A Tale of Two Tartan Skirts

Earlier this week a friend from Twitter presented the following coat and posed the rhetorical question of whether she should order it, ostensibly at its current full price.

I immediately wondered about the material of which it is made and the manufacturing provenance, and tweeted these questions. I can rationalize a lot of things. Paying top dollar for a coat made of natural fibers such as cotton, linen, silk, mohair, angora, and / or wool? Yes. For a product made in the U.S.A. or at least ethically? Absolutely. Hiring a(nother) second shift nanny for the Pamper Pirate? As long as she is vaccinated and gets along with the first nanny, because she is great.

I digress.

As it turns out, the Staud Lydie coat is made of polyester. The place of manufacture is unknown, as the website does not address it and the image carousel does not include the tags. I chimed in that this coat is not worth paying the MSRP, though worth keeping an eye out for markdowns.

This tweet discourse happened the same evening that I compared two very similar-to-the-eye festive holiday tartan skirts:

skirt on the left // skirt on the right

I wanted a full tartan skirt for the season; it was a shopping list item that somehow eludes me year after year. The style is crucial for my 2022 take on Ellen Griswold for our family’s festive holiday brunch on the central Asia steppe. (We make our own fun here.) I ended up purchasing the one on the right at the full price of $398. As it is silk georgette and the construction is impeccable, it is exactly what I hoped for and worth every penny. My only regret is that it was not offered sooner, as I am a price per wear enthusiast.

The skirt on the left was also under consideration. Since spying it in the holiday look book for the brand, I kept checking back for the release. Finally, it was included in a rollout this week and not only that, but it was on promotion for $209, regularly priced at $348. Surely, a mere $50 less than the skirt on the right, it must be a comparable fabric to the skirt on the right, right?

Wrong. The one on the left is polyester. Shame on me for being so hopeful; I should have known when I noted the promotional price. I predict than many more promotions are in said skirt’s future as built into its retail pricing structure. Tis a shame because had it been made of a natural fiber, I would have not one, but two festive skirts for holiday.

For those who are unaware, natural fibers like cotton, silk, linen, wool, are made of animal or plant-based fibers. Conversely, synthetic fibers are man-made and are made of chemicals to create fabrics like polyester, rayon, acrylic, etc. Since the inception of polyester in the latter 20th century and especially with the popularity of athleisure and incorporation of athletic wear in every day wardrobes, synthetics have grown ever-popular. As is the case of the two tartan skirts, polyester frequently takes the place of silk and furthermore, acrylic takes the place of wool.

Don’t get me wrong, I suit up in my Lululemon running leggings and tech shirts for running and other half marathon training several times a week. Though I have not checked the tags, these pieces are no doubt made of synthetic fabrics as they are perfect for wicking away moisture. However, there is a time and a place for them and that time and place is not any time one is not working up a sweat.

On that note, now that I dogged out that polyester skirt, allow me to share a fantastic item from the same brand. I cannot wait to order this 100% lambswool number, as it is on promotion and nary a synthetic fiber in the contents.


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