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Recently, I swore my allegiance, taking up the cause of a growing movement in this country to “buy American.”
For one thing, I’ve been shopping at local produce markets. As far as I know, the stores’ crop yield this year still consists mostly of fruits and vegetables harvested on American soil, right? Except maybe for bananas.
I also pledged I would not buy or wear any new clothes that weren’t bearing a “made in USA” label.
In the summertime that’s fairly do-able, since it’s still hot outside and we don’t need to have as many clothes on. I’ve been making do with what’s already in my closet.
Most of the items are so faded I can barely read the labels anyway. Plus, recycling old togs WORN in the U.S.A. can be patriotic, too, can’t it? At least, that’s why I cruise the local charity stores from time to time. I also like to find bargains while helping mankind at the same time.
But, from the looks of most new-clothing manufacturers I’ve scrutinized lately, it’s going to be a long, cold winter.
Here’s a sampling of labels I observed at an area department store during this past weekend’s Labor Day sale: “Made in Vietnam…Indonesia…China”…etc. It’s hardly shocking anymore.
The real surprise was the drastically-marked-down Karen Kane top I happened upon in the ladies’ department, hanging out-of-place in a rack of on-sale summer dresses. Previously priced for a pretty penny, the peacock-blue top could be had for about 80 percent off, after all the discounts. And, best of all, it contained a bonus—a tiny “made in USA” label sewed in the back of the neck hole, right next to the designer one.
Finally, an unbelievable bargain I could both buy and wear in the cooler months. Just throw on a (U.S.) sweater, and I’ll be coolly stylin’, too. I nearly fainted with joy. Bravo, Karen Kane. I always thought you were a classy designer.
The blue top was a needle in the proverbial retail haystack, however. This past shopping day, I didn’t luck onto any other American-made-wear on the sale racks, and I still needed slacks to go with it.
The old ones I already have at home are sadly unsuitable. They’re also adorned with labels of origin from exotic countries, similar to the ones previously mentioned. I like to tell people they’re exclusive imports, hailing from Guatemala, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Peru, Romania, Jordan and Taiwan. A quick, unscientific review of my closet indicates the majority of my clothing was birthed in China, which is obviously taking over the world.
Newer versions of slacks on the sale racks sport similar long-distance travel stories: China (surprise), Cambodia, Indonesia, and so on. They’re even places I might like to visit someday, especially since they seem to have all of my clothes.
It’s a challenge trying to buy domestic ones. See previous statement about a long, cold winter just ahead.
There are only a couple of solutions to this dilemma: keep searching and sifting and hoping.
Or learn to sew, fast.
Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email@example.com.