Months ago I embarked on a 30-Day Minimalism Challenge, sort of a fluke really. I'd seen it on another blog and thought it looked like just the thing to get me through some winter months and start 2018 off with a bang.
Readers: it's been slow-going but fascinating.
I cleaned out my wallet and was shocked at the amount of paper I haul around that is utterly useless and irrelevant to my life.
My handbag is on its last legs, which I fully realized when I cleaned it out. The interior is worse than the exterior, which isn't saying much. I don't think it's salvageable; yet I still carry it.
My underwear needs to be replaced. I'm still wearing underwear I bought when first pregnant with my oldest child: 13 years ago.
Several pair of my socks had holes.
And...if I'm really honest, about 70% of my closet is filled with clothes that don't fit. I used to be slimmer. Now I'm not. It's been four years, so maybe it's time to accept the new weight and buy a pair of jeans to honor it instead of continuing to think I'll one day get back into the old ones?
2 Summer Dresses
I really do need all of it.
Here's my hangup:
I've read recently about 'fast fashion' and the damage it does to the environment.
For example, according to this article in The Independent:
Vibrant colours, prints and fabric finishes are appealing features of fashion garments, but many of these are achieved with toxic chemicals. Textile dyeing is the second largest polluter of clean water globally, after agriculture.
In terms of our willingness to simply purchase new clothing than repair it ourselves or even take care of it properly:
Increasing disposable income levels over recent generations means there is less need to “make do and mend”, as it’s often cheaper and more convenient to buy new than have an item repaired....the weekly shop and the regular occurrence of seasonal sales make clothing seem “disposable” in a way it didn’t used to be.
Author Patsy Perry, a senior lecturer in fashion marketing at the University of Manchester, sums it all up at the end of the article in writing:
Ultimately, the best thing we can do is to keep our clothing in use for longer – and buy less new stuff.
With this in mind, and not wanting to buy cheap, ill-fitting clothes that not only look wonky but don't hold up well, I ask myself: where can I shop for quality clothing at a reasonable price?
Readers - I face a dead-end here.
I have a few beloved brands I turn to time and again for clothing:
Zella (workout clothes)
I like a classic, feminine style, so these stores best suit my taste and price range (though Anthropologie can be on the high end at times).
Here's the thing: the clothes from all of these stores are often hit-or-miss when it comes to quality, size and fit.
Even within one brand, sizing can vary widely and the fit can be off from one pair of pants to another.
As I mostly shop online (due to living an hour from a shopping mall/center), this means a lot of waste. I keep clothes that don't look great because it's too much of a hassle to send them back. Sending clothes back means more packaging and time spend overseeing returns.
And.....likely all of these brands are what would be deemed 'fast fashion.' They're relatively cheap articles of clothing made in large-scale factories overseas and shipped out for mass consumption.
So, what do I do?
If I want to buy quality clothes that will last 10 years (I have a few that have made it that far), that will wash well and keep true to a classic style, where do I shop?
Where do you shop?
Over the years, where have you found clothing that is cut well, sized well, made of quality fabric and holds up through the years?
As I go in search of these new wardrobe staples, I'd like them to be just that: staples. I'd like them to be classic pieces that build the foundation of my wardrobe rather than off-the-cuff purchases I made because I'm bored on a Sunday morning or because something is on sale at a ridiculously low price.
I want to support high-quality manufacturing that doesn't trash the environment or treat workers like a commodity, but I fear I'm being naive and idealistic.
If I want affordable clothing, do I need to get over the idea I can have it all?
I think the start is what Patsy Perry says: buy less stuff and use it for longer periods of time.
That's a start.
So I'll be looking for brands that represent that, hopefully at a price-point I can afford and made in a style that reflects my taste.
I feel like this is going to be a needle in a haystack.
Any suggestions? How do you feel about 'fast fashion' and how to you build a minimal, sustainable wardrobe of quality pieces?
I'll keep you all posted as I embark on this 'journey.'
Now I feel like I'm officially part of Bachelor-nation - we're all on a journey, right?
I hope everyone is still in bed, sunshine streaming through windows, coffee on the bedside table and all the children in lovely moods. :)