Tag Archives: nordstrom rack

Is shopping from the clearance rack environmentally friendly?

Let me start by admitting that I do a lot of my shopping from clearance racks and department store outlets. Bloomingdale’s, Saks, Nordstrom – bring it on.

The reason shopping clearance works quite well for me is that I am able to find natural fibers and made in USA or Europe clothes without breaking the bank. Plus, I am not the one to jump on the latest trends, so whatever I like at the store – last or current season – is what I buy.

And yes, this is a legitimate question of mine, one which I’d really like your input.

Is it environmentally friendly to shop clearance racks?

Helmut Lang wool shirt Bloomingdales

First, here’s what all major fashion retailers do with unsold clothes:

  1. They try to sell them at the clearance rack.
  2. They donate them to organizations and hope they will be sold or given away.
  3. They try to sell them thru programs that distribute merchandise in other countries. (Often talking about poorer countries that are already overflowing with western unwanted goods.)
  4. They throw them away in a dumpster. (After making the clothes unusable by staining, cutting or similar so no one can have that fancy shirt for free.)
  5. They shred them and recycle the fabric into, for example, rugs.
  6. They burn them.

According to statistics from the World Resources Institute, it takes 2,700 liters of water to make a single cotton shirt and polyester production for textiles releases something like 1.5 trillion pounds of greenhouse gases yearly, all while 26 billion pounds of clothing end up in American landfills every year. Us consumers are responsible for throwing away plenty of clothes after we’ve worn them a few times, and we need to buy better, yes, but it is without a doubt that corporations are contributing huge amounts of waste to that number. (Do we need a #FashionRevolution? YES!)

I just bought the most amazing shirt at the Bloomingdale’s outlet. It’s a Helmut Lang made in Portugal, checkered, wool, button down shirt with some interesting details, like a frayed hem and a real pocket. I paid 88 dollars for this shirt, originally listed at $395.

So I am thinking, from an environmentalist’s stand point, that had I not bought this shirt – at the 78% discounted price – it would have ended up in a dumpster or burned. What are the chances that another size small woman, walking around the outlet, would want the same shirt, since it hadn’t already sold?

I don’t have the answer to this question. Which, of course, is why I am asking and rambling.

I love shopping clearance, like I said, and I’d like to think that it is better. If I were to buy the latest new shirt at H&M and they end up selling out real quick, wouldn’t they just order a similar batch as soon as possible? The rack doesn’t have that option.

On the other hand, outlets and clearances encourage impulse shopping, which leads to over consumption of goods – something I’m very much against.

Let me know what you think, please!

PS. My favorite way to buy new clothes is to do it from shops that produce upon order. The downside to that is that they’re available online only and I do love to actually browse and try on clothes now and then :)

Made in USA style series part 2: Celebrating American beauty

This is the second post in a five piece made in USA style series, featuring my beautiful friend Mary Beth. She is an awesome mom of two, a supportive wife, gifted music teacher, singer and humanitarian. She’s always looking for ways to improve society and I am so impressed by her spirit, intellect and efforts. Therefore, I decided to call this post “Celebrating American beauty”.

Last week I wrote that putting together a perfect outfit often requires some foreign pieces. Mostly that is true, but this week we did it, head to toe, using only made right here apparel! Another reason to celebrate.

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Let’s start with the blouse, which is made by Collective Concepts – a wholesale brand you’ll find at department stores like Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Nordstrom Rack to name a few. This one with roll up sleeves and a cute leaf print was about 40 dollars at Nordstrom.

For anyone just starting out hoping to add made in America fashion to their closet, I truly recommend Nordstrom Rack. I have found so many stylish, reasonably priced, US made garments there over the past year! Yes, it requires some digging, tag-checking and effort, but rarely have I left empty handed. From 20 dollar shirts to 60 dollar Citizens of Humanity Jeans, most of what I have found there have become instant made in USA favorites.

The fabric of Mary Beth’s blouse is polyester, and it’s all USA made. The style kind of reminds me of the orange polyester blouse we showed last week, also made right here. You can read all about it and its petroleum based fabric here.

Leaves and feathers go well together. Love the light in this picture!
Leaves and feathers go well together. Love the light in this picture!

For a stylish pop of color we added an American feather design necklace, made in Tulsa, Oklahoma by the inspiring Gleeful Peacock Designs. Their collections are an ode to vintage designs, nature, warmth and beauty. All their items are hand-painted, so no two items are exactly alike. Mary Beth actually introduced me to this brand, when she bought me a bracelet for my birthday last year. I love the brand name (!) and the simple, yet timeless pieces.

The biggest challenge when it comes to dressing head to toe in made in USA items is shoes! Stylish options are few, and often expensive if available. The only shoes I have found that are affordable, yet appropriate for the office, dinners and outings, are (you guessed it) the Oka-B ballet flats! I bought myself a pair back in October, and we happen to wear the same size, so Mary Beth ‘borrowed’ them in order to complete this outfit. They are vegan, zero waste, 100% recyclable and made right here in Georgia by a company committed to American manufacturing. The price tag for a pair of Oka-B ballet flats (all styles) is 45 dollars. I love them because they are super comfortable, cute and eco-friendly.

Luckily, one can find America’s favorite garment, jeans, made here quite easily. Last week I featured Rag & Bone and this week Mary Beth is wearing the Victoria Skinny Cigarette by True Religion. They are rather expensive, like many other US-made jeans, the tag is around 200 dollars (Mary Beth got them for $75 at the Rack!). Unfortunately they’re made of imported materials but at least local hands stitched them together.

I’m sure you’ve seen that tag from time to time; “Made in USA of imported fabrics”. It’s definitely something worth talking about, in terms of what it means and why it’s done. I will share some facts about labeling and my personal approach to imported fabrics in my next post. So check back in!

There you have it! Four stylish items we found in Mary Beth’s closet, put together into an all made in USA outfit – pretty incredible right?

Celebrating American beauty, indeed :)

Photographs by the gracious Shutterluv by Ashley.

Back at the Rack for something Splendid

Funny enough, just a few days before I bought these cool pants, my friend had texted me about Splendid. She asked if I knew the brand, and I said no, and she said they may still be making most of their stuff in USA, so I said I would look into it. I added the brand to my imaginary “must-check-out-this-brand-note-book” immediately. Turns out, they are not all made in USA anymore, but do fabricate in Cali still.

You know what happened next; I was at the Rack and found this pair of sweats in my size in the clearance section! MSRP $128, I paid $32: that’s how I like it.

splendid

This was a particularly awesome shopping experience because it was a zero waste purchase! I said no to the bag, and the store offered to email me the receipt meaning no print was needed. Also, I had parked my car where I had an errand close by and ended up walking all the way to the Rack (in 100 degrees) and back: reducing start-stop emissions!

I swear I am not on an endorsement deal from Nordstrom Rack. For real! I just find so many amazing deals there that I keep blogging about them.

Comfy, cool and my favorite color. Win.

Made in USA, affordably priced and stylish, please

Now that there’s a Nordstrom rack only 18 minutes from my house, I am spoiled rotten with made in USA options. Not only that, I’ve also gotten better at spotting the type of clothes most likely to be made here, making shopping way more fun! Tag checking is still mandatory though (of course!). Check first, and then contemplate liking or not liking the garment.

One of the types of clothes often made here, is very loose fitting, super soft, cotton or rayon blend sweaters, dresses and tees. I like that look, but I find that loose fitting garments sometimes just looks way too big on me, or commonly known as “that woman is drowning in her sweater”. This is what happened last shopping session when I tried on 11 items (11!!) all made in USA and only left with one green sweater.

nordstrom shop

Yes, it is soft and made from domestic fabric (rayon) by Harlow and Graham. It only cost me 21 bucks – yay!

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Harlow & Graham sweater with 7 for all Mankind Jeans – Made in USA!

See, I’m so good at this game now that I get to be choosy. I didn’t see that coming when I started this challenge (!), but I’m super thankful to be in that position.

While at the Rack, I passed up a pair of shiny, blue, leopard leggings (read definitely not for me), made in USA, without even twinging. Take that China!

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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