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A Moral (& Fashion) Dilemma

Like I promised you guys, not all my posts would be about hair. This weekend I got into a little ethical pickle involving a party dress. It was one of my girlies’s bday and we were all ordered to come out in our best dresses and heels for a night at a popular downtown DC lounge.

Being kind of a homebody, I’ve put off updating my party gear for a while. I decided it was time for a new look. I went to the mall near my house and checked out the local Macy’s and JC Penny. That’s fancy for me. I’m mostly a Target and Marshall’s kind of girl.(My designer stuff all came from Filene’s or Nordstrom Rack but I digress…) I tried on a dress that had several elements I love: strapless and colourful with a cool print. Plus it was Baby Phat, which I hadn’t cared for since High School. Impressive: Kudos, Kimora!

The dress cost more than I had wanted to spend and with its distinctive pattern I wondered if I could wear it again without looking like a repeat offender. It being the last in my size, I bought the dress Friday night thinking if I found anything else shopping Saturday, I would return it. No luck at the H&M type stores so I stuck with the dress from before and stepped out looking fabulous.

The next day I tried to see if the dress needed a wash but despite my dancing the night away to Whitney Houston (RIP) it still looked and smelled clean. Then I saw the tag was still inside the dress…I could, potentially return it if it wasn’t going to be worth it to me. You know the math: cost of dress/ number of times worn= real cost of dress.

What do you do when you have a moral, economic, and fashion crisis all rolled into one? Take it to Facebook, I decided. I posted a picture and briefly explained my dilemma, eliciting a “shame on you” for my big sister/ moral compass/ fashion junkie for even entertaining the idea. The same number of people expressed moral indignation as said it would be okay to return the dress if I didn’t think I would use it again. I was surprised nobody said what I had always said about buying with intent to return, which is that it’s just tacky. One friend even joked she owned a price tag gun in case she ever changed her mind. Most people said keep the dress because it looked good on me and I would probably find occasion to wear it again.

I had to agree. It would be a shame to part with my pretty dress once we bonded over Whitney. Besides, my sister raised a good point: it wasn’t fair to the person who would buy the dress after me. My boyfriend raised another good point: that was that person’s concern. It’s the buyer’s responsibility to make sure the product is right when you buy it but I hate when stores toot that, citing a “no refund” policy. Those are usually stores to which I never return. What did I do? I cut the tag off. Yay for ethics and a pretty dress!

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