. I may have to revisit the notion of saving up for quality instead of spending on cheap quantity. In the late 90s, I did just that. I saved up for my Gucci, Prada, and Fendi shoes and bags. I bought quality. And I resold those things on eBay for a profit. Did the shift happen when the economy went sour? I don't know. But I own one high quality piece of fashion that I wear constantly. And although I've been told I need to jump on the bandwagon and wear a chunky Michael Kors-eque watch, I prefer my Cartier Tank watch that I've had for almost six years now. It needed a tune-up due to neglect, but is now running beautifully and will continue to do so for many years. It has also increased in value over the years, unlike most of the clothes hanging in my closet.