High Holiday Attire

A prominent feature of each autumn for me is the celebration of Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) and observance of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).  The latter is perhaps well known for its full day of fasting, water being prohibited as well as food.  Depending on how strictly one observes, the outfit to wear to synagogue services takes some thought.  It is customary to wear white – a reference to the purity from sin to which one aspires.  Women wear skirts that cover the knees, tops that cover down to the elbow and do not wear jewelry.  All abstain from wearing leather shoes which were seen as luxury items historically and improper for a day of humility and modesty.  While I never have dressed entirely in white for services, an ensemble sported by a certain duchess inspired me.  I am, however, attempting to limit my consumption these days to used and vintage items or new products that have been manufactured sustainably.  Luckily for me, there is no shortage of disillusioned J Crew shoppers on Ebay trying to part with impulse purchases in virtually perfect condition.  From there I was able to find a white eyelet lace blazer, a-line skirt and skinny belt, all J Crew, for around $75 total, including shipping.  In order to avoid leather shoes, many show up to synagogue services on Yom Kippur with canvas athletic shoes.  I thought an espadrille wedge, typically made of cotton and jute, would be more suitable.  Unfortunately, I was a bit late in the season to be searching for such a thing and allowed myself to be lured by the do-gooder brand Tom’s Calypso peep-toe wedge.  They certainly want to be seen as socially responsible with the “one for one” policy.  The company website explains that environmental responsibility is also one of their values and that they are making strides towards the use of eco-friendly materials and verifying their supply chain and manufacturing processes abroad.  So I was very disappointed to find the shoes I purchased were in fact made in China.  Not  coming from a facility certified to have environmental and safe labor standards means the conditions in which they were made are questionable and highly likely to be unsustainable.  I hope Tom’s will do better in this regard in the future, especially given their stated philosophy, but I will refrain from buying their products for time being.


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