Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Vote with Your Money

Dress - Carmen Marc Valvo, thrifted
Belt - MMD*
Flats - Trippen Army via PedShoes** (They're having a sale!)

No I'm not some kind of advice guru, but I did get some good advice once. I had a Wellness class as a part of my degree program. I hated my high school wellness class, but by the end of the college course I had learned not only to meditate, but lots of great info on bodies, exercise, food, and the importance of voting with your money. My teacher stressed this idea every single class period.

What she was talking about was spending your money on whole foods (whole grains, fresh vegetables), instead of on pre-packaged meals. And yes that's important. The closer your food is to the original food, the better it's going to be for you. Bonus if you're supporting local farms and local economy directly.

But the concept of voting with your dollars (or euros, or pounds, etc) is not limited to the grocery store or farmers market. Where you spend your money decides where corporations are going to support their products. There's a reason why "organic" food has led to "organic" cotton tees. People buy it. Stores want to sell you what you want.

I used to be a fan of fast-fashion stores and discount chains. I still like snooping around the occasional Ross, but almost all of my shopping for the past year or more has gone to thrift store like Goodwill and the Good Samaritan. I'm not saying everyone go out and thrift, but learn about where you're shopping, what your dollars are going to support.

Loved the bright cobalt and purple ties
A bright contrast with my bright green dress
Despite my thrifty clothing budget, I have spent ridiculous amounts on shoes. Even more ridiculous when I realize one pair of my shoes might have paid for about half of my wardrobe or more. I do this because cheaply made shoes hurt. They hurt your feet, they hurt the environment, and they hurt our wallets. If I can pay $100 for a single pair of shoes versus buying three pairs for that cost, I have usually put in a good investment for many years, not a season or two. My $25-30 range shoes have long bit the dust, but those investment shoes I've purchased? Still going strong with a quick buff of the leather conditioner, good as new. 

Not only does this save me money in the long run, improving my Price-Per-Wear, but I know my money has gone to support good companies and good brick-and-mortar stores when I can find them. PPW is especially important because I wear my shoes. I walk in them. A lot.

I know how much affordable, fashionable clothes mean to the world, the accessibility for many people to look professional on a dime is more important than ever. But what will be marketed and what will be available to us in the future is also important. Your money speaks to the corporations, the store owners, the grocery store owners, even my shopping at goodwill creates a demand for people to donate their goods so the stores can continue selling to me and other thrifters. 

Remember how important you are as a customer. Remember the strength of your buying power. 

*Links within my own site are items for sale by me. Not another company or endorsement.
**I make no money for linking to outside sites or companies. I link because I love. These shoes were purchased by me with my own money, not provided by the company.

Edited to add a link I got from Terri (@RagsMachine): The High Cost of Cheap Fashion Read it if you can. I highly support becoming educated about the world around you to make informed decisions on your own terms.


  1. This is a big part of why I love supporting local and handmade businesses too - I feel like it's a better investment than it is at some of the "high end chains". I am guilty of shopping a couple of places (F21 comes to mind) that are maybe not the wisest place to invest, but I have been working on being more aware.

    Can I say how much I love the belt with the dress? Super cute!!

  2. Megan, I swear those belts are getting more and more fabo with each outfit, and this was a great way to get another look from that terrific green dress.

    I have gotten less interested in fast fashion as I discover that thrifting is just more intellectually stimulating, as well, as, er, thrifty. I'm lucky that I can find some inexpensive shoes that go and go and go with some care-taking, but have to admit my fave shoes, the blue Vogs, are my favorite. And all the shoes I got from you :)

  3. I hear you about the shoes. Best investment you can make is on good shoes.

    Your tie belts are wonderful. Very innovative!

  4. Very smart and wise words. I will spend 10-20 times on good shoes over a cheap piece of clothing. I always try to support local businesses!

  5. Very smart and insightful post, Megan. I do try to "vote with my wallet", and shop locally for most things. Your green dress is so, so fantastic (I remember when you bought it) and you look *so* pretty.

  6. Hee hee! I'm an advice guru! I gotta put that on my business cards. :)

    Voting with your money is a great idea. If there's a demand, stores will carry more organic/eco-friendly clothes. I also prefer well-made items to inexpensive ones that fall apart. See, you give good advice too.

  7. Never forget that small designers like me appreciate customers more than places like ... for instance ... Topshop.

  8. I've been thinking more about trying to invest in quality clothes, rather than fast fashion. It seems so easy to buy local with food, but harder with clothing.

  9. Amen! Just say no to Forever 21 and disposable clothes made poorly in shops violating workers' rights!

  10. So, so true. I still love my clearance finds, but you can't pay enough for good quality products and food. I've always had to take extra care of my body and shoes are my foundation. I'll be looking at Etsy come Christmas shopping. If I can't make it myself, that is.

  11. This is a great post Megan. I agree with you (though am not good at practicing it) on the shoes. While the most I've paid for a pair is $40 or so, they are the most comfortable and most worn shoes in my closet. I also LOVE that you are endorsing thrifting! Aside from the price and "thrill of the hunt", supporting local business and recycling clothes is a VERY important thing. Best post ever!

    I also love your neon dress and that great belt. What talented young lady made that? ;-)

  12. Great post. I am guilty of shopping fast fashion - too guilty. Right now I just don't have the inclination or desire to go thrifting so I just try to limit my shopping as much as I can. Still trying to do the one in-two out in my closet so I can at least donate to the cause :)

  13. That is a beautiful, bright, bold, lime-colored sheath and that belt looks great with it. It stands out!!


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