or, The Moral Dilemma of Fashion Vs. Politics

So I grew up in Kansas at a time when the state was Republican, but had a Democrat as its governor. Is it any wonder I was politically conflicted? The older I get the more I realize that left and right party ideals are not nearly as black and white as they used to be. And in those decades, the traditional two parties have devolved into a spectrum of grays, like center Republicans (are they conservative Democrats?) and other splinters like the Tea Party that some describe as just a smidge left of the Ku Klux Klan.  So these days I define myself more by what I feel is right and wrong to me rather than by a party affiliation.

And Donald Trump for President just feels wrong to me. At first, I thought he was just kidding, right? Running for President as a joke. Kind of like Vermin Supreme who once campaigned to create a law that would force everyone brush their teeth. (Not that everyone shouldn’t, but ya know…)

I’ve become so fed up and ashamed with the months of the Republican traveling circus act that I feel nauseous at just the mention of anyone even related to The Donald. I even signed an email petition ad. And I never do stuff like that.

The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC) infiltrates the interwebs with this pop up ad. You bet I did.

The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC) infiltrates the interwebs with this pop up ad. You bet I did.

I’m mostly a live-and-let-live kind of person. There’s a place for everyone…each person has their own strengths, etc. But Donald Trump is just…well, not someone I could ever imagine in the White House, commanding the troops. It isn’t his insulting, narcissistic, excluding finger I want pressing any buttons, let alone the Big One.

The Ivanka Incident

And then I was shopping last week with my daughter in a Canadian Winners store and found The. Dress. You know the one I’m talking about. The one that is a 10 in every imaginable way: It fits like a dream. It looks like a million bucks, like serious style. It’s comfortable and, best of all, it’s cheap.

I show my daughter in the dressing room, scattered plastic hangers at my feet. I look at her in the mirror looking back at me in the mirror. Her face looks approving (a rare visage in these circumstances). “I know, right?!?!” I say, hardly believing my luck. (You know this is an uncommon event. You know that you didn’t come in here today to buy anything, and you weren’t particularly looking for a dress, and there’s no particular near-term event, and you also know you cannot walk away from this dress.)

“It’s yours, Mom,” she says definitively and returns to her own stall and pile of hangers. Done and dusted, I think as I slide the dress down and off.

And then, I look at the label. It is one of those things you can’t un-see.

Literally in black and white on the tag I see the words Ivanka and Trump. Together, in that order. “When did Ivanka Trump start making clothes?” I yell through the partition at my daughter. No response.

Ivanka Label

Shit, I think, looking at the dress again through a different pair of Donald-tainted lenses. Now what? I’ve been all up on my high horse about everything Trump for months. And now I’m going to (albeit indirectly) contribute actual money to the Trump reality-show empire? To quote the Brits, it just doesn’t bear thinking about. But…it’s…The Dress.

Moral dilemma drama


I hate moral dilemmas. Especially when they involve two things that to me should never cross paths: fashion and politics. I mean a girl shouldn’t be held to espoused political views in the face of The Dress. Right? Ugh. I buy the damn dress, of course, but not without a teensy bit of guilt. “Could you put that in a bag that’s not see-through?” I ask the cashier. Guilty, guilty, guilty! his look says.

I get The Dress home and put it on again, like I always do to ensure the dressing room mirror wasn’t rigged to make me look great in it, when in fact I really didn’t. Yep. It still looked great. Dammit. That would’ve been an easy out.

Retelling the story to a friend’s daughter the next day, she responds sympathetically. “I got one too! And I’ve been debating. Maybe we should cut out the labels?” Nice idea, but ultimately painfully rejected, because it’s not about pretending, is it? Side note: Some days I do not love becoming more self-aware.

What can I say? Some morals are worth compromising.

What can I say? Some morals are worth compromising.

I still haven’t worn the dress (there it is, hanging on the door just over there –>), but I’m slowly having a few epiphanies: I can appreciate something good, even if it’s created out of something I don’t like. And: Nothing, and nobody, is all bad. And, as at least two members of my committee wisely remind me, sins of the father and all that. And of course they’re right. Ivanka appears to be a successful and strong businesswoman, in spite of the fact of her parentage. Who knows? Maybe even because of it.