Day 2 - My relationship to "fashion"

Day 2's question is about my relationship to fashion, but all of the examples talk about a relationship to shopping.  So below is my relationship to shopping.

I like to buy a mix of contemporary and vintage at resale and thrift shops like Beacon's Closet and Housing Works.  I don't like when vintage isn't comfortable or looks like a costume.  I also like smaller brands with good ethics and I'm willing to pay more for them.  (Vaute Couture, Mary Meyer, Make It Good, Maggie's Organics, Threads for Thought, PACT, Keep Company, Cri de Coeur, Kandals are a few.) And I lean on American Apparel way more than I should.  I like knowing which brands work for me. (I will never ever buy Melissa shoes ever again.)

I prefer to shop in person unless I know the brand well.  (I know I take a size 7 in Keep shoes, an XS in Mary Meyer stuff and so on.)

I like a lot of what I consider basics.  Black, navy, gray.  Stripes, dots, bleached patterns, black-based prints. I like basic shapes - skinny or straight leg pants; scoop neck or boat neck shirts; black leggings; black side-buckle shoes or black plain sneakers. I am a big fan of cotton. I prefer to have a uniform. But I also am always scanning the world for things that are "just right" instead of what is available or what I already have. I do wonder if anything is "just right" once you get it and have it for a while.

I don't like shopping online unless it's accessories.  Fit is really important and I find it nearly impossible to get a decent fit online unless the item is supposed to be oversize. I don't need more things to tailor.

Why did she ask this question?

Understanding your relationship to clothes, and knowing your shopping habits will give you a better understanding of what you need to address to make your wardrobe more sustainable.
If I had to take a guess right now, I'd say my biggest issues are:

  • getting bored with what I have
  • not knowing when to cap my wardrobe (e.g. I cap my wardrobe when I have 30 outfits)
  • not making alterations in a reasonable time post-purchase
  • not keeping my stuff organized and forgetting what I have (laundry day sometimes feels like "surprise shopping")
  • leaning on dry cleaning for some items

If I was answering this question as my relationship to fashion, I'd say I'm weirdly specific about what I want to wear and feel unreasonably "off" if it's not something I want to wear.

^ shirt/Etsy seller from China ^
^ pants/American Apparel from Beacon's ^
^ boots/OTBT org cotton, recycled tire tread boots ^
^ necklace/Verameat, made in Brooklyn ^

Welcome to my nightmare:  Earlier this week I put on a pair of pants that I hadn't worn before and they weren't as skinny as I thought. I figured I could cuff them over a pair of combat-style boots and they'd be fine. I had to talk myself out of a meltdown on the subway because they were still wider than I was used to. I ended up pegging them but continued to have an internal monologue about what I'd do if the pegging didn't hold up.  I can't tell you how much mental space was taken up by the prospect of MY STRAIGHT LEG PANTS NOT STAYING PEGGED LIKE IT'S THE '80S. I'm sure that speaks to some weird borderline OCD issue but the truth is that my brain needs things the way I want them when it comes to things I wear. I can have wrinkled shirts, bedhead and any other manner of slovenliness and it's fine - but flappy-wide straight leg pants are REALLY SQUARE and I do not want them.

I'm weirdly picky and obsessive about my clothing.


  1. If the idea of looking square disturbs you that much, I'd say you're pretty solidly invested in fashion.

    Like you, I'm very picky about clothes. When I wear something that isn't right for me, I feel like it belongs to someone else or like I owe an explanation to everyone who sees me. Since I don't wear black or like most minimalist styles, 'ethical' shopping is tough. I sew well enough to know to realize how much shoddy workmanship, but not well enough to make the kind of sharply tailored garments with fifteen extraneous seams that I like... Rock and a hard place.

    1. Yes, exactly! That is absolutely how I feel as well. I identify as being more into my personal parameters for style vs "fashion" though so I guess it's really just the nomenclature.

      Are you into the Alabama Chanin style stuff at all? I feel like there are two streams of "sustainable fashion" out there - the minimalist stuff (which is admittedly more my bag) and the more bespoke, crafted stuff that reminds me more of stuff Anthro carried up until recently.

    2. I hadn't seen the Alabama Chanin stuff until now; it IS closer to my style than many sustainable fashion companies, but too homespun and rustic for my dream style. I do love extra seams... until a few years ago, Anthro always had something that spoke to me. Them days is over.

      I think what I need is a sewing machine.

      You're lucky to live in a major city, where you can see so many things in person to try them on and inspect their quality. You're unlucky to live in a major city, because you're surrounded by all the kinds of clothing you're trying to avoid.

    3. Agree about Anthro! I still sometimes shop there, but the quality has gone downhill and I have ethical concerns all over the place.

  2. Hi Jesse! First time commenting. I found your blog some time ago when searching for other bloggers that talk about ethical fashion.

    I wanted to offer up a solution to American Apparel…have you tried Marine Layer? They have great basics that are made in California. They also just opened up a store in New York. But if it is not nearby, they do offer free shipping and free returns. I know I totally sound like an ad, but they are a great!

    I am excited for your 20 day write-up…should help me learn a bit more about the subject. I could definitely use some advice on thrifting.

    1. Hi Michelle! Thanks for commenting. No, I've never heard of them before and just checked out their site. Their stores link has a "maybe" for NYC so I will keep an eye out for its opening! Thanks for the tip!


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