Tag Archives: clothes made in usa

An affordable belt made in USA? Consider it handled.

Nothing thrills me more than when friends, family and coworkers ask for my opinion. I love when they do, because frankly, I am one opinionated gal. So, when the resident funny guy at work asked me to help him find a well-made, American belt, I jumped on it. Let’s do this!

It was actually not hard at all for an experienced “not made in China shopper” like myself to find him something. First site I liked was Bull Hide Belts dot com. He was looking for a black, simple belt for the office, since his Chinese JoS. A. Bank belt was falling apart after he’d been wearing it less than a year.

Here’s what we like about the Bull Hide Belts:

  • Handcrafted in USA from US leather
  • Customizable (buckles, sizes, stitching)
  • Three year warranty
  • Affordable!

craigs belt

The made in China belt cost him about 50 dollars, now he ended up spending about 75 for one made right here. Come on, that’s a no brainer! The quality looks solid. It’s a little stiff right now, since it’s only a few months old, but we are sure that wearing it for a long time (which is the plan) will soften it up.

We make a good team. The two of us even won an award for best supplier recently from one of our customers. He knows where we need to go, and I am like the Olivia Pope of this office (no kidding) and apparently of the shopping too. Consider it handled.

 

I’ve got stripes, stripes around my shoulders

I got stripes, stripes around my shoulders. I got a bangle, a bangle around my wrist.

Fortunately, my stripes are not the kind Mr. Cash sang about. And, we all know that orange is the new stripes anyway.

I just love stripes. As a matter of fact I am wearing one of my striped, knit sweaters today, bought before the challenge. At one point all I had were striped sweaters, it seemed, so the question in the morning was not “what am I wearing today?” but “which striped shirt and which scarf should I pair up?”

My latest stripe addition, the first since the challenge started actually (16 months!), is a Soft Joie cotton dress with pockets.

Joie is based in (you guessed it!) California and after looking around their website it seems it was just pure luck that this cute dress is made in USA. They do import a bunch of items, also from China, so origin surfing is mandatory. All the clothing I like on their website is imported, apparently. But you know what? I’m grateful they tell me. I hate when online shops hide the origin, so kudos for being honest. I found this dress at Marshalls, and tags don’t lie.

soft joie

The bracelet is a Tory Burch leather logo bracelet, made right here, which I picked up at the outlet last year. I wear it all the time, since it goes with everything! It’s my statement piece – most days it’s the only jewelry I wear.

Can’t wait to wear this outfit this summer!

This weekend’s shopping spree: Action packed and NOTHING made in China.

The mission: Black skinny jeans.

Place: Nearby Mall, Houston.

Time: Saturday morning.

The challenge: Only shop clothes made in USA (or at least not made in China!)

First, I decided to give H&M a chance for a change. I don’t shop there much since I don’t support their Sweat Shop methods and almost everything cute is made in China but I was in the mood to browse. They actually have a new collection now called the “Conscious Collection”, which supposedly does some good for the makers of the garments, aims to be climate friendly, ethical and sustainable. Not enough for it to be labeled Fair-Trade, but I did find a lovely blouse with giraffes. Come on, how could I resist?! Giraffes!! It is made from 65% post-consumer material. Only $18.

Next, I laughed out loud at Marshall’s over this hilarious tag: “Democracy – made in China”. LOL.

lol

After that (and no purchase), I went to Nordstrom Rack, my new favorite place.

I tried on a very trendy, blue-black mélange LNA sweater ($39) and a Chaser Brand pink tank ($25). Both made in USA (California of course!) and both got to come home with me. Sorry for my lack of selfie finesse.

fun at rack

Last but NOT least, aka the grand finale, I found Citizen of Humanity black skinnies in my size hanging at the clearance rack. Yes!

I had practically given up at this time, it was almost 2 pm and I must have looked at 20 pairs already. Tag said “Made in USA” so I tried them on – perfection. Only $60! That was it for the day. Stop while I’m ahead.

Not made in China shopping IS possible, folks.

Mission completed.

I found love at the Rack. Nordstrom Rack.

When I saw the print my heart skipped a beat.

When I felt the soft, cozy fabric I wanted it.

When I looked at the price tag and saw $37 (original $128) I was beyond excited.

When I flipped the size tag over and saw “Made in USA”, I thought “this is the BEST day ever”.

When I tried it on and found it to be a liiittle bit too big, I said “whatever, I’ll make it work with skinny jeans”.

I am now cute, cozy and pink in the office (hell yeah, you can touch it!). This is my first Wildfox sweater ever and if Nordstrom Rack continues to deliver, hopefully not my last.

L-O-V-E this.

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Is the quality really better?

Last week at article club (yes, writers must also read) while briefly discussing not made in China, I got asked a question; do you find the quality of the things you buy better (than made in China)?

Honestly, not really. Or, yes and no. Let me elaborate.

Do I find clothing made in USA to be of outstanding quality? No. But definitely just as good as what I bought before, j.crew and banana. My favorite pricey (Chinese) sweaters from said companies all developed fuzzies after a few washes. And some broken seams have surely occurred. Do I find leather shoes from Brazil to be better quality than leather shoes from China? Maybe a little actually, but unfortunately not enough to justify the challenge and the extra dollars. brazil

But, then there’s the Harley Davidson my husband owns. An “American made” brand for American riders? Nah. Spend 5 minutes close up and you’ll notice all the parts are imported Chinese crap (it’s breaking down after only 400 miles!) and really what we have here is what people call “Assembled in America” (I just love it when they say that!). When my man added a handmade Roland Sands exhaust system, we could really tell the difference. Outstanding, American craftsmanship and quality. It is, no doubt, the best looking part of the bike. So in that case; the Harley representing China (how sad!), the exhaust representing America, yes, much better made right here.

I think the old saying “Chinese merchandise is bad quality” is just not true anymore. Some of it is cheap and poorly made (bolts, nuts, everything at Walmart, that keychain by the register). Some of it is quite well made, quality-ensured and expensive (Apple, Fossil).

Good thing for me, this challenge has little to do with quality of product and all to do with quality of life, oceans and air. And that, I don’t need to elaborate on, do I?

As if my husband needed more reasons to shop… (Made in USA menswear: #lumbersexual)

I was excited to read this week, that Target is joining the made in America trend by adding some locally made collections to their ginormous offering of products.

Unfortunately 1. It seems the collection will be online only. Call me old-fashioned but I like trying clothes on before I buy them, touching the fabric and feeling the fit.

And 2. It’s all menswear! (at least for now) But whenever the hashtag is lumbersexual, I’m definitely interested.

But, hey, wait a minute. So far, throughout being on a not made in China challenge, I’ve actually stumbled across a lot more trendy and modern menswear made in USA, than I have women’s.

This challenge was not about making my husband look hotter and me looking standstill-ish at all (believe me), but it seems the industry is kind of working against me. Want proof? Just check out the rugged, sexy (spend-lots-of-money) websites of Iron & Resin, Tellason and 3sixteen.

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One of the latest purchases we made for hubby was a red brushed flannel twill shirt from Pendleton Woolen Mills, which we picked up at The Reserve Supply Co. in Houston for around $100. Great quality, perfect fit, American-made.

It even inspired his young nephew to jump on the “lumbersexual” trend! Well, thankfully, more like #lumbercute.

Guys, you’ve got it good.

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Check out my full list of awesome men’s wear and goods at my Made in USA Products page! Link here.

My first photoshoot: An American made (winter) outfit

I’m so lucky, one of my friends happens to be a hobby-photographer! She offered to take some pictures of me for the blog, and though I am a bit rusty when it comes to standing infront of the camera… I thought this is as good a time as any, and I decided to take my new 7 for all mankind jeans out for a spin behind her house.

I paired them with my Richter Goods made in Texas tee and Canada Goose jacket. I’ve had this jacket for 6 years, I still love it, and it kind of looks brand new. Great quality indeed.

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Look at them American tags!

These are the modern straight 7’s – made in USA of imported fabric. I wouldn’t go as far as to call them a bargain, but I did get two pairs for 207 dollars at the outlet! Which is about half price compared to retail. Outlets are my friends.

The boots? “Model’s own”. Isn’t that what they say? Actually, I bought them in Europe in 2010, and I don’t know where they’re made or what brand they are. They’re warm and I like them a lot!

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Made in Canada parka, Made in USA jeans & Made in USA t-shirt.

These pictures came out so beautiful! Thank you Shutterluv by Ashley photography!

First there was a pug, then there was a baby, then there was a pug

Baby Ella is not only beautiful, chubby and the happiest baby I know, she is also an expert poser. Posing in her “Pug Life onesie” that is, which auntie got her for Christmas. Why Pug Life? See, her mom’s got a pug. (A pug that is most definitely enjoying less attention since baby Ella made the scene in late July).

It might have been the case, that Ella’s mom really wanted something different Christmas morning, like a made in China binky with an animal attached. Sorry, I only give Anna-proof gifts (her words – not mine). So as you probably know, there is something in it for me (and our economy) to go with a pug life outfit instead.

Morado Designs, out of Vermont, make handmade baby gifts using US-sourced organic cotton and simple, colorful prints. Looking to shop online, quite a few styles are sold out (like all of their baby blankets), so the strategy would be to get what you want, when you see it. I also fell for the adorable box, no need for gift wraps.

Supporting companies that make things right, that is how I roll, and it makes it so much easier to be me when I find some things that are cute as hell, just like Ella deserves. Yay.ella2

Soft, adorable and locally grown

Because all babies are, undeniably, just that. 100% organic? Well I guess that depends on what mommy’s been eating and moisturizing with.

IMG_3477Anyway, Locally Grown Clothing Company is making lifestyle statement onesies for ages 0 and up. You can order these onesies online and pick a design representing the state you live in or whatever look you like! I got these at Whole Earth Provision Co. in Houston.

Not only designed and manufactured right here, materials are also sourced from the USA. Not a lot of companies can say the same. Love this!! And my beautiful friend, who got this gift of local baby fashion, loved them too. Win-win.

Can’t wait to see the baby, due February, rock these two styles.

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The soft & luxurious tee of your dreams

But it’s not a dream – the Richter Co. based and made in San Antonio, Texas, has made it a reality; the softest tee you will ever own. With their soft textiles and low cut V’s, these craftsmen are bringing local back. And it’s pretty sexy.

Poly-Rayon mix, hand crafted, with a variety of styles like crew necks, pocket tanks and ¾ sleeved tees – made in Texas garments are only a click away. And wow, it’s affordable – less than $20!

The verdict: made right (here) heaven.

And I LOVE the tag.

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A Fashionista can’t do this – lucky I’m not one

Almost 6 months into the challenge and it probably goes without saying that I haven’t bought a lot of clothes this year. Yes, stylewise I am at a standstill.

I’ve been looking for cute, ethical garments, but most of the things I liked were off limits. It’s very frustrating to find that the high dollar stores (Anthropology) and the low dollar ones (H&M) all sell clothes from the same places; China, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

More specifically, good looking Made in USA clothes are even harder to find!

Eileen Fisher has a made in USA line, and of course American Apparel is all made in USA, but unfortunately for me, neither brand is really my style. I did discover that you can search on Nordstrom.com after Made in USA and a bunch of things come up. Don’t check out the women’s ballet flats section though – utterly depressing… but lots of lovely dresses and active wear. And as far as I understand, you can return items at a store near you.

As stylish + USA seems somewhat impossible, I surrendered and got some Tory Burch flats and wedges made in Brazil recently. I looked at matching bracelets but they were all made in China. So what happened to all the leftover leather from the Brazilian shoe factory? It wasn’t enough to make bracelets?

I’ll have to accept that I’ll be a bit untrendy summer of 2014 (“that’s so 2013!”). Maybe I’ll get my groove back and find some cute things in the fall. I just need some extra energy, prepare for failure, hope for success, plan to spend a whole weekend shopping and read a gazillion tags…

I can do this!