Shoes and underwear have been the two products where I have most compromised my ethical shopping principles in the past. You can’t really buy second-hand underwear, and last time I went looking there weren’t a lot of practical or affordable options in the local/fair markets. First I tried sweatshop-free American Apparel, and although ‘I looked so perfect standing there’ (pardon the ridiculous pop-culture reference, I had to do it), they don’t have underwire bras and are pretty expensive. Given how miserably poor I was at the time this was enough to send me crying back to Big W multi-packs.
A few years later armed with a full-time job and a whole 2GB of internet – allowing me more freedom to e-window shop than ever before – I stumbled across European lingerie. Hoping that whoever made it would be sufficiently protected by European labour laws, I ordered Italian-made underwire bras that were cheapest when shipped from the States. Ridiculous. And what’s more – none of it lasted very long. Flimsy, pretty things that offered no support, and fell apart after a few goes on the delicates cycle (and yes, I used a wash bag). So to Myer I went, buying the most supportive thing I could find without stooping to the truly hideous.
And so I had grown to avoid underwear shopping wherever possible. But then I got this:
an invitation to a bridal shower where everyone brings a lingerie gift for the bride that somehow reflects who they are. She then has to guess what came from whom and I was surprised to see just how accurate our bride was!!
I rate this as a bridal shower game, but in the lead up I was in a total spiral. How would I compromise this time?
Luckily the increase in access to internet shopping and the fact that it is very cool to buy ethical, and eco, and so on these days has meant that I haven’t had to compromise. Cue Tuffetts. Not really the pink/red sparkly number I am sure the bride was expecting to trace back to me, but I can justify how Tuffetts reflects me in four ways:
1. They are cheap – an adjective which the bride has been using to describe me since high school, where granted, it was probably deserved.
2. They come in my favourite cuts – boyshorts and pushups. And a whole range of other styles. And I’m sorry for the overshare.
3. The logo is a little crown – also a hangover from high school where Princess was a popular pet name for me.
4. They are Australian made – which is obviously a major theme with me these days.
In the end it was the crown (and the pink sparkly stuff I wrapped it in) that tipped the bride off. And her review of the underwear?
“Very comfy and butt-hugging, with the perfect amount of elastic – not too tight but still very supportive”