Episode #5 – Bargain Store Panties


The ethics of fashion. There’s no way this topic, discussed by us, could contain itself to a segment or a portion of an episode of FOI. No, we need a full hour — at least — to even begin to cover this ground. What kind of responsibilities do the we (those who are privileged enough to have the means to decorate our bodies beyond the necessity of simply covering them) have in interacting with fashion? Points include:

-Why you can’t attack the less materially wealthy for choosing quantity and price over quality

-We fat people don’t get a complete pass, but there are some extenuating circumstances for us

-Some affordable yet sustainable options for all sizes

-Jenny’s good intentions for the near future

Fashion and politics, together… at last again as always!


Putting an End to Fast Fashion in Your Wardrobe [Jezebel]

Could a Fatty Spend $150K on Clothes if She Wanted To? [Shapely Prose]

The Uniform Project

Selena Eon [Etsy]

Jane Bon Bon [Etsy]

Cotton Ginny

The Song at the End: “Bargain Store Panties” by Little Miss Higgins. [iTunes]

Photo credit: vistavision

6 thoughts on “Episode #5 – Bargain Store Panties

  1. As a person who make clothing as a sewer / knitter / crochet I feel like there is privilege in even knowing how to construct garments and having access to the ‘machines’ to make them (ie. sewing machines, knitting needles, crochet hooks, etc.). There is a certain amount of luxury in having the time to make things. I can make myself a well fitted professional dress but it will take about a week, 10-12 hours of uninterrupted work, which I don’t think everyone has the privilege of having. I really like the DIY movement, with blogs communities like Craftster and Threadbanger but I often feel that the projects created are not items that I could wear in my daily life. The articles of clothing produced are interesting but often are somewhat unfinished and, I guess for a lack of a better word, messy looking. I really admire the ability to thrift clothing but I find that it also relies to a certain extent upon the ‘luxury’ of time, when I go clothing shopping / shoe shopping I have a fairly limited amount of time so I tend to shop at stores where I know they will have my size / styles I’m interested / comfortable with but the issue I have with thrifting is that you never know exactly what will be available at thrift stores. Similarly when I buy fabrics for clothing I often buy new fabrics because I am often looking for specific fibre contents / drape and I don’t have the time to comb through MECs until I find what I am looking for. I often find what is fashionable or on trend is not practical for my lifestyle /working life and that is why I often craft. I recognize that I have quite a few demands as a consumer (I spend 6 hours on my feet therefore heels are not an option; I also spend much of my day around children so I don’t feel cleavage, on the top or the bottom are appropriate; the a majority of schools are not air-conditioned so clothing cannot fit too close to the body and needs to ‘breath’; plus I need to ‘look like an adult’; sometimes adding greener practices / recycling to the list just makes it too long. I do however repair items frequently and wear them, forever. I have also started to peruse vintage catalogues from WWI and WWII like ‘Make Mend for Victory’ which is basically a big list of how to ‘make over’ clothing that you already own to ‘refresh it’ without getting rid of it.

  2. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Erica! I gestured to –without totally unpacking–some of the concerns you raise here about thrifting and crafting also demanding the luxury of time with my aside about “capital/temporal resources,” so I’m glad to see you flesh it out here.

    Mending and tailoring is, I think, and essential skill that greatly extends the life/purpose of a person’s wardrobe. I’ve taught myself some basic mending, but I would like to actually take some classes/find a sewing mentor so as to be able to do more significant alterations myself. In an earlier cast I alluded to Chanel and the addition of chains in the hems of coats/skirts to keep them from riding up and how we just don’t see that level of thoughtfulness/functionality in most off the rack stuff. In the last few years it’s become apparent to me that reinforcing buttons and seams on mall-bought clothes is the rule, not the exception.

  3. I don’t know where you could take a couture sewing class, my Mom took a class in the late 70’s, which is how I know a few tricks, but I think they are out of fashion right now. Amazon does offer up a few different ‘couture sewing’ books but they all appear to have been published in the 80s/90s, though I’m sure the techniques haven’t really changed.
    I also subscribe to a magazine called Threads, which has tips to improve your sewing skills as well as pattern reviews and detailed articles about specific fabric types, how to choose appropriate patterns for said fabric, etc. It’s a pretty sewing-nerd magazine but if you’re looking for more techniques it’s a little more current. Also useful are the ‘Make Mend for Victory’ books which offer a variety of tips for ‘making over’ clothing, including turning suits and trousers, which I have never done because it seems so intensive, but they have lots of tips on improving the construction and fit of items. Added bonus because they were produced during WWII they don’t assume that you have access to a sewing machine / expensive sewing doodads.
    Instead of sewing in chains you can also buy ‘sewing weights’ to add to hems, or you can use washers, from the hardware store, depending upon the fabric that you use. Another couture touch that I like is at the top of a zipper instead of having a hook and eye, a hook and tiny crocheted loop (think button loop on a sweater but crocheted with thread and a really tiny hook) it makes the closure much more flexible reducing the risk of the hook coming undone when you are moving around.

  4. Hi Ladies, the third time I am trying to send this will be the charm,I hope.When Cynara lived in Winnipeg she would organize clothing swap parties, which I thought were the most excellent way to recycle reuse clothing which became special to the new owner. Any ideas what I can create out of random denim pieces (bulk) that would be fashion awesome? Anyone who knows me,realizes that my clothing is used until the bitter end.I have had many threats to be nominated for” What Not To Wear” so I would get a new wardrobe. Don’t you dare is my response. MOM( I hope this gets sent this time!)

  5. Can someone provide the title of the book that makes the point that one cannot opt out of “fashion”? Thanks.

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