Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Buying Clothing With Ethics In Mind

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the clothing that I buy. For the most part, I buy most of my clothing at the thrift store, or off of clearance racks at departments stores. I pride myself on never, ever paying retail for anything, and I rarely spend more than $10 on an item. Given the two criteria above, it is exceedingly rare that I buy anything that is made in the USA. I have also noticed that clothing seems to last only a few wears and washes before it begins to lose its shape or the fabric starts to pick and pill.

When I buy something I want it to last for more than one year. Furthermore, I want to support companies that make their items in the USA and pay their employees a fair wage, with more "good points" for companies who offer benefits (like insurance) that are actually affordable on the salary the employee is paid. Given the current state of domestic manufacturing, I completely understand that this may not always be an achievable goal. I also realize even though I have a desire to support American companies, I may not always be able to afford to do so. I don't have any sort of long, drawn out plan on how I will change my buying habits, I just want to be more mindful of where things are made and attempt to buy USA made items when it is feasible. Perhaps when I am a bit older and more established, thus hopefully having more spending power, I will be able to be more consistent with buying American made items.

Sure, I am only one person, buying a few items, but I still feel that it matters to buy items that are made in the USA. Millions of people doing one small thing can make a huge difference! Here are a few companies that I have found that make items in the USA that are reasonable to moderately priced. ( Just to note, I have not bought anything from these companies, so I cannot attest to the products of services they offer.) I'd love to hear your thoughts on this and would love to find out about any other companies making things in the USA.  And lastly, I don't mean to alienate any of my readers who don't reside in the USA. I think one should strive to support their home country where ever that may be, and mine happens to be the US.)

1. A.S Tees are made in South Carolina, and according to their website, employees are offered paid vacation, retirement packages, and insurance plans. They sell T-shirts in a variety of styles, all reasonable priced under $20.

2. Okabashi sandals are also made in the USA and are very competitively priced. They seem to offer more athletic looking sandals and flip flips, which also look very supportive. Strangely, they also note their shoes are dishwasher safe. That's a first.

3. All American Clothing Company doesn't seem to offer a very stylish selection, but they do have spaghetti strap camisoles for around $10 that are still made right here at home. This company seems to offer more options for men, including a large selection of US made boots for men.

4. American Apparel had definitely had their share of controversy, but their clothing is still made in downtown LA.

5. Jack Rogers is a shoe and handbag company that makes all of their items in Florida. The shoes they offer are pricey, $100-$200 a pair, but it seems they do offer some sales occasionally on the website.

Finding companies that make all of their items in the USA is a very time consuming task. I'd love to hear about any made in the USA clothing that you love! Chime on in!


  1. Thanks for this list. I try to be mindful as well.

  2. Great post! I myself am trying to be a bit more mindful as to what i'm purchasing and where it's coming from. I seem to only buy from thrift stores but, choosing the more quality better made pieces then all those cheap Forever 21 castoffs that are trying to be resold at almost face vaule.

  3. New Balance Shoes is supposed to be a pretty awesome company to work for. Their shoes are not 100% USA made, but I believe they have one of the highest % of USA made for all athletic shoes.

  4. I'll add that, while I try to buy local-made goods as much as possible, I'm not a stickler for USA made. I am a stickler for knowing as much as I can about whether the workers are treated well...but I think that's nigh near impossible to find the truth about! We're probably best off growing our own food, raising our own sheep, spinning our own wool.......

    Well, at least I grow vegies! ;-D

  5. I am in the middle of reading Overdressed, and this issue has been on my mind a lot lately. So far I've found that some of the clothes ModCloth sells are made in the USA. You can check it out here.

  6. I tried to be more mindful of what I was buying last year for the holidays - I shopped mostly on Etsy to support small, independent businesses. I definitely felt like I was making an impact that way! Thanks for this list - I agree, it would definitely be helpful if each of us just committed to buying some of our items that have been made in the US.