Sunday, July 1, 2012

NEW Challenge - Voile!

This is my yellow voile skirt from Talbot's. I love saying voile. Voooiiiiillllllle. So French.

I bought it last fall, admired it, and put it away. Because it is voooiiiiilllle, and too light for fall and winter.
Standing on tiptoes to look taller.

  I'm also wearing a J. Jill top from the previous century.

Notice the fairly scruffy Me Too flats for walking to work, whereupon I changed into these:
Earthies Sienna, available on eBay
These shoes are still in the audition phase, although it might be too late to return them at this point. I think I've had them nearly two months. They have a high arch, which is great for me, but it's not quite in the sweet spot, and I don't know if they will be wearable all day. (P. S. I wore these to the Relay for Life and did four laps on the track!!!)

Have you heard of "haul" videos? Where cheerful young women collect their inexpensive purchases from Forever XXI and H & M and then film themselves showing off their loot? It's not about what they spent, but about what they didn't spend. I'd never heard of such a thing, but I'm reading Overdressed, by Elizabeth Cline, and I'm learning both new things and things I already knew in my heart.

Cheap clothes are crap - this part I already knew. They don't lay well, they disintegrate quickly, they're inconsistent in color and construction. They are disposable. But they are surprisingly fashionable, as they knock off trends and runway styles at lightning speed. And - they're cheap, so you can buy the trend without sweating the cost. If a skirt is under $20 EVERY TIME, I'd be tempted too. The young women who buy these things are not stupid, and they're working for their money. When I was 20 and working at K-Mart, I shopped there.

But I was a big girl, and not much off the rack fit properly, so I started sewing my own clothes. (There is a wonderful chapter on the history and rebirth of home sewing in Overdressed.) In this way I got to know fabrics, and tailoring, and garment construction, and dye lots, and what selvedge means. When I was in my twenties, even cheap clothes were made fairly well, it was just that the fabrics weren't very nice. In my thirties I was working part-time, and had time to shop at Vogue Fabrics and spend my miniscule budget on fabric instead of finished products. I was always thinking, "I could MAKE that for ten bucks." 

These days, I aim to buy good clothes on sale. The voile skirt (sigh) is a fine example. Look at this lining and hem. The voile outerlayer has a hem that is actually a separate piece with a French seam and is closely topstitched top and bottom. Note also that it is anchored with a thread chain to the lining so it won't shift. The lining also has a fine flat hem, very even and straight. 

This is why this skirt  was originally $128, and why I waited until it was under $40 to buy it. Talbot's, like a host of other clothiers, got in righteous trouble in the 90s for making its clothes in sweatshops in Saipan, a territory of the U. S., so it could claim to be "made in the United States."  Now they're made in Indonesia or Viet Nam, though I know it is a comforting myth that the conditions in modern factories are much better.

They're still made well, though, and that's why fear clutches my heart at the thought of Talbot's going under, or sacrificing their quality. Where else would I shop?

1 comment:

  1. I'm not a good seamstress, but my mother is. This means I also appreciate quality. And often justify a bargain with the thought, "You couldn't buy the fabric for that!"

    I visited the Talbot's Outlet today in Aurora with a friend. During the scary storm. I thought if we were going to be blown away it might be fitting that we be found among Talbot's debris.