An Americana Look with Imported Goods...

Boy shirt in stripe linen, J. Crew. White blazer, Tommy Hilfiger. Secondhand denim shorts (similar here). Red leather flats, Gap (similar here). Vintage scarf.

     Nothing says summer to me more than denim cut off shorts. I've never been one to sport butt-cheek-bearing styles that were popular during my early high school years. Rather than falling under the category of shorts whose pockets are longer than the inseam, these cut-offs are the perfect slouchy fit. I actually scored these a few years ago in a clothing exchange and they have become a summer favorite.
    Instead of styling them in traditional beach-bum fashion, I wanted to clean them up a bit and show just how versatile a similar pair can be. Whether you're going to make your own high-waisted pair from thrifted mom jeans or look online for the perfect pair, you can definitely incorporate some jorts into your wardrobe without sacrificing personal style. After all, denim cut-offs are the perfect layer if you just aren't wanting to bear all. 
    I've chosen to pair mine with some classic, American staples. While the brands I'm wearing in this post are pretty well-known for recreating that Americana feel for the masses, none of them actually manufacture their own goods in the United States. In fact, Gap has recently been in quite a bit of hot water over not signing a safety agreement to improve conditions in Bangladesh. While Tommy Hilfiger is an iconic, seemingly patriotic brand, even this brand can't escape from the consequences of outsourcing labor to save a few bucks. Fortunately for me, my personal favorite of the brands I'm wearing here, J. Crew, seems to have its stuff a bit more together. J. Crew does have partnerships with various "Made in the USA" brands; but, as with many other big retailers that I've seen, they seem to be focusing on the male demographic.
     I chose to bring these issues to light with outfit photos to show that I'm not infallible when it comes to my shopping habits. I've set some quantifiable guidelines for myself in my shopping manifesto. In general, I'm doing well and purchasing mainly American-made or secondhand goods; but I still have items from these brands in my closet. I still like a lot of what they sell, even if I have put a moratorium on buying imported goods. However, I know that simply turning away from these brands and ignoring the reality of the situation isn't enough. 
     But, as Fashionista reports in one of the best articles I've read covering the factory collapses in Bangladesh earlier this year, boycotting the brands who use those factories simply isn't enough. This creates a cyclical effect: the companies will make less and will therefore want to pay workers even less. Instead, it's our job as the consumer to take a stand with our words instead of just our dollars. These jobs are the livelihood of our fellow humans. Instead of boycotting brands that you might happen to still love, write letters to urge them to change their practices. 
     We are absolutely on the cusp of a manufacturing revolution. This year's tragedies have caused a stir within the fashion community. Instead of shimmying into our new, unethically made goods, we actually have the power to go back to ethical practices. After all, taking a stand makes you look better than any outfit ever could.