Thoughtful Shopping Series - Discovering where and how clothes are made

New Shopping Challenge: Thoughtful Shopping Series

If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know that I love to impose style challenges on myself. Over the past several years, I’ve done a “Shopping Custom” challenge where I had to buy at least one custom-made item for month for 4 months, Project Remix where I focused on building a “remixable” wardrobe and my 2015 Tall Specialty Shop Challenge where I only bought items from independent tall shops for 10 months.

I’ve been mulling over what my 2016 challenge should be. Since we’re rapidly approaching the halfway point of the year, I guess I should get on it, huh?! For quite awhile, I’ve had a bee in my bonnet about being more thoughtful with my clothing purchases. This is actually one of the things I enjoyed about my 2015 Tall Specialty Shop Challenge – I feel like I did less impulse buying during this challenge and made more thoughtful and strategic purchases because I took my time to hunt for treasures in the inventory of the various tall shops. As a result of this thoughtful shopping, I am wearing many of the things that I bought very frequently because these are items I actually LOVE rather than merely like. Many of these items are also well made and will hopefully last for years and years. In my old age, quality is becoming more important to me than quantity. I have realized that I am the type of person who enjoys having less items that I adore in my closet rather than buying a ton of items that are just so-so every month and only wearing each one a few times. Of course, everyone is different and having less in one’s closet might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I know it works well for me!

I have also become more aware of and intrigued by brands that claim to adhere to socially conscious production and sourcing standards. Allison from The Tall Mama recently wrote a post entitled “Dear Fabric, Where Do You Come From?” She encouraged her readers to ask themselves “Why is this garment (or fabric) so darned cheap?” If the possible answer doesn’t sit well with you, then maybe you shouldn’t buy it (or maybe you shouldn’t buy it until you’ve had time to do a little research into how, where and by whom it was made). On the flip side, just because an items is expensive doesn’t guarantee that shadiness wasn’t involved in the making of it. Through some of my preliminary research on this topic, my eyes have been opened to the fact that the supply chain and manufacturing process for clothing can be a tangled and complicated web and sometimes brands don’t have complete oversight as to what is going on in the factories where their clothing is made or what is going on with their suppliers etc.

So that brings me to my 2016 Thoughtful Shopping Series. Here are the rules: Before I make a purchase, I will research the company to find out as much about their ethics and production as possible. If something seems iffy to me, I won’t make the purchase. If I do feel comfortable proceeding with the purchase, I will of course review the item on the blog and let you know the research I did. Hopefully, this will spark discussion since I certainly won’t claim that my research is exhaustive. Some might say that this shopping challenge REALLY narrows my shopping options, and I suppose that might be true to an extent. However, I love supporting small businesses and getting to know the owners and this is one of the best ways to discover where my clothes are made and who made them. Also, maybe some of the bigger companies will surprise me and I will find that I feel comfortable buying from them as well. We shall see!

Even though I’m just getting around to announcing this challenge, I have actually already made two purchases this year that fit under my Thoughtful Shopping Series. Of course, I will be doing full reviews of these items VERY soon, but here’s a sneak peek of some photos Karen from Tall Wife took of me (more on that later).

CAS Clothing – Hand crafted off-the-shoulder peplum top

Off Shoulder Peplum Blouse from CAS Clothing

Hand crafted off-the-shoulder peplum blouse by CAS Clothing

MARGE Clothing – Anni Silk Blouse

Tall silk blouse from MARGE Clothing

Here are a couple of resources I’ve found that I will be referring to, but I know I’ll find more. Pretty please let me know if you are aware of any other resources!

Your turn…

What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you ever wonder who made your clothes? Do you have any favorite brands that are committed to ethical production?

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18 Comments

  • Reply Lauren May 9, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    This sounds like a wonderful challenge, and I am looking to seeing what you find! The MARGE silk blouse looks beautiful on you Beth!

    Definitely check out Everlane. They’re based in San Fran, and are incredibly transparent in their pricing, manufacturing and processes.

    XX,
    Lauren

    • Reply Tall Fashion Adventures May 9, 2016 at 10:29 pm

      Thanks Lauren! It’s going to be an interesting challenge, that’s for sure. And thanks for the tip on Everlane! I will be sure to check them out.

  • Reply S May 10, 2016 at 3:33 am

    I wish I could buy more ethical clothing, but I’ve resolved to buy only clothing that fits well, which means it really needs to be tall sizes, which are hard enough to find at regular stores nevermind ethical clothing companies! If you could find clothing to recommend that is tall sizes AND stylish AND ethical AND high quality (AND preferably mostly natural fabrics) that would make me so happy.

    • Reply Tall Fashion Adventures May 10, 2016 at 9:32 pm

      Hey there! I’m know what you mean about only buying clothing that fits well. I do hope I hit the jackpot with the “tall sizes AND stylish AND ethical AND high quality (AND preferably mostly natural fabrics)” as you mentioned. 🙂 Stay tuned!

  • Reply Karen May 10, 2016 at 11:49 am

    I love the idea! And I think you’re very brave, it’s going to be a challenge indeed I suppose!
    I’ll be following your journey as I’m very interested in the subject too! 🙂 Good luck!!

    • Reply Tall Fashion Adventures May 11, 2016 at 8:35 am

      Thanks Karen! It is going to be interesting to say the least!

  • Reply Siggi May 10, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    I love it!! I have been trying to buy eco fashion for about a year now and it is very hard to find tall sizes (so my personal exception is Long Tall Sally). Luckily I am only 6 ft so the majority of the shirts fit OK, but no chance on trousers and jeans!! I have tried a web portal which regularly recommends eco shops: https://bonsum.de, one Amazon-like shop offering all sorts of things (avocadostore.com). Shoes are available from TOMS (“one for one”) (again I’m lucky with a European size 40 which is small for my height). I’m quite happy with the purchases I made so far and I agree that these kind of self-imposed challenges help in avoiding to buy too much 🙂

    • Reply Tall Fashion Adventures May 10, 2016 at 9:47 pm

      Thank you so much for the resources and I’m encouraged to hear you’re happy with your purchases so far! I will definitely check out the websites you mention. I think trousers and jeans will indeed be difficult. I have a few ideas for shoes that I need to research more thoroughly to see if they’re on the up and up (Autograf Collection, Paul Green and Poppy Barley).

  • Reply Allison @ The Tall Mama May 12, 2016 at 7:42 am

    I applaud you! I can’t wait to follow your journey. As someone who sews I know how much work goes into making garments, so if a tee shirt or other garment costs less than your cup of coffee then you know someone in the supply line is not being treated fairly and/or that fabric is being made in very polluting way. By being thoughtful with our purchases we really can make a big difference. x Allison

  • Reply Andrea@WellnessNotes May 13, 2016 at 4:15 am

    I think this is an excellent challenge, and I look forward to following you along.

    I have been trying to be more conscious about what I’m buying in terms of focusing on quality over quantity. But I know that I’ll have to research my clothes a lot more as, as you point out, price and quality is not necessarily proof that the item is ethically produced.

    I really love the silk blouse!

  • Reply Handmade Tall Off-The-Shoulder Top - Thoughtful Shopping Series May 13, 2016 at 1:34 pm

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  • Reply Melissa May 22, 2016 at 8:40 pm

    I also can’t wait to see what resources you find that work for us tall ladies! I love Sseko for purses/totes. I have a leather crossbody and suede tote from them. The quality is excellent and I love their mission. They have shoes up to size 11 but I haven’t tried them yet.

    • Reply Tall Fashion Adventures May 23, 2016 at 11:44 am

      Thanks Melissa and I appreciate the tip about Sseko! I have been wondering about where to find purses. I’ll check them out!

  • Reply Tall Ethical Fashion - Blue Silk ANNI Blouse From MARGE Clothing June 19, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    […] MARGE fills a unique void in the tall fashion world with its focus on luxurious, sophisticated apparel and ethical fashion. Since I am on the prowl for well-made investment pieces this year, I find MARGE’s vision to be quite refreshing and impressive. Keep an eye out for an in-depth behind-the-scenes look at MARGE’s production and sourcing in the near future. In the meantime, here’s a quick snapshot as to why/how MARGE fits into my Thoughtful Shopping Series. […]

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  • Reply Summer Lovin’ with Jorgine | Tall Wife March 9, 2017 at 11:52 pm

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