Should You Purge Your Made-In-China Clothing?

For years Tradsville has lamented how many classic items are now made overseas, and so, in the wake of the China-NBA story this week, I asked Ivy Style’s Facebook group if anyone had become inspired to engage in a personal embargo on items made in China. Here’s what some members said:

Interesting question. However, it may point to a distinction between Trad/Ivy “inspired” and real Trad/Ivy. The former is generally sold by mainstream vendors and sourced from anywhere. Real Ivy/Trad tends to come from US or European sources.

As I’ve slowly built my wardrobe over the last eight years, I’ve had fewer and fewer items from China as part of it — and fewer items of clothing in general. A Ralph Lauren Chinese-made item will still make it in on occasion, but they’re becoming fewer and farther between.

I own very little clothing or shoes that is not made in the USA or Europe. Some things (running shoes) are near impossible to buy not made in China. No deliberate purge, but I don’t buy anything I intend not to sweat profusely in or wear out quickly otherwise from China.

I am not purging Chinese-made product, but I do look for American-made clothing. That, plus disillusionment with my once favorite brand’s (Polo) current styling direction, means I look for deadstock/unworn/tags attached items on eBay.

I am increasingly disillusioned with Polo’s recent and current styling direction. I think a lot of the Chinese-made stuff from labels such as Polo was garbage. The Polo pique knits Made in China in the 2000s and much of the 2010s were awful, badly pilling for me after not too many washings, for example (unlike items made elsewhere or from other brands). I simply stopped buying them. I will note that since Polo moved most manufacture to Vietnam, the shirts seem to have improved a bit.

I don’t think there’s much point to purging Chinese products. What’s done is done. And it’s not going to affect the Chinese government one wit. But making conscious choices when purchasing new on the other hand, is worth thinking about. But probably better to voice your opinion pro or con to your elected representatives. I say this is where your opinion on the matter is most important.

Done this for about ten years now.

I try to avoid anything made there. I don’t want to feed the Chinese war machine.

A lot of people talk a big game about their strong beliefs (on Facebook, at the coffee shop, in an argument over dinner), but halt just short of inconveniencing themselves in order to bring those principals into their daily life.

What about you? Are international relations enough to make you change your buying habits one way or the other? — CC

27 Comments on "Should You Purge Your Made-In-China Clothing?"

  1. Don’t have much to get rid of. Don’t buy that stuff in the first place. Very conscious of where my stuff comes from.

  2. Everything I buy is made in the west.

  3. I turnes fifth in the summer when I realised I do not need any new clothes at all really, so buying far less. No purge on Chinese made items, but a more local approach on what I do buy.

    Being in UK, I am trying to buy locally made to UK and Ireland or nearshore – Grenfell jackets, Crockett & Jones shoes, Magee sports coats, a Gloverall coat, Barbour UK factory made scarves where I can trace the manufacture not just trading on a British name (such as Aquascutum does now). This means paying more sometimes which is okay if I buy less.

    USA then comes next, trying where I can to buy made there. But I cannot see much need for me in future generally.

    I am encouraged by local manufacturers setting up in UK balancing local with quality and reasonable price – such as Community Clothing here in UK.

    So now I buy almost nothing at all – the odd old item on Ebay but not many. Then anything I want, I really do look at the source more and try for entirely local.

  4. Apologies,I typed that post on a phone as a train bumps along. My corrected opening should read ‘I turned fifty this summer…’

  5. “Some things (running shoes) are near impossible to buy not made in China.”

    The best running shoes, recommended by my foot specialist, are made by New Balance. NB has a wide range that is made in the US. There is no need to buy Chinese junk.

    All Americans should boycott Nike which has built its on obnoxious brand by sponsoring cheats and dopers in many sports. It has disgraced America and spread its poison across the globe. I see Nike as the corporate version of Lance Armstrong.

  6. wow-talk about a subject that involves politics. It’s not overstatement that buying made-in-China stuff (a lot of it crap) is an overtly political act–even (gulp) in support of a certain kind of socialism.

    Which brings me back to the Thomas Sowell quote CC referenced. Upon reflection, a huge % of the economy is socialist, and, in terms of efficiency, works well. Consider the number of institutions and organizations either controlled (owned) or regulated by government–including the public university (10 campuses?) system of California. So we distinguish between “socialism” as all-encompassing and particular policies/programs that are “socialist.”

    As for the quality of the goods themselves: to repeat, a lot of it is crap. Why not seek out the good stuff?

  7. I’m quite certain that most of the “Chinese goods are crap” imbeciles typed that phrase into their made in China iphones.

  8. Morgan Hartford | October 14, 2019 at 11:34 am |

    Could someone recommend some Chinese-made khakis and Oxford cloth buttondown collar shirts.

  9. Michael

    I think I may speak for many here in that we object to slave labor, forced abortions and re-education camps far more than the inferior clothing produced in China. That Chinese products are generally inferior is a well established fact.

    As a marathoner, I buy New Balance minimalist running shoes-made in America and best shoes I have tried, and I have tried many. How about that Kenyan woman over the weekend 2:20:51 Holy Shit! I’m always shooting to break 4 hours!

    By the way, the iphone is a piece of junk compared to Samsung.



  10. Old School Tie | October 14, 2019 at 12:30 pm |

    Back in the 1980s you didn’t even have to think about it, nearly everything I wore was made in England, the British Isles, the USA or the odd European country here and there. Much raising of eyebrows would follow the purchase of Japanese made cars or electronics although their cameras were highly rated. Made in Japan now equates to quality. I have noticed the return of items and lines being made outside of China again. RL seem to carry a fair amount of Portuguese made products these days. I dearly wish that Benetton return to making polos in Italy – as recently as 2009 their white and navy polos were made in Italy. Otherwise, it is a case of eBay or wherever. Hard work and often costly. And then there is the custom option.

  11. I, for one, am grateful to the skilled, industrious craftsmen of China for producing such affordable high-quality goods.

    “Made in America” is a such a vague, slippery label. Under U.S. law, any item made a U.S. territory (e.g. Northern Mariana Islands) can be labeled as “Made in the U.S.A.”.

    And don’t think for one minute that sweatshops don’t exist in the U.S. The illegal sweatshops in Los Angeles are as bad or worse as sweatshops in Pakistan.

  12. The comment earlier from the 50 year old fella is interesting. I am 51 and since turning 50 have bought a lot less clothing compared to decades ago. The stuff I have now is often linked to the brand or manufacturer which makes it more genuine for me. Often English shoes, Scottish knitwear, Japanese jeans, USA coats and boots. This tends to last longer so the quality is good.Some of my clothes are 25 or 30 years old. However most of the comments on here appear to come from blokes who have the disposable income to spend on more expensive clothes – so good for you. Some may not have the choice and may rely on cheaper Chinese made products and other countries from the South East Asia. Anyway I won’t be spending money on Redwing or Thorogood boots and no more Grenfell jackets as they will probably last longer than I will. Enjoy whatever you wear and buy less but buy wisely.

  13. Anonymous

    I agree with you. The people in the YouTube video should not be in this country as, presumably, they are illegal aliens and are treated as slaves.


  14. @Morgan Hartford. For Chinese-made khakis and OCBD shirts, try Gant’s tat. Feel free to be ripped off totally by a Swedish company that doesn’t give a **** about Ivy style. That would be make you a typical liberal globalist who does not give a **** about American workers.

    On the other hand, you could buy Bill’s Khakis and Mercer OCBDs that are made in the US by Americans on decent pay and conditions. You would pay similar money or a little bit more – provided you can get your head out of your trolling ass….

  15. August West | October 14, 2019 at 5:37 pm |

    The best running shoes are the ones that fit your feet the best. I’d be wary of any “specialist” that takes a one size (brand) fits all approach. I’ve been a runner for over 30 years. I alternate a few different types of shoes depending on the distance, type of workout etc. Its near impossible for me to avoid made in china all together.

  16. The Earl of Iredell | October 14, 2019 at 5:40 pm |

    The job of quality control ultimately rests with the corporation that has outsourced its production. Chinese manufacturers can deliver products of outstanding quality if required to do so, although I can’t help but agree that most Chinese products reaching the USA are quite shabby. In other words, it’s LL Bean’s responsibility (to draw on the featured photo) to enforce quality standards on their vendors. Unfortunately, American businesses such as LL Bean have become, in my opinion, unreasonably lax in this regard. Items that are supposed to be standard sizes are not even consistent, let alone standard. For example, two 16×35 shirts may be noticeably different. Some of the fabrics feel almost like plastic, and so forth.

  17. The Earl of Iredell | October 14, 2019 at 5:43 pm |

    One more thing . . . yes, I fully support a boycott on China, given their reprehensible behavior. It will be a very cold day in Hades before I ever buy another Volvo.

  18. I’ve always tried to buy “made in the U.S.A.” whenever possible. Sometimes it’s not possible, and sometimes the U.S.A.-made product is not necessarily better and can even be inferior to something made in China or southeast Asia. In the end, if I like something well enough, I can easily disregard the “made in” tag.

  19. I second Ben Braddock’s comments. Even if one could afford to suddenly ‘dump’ all one’s Chinese or other Asian-country products and replace them with US or other locally ‘grown’ and made items the very act of dumping is in itself, wasteful and polluting. Giving them to the needy as one legitimizes one’s conscience is itself fraught as it reminds me of some EU countries which have incentives to hand in ‘dirty diesel’ cars and buy so-called clean ones while the self-same governments ship the ‘dirty-diesels’ to Senegal and other African states so that they can carry out the pollution ‘over there and out of sight’.

    Don’t waste. Wear your Chinese stuff until it is worn out, simply learn a lesson, and don’t buy the same again.

  20. American things are, most of the time, shitty and ever worse than the Chinese ones.

  21. @Kenny

    Would you recommend Mercer over the current made in USA Brooks shirts?

    Apologies if this is an exhausted topic elsewhere – I don’t frequent the clothing forums.

  22. @David

    It may not have occurred to you but driving a Tesla in Senegal could be quite problematic.


    Yeah no …

  23. Charlottesville | October 15, 2019 at 1:24 pm |

    I try to stay out of the political discussions on this site as much as possible. However, I will say that I try not to buy Chinese products because of the Chinese government’s human rights record in Tibet, with the Uighers and now in Hong Kong, as well as other abuses. Most of my clothing is made in the US or UK, but I have taken to reading labels on other products. Nevertheless, I am sure my cars, phone and other electronics contain Chinese components. There is only so much one can do individually in a global economy. I do not need to watch professional sports, though. While not really a watcher of South Park, I think that that the recent reaction of that show’s creators is the best I have seen.

  24. @CS For shirts, the choice of Mercer vs BB’s made in USA should be determined primarily by fit. How the collar rolls is another factor. BB has, unlike Mercer’s, a minimal commitment to US manufacturing.

    Most of of BB’s shirts, probably well over 90%, are made in Malaysia. The quality has dropped in recent years. More and more now carry the ghastly logo too.

  25. Ale,

    Yeah, your probably right.


  26. The BB shirts made in North Carolina are still extremely nice, just bought one, unless you are fond of a pocket. The only other drawback is that the unlined collars are quite flimsy in comparison to Mercer or Michael-Spencer and their respective unlined collars. Brooks’ Malaysian made shirts are trash, non iron or must iron. My last Mercer shirt frayed way too soon, although, admittedly I starched it several times, so that might have caused it. Gant look nice but are surely made overseas and have a horrible logo on the chest. For the best value per dollar, nothing can beat Michael-Spencer’s Jly sale.

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