• Kate

"Empty" Women's Clothing on Amazon (Part I)

In the beauty world there's a common blog post or Youtube video about "empties" where the bloggers review the cosmetic products they've used until the bottles are empty. Most beauty bloggers are reviewing first impressions of products, so the "empty videos" are the products that actually get the seal of approval. I was thinking of doing a similar review for some past Amazon clothing purchases. In other words, here is some women's clothing I've purchased on Amazon that I still use or used until they broke.


Review: I went through a long phase of wearing Oxfords. My most used brand was Wanted, which is sold directly on Amazon as well as HSN and Modcloth. The problem is I would wear them every day and the rubber soles would get holes on the bottom. From my Amazon purchases, I would buy a new one every year. They're good quality leather, but not "sustainable" in the sense I would buy a new one annually.

Wanted, $50 / U-lite, $60 / Rismart, $41 / Mona, $98

Ethics: I think the owners of Wanted are New Yorkers but this doesn't mean the shoes are made in the USA. A more ethical alternative is probably Taft Shoes which is made by leather artisans in Portugal and Spain. But if these are $265 and give me 3 years, Wanted still comes out cheaper with $150 for 3 years. I wish Wanted would post where their shoes are made. Of course, since they don't, I'm assuming they're made in a labor camp in China.

Preston Shoe from Taft, $265


Review: I went through a short phase of wearing embroidered blouses. The fundamental problem with these clothing items is that they're unflattering on most body types. I would buy these and then wear them until the embroidery started to get worn or realized that it made me look like a balloon with "monoboob." So I donated my red won since it was looking worn and the blue one since I looked 30 pounds heavier when I wore it.

Arjungo, $26 / Umgee, $26 / Riviera, $30 / Agan Traders, $40

Ethics: Most embroidered blouses are based on folk costumes, so there's always the ethical question of whether the artisans in Mexico, Ukraine, Slovakia, etc, are getting paid. In the same way I would only purchase a Navajo rug from someone's whose Navajo, I shouldn't be purchasing traditionally Slavic blouses made in Chinese labor camps.

Abrazo Style is a fair trade company with Mexican embroidered clothing. Of course, most of their clothes still make me look like a balloon with "monoboob" because fundamentally that's the style of lots of folk tunics - they show off the legs not the hourglass. According to an NPR article, Etnodim and Kozzachka are Ukrainian brands with their products made in the Ukraine. From their websites, I think these are the more "shapely" options, but fundamentally I don't think these clothes are my style.

Abrazo Style, $86 / Abrazo Style, $86 / Etnodim, $133 / Etnodim, $125 / Kozzachka, $131


Review: So unlike my Amazon oxfords (which have fallen apart) and my Amazon embroidered blouses (which I gave away because they aren't my style), I still have all of these zipper blouses. But I'm not sure if I'll keep them. The Calvin Klein tops are still in great condition, 3+ years after use. However, the non-print tunics are often see-through or in some way sheer. The tops that are a mix of polyester and Spandex are soft and hug the body, but sometimes I feel like they hug the body too much. The chiffon forms are too scratchy but don't have the body-hugging problem. My issue is I'm not sure if I like this style. Sometimes I think they make me look older or younger. Animal print can read "Tony Soprano's wife" and plaid can read "middle schooler who went to Hot Topic."

Calvin Klein, $49 / JCZHWQU, $26 / ANGVNS, $22 / GAHARU, $28 / BEPEI, $30

Ethics: The tops from companies with names that are just a jumble of letters are probably coming out of Chinese labor camps. I haven't been able to find a good sustainable alternative. Gabriela Heart sells a blue v-neck polo that's sustainable, but it's also got the shear problem of the Calvin Klein blue tops.

Calvin Klein has an "okay" sustainability rating, so I guess those tops sold via Amazon satisfy my nebulas ethics standard. But they're not my favorite.


Do you have a good suggestion for a blouse like the Calvin Klein ones but that I will like better?


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