Friday, December 28, 2012

Fashion and Shopping

2012 has been a very interesting and exciting year for me.  I started the year off knowing I had to get serious about my weight.  I had lost weight with Weight Watchers while working at the ABA since they offered an on site program.  Then when I started my new job I thought I could keep losing weight on my own but not paying attention and travel added 10 lbs.  So I went back to the Weight Watchers meetings and am now at my lowest weight in my adult life.  I feel great.  My doctor is so happy.  My parents are very proud.

So that's a great thing to have happen, but with it comes this weird situation of not having to buy clothes just because they fit.  Because now most everything fits.  And it looks good.  And I want it.  I have replaced almost my entire wardrobe this year.  So I have started thinking a lot more about shopping and my style.  How do I want to look?  What do I enjoy?  Because my love of fashion can now be played out on ME. 

The owner of a local boutique (Milk Handmade) suggested this book to me when I was in there shopping one day.  I was commenting how some women walked into the store and said it was "expensive" and left.  And I wondered if they would rather their clothes were made in China where I had learned through some work searches that China harvests organs from executed political dissidents.  (I think China plans to stop this in 2013).  We got to talking about clothes and how people brag about using less gas in their car but don't brag about where their clothes are made. 

This book aligned with how I have been feeling about shopping.  I don't necessarily want more, I want items I enjoy wearing.  My rule is I won't buy something unless I can see myself wearing it on vacation.  Because if I don't love it enough to pack why should I buy it?  I can see my style emerging.  It's preppy with a dose of something crazy/silly/exotic.  I love a traditional outfit of jeans and a sweater with striped socks.  Or a proper shirt with snakeskin patterned pants. 

I also saw myself in the chapter that thinks taking my castoffs to the thrift store in benefiting someone in my area.  Not necessarily.  I agree with the author that higher cost does not always equal higher quality.  You have to know what to look for in a garment.  I am also looking more closely at labels to buy American made clothing.  Plus I'm going to take a break from shopping for a few months - I have a few things I have not even worn yet!  And I'm going to get back to knitting.  The author discovers sewing in the book and while I don't plan on sewing my own clothes I will knit my own sweaters.  And why do things have to be fast?  I enjoy the slower process of creating a one of a kind item.  I feel my pride in my clothes makes people notice what I'm wearing and I am getting way more compliments on my clothing.

I will take issue with one point in the book where the author follows someone who bought a purse at Louis Vuitton for $700.  I would have to look but I am not sure what model is $700.  Also she says that she sees women hovering around a sales rack at Louis Vuitton.  I'm pretty sure they don't have sales.  Or if they do - please invite me!! 

And, please, people, don't rack up credit card debt buying fast fashion.  That is just stupid.  After reading this book, and also based on the amount of email, I have unsubscribed to almost every retailer's email I was receiving.  40% off a piece of crap is 60% of something I don't need or want and that won't make me feel good.  It kills me on QVC and HSN when they say "I don't know how we can bring this to you at this price".  Most likely because the item is manufactured in Bangladesh or Vietnam or another area with incredibly cheap labor and dangerous working conditions.

So if you are in Chicago and want to buy something totally unique and not see yourself coming and going here are a few places I really like:

Milk Handmade
Wolfbait and B-Girls

These are some U.S. designers I have purchased and really enjoy wearing:
Luxury Jones - purchased at Roslyn
LAMixx - purchased at Milk and Etsy
Squasht - purchased at Milk, have not visited Chicago location

Spend more, buy less.  You are worth it. 

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