Despite the majority of my resolutions this January being quarterly, there is one which really has to be annual, and it’s a big scary challenge.
For 2016, I am (deep breath…) not going to buy any new clothes (I am wincing as I type this). Eeeeek! (I know my mum has just read this and exclaimed loudly at the idea that this is something I could ever do).
The idea of doing this really comes from watching the documentary The True Cost on Netflix. I’d been putting off watching it for ages because I knew it would make me think differently about the way I shop for clothes and I really really like shopping for clothes. I totally recommend watching it – in short, it examines the human and environmental cost of fast fashion, makes you feel uncomfortable and want to change things. For me, it made me realise that I should probably think about clothes shopping in the same way I think about groceries – I’d never buy meat or eggs that weren’t at least free range (random aside here – Red Tractor standard is not a guarantee of animal welfare), and would always purchase fairtrade if it’s an option, but I have never thought about the people in the factory making my clothes in the same way as the chickens in a factory farm laying the eggs I refuse to buy.
I wouldn’t say I’m the worst consumer of fast fashion – yes I can be found top to toe in Zara a lot of the time, and Primark pyjama bottoms are a staple of my working from home wardrobe, but I’m acquisitive rather than fickle; the things I buy generally stay in my wardrobe for a very long time (I still go to work in the Oasis dress I bought for my very first post-uni job in 2004 for example), I definitely shop for quality so things tend to last and when they do go it’s straight to the charity shop. But… I do buy more clothes than I need, and apparently it’s not normal to have that many jumpers (but I love them all!). So, as a result of this I pretty much have in my wardrobe clothing which can carry me through every occasion (with the option to change outfits several times during said occasion).
Therefore, this year I am going to try my very hardest to love my existing wardrobe (I do love it, I just need to avoid loving adding new things to it), and not buy anything new. Hopefully this will save me money, but there is every chance it will just mean I spend more on makeup and homewares instead, we shall see! (I’m still a total consumer, can’t go cold turkey altogether – kudos to anyone who can).
I have a few rules (or exceptions really) – while I can’t buy anything new I can replace things which I don’t have an alternative for (for example if I rip all my black tights or need new running shoes replacement is OK, but if I shrink a t shirt it’s not because there will always be another t shirt). Any replacements must be from ethical/sustainable brands – I can see myself being very good friends with The Keep boutique in Brixton (although I can already see finding ethical running shoes with the right support being a challenge!) I am allowing myself one caveat new item in the form of a dress for a summer wedding (thanks Caroline & Andrew for giving me a tiny get out clause to look forward to…).
I have no idea how difficult this might be – at the moment I feel fine; as I left Selfridges after purchasing my new pair of Paige jeans (decent jeans are going to be essential for this – my Zara ones had ripped the day before) I felt that sort of peaceful that you get when Christmas shopping is all done – like I have everything I need so I don’t need to keep looking. Whether I’ll feel the same in a month or so remains to be seen.
The first stage is going to be a big wardrobe sort-out this weekend, a bit of a case of being able to see the wood for the trees. I’ve ordered a big bag from Clothes for Charity (a great solution of how to donate to charity if you’re sans car and a bit too far of a walk from a charity shop – you can choose your charity, the bag arrives and you arrange for it to be collected) and will be filling it with all the things I’ve not been able to let myself get rid of. Then it’s on to organising, and I’ll post separately about that.
I’m scared! What do you think, am I mad or should I actually be doing more?