rain or shine

it's been raining and shining here in southern california. 

short red trenchcoat
forever 21 - $25

what i love about this jacket...

1.  the material.  cotton, machine washable
 2.  the color.  RED
3.  the fit.  amazingly comfortable, soft, lightweight, packable (not that i go anywhere)
4.  the style.  love the cinched waist and length
5.  it seems to be well-made

what i don't love about this jacket...

1.  it is made in vietnam
i don't know what to make of garments made in china, vietnam, etc.
my brooks bros jacket was made in china.  i have a kate spade dress that was too.  levi's for the most part are made in china.  gap, j. crew, all made in china.  i would love to buy american but it's almost impossible unless you only buy vintage. 

what are your thoughts on this?



  1. It's raining up here too - every single day for the last couple of weeks, it seems.

    That coat is darling. I think that shade of red is very pretty and red sure is your color!

    I am conflicted about the "made in america" thing too. I just bought a scarf for a friend's birthday gift. It was so gorgeous and soft - a wool and cashmere blend. It bought it at a high end European linen shop. So I was surprised to see they would sell a scarf made in China. It is of high quality and since I bought it at a local boutique I am supporting a local business - but the China thing bugs me!

  2. Janet - You look lovely in that jacket and it's a great find. I agree with you about things made in China. It is a shame that so little is made in America these days. I love Brooks Brothers clothes and will continue to buy them because they are good for work, have classic style and are well made, but I wish they weren't made overseas.

  3. Here are my thoughts. a) RED! Hooray! b) we cannot prevent the flow of work to where factors of production are lower cost. We just can't. I worked for a company based half in China. Spent a lot of time there. There's no way we can artificially close our borders. Better to exhort US manufacturers to use, for example, organic materials, and to produce very high workmanship custom goods, thereby driving the desire for organic cotton into China and doing an enormous amount to save the environment.

    We can't keep those many people hungry. But we ought to use our role as a 1st world country for good.

  4. I love that red trench. It has a very flattering cut and I like the way that it works for both spring/summer with the white jeans and sandals and fall/winter with the black.
    Very practical and the price is right.

    For some reason, buy goods made in China bothers me, but buying things manufactured in Vietnam doesn't bother me at all. I feel like I'm helping their economy. But, I would like to buy American made products above all...our economy could use some help!

  5. Hi Janet, You do look so lovely in red. Classy jacket. Envy any sun you're getting - so cold & rainy up here in the Bay Area! I made a decision 3 years ago that I wasn't buying from China. My reasons are: their irresponsible manufacturing processes are killing the planet and making millions very sick (they are the biggest polluters in the world) & the working conditions equal slave labor. The realty; it is almost impossible to shop & not buy from China. Target, Wal-Mart, almost every chain store in the mall, depend on China for cheap goods.
    So now I do no mall shopping. I have fewer clothes than before, but the clothes I do have I see as investment pieces; meaning, I paid more for them to buy US made. I look for local artist designers and I have gotten back into designing and sewing, which is a lot of fun. I recently found old draperies from the 30’s and made them into modified kimono jacket. I lined it with the silk from a dress I wore in the early 90’s. I can’t express how satisfied I feel when I wear something beautiful and I know whose hands made it. Old clothes can be made into new clothes, artisan fabrics milled responsibly can be found on line. I just ordered a bolt of un-dyed linen for a summer dress and pants. There will be a lot left over for other projects! This has been my solution to a problem I could not be comfortable with. I’m sure other people have found other solutions that work for them.
    Have a fantastic weekend :)

  6. I am so lovin' you in red! Whenever I complain about thing made out of the US I am told it is the price of a global economy. I would love to buy only US made products, but quality producers are declining. China really bothers me. Bonnie

  7. Two years ago there was an exhibition in Amsterdam, names "Made in China", on display where ming vases and other antiques. I liked the approach.

  8. Dear Janet, You always look a treat and today is no exception. That jacket is fabulous. I think the issue is not that jobs are moving to the developing world but the conditions under which the workers in the third world are made to work to produce lovely things for us. Mind you as Paula has reminded us we have been buying from China for some time. We should probably be focussed on encouraging the manufacturers to only work with companies in the developing world that treat and pay their workers fairly. Over time, as the living standards in China rise, occupational health and safety standards will rise too. This happened in the UK, USA and in Australia. love Lindaxxx

  9. autumn here & we are also having rain & fine.
    I try to buy New Zealand made where I can over made in China. I prefer to pay a bit more. Food I admit I want to know where it comes from.

  10. Dear Janet, I think red IS your color, it fits you sooooooo well, perfect my dear!!!!
    lots of hugs

  11. My thoughts? My thoughts are that that red trench is TOO freakin cute! I must get my butt to Forever 21 - soon! Seriously though, trying to buy clothing ,in particular, that is made in the US, now, is virtually impossible. I hate that. What can we do about it? I don't know...

  12. Dear Janet, It makes me treasure everything I have that was made in the U.S.A. so much. I will keep those things forever. Hugs, Joyce

  13. You want to make a difference and become not only an advocate for yourself but for corporations that have fair trade practices and care about their workers go to
    Greenamerica's website.
    Don't listen to people like LPC. Her rhetoric is exactly what corporate America wants you to continue to think.

  14. The comment below was published on my blog in response to what I said here. I deleted it there, because it's out of context. I'm putting it up here, so as to reply. Janet, if you don't want this here either, of course that is your decision.

    Your comment on the Gardener’s Cottage made me sick!. The corporate elite would love the America consumer to think the way you do so they can continue to make huge profits for themselves and investors.
    But there is something we can do. The American consumer is powerful, they just have to stopped being hoodwinked by rhetoric from corporations, their bedfellow politicians and people like you. Consumers are not helpless they way you espouse.
    We can purchase products from companies and corporations that support Fair Trade and wages from artisans in third world countries.
    We can buy American products. Yes it takes digging and work to find companies that treat their workers fairly and provide environments that are safe, but it can be done.



    I'm sorry you feel this way. My statement is driven by my belief in the inexorable forces of economics. I don't think we should just let large corporations behave badly, only that there are effective ways to address the issues, and ineffective ways. I am trying to think of all the people, all over the world, and the world itself as a system.

  15. I am blown away at the prices at 21. I always think the same thing. How can they even make this for so little money. I tried very hard to produce in the US but my numbers were so small it wasn't worth it for the factories. I now have my things made by a family run factory in South America. I would have to pay them at least $20 to make that coat.

  16. I love your jacket. I, too, don't like to buy things made in China, etc. I'm always thrilled when I find something made here in Canada or the U.S.

  17. Janet, Please excuse me for adding a second comment.
    I would like to address Bridgemor's comment, that was left on Lisa's blog.
    Dear madam or sir,
    When you are visiting a blog you are essentially visiting that persons home and rudeness is not acceptable. There are polite ways to express your feelings and beliefs. Basic good manners, makes the world a better place. One small area that we each can actually make a difference in the world.

  18. I'm delurking! You look so lovely in red.I have a friend who deals with Chinese factories - some are good but he can also tell some horror stories. I now try to buy locally made (New Zealand) and avoid buying cheap clothing - it comes with an environmental and social ethos I'm not happy about. I recently read that if our clothing had tags that said: 'I'm made by child slave labour', 'the waste from my production killed the fish in a river' we would certainly think twice about whether it was cheap or not! Have you tried Etsy for finding locally made clothing?

  19. wow! Both to how cute you look in that red little trench and to the heated discussion you've sparked.

  20. Hi Janet,

    The made in China thing bugs me but not as much as the "fakes", (purses,watches,etc) because those support child labor and even terrorism.

    However, I was shocked when I saw something at Nordstrom that was made in China. If I am going to buy something made there, I'm not going to pay Nordstrom prices!

    You look very classy in the trench especially with the white jeans. Wow...Walmart,H&M, Forever 21...who knew? (although I have a few items from H&M in my closet)


  21. Still so interested in the 333 project and I've decided to take part. I need to print your list of spring items so I have something to go by -- but I love the idea of thinking of clothes as part of a wardrobe rather than as individual items or outfits. Not sure if this is what the French do, but it is such a smart way to think bout (and plan!) what one buys. A revolutionary idea for me. The coat is practically perfect -- especially for these rainy California springs.

  22. It is a global economy nowadays. My issue is more around child labour and poor working conditions, whatever the country. And Janet - you look chic as ever, you are a poster girl for the over 50s, shows you can dress cheaply and chicly.

  23. I love the red trench! I have a khaki trench from Banana Republic. I just looked...it was made in Vietnam. I guess I haven't really thought about American made clothes much.

    I use Fiesta dishes. I know they are made in the USA.

  24. The red trench is awesome.

    Re: Made in China. Everything is made in China these days.

    What I do is simply to try not to buy much, period, and to buy well-made things. If I'm going to buy something made by a poor underpaid person (or worse yet, a child), I want to be sure it's going to be well-used and appreciated.

    I'm also trying to buy more hand-made items. I can sew, so I've resolved to make more of my own clothes as well.

  25. P.S. Or made in Vietnam, or some other third world country without sufficient labor rights, I should say.

  26. Janet,
    You look SMASHING in this jacket! You can definately pull off the red...it is so flattering on you. It really seems like you have more than the 33 items to mix and match. I'm down too but it looks like I just wear the same outfits everyday!

    I'll save my opinions on the ugliness of importing and exporting for when we have a few hours and a bottle of wine!

  27. You look absolutely lovely in your red trench coat. It's an adorable, practical piece--Fits so nicely on you, too. And, yes, it is extremely difficult to buy "Made in the USA." My brother is very, very strict about his purchases that way and even he has to resort to buying imported goods at times.
    A good point of consideration, Janet!
    -Suzanne in Illinois

  28. Excellent style and color! And the price is unbeatable.

    In a few days I will be putting up a page of brands that are made in the US, union-made, fair-trade compliant, UNITE-labeled, organic, etc., and it can be added to by readers. This will be mostly for clothing, but I hope to have other things like linens as well. Working out the logistics this weekend :)

  29. Your new red jacket really does suit you Janet very Parisian, - you look wonderful... and what a great price too. It is sad that so many things here in Australia are also made in China - I have to say that even some of the very expensive designer items too which is wrong I feel. The company I work for, The Ark, designs and makes everything in Australia, in Melbourne which is quite rare in this day and age. Granted items are a little more expensive but customers seem to appreciate this and understand. X

  30. Love your happy red coat! Now show us your "umbrella!"

  31. Hi janet, You look tres chic in your red jacket, and garden is a treat. I'm interested in the debate the third world production of cheap clothing has stirred up on this post.
    But closer to home, i get very stirred up by the treatment of the chickens, pigs, cows etc that we eat here in Australia. Despite strict laws some of them live in appalling conditions.
    Then there are the puppy farms where bitches are treated as production machines, insanely cruel.

    The Dodgy Brothers were rescued from a very, very bad puppy farm, so I'm conscious of that so much every day. They have certainly landed on their feet here at our house, but gosh there are so many really bad places where animals of all species are treated shockingly.

    Sorry if I'm stirring up more debate.

  32. I love the red and white and the red sandals are fab, that is such a pick me up colour combination.

  33. Janet - You look gorgeous in your red trench...I think today might be the perfect day to pair it with Hunter boots and an umbrella! Have a wonderful Sunday!

    xo annie

  34. You are so cute! However....I am not 21 so I don't shop there...I shop at forever 49.....

    Now on to China...and all of the "off shore" production of goods. As a former buyer for Nordstrom I can tell you that the factories used in the production of a Nordstrom "own label" product are carefully chosen and researched. The price of commodities and the cost of US labor was and most likely remains the key factor in the outsourcing to China, Singapore and so forth. We have so much power as consumers and if, in fact we/you are dissatisfied with where an item is produced....then flex your muscles...and just don't buy it. Retailers, the good ones at least, listen to their customers. I can think of more than one instance when I had purchased goods (unknowingly) manufactured in South Africa, during the Apartheid crisis. Many customers were outraged when they saw the label....so what did I do? I pulled the product off the sales floor and shipped it back to the vendor. Consumers have clout! Use it wisely.

    Thanks for the opportunity to speak about his important subject Janet!

    Your "soggy" friend


  35. Janet -

    I adore the photo of you from the back with your foot out - you look like your dancing! hehe I love it!!

    Now on the F21 - I'll admit it, I shop there. I'm an expensive bottoms, cheap tops kinda girl. And as long as I can get my non-21 year old body in it I'm good to go. I hear you on the made in China. It's just tough for a girl on a budget. American made gets pricey. I know that's an awful awful excuse. I love your fab outfit posts!


  36. You definetly look fabulous in your coat..I kind of think if the designers are going to have their items made in china etc, they need to price there items accordingly and I sure hope that they are paying these people the proper wages to make their clothes..xx

  37. Love you in your new red coat. That certainly is your color!

  38. Love the jacket on you. Every one of these looks is a winner. You must turn heads in your town.
    I'm not keen on made in China etc but at least living in London gives me more possibilites of buying clothes that are made in Europe than when I was in Australia.
    I think my biggest problem is seeing expensive brands charging like a wounded bull for gear made in low wage countries. Especially when the hems start to unravel within weeks of a new purchase!

  39. If you hate buying things made in China why do you buy them then?

  40. anon - i never said i "hate" buying things made in china. if you read my made in china post that i put up yesterday, you'll read that i admit to being very uneducated on the whole subject. as i am becoming more informed i will make better choices.

  41. Nicholas Kristof has written some good articles regarding sweatshops in Asia. The premise being that the employees would rather be employed in a sweatshop than the alternative, if there is an alternative. Something to think about.
    Also, clothes made in Europe, especially Italy, are often made in sweatshops by Asian immigrants. And labeling requirements are loose with many items made almost to completion in Asia and finished in Europe.
    It's a very tricky minefield.
    In my opinion, buying 2nd hand helps avoid the issue a bit.


kindness is never out of style.

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