Skip to main content

Price, Cost, Value, Worth {7 for 31}

This month I'm writing a new post each day about my own version of Jen Hatmaker's 7 experiment. For more posts and an introduction, head hereToday's 7 topic is spending.
As a side note, if modesty, gender, or other compulsion or conviction means you'll be uncomfortable reading my thoughts on a pair of underwear, now's your chance to stop reading.

I bought a new pair of underwear today. It cost $17, and while being fairly cute, it certainly isn't in the slinky-silky category. Just practical bikini-cut cotton, the same kind I could find in a 5 pack at Walmart for half the price.

But it isn't the same. Ladies, pull a pair of panties out of your drawer and take a good, hard look at them. Even the simplest styles are made from a lot of little pieces - the least-plain pair that I own is made up of 15 tiny parts, the simplest, 7. This is not something that can be made by a machine - a live human being has to sit down and do it with their own two hands. And unless otherwise noted, that human being is underpaid, if paid at all, for their labor. The next time you see hot lingerie advertised in a window at the mall, think sweatshop not sexy.

I seized third trimester hip spread and its detrimental effect on already worn elastic waistbands to slowly invest in ethical replacements from Pact. "Slowly" because the price of fair trade items is higher - but knowing that it's ethically manufactured is worth it to me, and it's manageable at one pair per pay period, with reductions in other areas (that chocolate bar that's tempting me at the register probably isn't ethically obtained anyway).

Slave-free shopping can be hard on a budget, and there's a reason that slavery still exists: we support it, not realizing that many of our bargains are costing people their humanity. But combining ethical purchases with moderation combats consumerism on every level, and helps alleviate the expense (really, do we need a whole drawer full of underwear?) - and reorganizing our budgets can also help reorganize our priorities, shifting our focus from convenience and consumerism to compassion and restoration, from ourselves to others, from a personal perspective to a global one.

The price may be higher, but is the cost of supporting those who don't value basic human rights worth it for a "bargain"?
[Join the conversation on Facebook!]


Susan Shipe said…
I would really like to see a picture of those $17 cottons!!!!
Anna said…
what an important article, Sarah! I wish more people would read it. and that more people would truly care...
Amanda said…
I worked at Victoria's Secret throughout college, so I really got a kick out of reading your post for today!
Melissa Boles said…
This is so great! I am definitely going to have to check out Pact. Thanks for sharing!
Anonymous said…
Very interesting topic, and something I have never thought about to be honest! Good information and food for thought. May have to do some more research.
Kristi Atkinson said…
I was just looking at Fair Trade underwear the other day. And when I saw the price I thought, maybe I should just make me own. So I headed to Pinterest and there are a ton of plans out there… But…I'm not in desperate need so I have done neither so far, haha.

I love this though.

Popular posts from this blog

31 Days of Unraveling Designs

It's that time of year again... the 31 Days writing challenge starts today! Bloggers from all over will be writing every day of the month of October on the topic of their choosing. This will be my fourth year participating - the first year I did 7 for 31, and spent a month going through Jen Hatmaker's book 7. The second year I did 31 Days of Sustainable Dwelling, and wrote about local and fair trade living. Last year I was busy but still wanted to participate, so I went the easy route with 31 Days of Everyday Beautiful.

This year I'm diving into my greatest passion: knitting! I'll spend this month looking at past designs and talking about the inspiration behind them, so there will be plenty of regular life mixed in with the stitching - and there may be discount codes for the patterns that I write about. You'll just have to read and see!

Pattern index:

Pageturner Mitts
Hogwarts House Tie
Urban Artemis
Graffiti for Humanity
Love Out Loud
Strange Jacket


In order to change your knitting, you must first change yourself. I've lost track of how many times I've said that, or how many people I've said it to. Frustrated new knitters wondering why their work is loose or tight or uneven or really anything less than perfect. But something I love about knitting is that it's a record of your inner dialogue. That swatch knit at the yarn store table with a cozy cup of coffee and a helpful (and more experienced) knitter nearby is going to be a lot more relaxed than the sweater begun a week later while sitting next to a hospital bed - just like the knitter.

Unfortunately, this also applies to my own knitting. For years, I was apparently unaffected by the shifts and turmoils in my own life, so I assumed that I was exempt from the rule - when the reality was, in fact, that I wasn't really experiencing any of those on anything deeper than a surface level because everything was deadened by depression. When I finally started to really…


A few years ago, I was introduced to the concept of replacing the traditional list of resolutions with a single word. It appealed to me - I am not a big list person, but I love language and words and meanings and etymology and metaphor and... ahem. Ennyhoo. I liked the idea.
I've never chosen the word. It's always presented itself to me - and last year was no different. Pacific was very insistent, even though I tried to argue with it. Pacific? What does that even mean? What am I supposed to do with that?
But I accepted it, and I'm glad I did. I learned about depth and calm, about storm and nurture, about faith and adventure - and about the unstoppable ocean of God's grace, that overwhelms to fill and cleanse and bring blessings unasked.
So I'm bidding pacific a very fond farewell, and welcoming spark and whatever lessons it would like to bring. I invited it in with a copper wire punctuated with tiny lights and wrapped around my mood board, and I've got an empt…