Saturday, January 7, 2017

Some Reflections After a Year of Not Buying New Clothing

It started around Christmas 2015.  I really didn't want any clothing for the holidays.  I'd done the Life Changing Magic purge in October and was well aware of how much clothing I still had.  On this day, last year, I decided to go public with my make/mend/thrift pledge for the year, and here are some of the things I discovered.

1.  It wasn't that hard. 
This bare fact really hits home how my approach to fashion and style has developed over the past few years.  I had two moments (here and here) where there were dresses I coveted.  These moments happened early on, and I'd say they were more a knee-jerk reaction to associating liking something with owning it.
2.  It's not about you.  
It wasn't as though I were parading about, making a statement, but if buying clothes or fashion came up in conversation, I'd tell people that I wasn't buying any new clothes.  Some people responded as though I were judging them by my actions.  Others wanted to question my guidelines - for example, trying to undermine my pledge by saying that thrifting was buying something new.  Listen up, buttercup, these are my guidelines.  You can make your own if you want.
3.  I can make it if I try.
Okay, that sounds a bit more serious than it was.  I made the mustard sweater as well as the Brooklyn skirt in a gorgeous purple.  I have the pattern and fabric for the culottes (although it's not khaki), and I have patterns and fabric for all kinds of other projects.  That mustard sweater has become a staple in my wardrobe, as I'd imagined it might be.  The beautiful thing is that it goes with a lot of things in my wardrobe.  This year, I'm making jeans.
4.  Make what I like; like what I make.
Yep.  That seems like it should be "duh," but in previous years, I'd find that I'd make something and not be that happy with it.  I'd buy fabric, because it was cute, but then find it maybe too cute for me.   I also ripped out more than one sweater that had been knit years ago (one that I probably knit in the late '90s!).  I've already reworked the yarn from one of those sweaters (originally a Rowan pattern) into a cardigan from the first issue of Making (oh, be still my crafty heart!).  I freakin' love that cardigan.  Even the fact that I had to get more yarn (gasp - how would it ever match?) wasn't a total disaster.  I simply alternated rows of the old with the new, on the back (crafty, crafty, crafty) where I don't see it (hah!).  No one's the wiser!

5.  My personal style is emerging.
I know - it seems like my style is pretty finessed already.  But what I'm learning, still, is where my making and my investment in style and fashion are intersecting.  This is still under development, for sure, (currently working on an essay about it), but in a very deep way, I'm grappling with how my identity intersects with my style.  Yes, I'm asking existential questions around fashion - hey, why not?  I'm trying to get to a place where who I am is the identity communicated by my style.  Stay tuned for that one.

I haven't felt the need to make a similar pledge for 2017, but that's only because I'm really not into shopping like that anymore, and that's probably one of the best outcomes of last year's pledge.

Happy New Year!

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