Well, I mean clothes shopping. Set me down in a bookstore or music store, and days could go by with me happily looking through the wealth of words and notes. But for clothes? Torture. I’m too short, for one. I get cold too easily for a lot of “fashion” for another. I won’t buy anything like silk, leather, fur, or wool, though I never much liked any of them anyway, and hardly could have afforded them most of the time regardless.

The more I think about things (and it seems I’m always thinking about things) the harder it gets to do the clothes shopping. It was perhaps wasteful of me in some ways, but as I unpacked after my last move, and went through suitcases full of clothes I hadn’t seen in a year, and wasn’t happy to see again, I donated the vast majority of it to goodwill. If I wasn’t wearing it, someone else could be. I’m the kind of person who wears the same five things every week anyway. Until they, literally, wear out.

Which they are doing. Or have done, depending on whether you see it from my perspective (the wear doesn’t show skin) or someone else’s (worn out heels in the pants might not be completely professional looking!).

So, I’ve been dreading it, but it has to be done.

However, I keep reading and thinking and learning. And I don’t want to purchase something that was made with sweatshop labor, which the vast majority of anything found in department stores is. I don’t want to purchase something that is made from an exceedingly sexist corporation, such as American Apparel. Even though they’re supposed to be good on the sweatshop issue.

I feel like my options are running close to nill by the time I add in my next requirement: ecologically friendly. This means cotton has to be organic cotton, for one.

From TreeHugger.com:

1. The average American throws away about 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per year.

2. 10% of all agricultural chemicals and 25% of insecticides in the U.S. are used to grow cotton.

3. It takes almost 1/3 of a pound of chemicals (pesticides and fertilizers) to grow enough cotton for just ONE T-shirt

4. Seven of the fifteen pesticides used on cotton are considered “possible”, “likely”, “probable”, or “known” human carcinogens (acephate, dichloropropene, diuron, fluometuron, pendimethalin, tribufos, and trifluralin) according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

5. Some studies have shown that organic farmed soils have a better ability to absorb and retain carbon, which would be beneficial in the fight to reduce global warming.

6. Organically grown crops also use less fossil fuel than conventional crops, another benefit in the fight to reduce global warming.

7. Pesticides are suspected to be responsible the severe drop in honeybees, the increase in frogs with extra legs and eyes, and annual death of 67 million birds.

8. The U.S. textile “recycling industry” (which actually re-purposes rather than recycles), with some 2,000 companies, removes annually from the solid waste stream 2.5 billion pounds of post consumer textile product waste.

There is an obvious answer to this issue, and it is one that a shopping-hater dreads coming to – second hand stores.

One of the things that had me going to Khol’s and similar places for my shopping needs in the past was that their stuff is relatively organized, they have a large Juniors section (I apparently haven’t grown up enough for adults clothes yet, though the Juniors stuff is too long as well), and I could be in and out of there with my next set of stopgap pants (or shirts or whatever) within 30 minutes, including checkout.

Second hand stores are a completely different game. There is going to be much longer times hunting through the racks of clothes, and probably many frustrating trips where nothing suitable is found. This is probably going to require repeat trips, instead of once yearly trips. This sounds a bit like hell. But we’re talking about 1/3 pound of chemicals, and landfills, and 67 million birds. That’s actual hell. I can deal with the second-hand stores, when I think of it that way.

And maybe I’ll find someone to create some sort of hem that hides the worn out heels instead.

ducks at ps