I’ve been working on this project for almost a year… and as much as I believe in quality over quantity, and buying American-made, I often doubted myself – would anyone actually read this? Can you really combine style and conscientiousness and ethics? There are so many issues that matter, is this really important?

Leave it to the Diana Vreeland and some of my favorite magazines, bloggers, and entrepreneurs to remind me just how important this really is…

Design for Mankind I Foresee a Closet Cleanout 

But what I don’t love is the headspace and energy and wastefulness that surround a closet that is – literally – spilling out of itself. I don’t love the uselessness of it all, the endless combinations of wardrobe options and choices and decisions that we were never created to focus on. Why does it matter?

Garance Dore My 5 Commandments of Style

#3 – Quality = Longevity

Vogue The Price of Cheap

We get what we pay for, as they say—but with a twist. When we buy cheap, we may save a few dollars, but the cost goes elsewhere, and eventually cheapness comes back to haunt us.


Zady began with a grand vision: to combat the fast-fashion craze by providing a platform for only those companies that care about timeless style and solid construction.


A lean closet enables a fuller life- for ourselves and for others. Our Lean Closet movement challenges us to collect fewer, better things, and to donate the pieces in our wardrobes that are merely taking up space to those who need them. Sometimes when things aren’t adding up in your life or your closet, it’s time to start subtracting.

I’ll be sharing related posts/articles regularly – in particular, I’ve come across some amazing Made in America bloggers recently who I’ve learned a lot from. If there’s something you think I’d like to see, please share in the comments!

You are what you wear.

i’ve always thought that clothing and style were more important than most people gave them credit for.

call me vain, call me shallow… but what i wear impacts my mood, my day, my overall sense of self. in my career thus far, i have experienced first-hand small wardrobe changes that enabled rather big promotions, so why shouldn’t i believe that the right wardrobe will one day empower me to do everything i’ve ever dreamed of? in a world as complex as ours, is it so bad that clothing is more than a shield from the elements, but can also be a shield from reality, or a mask that helps us to be who we want to be?

i don’t think so. and the research seems to agree.

so – let’s just agree. what we wear is important. you could maybe even agree that we are what we eat do wear.

but what does that mean?

because we are what we eat, i eat a diet of primarily organic, healthy foods (with liberal doses of sugar and french fries along the way.) because we are what we do, i (try to) work hard, recycle, love my family and friends and am kind to those i come across, and try to do good for the world. i’m not perfect in any way, but i try to live a life that reflects what i believe in.

so if we are also what we wear, if the act of buying an item speaks as much to our intentions and beliefs as anything (you vote with your dollar), why don’t we think about what we are buying? why do we just buy, buy, buy and think that it doesn’t matter?

i’m not afraid to admit that i used to do this. that i used to get a high when i snipped tags or wore an item for the first time. I’m also not ashamed to say that i didn’t have a big realization that made me stop – instead i (figuratively) ran out of money and had to start thinking about my purchases a little differently. creativity through constraints, right?

i realized cost per wear only makes sense if you have just enough clothing where every item gets it’s due wear. i discovered that when my wardrobe was small but filled with beautiful, high quality items, i never thought about what to wear, and i was almost never uncomfortable in what i was wearing. i felt good, and my brain was free of the constant “what should i wear” clutter that it had been consumed by since adolescence. i felt relief.

i ate local and shopped local when i could and i’d always understood that cost does not equal quality, but as i started to buy more expensive clothing, i was surprised to see where the pieces were made. if in general i am a proponent of localism, shouldn’t my wardrobe, which is so incredibly reflective of who i am and who i want to be, be more local? wouldn’t that make a difference, to me, and maybe, possibly, even have the slightest impact on the world around me?

i hope so.

jeans and a t-shirt.

I’m frequently asked, how do I know what should be made in America? While my mission with this site (and the A-list!) is to help you find brands and items that you love, it is also to make the shopping process easier for you. And while I wish I could provide you with an exact list of items, similar to the DIRTY DOZEN, it’s just not that easy – yet. But when I think about it, there are two items that I believe should always be made here.

Jeans and a t-shirt.

This is inarguably the quintessential American uniform. Why is that? We do tend to be more casual here. But the fabrics and items are also classically American. T-shirts became common due to military issue in the late 1890s (US servicemen started wearing them regularly following the war) and Levi Strauss invented jeans (which are really just denim pants reinforced with rivets) for gold rush miners in 1873. The primary material for both items is cotton – and the US is still the leading producer of cotton. I don’t think that’s something we can ignore. This is a classic look, and it should be made in America.

(ps – that other American staple? The chambray? It’s denim. Same rule applies!)

Some of my favorites:

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