This week SMART Living 365 is pleased to introduce you to Haralee Weintraub as a guest blogger while I am traveling. I’ve followed Haralee’s blog Haralee.com for several years now, as well as admired her business that makes sleepwear for women. I consistently enjoy her commentary on current events, her sense of humor, and her perspective on life. It’s also obvious that she has rightsized her life, so naturally, I asked her to share her perspective with all of you. Thank you, Haralee, for filling in for me and offering a different look at rightsizing.
My name is Haralee and I am honored to fill in with a post while Kathy is vacationing. Kathy’s posts tend to be thought-provoking, well researched and inspirational. She also walks the talk of “Rightsizing,” and has several books to prove it. She has this all going on and she chose to go out on a limb and asked me for a post! Trust me I am not self-deprecating here. My posts are sometimes funny, whining or just musings, but have no books to my credit and I don’t use inspirational quotes. I am, however, a firm believer in rightsizing, so here we go!
Fashion and Rightsizing. It may sound like I am going to tell you not to shop or buy new things but I am not. What I would like to talk about are alternative shopping experiences.
First some background: there used to be a whole empire of clothing made in the USA. The garment district in NYC used to hum with activity and employ thousands. While fashion week still exists in NYC, besides some haute couture very little is made in the USA. Except for some ribbon and trim shops, the garment district in NYC is just the name of a former location.
Sometime in the 1980’s clothing retails started to go down in price. By the 1990’s most clothing companies had their products made offshore. By 2010 the clothing industry in the USA had all but disappeared. That is when the phenomena of “Fast Clothing” took hold of the clothing manufacturing business.
Fast clothing is clothing made offshore and sold at a very cheap retail price. Child labor laws in many foreign countries do not exist and children make clothing for pennies. Horrors and exploitations have been uncovered, but many companies just go to another country and or to another manufacturer and keep going.
Since the price of the clothing is so low, consumers, all of us, can buy and buy and buy. We can buy the latest trends. We can keep our wardrobe fresh and new every season for very little. If the product doesn’t hold up for more than a few wears, we aren’t out that much money. Here’s the rub, Fast Fashion ends up in the landfill. Fast Fashion is not sustainable buying, SMART consumerism, or Rightsizing!
While I would love to suggest buying clothes made only in the USA, that is not realistic because there are few companies that manufacture in our country. So being practical, here are 10 suggestions to Rightsize Your Fashion:
- Look at your wardrobe. Do you have some items you don’t wear because they are dull or boring? How about instead of buying new, refashion the boring top or skirt. Yes a bit of sewing and imagination is needed.
- If refashioning is not your skill set, remove items you never wear and give it to a charity shop. There are all kinds of charity shops looking for clean undamaged clothes.
- Shop charity shops for additions to your wardrobe. Know your brands and only buy good brands at the charity/thrift/consignment shops. This is used clothing after all.
- Sell your used clothing on EBay or on consignment. If they are good brands or designer, you may make some money. This is work and if you have the time and inclination, go for it.
- Use them up before the landfill. Cut up T-shirts for cleaning rags. Stretched out yoga clothes can also be cut up for cleaning rags.
- Shop yard sales for clothing. Often downsizing people will put out clothes with the knickknacks.
- Learn to mend. I know many beautiful clothes have been pushed to the back of the closet because a seam is ripped or a hem is down.
- Repurpose your clothes. Make shirts into cloth napkins, placemats or aprons. Cut the sleeves off a blouse, or cut the hem of a dress for a tunic. This may mean sewing but sometimes ironing and seam tape can work if you aren’t into sewing.
- Be brutal with your clothing buying trends. Online shopping makes it so much easier than going to the mall or downtown. The question to ask yourself is do you really need this item new or could the same item be bought used from a charity shop or a resaler online?
- For those special occasions have you ever thought of a custom made outfit? Hire a local designer or dressmaker or fashion student to make you that special outfit. You get the thrill of wearing a one of a kind and employ someone you see face to face! I think that is perfect Fashion Right-Sizing.
Rightsizing fashion means sustainable fashion. Even Nordstrom is trying to help with charitable giving and sustainable consumerism on their site: Donating Is Always In Style
Remember, it’s always SMART to keep in mind that every little thing we do has consequences. Next time you start looking to buy some fashion, consider whether it is rightsized.
Okay, your turn: Have you looked at your clothing habits? Are you already Rightsizing Fashion? Please share in the comments below. And please take the time to say “Hi!” to Haralee and let her know what you think of rightsizing fashion.