Recently, it has come to my attention that I need new clothes. Those T-shirts and turtlenecks I bought over 10 years ago in grad school (and--cough, cough--earlier) are looking a little, um, sad. They are starting to get holey, are a bit faded (you mean, that turtleneck is supposed to be black and not charcoal gray?), and hang on me. Not because I have lost weight, but just from use. And so, after Charlie pointed out that I spend a lot of time working out and staying in shape to look good (um, yeah, that's why I do it ;)), I should have a wardrobe that shows off my figure--or at least one that doesn't add 20 lbs. to my frame. (g)
Like Faith, I have issues with a lot of the clothes made now. It's not just about the poor fit or poor quality. No, it's about, "You want me to pay how much for that?" This happens particularly when I look at where the piece was made. I've been to China. I've seen the conditions these women work in. It's not pretty, and they make pennies a day for what they do. I know the material costs money, but I will not pay $50 for a T-shirt made in China. If that T-shirt is made in the States (and not a sweatshop in the States), I'll consider it, but not for one made in China.
A few years ago, I decided to splurge and buy myself a pair of nice designer boots. They weren't Jimmy Choo boots (does he even make them?), but they were purportedly designer. I was at a warehouse that sells designer clothes/shoes "cheap." There were these knee-high, 3-inch leather boots that I fell in love with. I'd wanted some nice boots, although preferably flat, for some time. I'd looked everywhere for a pair that fit me. These were great and forty percent off. It was my birthday. For once I was going to go crazy.
So, I bought them for $180 (and didn't buy anything else for myself for another two years. LOL) For that price, you'd think they were made in Italy, right? Imagine my disgust when I found India on the "made in" tag.
Wait a minute! I just paid $180 for a pair of leather boots that retailed for $300, and these were made in India? You have got to be fucking kidding me! If they are going to charge that amount for something, it had better be made in the States, Italy, Great Britain, Germany, Canada, or one of these countries. Certainly, not India. Nothing against Indians or their products, but to price something that high when it's made in a country with such a low wage is robbery.
It soured my taste for designer clothes. Remember the scandals of companies like Ann Taylor, Gap, J. Crew, Nike, and so on for their sweatshop labor? Have they cleaned up their acts? Hm... I don't know. It's hard to find this information.
Gucci at least makes their handbags in Italy. (What do they pay their employees, I wonder.) While I am unlikely to purchase a Gucci handbag (I can't see spending that much money on a purse), if I ever decided I wanted one, I'd go here and gladly pay for a product made in Italy. (Again, provided they aren't sweatshop.)
So, in my quest for new clothes, I stopped by Old Navy. Um, yeah, they have cheap clothes. Yeah, they do. $5.99 for a T-shirt... on sale. It's normally priced at $9.99. That's a bargain. It is. Of course, the material for the T-shirt is so thin that if I don't wear a bra, you'll see the color of my nipples. You'll also see the tan lines from swimming through the shirt. Oh, wait! I'm supposed to layer this with another one? Um, why? That's the fashion, you say? Okay, but I don't want to layer my shirts. I want a shirt that is thicker than a chemise. In short, I want a shirt that will last longer than a few washes, doesn't need hand washing to keep it from falling apart, and doesn't require a second shirt over it.
We wandered off to JC Penny's. For a couple of dollars more (I happen to hit big sales), I found some nice T-shirts for $10 or less. I picked up five new shirts for about $46, including tax. They were made in Bangladesh, India, or China or someplace like that, but the prices were what they should be for pieces made in these countries.
Now, yesterday, I shopped at Kohl's. Armed with a $50 gift card and a 30% off coupon, I went looking for some new shirts. A couple are a little on the thin side, but they have beautiful prints on them and I can wear them without a bra and not worry about showing it all to the world. They were made in Pakistan, I think. (By the way, the minimum wage in Pakistan is 7000 PKR/month or $82.02/month. I imagine the women sewing and making these shirts are making minimum wage. How many of these shirts do you think they produced in a month? It would explain why I could purchase one for $12. However, I saw many other shirts made in Pakistan, Jordan, China, or India priced at $40, $50, even $60.)
So you know, Daisy Fuentes and Vera Wang labels are made in Jordan ($300/month minimum wage)... or was it Pakistan? Still, you get my point. Vera Wang had interesting pieces (I didn't buy any--they were too expensive at $40/shirt), but Daisy Fuentes? All I can say is, "Ew!" Perhaps they look better on, but you'd have to hold down my screaming corpse to put any of the pieces I saw yesterday on me. If you like them, more power to you, but they aren't for me.
There were a couple of other shirts with prints I really liked, but, alas, they weren't cut right for my body. I have a body that belongs in a size small, but shoulders that require medium for that particular label. I was sad, but what can I do? If I want to look like I'm wearing a muumuu (and, yes, there was that much space in the medium for me and I'm not a petite woman), I might as well keep my old, ratty shirts.
So, what's your price point for items made in India, China, Pakistan, Mexico, etc? Would you pay more for something made in the US? And are you like me when you look at clothes, thinking, "You want how much for that and it's made where?"