Facebook comments in response to last week’s post about my self-imposed “six items or less” challenge ranged from “I could absolutely NOT do this!” to “I’ve been living in the same set of clothing since I retired.”
Today, after one full week, I thought I’d share a bit more about each of the six pieces that I’m wearing for the duration of the one month challenge. None are new and they’ve all appeared on the blog at one time or another in the past. First, let’s take another look at the photo…
From left to right:
- Grey skinny jeans – cabi – purchased new in fall 2018 – made in China
- Dark wash jeans – Old Navy – gifted in early 2018 – made in China
- Patterned blouse – cabi – thrifted in fall 2020 – made in China
- Navy striped pullover – cabi – purchased new in fall 2017 – made in China
- Denim shirt – Uniqlo – purchased new in early 2021 – made in Bangladesh
- Cardigan – cabi – purchased new in late 2016 – made in China
It wasn’t until I’d carefully chosen all six pieces that I realized that four of them were cabi! In addition to the fact that I simply have a lot of cabi, I think that there are a couple of other good reasons for that. First of all, cabi intentionally produces clothing that coordinates well with previous and future seasons. This makes building a cohesive wardrobe very easy. Second, cabi clothing is good quality. It lasts! I suspect that many fast fashion pieces that are sold today wouldn’t hold up to a month of steady wear and washing. Instead, they fall apart after a few wearings and end up in the landfill.
As someone who is attempting to be an ethical shopper, I was also surprised and somewhat alarmed to see that five of the six items were made in China! While shopping in Superstore last week, I passed up a super cute pair of leopard print sneakers. The deciding factor, in addition to not really needing them, was the fact that they were made in China. Having lived in that country for several months, I’m conflicted about buying anything that is produced there. I know that the majority of the population is extremely poor and that garment factories provide much needed employment, but I also know that the conditions in many of them are abhorrent. Men and women work in unsafe surroundings 10 to 12 hours a day, 360+ days a year for a mere pittance. In addition, there are political reasons for boycotting Chinese products. I see China as a threat to Canadian security and although the two Michaels were released in September, it’s clear that they were held for almost three years on trumped up charges in retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech executive Meng Wanzhou. That’s simply not a country I want to support with my fashion dollars!
My justification for having five made in China items on the list of six is threefold. First, two of them were thrifted or gifted. My intention is to try to avoid purchasing new items that are made in China. Second, the new items were purchased prior to 2019 when I made a commitment to begin shopping more ethically. And third, four of the five items are cabi. I’ve been assured by two independent cabi stylists that their products are made in socially and environmentally responsible factories. In spite of that, I was happy to see that my most recent cabi purchase, which you’ll see on the blog later this winter, was made in Vietnam. I suspect that this means that cabi, like many other companies, is moving their factories out of China, not for political reasons, but because the cost of production there has risen significantly and other locations in Asia are more cost efficient. In any case, I’ll feel better about buying cabi in the future if it’s made elsewhere.
And now, before I close, here are a couple of the outfits that I wore this week. On Tuesday, when I went to my weekly Bible study and ran some errands, I layered the denim shirt over the patterned blouse and paired them with the grey skinny jeans. I dressed the outfit up with my newest boots and a necklace, both thrifted.
Though I’ve never worn the cardigan this way before, I knew when I decided to include it as one of the six that I would probably try buttoning it up and wearing it with a scarf. When you only have six items to work with, you have to be creative!
I wore it this way on Wednesday. We bowled in the morning, so I needed something that was comfortable and easy to move in. This Wednesday was also NET Cancer Day and since the zebra is our symbol, I wanted to wear a touch of zebra stripes that day. Interestingly, I purchased the scarf in a shop on Russian Street in Dalian, China when we lived there, but it was actually made in Taiwan! According to the somewhat sketchy instructions that came with it, it can be worn ten different ways, but I’ve yet to figure out most of them.
I don’t know if you can tell, but I was freezing during the taking of these pictures! The temperature was barely above 0ºC (32ºF), but as you can see, we don’t have any snow yet, so we decided to take advantage of that and squeeze in a couple more outdoor shoots.