The retail industry has taken a hit in today’s fledgling economy.  Our pockets are more shallow, we’ve tightened our belts, and it’s hard to justify accessorizing this new look without cause.  The industry has met this challenge by aligning with charitable causes to incentivize shoppers and assuage their retail guilt. This month, the fashionable philanthropy is all over Baltimore, with local retailers offering shoppers a number of ways to contribute to the community.

From now until October 23rd, the shops at The Village of Cross Keys are offering a number of charitable incentives through the shopping center’s semi-annual Cross Keys Cares event.  The Pied Piper, for instance, is collecting cash contributions and donating a percentage of sales for the Children’s Cancer Foundation.  Ruth Shaw, J. Jill, and The Store Ltd. are collecting gently warn clothing and cash donations for The House of Ruth, which helps lead the victims of domestic violence to safety and shelter. (Ruth Shaw gives a certificate for lunch at the Village Square Cafe as a thank you too.) Talbots is collecting men’s and women’s winter clothing and shoes for Paul’s Place, which provides programs and services to support struggling families in Southwest Baltimore.  There are over a dozen shops offering opportunities to get involved. For a full list of store and charity involvement, visit the Cross Keys website.

Earlier this year, The House of Ruth introduced its resale boutique, Ruth’s Closet, which collects gently used high-end fashions for resale, with 100% of profits benefitting the House of Ruth Maryland services for victims of domestic violence.  Later this month, Ruth’s Closet will host its “One Great Thing,” event, which offers shoppers an exclusive opportunity to grab some valued furs, boots, handbags and accessories donated by some of Baltimore’s most fashionable women.  The event takes place from 5-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 27th and will include expert guidance from a professional furrier. For more information, visit

Next month, Green Spring Station is getting in on the giving during its “The Weigh to Shop,” incentive, which aims to help Baltimore soup kitchen Our Daily Bread stock its shelves for the holiday season.  Customers can bring canned goods to the Nut Farm & Creamery at Green Spring Station and, in an added plus, Green Spring Station will donate a percentage of sales from future purchases based on the weight of customers’ contributions.  For contributions weighing ten pounds or less, Green Spring Station will donate 10 percent of your next purchase to Our Daily Bread. For contributions weighing more than ten pounds, Green Spring Station will donate 20 percent of your next purchase.  The week-long event will take place from November 12-19.  

This month, feel good about splurging on that new fall wardrobe – it’s for a good cause, after all.