Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Are We Better Off?

Fashions in the 1920s and 30s are some of my all time favorites. Close seconds are 1940s and 50s. I think I was born in the wrong time period.

This article, posted on Etsy, gives a brief history of women's fashions and the pricing changes over the last hundred years or so. I found it fascinating.

I adore the green and blue dress on the right hand side of this picture. Womens' fashions were spectacular prior to the 1960s and 70s and have gone downhill ever since.  

Especially the fact that the average woman in 1930 had nine outfits and today the average woman buys 60 pieces a YEAR. I can totally relate to that. Although I doubt I bought that many pieces last year, this year I could be in the running.

And as the article says, I shop for "...value with an impulse-buy standard of quality..." when buying clothes. It's why I opened a Kohl's charge card - great discounts and sales.

On the other hand I can absolutely appreciate the value of a high quality, high price, staple piece. I just can't always afford a $200 pair of pants. So I go with a $15 pair I find on the clearance rack and use my coupons. I am pretty good at making those clearance pants last a while though. I have a pair that have been with me now for over 5 years. They're looking a little worn, but they're still in my closet.

I think the same observation she's made about clothing can also be said about jewelry. Instead of a few more expensive, classic, staple pieces of jewelry women are encouraged to buy a different piece for every outfit. To do that, the pieces have to be cheap. Even "costume" jewelry from the "old" days was made really well. My great-grandma had some pieces that were handed down to me that aren't expensive or made with any sort of "real" stone, pearl, or metal, but they were made well and have lasted all this time.

My target market for jewelry is probably not going to be the people shopping the sale rack at Walmart or Target, or even Macy's where you can get a cheap pearl necklace for $20 on sale.

Maybe I'll have to think a little harder before hitting the Kohls 80% off racks. If a shirt is $3, do I really need it and is it even going to last me through the year? 

While I'm not a freak about mass produced stuff (I do buy it after all), I do think it is important to support local and artisan created items - even clothing - whenever possible.