Recently on my Facebook “newsfeed,” I saw a link to an article that a friend had read. She posted a comment about it as well. It piqued my curiosity. The Case for Expensive Clothes is an interesting account of one journalist’s take on why spending more money per clothing item is an exercise in investing into something more worthwhile than buying cheap crap. So, this issue begs the question: do costly clothes make us better people?
Whether costly clothes make us better people sounds like a terribly lofty, if even conceited, concept. Is it possible to take too much pride in your own goodness based on your clothes?
If you have no substance beneath your garb, then I tend to think that whatever you wear is basically garbage. And, it doesn’t matter how much you’ve spent to look that way.
This is really a substantive issue.
Expensive clothes are part of a culture of sustainability that I wholeheartedly believe in. I’ve written many posts about this very important subject. I really appreciate what writer Marc Bain says about it. He and I agree that workers in China, Bangladesh, and Vietnam are highly underpaid for their apparel manufacturing efforts. How can we expect workers to be paid well “when the retail price of a pair of jeans or a shirt is less than $20?”
I also appreciate his keep-it-real statement that more expensive clothing does not guarantee quality, or exploitation of workers. But, generally, things above a threshold price are better made, and the workers make a better wage.
But, clothes of any quality and of any price produce unnecessary waste. This leads to environmental disasters including the pollution of waterways and massive landfills filling up with discarded textiles. The consumer should not always be left held responsible for the greedy decisions made by fast fashion companies and by expensive brands alike. Still, if we as consumers do not make our displeasure known, we keep giving these companies a pass. We need to create a change.
So, this article in The Atlantic, challenges us to make clothing purchases pricey enough to “hurt” at least a little. Ouch!
This premise really bothers me because I don’t think that taking care of oneself should hurt. Not even a teensy little bit. I’m the guy who’s always getting people out of their pain points. I do this by helping them to realize their full potential by putting them into clothing that helps them to achieve their goals.
Pain is not a goal of mine – ever. Ever. Ever!
So then, how do costly clothes make us better people? The answer rooted in consciousness. When we are conscious about our contribution to sustainability, we are better people. When we are prepared to make a proper investment in ourselves that match our professional and personal goals, we are better people in that very moment. And, when we choose to wear those clothes to help us emanate our best selves, we are instantaneously better people. We have to use our clothes as tools to help us communicate to others and to remind ourselves of what value we bring to any situation.
By actually investing in our wardrobes, rather than spending money willy-nilly, then yes, more costly clothes make us better people. And yet, like I said, if you’ve got no substance to work with, who really cares how much you spent to buy whatever marquis brand you covet.