Betsynomics 101

My good friend Betsy recently noted the rash of cheap and cheesy off the rack clothing items that are available seemingly everywhere. Flimsy and highly flammable fabrics, poor (or just fast) workmanship, each article requiring inter-continental shipping lanes to reach us.

Are these the ‘throwaway’ clothes we learned about a couple of years ago? Those things we wear for a season and then toss? ‘Good’ business I’m sure: the stores selling this stuff are ensured repeat purchases. As long as prices remain low enough to warrant buying new things every year.

Isn’t this low price already too high though?


5 thoughts on “Betsynomics 101

  1. being a stylist I can also say that part of this has come from a younger generation wanting “instant fashion”, they want it now, they want it cheap, they want the most current trend, and then they are done and on to then “next” thing. The Forever 21’s, H&M, etc have helped fuel this of course but for a teen who only has so much “income” and is “trying out” new looks, this is where we are at. I notice that to get quality made, long lasting clothing we are having to pay much higher prices than we should, and even so, the fashion business is a smart one – using “trend forecasting” companies to mix up “whats in style” every season so much that not everything you own really stays in flavor. Of course if you go with the good basics, it’s not as much of an issue. But with so many looks/options/styles out there – more and more women of all ages are branching out and taking fashion risks which is why Banana Republic, Gap, etc are losing money left and right. I think its a vicious cycle.. )-:

    • You know what, Cindy? I don’t think the cheap ‘instant fashion’ bothers me as much as the cost. And make no mistake about it: the cost is extremely high. We must include in the cost things like fossil fuels spent on transportation, whether the labor pool is paid a living wage, what the conditions are of the work force and so on and on. Regardless of how you look at it it is a vicious cycle!
      I’d love to echat with you more; especially about trend forecasting companies.
      Thank you so much for the thoughtful comment!

  2. When I was a little boy, many, many years ago, I wore hand-me-down clothes that my older brother and cousins had worn before me. It was considered good sense: why buy Reggie a new pair of khakis when his older brother’s outgrown pair is still in good shape? It was not until I was a teenager that I got my own clothes, that is new ones. But I didn’t have a lot of them. A couple pairs of trousers, two sport-jackets (one a blazer and one a sturdy Harris Tweed, the HT STILL a hand-me-down), and three or so pairs of shoes. One good overcoat and one for knocking around in. Now, I didn’t grow up in a house where resources were tight, so my clothing wardrobe was due to choice (on my mother’s part, that is!). My father was a successful lawyer, and we had all the comforts and appurtenances of upper-middle class Americans. In those days, before there were Big Box retailers on every corner stuffed with slave-labor-made throw-away clothing (and everything else), clothing was expensive, it was well-made, and it was meant (and expected) to last. I am always struck by how much “times have changed” by how large the average closet has become here in America. They have expanded exponentially in newly built houses to be able to hold all of the cheap clothing that people now have. The average working middle class person here in America in the 1930s had two or three changes of clothing only. One for work, one to change into after work, and one for attending services or weddings — one’s “best.” Today the average American has dozens and dozens of changes of clothing, most of it cheaply made, and most of it of the jeans/tee-shirt/flip-flop/hoodie variety. Jjust think how good everyone looks in photographs taken fifty years ago versus today. You get what you pay for. More is, indeed, less. Reggie

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