On Saturday, I stepped out to Global Gifts with a friend to check out their World Fair Trade Day event. Global Gifts doesn’t typically carry clothing, but imagine my joy when I discovered they were having a special trunk sale with items from Mata Traders and Global Mamas! They had some tops and skirts, but I homed right in on the dresses. I am a sucker for dresses, especially in the spring and summer.
I’ve written previously about the Mata Traders dress I purchased last year, which I really like but required a lot of alterations to fit well. I was excited to try on some of their other styles to see what the fit was like.
The Flights of Floral dress fit me very well. The yellow and gray print that they had in the store was cute, but I wasn’t feeling it for myself personally—I felt kind of washed out in it. The red and purple version available online might make me feel more vibrant.
I was really excited about the print and style of the Keyhole Cutout dress. Unfortunately, it had the same fit issues that I had with the dress I already own. I think it would possibly fit someone longer-waisted or larger-chested, but for me the proportions were just too far off the mark. They do offer a peplum skirt in the same print, though, which would be just as fun to wear and easier to alter if the fit wasn’t perfect.
I also tried on a retro-style dress from Global Mamas. This photo is a little misleading; in person the blue and green were much closer in shade and the whole print had less contrast overall. It was cute and seemed to be proportional; however I was thwarted by their smallest size still being too big. My only World Fair Trade Day purchases ended up being a birthday card for my boss from Sanctuary Spring and a jar of Swazi Fire Sauce from Eswatini Kitchen.
So why am I telling you a story about dresses that didn’t fit? I think it’s important to be honest about the challenges of ethical shopping. Finding a dress that fits your shape and style and budget can be tough, and then to add your values into the mix? It’s tricky.
But is it worth it? Absolutely. We may not be able to be perfect all the time, but when I think about the experience of a woman sewing dresses for a fair trade company like Mata Traders versus the experience of a woman stitching in an unsafe and underpaying sweatshop, it is 100% worth the extra time to make the best effort I can to support companies who treat people well.
Everybody’s shape is different, so if you’re in the market for a spring dress, definitely check out the links above and see if they work for you. Have you found any great ethical dresses this spring? Share your successes (and failures) in the comments!