same year to year, and I'm not a fashion chaser. We replace what wears out, less than $1000/year for the household ($100 per person), another $500 for shoes and cleats and sports uniforms and sweats. Food's a much larger portion of our household budget--$10,000/year ($1000/pp). Housing even more, in one of the most expensive areas of the country--$30,000/year ($3,000 pp).
But when our kids were younger, we spent much more on clothes. They grew out of them constantly, and every season there were new demands--back to school clothes, holiday clothes, summer clothes because last summer's didn't fit and, sadly, didn't fit anyone else either. To make it manageable, we went to the Children's Place. Their $6 shirts and shorts were a lifesaver to
Of course to get the $6 shirts and shorts, the Children's Place used cheap labor overseas. Like Gap and Gymboree (too
global labor rights advocacy group, and after an 80% pay raise for Bangladeshi workers:
So after the Savar building collapse in Bangladesh last month that has killed, so far as we know, more than 1,100 people, I heard people saying they'd buy more American-made clothing, which is great. Nothing
What I keep wondering is--what if clothing wasn't cheap?
I know some's not. I tend not to buy those goods--designer clothes and purses and shoes and sunglasses--but most clothing is relatively cheap in America, considering other expenses. An outfit is less than a dinner out, for example, though of course it's prom week so that equation's skewed. Definitely not the price of a meal.
But clothing is mostly cheap, and I've benefitted from that fact, and spent my money elsewhere. But if
Am I the only one who wonders if it's better, ethically or even practically speaking, to spend $19 on a pair of Old Navy jeans so that you have the money to spend $81 on a pair of Raybans? Either way, you've spent $100. What if the equation was reversed, and you had to spend $81 on jeans? I'll bet you'd find some $19 sunglasses somewhere. It's just a different dividing of the pie.
As opposed to sunglasses, though, clothing is a necessity, like food and housing and health care. We'll buy it regardless. We'll just buy less, if it costs more. Go to Goodwill in a pinch. We'll get by, as Americans, without our $10 outfits from the Children's Place. That's all I'm saying. We're not overprivileged, well-paid, cheap-clothing junkies at the risk and cost of underprivileged, poorly-paid human laborer lives.
At least I hope not.