In October 2015, a friend and I were browsing at T.J. Maxx. A black velvet-and-faux-fur vest caught my eye. I tried it on and decided to buy it.
It wasn’t until after I’d made my purchase that I checked the label. "It’s an Ivanka!" I told my friend, oddly delighted to be in possession of a brand I associated with strands of fake gold (clearly, I was thinking about a different Trump).
I wore my new vest to a dinner party. In response to compliments, I unabashedly shared the designer’s name. "It’s an Ivanka," I said. Of course, no last name was required. Friends smiled as if I’d told the world’s shortest joke: One word, just three little syllables that perfectly delivered both a set-up and a punchline.
Remember, this was the fall of 2015. It was months and months before anyone had given Donald Trump a second thought as a presidential candidate, let alone the Republican nominee, let alone…yeah, I know. It was a lifetime ago.
Today, my Ivanka hangs alone at the far end of my closet, a sad sartorial outcast. I just can’t bring myself to wear it.
A few key words explain my conflict: Japanese Prime Minister. $10,800 gold bracelet. Blind trust. Women. Dad.
To help me solve my dilemma, I emailed a pop-quiz to some fellow female consumers across the country. It read:
Question: Imagine YOU have an Ivanka Trump design in your closet. It fits well and looks pretty good. Would you:
A. Wear it without a second thought
B. Wear it, but do so as a political statement
C. Donate it to Goodwill or other charity
D. Burn it (or otherwise Get. Rid. Of. It.)
The answers poured in. Like our nation on Election Day, my voters were clearly divided between wearing it and chucking it. The accompanying "color commentary" was nuanced, passionate and reflective. Here’s a sampling:
"Wear it to the Million Women March on January 21, 2017."
"I’d burn it, although that may release toxins."
"Wear it. Ivanka’s not responsible for her father’s idiocy, and maybe, just maybe, she’ll be an intelligent voice of reason. Or sell it and donate the money to a group like the Southern Poverty Law Center."
"I’m getting rid of my very fancy Ivanka high-heels."
"Mail it back to Ivanka stating that you regret to have supported a business that is owned by a woman who supports a man who is a misogynist and racist."
From bra burning in the '60s to the “We’d rather go naked” anti-fur campaign in the 90s, sartorial resistance is nothing new. I recently vowed never again to support Land’s End after the company pulled an interview with feminist and
recently vowed never again to support Land’s End after the company pulled an interview with feminist and pro-choice supporter Gloria Steinem. And there’s no shortage of folks currently calling for a boycott of Ivanka Trump designs. (In one pre-election poll, 75 percent of Democratic women, as well as nearly 60 percent of independent women and one-third of Republican women said they would not support her brand.)
So where does this leave me and my vest?
Frankly, I don’t want to wear it as a political statement (the constant explaining would be exhausting). Cutting out the tag just won’t cut it, as I’ll still know from whence it came. I could mail it back to Ivanka, but I suspect the vest and the statement would disappear in a mountain of mail. I can’t burn it (see toxins, above). If I sold it for charity, potential bidders would end up like me, with an offensive brand in their closet.
Finally, the idea that "Maybe, just maybe, Ivanka will be an intelligent voice of reason," seems reasonable—at first. No one really knows where either Ivanka or her father stand on myriad issues, but it’s a pretty sure bet she’ll continue to support her father, just as she has all along. And that’s something I simply can’t support.
So, off with the vest. Today I’m cutting out the tag and donating it to Goodwill. Even without the fancy label, I’m certain someone else will be happy to wear it.
Chances are, it will look better on her, too.
Willow Older is a nationally and internationally published writer and a professional editor. She lives in Northern California where she runs her own editorial services business and publishes a weekly newsletter called Newsy!
This post originally appeared on Bullshit.Ist and has been republished here with full permission. You can read the original here.