May 05, 2009

Fast Fashion Frenzy: Breaking My Moratorium on F21 for Headbands

A while ago, when I had to make an unexpected move out of my rental home and eventually into the home I own, I was confronted with a mountain of fast fashion regret. I had piles of barely worn clothes from Forever 21, H&M, Delias, and Gabriel Brothers (which regularly gets overstock from Urban Outfitters, American Apparel, etc.) that seemed hardly worth my time, trouble, and soon-to-be very limited closet space. Instead, I sorted out the garbage, the stuff worthy of donating, and the few pieces worth selling to Avalon (the local Buffalo Exchange type store), and made myself vow to avoid the lure of cheap but short-lived fast fashion thrills.

I rationalized that there were many reasons to make this change. The quality is often lacking in the fabrics, the seaming, the longevity of the silhouettes, etc. The labor practices are dubious at best and downright inhumane at worst. And the stores are so ubiquitous that the pieces are usually instantly recognizable to other fast fashion shoppers.

Still, I occasionally allowed myself to indulge. When I had a gift card or when I found something really interesting, but too trendy to be worth a more significant financial commitment I would turn to fast fashion in a pinch. And I have a few pieces that continue to serve me well. A coat from Zara. A few necklaces from Forever 21. A couple of easy dresses from H&M. I am not opposed to these stores, per se. I just needed to cut down on the volume in my life and in my closet. The fastest way was to cut myself off from these places that encourage gluttonous hording through their reasonable price points.

Until this past weekend I was doing well. It had been almost a year since my self-imposed fast fashion ban. It became surprisingly easy to avoid shopping these stores since I rarely go to malls.

That ended at least in terms of accessory shopping, after deciding I needed to up the level of ridiculous in my everyday outfits. I opted to incorporate Blair Waldorf style headbands into my repertoire after admiring them from afar for a while.

For such a silly, trendy item, I needed to get an inexpensive fast fashion fix. Headbands aren't the place to invest in fine, natural fabrics and high quality. I was surprised by the range of choices available in the store and on the Forever 21 website. Head pieces were in stock for those who wished to only moderately adopt an undeniably silly trend, featuring a tiny barrette-sized bow and for the very bold who, naysayers be damned, happily channel Izzy Blow in their day to day life.

The above are two of the boldest of my five new head pieces. So far the two times I've worn the more modest of the crop (as I need to ease my way into such fussily detailed dressing) they've yielded many compliments and only a handful of strange looks. They aren't for nights when I want to be a wallflower, but they kick up the fun for semi-special and special occasions.


elaina said...

There is nothing ridiculous about Blair Waldorf! I would love to wear handbands but can't because:

a) my hair is like 3 inches long


b) I would look like a 5 year old

Jesspgh of Consume or Consumed said...

Elaina, I bet you could wear one but maybe not the crazy poofy ones I posted.

The twee/little girl factor is tough because I definitely think it is kind of unapologetically juvenile... and I am not Blair Waldorf-aged so it feels even more absurd to wear them. But I am ok with absurd sometimes. Thanks for reading!

Dream Sequins said...

I keep buying and stacking multiple headbands from Forever 21 in my dresser drawer. I have no idea if they will someday be used, but they make me happy.

Haute World said...

I had the same problem when I moved for the first time and have gotten really good at stopping myself from buying too many throwaway items from retail brands. By the way, H&M does have pretty good labor conditions and even their non-green items are made in a somewhat ethical way (i.e. the leather they use comes from scraps left over for meat production etc.).

The headbands you posted are very cute! I tend to find lots of cheaper but great items like that in vintage stores.

Anonymous said...

Those headbands are adorable! And they always spruce up an outfit. Love them!

Eyeliah said...

oh im impressed they are bold indeed. on me the black ones are never bold (close to hair color right).

Anonymous said...

Hi! I know this is totally strange but can you send me an invite to tfs? Ive been wanting to contribute there. Thank u! My email add is:

Sonya (aka gannet_guts) said...

Oh, what? How come our stores don't have pretty pretty headbands? So jealous! I wonder if F21 ship here...


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