Sometimes I'll admit that I'm pretty jealous of those whose world has yet to be turned upside down with the knowledge of unfair labor practices in the clothing industry (and others as well). I miss the days when I could blissfully walk through Target and pick up something cute, try it on, like it, and buy it, with no thought other than whether or not I had the money for it. Now I have to put mental blinders on every time I go to Target (or really any other store), and try to shut up the nagging voice in my head. I don't shop in 100% ethically run businesses. I just can't. Unfortunately, it's not possible yet, and I can't wait till this is no longer a dilemma. I do my best to research the places that I'm buying from, and give the ones credit who are making an effort to be ethical in their practices. Everything takes time, and there's always room for grace, and selfishly, I like cute clothes that I can afford without going broke.
But every once in awhile, I trend catches me off guard. That trend lately, has been the full midi skirt. There's something so timeless and feminine about the shape of a full A-line skirt. And while yes, I realize that this trend is so not practical for me seeing as i'm 5 feet tall and hate wearing heels, I just had to give it a try so I could feel fabulous. I searched high and low in all of the stores on my list that I choose to shop from. I found several on asos.com (which is on the approved list), but with the perfect one being over $100 and the other being right around $50, I just couldn't justify it. This was just a trend that I didn't even know if it'd work for me, and I'd definitely have to have it tailored to fit because when you're 5ft a midi skirt is actually a maxi skirt. Then I remembered that my absolute favorite style blogger** wears these skirts all the time (and this is probably where my obsession came from). So I dug through her blog checking the links for all of her outfits. Then I landed on a site that took me to one of the exact skirts she was wearing, and it was only $20. Now that was doable.
I hardly even thought about the fact that it was so cheap. I just had to have the skirt. It said that it came in one size, which I thought was weird, but I figured there was elastic or some special kind of way you fold it to make it fit multiple sizes. I promptly added the black one to my cart (and I'm glad I restrained from buying one in hot pink as well). After quite the long wait, the skirt finally arrived in the mail yesterday. But when I picked up the package, I noticed that it has a China address on it, and my heart sank. I immediately knew why it had been so cheap and why the sizing was weird. I was shopping from a wholesale website directly in China and I didn't even know it. How could I have been so careless to go back on my commitment to ethical fashion, just because I HAD to have this skirt? I took the skirt out of the package, and it may sound strange, but I could feel that it was filled with sadness and anger and pain. Some of you may say that it's just a skirt and that I need to get over it. But once you know the way that people in these factories are treated (remember the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh last year), you can't un-know it.
In fact, the skirt didn't even fit. It looks downright terrible on me. That whole one-size thing, they literally meant it as one size. There's no elastic, no hidden buttons, no way to make it larger. It will only fit a girl who is a size 0 or 2 and is at least over 5'7". Just the other day, I was reading an article about these new companies popping up online that have started to sell their clothes in only one size, and that size is tiny, to push exclusivity and the "ideal" size of an American girl. That's just craziness to me. I don't know when people will see that people come in all shapes and sizes and none of them are good or bad, they just are. Most people would consider me to be a small person, but I don't have the ideal 26 inch waist that this skirt wanted me to have. If I wasn't someone who's spent extensive time improving my body image, I'd probably be disappointed in myself for not fitting into this skirt, because all of the cute bloggers fit in it, so why can't I. And down the rabbit hole of body hating I would go. Instead, I was angry with the company, and others like it, who are eating at the work that others are trying to do to bring positive body image to women.
I don't know what my little rant will solve, if anything at all. But hopefully one day, all of these little voices will finally be heard and a change will be made in how companies produce their goods.
This skirt may have only been $20. But the cost was far greater. It was not worth it. Not one bit.
** disclaimer: Everything in this post is part of my story and personal convictions. I am not, and never will think badly or judge someone for where they choose to shop. My lovely blogger friend is making huge strides in changing the way women view their bodies and their closets, and is one of the reasons why I was confident enough to not hate my body when the skirt didn't fit.