As I am in the middle of week four, my thoughts have shifted to the “HOW” and the “WHAT”. How to I continue to let what I have learned this month shape me in the day to day, and what do I do to continue to reduce when it comes to clothing? First, the biggest way I feel that I can remember what I have learned is to “buy with a purpose”. The times when I have purchased fair trade items, these things have stuck with me. I remember when I bought them, and if I start to forget who it was made by and where–I look it up. I feel like the fair trade items can be a daily reminder that we can help others through purchases of needed items like clothing. Second, I was given an idea by a Facebook friend called “wardrobe capsule”. This was something I didn’t know about at all until she enlightened me. And since she shared this, I have actually seen a lot of people talking about it and taking the leap to do it with their own closets! I wont explain how it works, but you can find the full details behind what it is here.
Now, some of you may think that I am being bossy…no. I am saying with love–this is what I plan to do, if this helps you great, if not–leave it on the shelf. I’m also not saying: sell everything, go buy everything fair trade and USA made and do a capsule wardrobe immediately. You would probably have a nervous breakdown…because I know I would. If I have learned one thing going into this it was: START SMALL, KEEP IT SIMPLE. Start making small changes, have a goal in mind for what you want for your wardrobe and then take the baby steps to get there.
So, where do we start? Most people (me included) usually want to start with a garage sale. Let me tell you how much on a scale of 1-10 I like garage sales: -10. They are so much work, so time intensive and you have no guarantee that you will sell ANYTHING. And don’t even get me started on the yard sale sites. I would rather throw my things in the garbage than mess with those anymore (if you love them, I’m sorry…keep loving and selling and making $$). The best alternative I see is this. First, here is the scripture that backs it up.
“‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am theLord your God.” (Leviticus 19:9-10)
What I believe is that God gives us excess so that we can share it with those who need it, for our neighbor, for those who are lacking. This is just so important! I don’t believe that it is the State’s job to take care of and uplift those in need. I believe that it is OUR responsibility. He said to feed his sheep, and I think if we ignore that, we will feel the weight of that choice when we meet our Maker. So let’s GIVE, let’s DONATE, let’s SHARE. Let’s not waste a whole weekend to make $30. When we give, God blesses us. He loves to see us share, and help those in need.
I am personally not giving away my excess–yet. I am saving it for a later month of 7, Possessions.
So where do I start with my purchases, where do I buy? This is such a tough question. First, this is something that can be completely mis-guided. There are actually companies out there who will trick you with marketing to make you believe that you are buying something made in the US, but it’s not. If on the product description it says “imported” it was NOT made in the USA. Or, they will make you think by buying this XYZ shirt will save the lions in Africa. Now…this is not a bad thing, but in my opinion if more than 50% of the proceeds are not going to the poor lions in Africa, you are better off to just make a donation where 100% of those funds goes to the lions. But I will let you make the choice on that, just be aware that not all “for the benefit of” actually benefits something as much as we think it does.
Made in the USA
American Apparel – This is the biggest company with the biggest variety where ABSOLUTELY everything is made in the USA and their workers are paid a fair wage. No sweat shop like conditions. They have all the basics, products for Women, Men and Kids…even swimwear! Most of their clothing has a bit of a “city vibe” to it, but I feel like they have something for everyone. The best thing about it is that for a USA product, everything is VERY affordable.
imogene + willie – Basically if I could dream of a store that didn’t exist…but really did. THIS WOULD BE IT. I would move in if they would let me.
Duluth Trading Co. – This is a smaller company that has less variety (not everything is made in the USA) but they have a fairly large selection of items. They have more of a casual, outdoorsy feel for people like us who spend a lot of time outdoors and want things that are more “practical”. I also love their marketing and the fact that they have a sense of humor. This goes a long way with me.
Beyond Clothing – Strictly outdoor clothing. This stuff looks like it was made with the military in mind. They have a very limited amount of items, but they all seem very versatile. Technically they only sell “mens” but I feel that you could consider them same sex.
Birdwell Beach Britches – I am a total sucker for a catchy name, but these guys sell basic beach shorts for men and women.
Bemidji Wollen Mills – Basically the prettiest ski sweaters I have ever seen, and all other winter weather accessories.
For a full list of companies and items you can find that are made in the USA, this is the most complete list I have ever found: The American List
(For the sake of time and saving my sanity I am going to let you google these instead of sharing links…or better yet go check them out with your own two feet.)
5 # Apparel
For a Cause
Amazima – Founded by Katie Davis, who inspired Jennie Allen to write “Anything” and “Restless” and is basically anyones idol who has ever heard of her. This stuff is so cute.
Hamlin Fistula – Founded by Catherine Hamlin, these items support the hospital that in my opinion has had the biggest impact on women’s health in the world.
I hope that you all find this list helpful, and remember all of these items make great gifts as well!
~Photo credits go to Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia~