So, I’m proudly writing this after achieving one of my ultimate conquests. A round of applause please as I’ve survived and come out the other end of the Ebay listing hour! Admittedly I’m dripping in blood, sweat and tears, as I hug my credit card reassuringly offering that I’ll never be ‘that silly’ again. I’m left wondering if anyone else is doing this and embarking on a wardrobe detox & clearing out their wardrobe? Anyone else rifling through piles of clothes that need to move onto another wardrobe?
Lessons from those eBay listings
Is it a bird? is it a plane? No, it’s an ikea bag full of bloody clothes that have to GO!
These hardcore hours follow on from the seasonal wardrobe swap over. The winter woollies are now folded and boxed and I gave the middle finger to all my winter boots and coats. The summer gear has been dragged out and I’ve lovingly dusted off my sandals and kissed my denim shorts like they were one of Chris Hemsworth arms on the beach!
Both tasks leave me looking like I’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards as I sweat and swear my way through the piles of clothing and accessories. But I thought I would do something different this time around. I thought I would dance around Marie Kondo and her whisperings of asking me what sparks joy? On a side note Marie, you ask what sparks joy? personally, it’s the chance to bloody escape my crazy testosterone filled house and wander around Saks department store sniffing out the bargains and the beauts. Marie, If you want to really spark some joy for me, then feel free to foot the bill and we’ll call it quits. Cheers love!
Alas, I’m looking at the piles of clobber and pondering on what I loved? what actually loved me back? and didn’t just love the person who inspired me to buy it in the first place. I want to assess what I actually wore. I’m talking about the kind of wear that is evident in the photo scroll on your phone as you swipe through the archives. So buckle up, as I dissect the clothing mounds on my bed.
The questions I have learnt to ask myself?
- How many times did I actually bloody wear that? In these times of looking at the environment and the effects that fashion has on our world, I’m taking the advice of Livia Firth and evaluating if I have worn something x30? I discovered her magic number during research for a sustainable fashion blog post that I wrote here. I reckon there are many things I have worn x30 wears and beyond. But I put my hand up to owning the fact that there are things I have only worn once. Time to change.
- Why did I wear that just the once – FFS? These were the pieces that I bought at the end of last years summer season in the sale. I liked them and waited patiently to buy them at a discount. The problem is now that this admiration/obsession has simmered down, do I actually still feel the heat and love for them that I initially had in the first place? Some pieces are a definite “Yes”. But these are the pieces that I wore the day after buying them. Some are “No”, and I need to register in my memory that I bought them because I thought I’d invested so much time researching, dreaming and lusting after them, that I thought I may as well just bloody buy it after all that effort. I reckon we should only buy the ‘stomach-flipping’ pieces and leave the rest for someone else to enjoy.
- Why did I bloody buy that in the first place? These were pieces that I bought on the grey cold snowy ‘arse of winter’ days in Ottawa. These days are awful. You are craving sunshine and signs of hope but look out the window to see a dog pissing in the 6ft tall snow bank at the end of your driveway. All the glamour of winter leads me down a path searching for some sparkly online shopping glitz and that little ‘lift’ you feel when you hit the submit order button. Next year in March & April, I have decided to buy a pack of post-it notes and write on them “You will not wear anything that you order right now” and stick them up all over the house. It will take strength and courage to not replace them with post-it notes declaring “F*ck it – you can always sell it on eBay” as that truly defeats the purpose of yesterdays sweat and tears!
- Was it a bargain? truly a bargain? This is the thing with sales and promotions. A shirt that was 70% off and now $20 is fab but how many times will you wear it? I try to play the legendary game of cost-per-wear and see if I can get the item down to $1 per wear. If I can wear that shirt x20 times then its worth every penny and moment of joy. But if it sits in my wardrobe or lies slouched on my bedroom chair, following another outfit rejection, then its no bloody good whatsoever. Better to put $20 towards something you really love.
- Loved it and left it! Sometimes you need to just take a peek at the lovely things out there. Sometimes just pawing at the piles of beautiful colours and textures in the stores is enough. Just because you went to the store or website does not mean you signed a contract to buy something. Excuse me while I put my head between my knees and breathe deeply, as this is new territory for me! I reckon it’s perfectly acceptable to pick something up or scroll through the item details and declare “loved it, left it”. The end.
- Was it a phase? What was I
drinkingthinking when I bought that? I believe we all have a style that shouts out our name. There are pieces in my wardrobe that will always be there. Obviously a stripe, some denim and a bit of leopard print are a given. But I also believe that its good to change, adapt and grow in our personal style. It’s learning to spot the difference between a short-lived trend on the high street as opposed to a style phase that you love and “own it” when you style those pieces. One of my style heroes, David Bowie said “As far as style is concerned, I really don’t think I want to have a style for them to say- Oh yeah that’s David Bowies style. I want to be a free agent and move from one thing to another, as my enthusiasms take me”. Oh my goodness, this man was an innovator of popular culture unlike any other. He led a fascinating life both musically and stylistically. FYI, I wrote a style blog post on David, back in January 2016, here. I’m with you on this one David!
My Fashion Economist Mission
My fashion blogging years have now led me into Fashion Economist territory, as I feel this term sums up exactly everything that I’m about at the moment. I’m fascinated in the correlation between what we buy and spend our money on versus what we wear and how we behave. It’s fascinating to discover that the greater the hardship and times of economic recession, the higher the heels are in fashion. I also feel that this is territory that the world needs us to walk towards. The evidence is out there to prove that we’re buying too much – and hey, there’s no judgement from my end, especially when I package up another eBay sale for the post office. We are lost in the whirlwind of constant changing trends that its easy to lose yourself and your personal style. I’m a huge advocate for body positivity and wearing whatever you bloody want #justbloodywearit. I wince when I overhear friends or women declare “what does she think she looks like?” or sarcastically whisper “honey, did you look at yourself in the mirror?” Because, quite frankly, as long as we are happy, who should give a f*ck about what we bloody look like? The best thing you can wear is a smile on your face. It’s no use looking like you’ve just walked off your Yacht in Cannes wearing head to toe Gucci with a face like a smacked arse!
So my mission starts here. Let’s buy what we love, let’s buy less but buy better. Let’s own things that we wear countless times as opposed to once. Lets wear things that celebrate ourselves and our lives. Lets celebrate the jeans that we have chucked in the bin because the thigh area has rubbed and worn down. Let’s not focus on the fact they took a beating from thighs, who gives a toss? but lets celebrate that we wore and loved those jeans so much that they literally wore out. Done and dusted
I’m staring at the tower of carefully balanced ikea bags that are fit to bursting and that my boys are desperate to charge into with a homemade cardboard jousting stick and knock over! This feels like I should have a ‘shopping fail’ tick/check mark next to my surname – in red. But, I’m learning that failure is not always a bad thing. Failure leads us to remember why we are trying to bloody learn in the first place. Besides life would be dull living in a Mary Poppins practically perfect in every way day. Yes, Cruella De Ville shouldn’t be making coats out of Dalmatian puppies but she got to smoke (don’t do it at home kids!!) and have monochromatic hair! A balanced life is what I strive for. These moments of clarity are good and bring us back to square one of our mission. I’m forever channeling Aunty Viv’s words “Buy less, choose well and make it last” And no, Dame Vivienne Westwood, the british designer is not really my aunty, I’m just being blissfully delusional again!
So, there we go. There may be a big bag of clothing by my door, ready to move on to another owner, who will love a cherish it. But the key is that the ‘reject bag’ is dramatically smaller than the one from 5 years ago! Who is with me on this mission to buy and wear things that we love?
Thanks for reading.