Every week we get at least one email asking if there are any sites that cover Well Spent style products for women. And our answer is always, “not really.” While there are a handful of really great women’s sites with a similar aesthetic (Archival Clothing and The Reed are the first that come to mind), there isn’t one dedicated exclusively to covering women’s clothes and accessories that are attractive, responsibly-made, and reasonably-priced (or at least, we’ve never found one). So, we’ve finally decided to just write about it ourselves. Or, rather, we’ve brought in an expert on the subject to write about it for us. Rita Mehta is the founder of the excellent American Edit, as well as the podcast Why Do We Have Things? She’s also a certified Instagram superstar. And, going forward, she’ll be here twice a month to tell us about the best eco / ethical women’s brands. Welcome to the first edition of Lady Spent.
Product(s): button-downs, tees and sweats
Price: $49 – $265
Eco / Ethical: made to last in Chicago out of American, European, and Japanese fabrics
A staple of my wardrobe is the button-down shirt. Plaid or solid, cotton or silk, I’m usually wearing some variation on any given day of the week, and have done so for years. That said, until recently it was almost impossible for me to find options that both fit well and that were designed and made to last.
For a while, I bought men’s shirts, because all of my husband’s were made domestically and out of high quality materials (and because he wouldn’t let me wear his!), but no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t make men’s shirting work for my body-type. So, it was either wear a well-fitting shirt that would fall apart after a few washes, or wear a durable shirt that fit poorly. Thankfully, all of that changed with the arrival of Tradlands.
Tradlands makes clothing for, “the woman who drifts towards the men’s section and thinks, ‘I wish they made this for me.’” Being that very woman, I can genuinely say that the company is a godsend. Co-owners Sadie and Jeremy started the company after Sadie grew tired of seeing clothes in the men’s department that she wanted but that didn’t fit her right.
Throughout the life of the company, Sadie and Jeremy have focused primarily on two things: fit and quality. Their shirts’ tailored-yet-relaxed fit has been refined over time, based on customer feedback and the pair’s own experiences. There are no gaps in the placket, the length is long enough to fall appropriately on the hips, and the shirts can be worn tucked or untucked. These things might sound simple, but they aren’t – women’s bodies are very different, and from talking to Sadie and Jeremy, as well as tailors and seamstresses I know, creating a tailored shirt that can fit various female body types is both a science and an art.
After perfecting the button-down, Sadie and Jeremy added two additional staples to their collection: a classic t-shirt and a vintage-inspired sweatshirt made out of pre-shrunk, washed cotton. The entire collection is cut and sewn in Chicago, using the highest quality materials available. From the beginning, domestic production was a priority, as it allows Sadie and Jeremy to have full access to their products during development and manufacturing, and they can ensure a socially responsible working environment.
However, what might be most impressive of all, is Tradlands’ commitment to their customers. They offer (free!) returns for up to 60 days after purchase (basically unheard of, and frankly, difficult to manage for a small company), and they will replace, mend, or offer a gift card for up to a year after that. They understand that well-made apparel is an investment, and they are investing in building life-long relationships with their customers. And that’s exactly the kind of relationship I want to be in.
Rita Mehta shops for a living and talks a lot. She launched her website, The American Edit, and podcast, Why Do We Have Things? so she’d have a place to talk about some of the things she’s most passionate about: American made design, responsible manufacturing, and conscious consumption. You can follow her on Instagram or Twitter.