In May last year I resolved not to buy any more brand new clothes except socks and underwear. I didn’t do it for charity or for anything other than the planet and my own sense of being a grown up and responsible.
The catch was that I could buy anything and everything second hand. And so I have and I have accumulated a massive collection of clothes, almost all second hand. I have more clothes than I can wear. Far more than if I didn’t have this rule. I feel like buying second hand clothes is guilt free, which it isn’t but it is better than buying it all new and better than it all ending up in land fill. I usually buy in charity shops because that helps everybody.
If you’ve owned it before I am probably wearing it now. Has it been challenging? Not in the way I thought. I never go into ordinary shops anymore. I am not tempted by what’s in the window. I don’t like the idea that there are 15 shirts all the same on the rack. I love the colour and variety of charity shops.
I have bought things that still have the label on them, who knows why anyone buys something and actually never even wears it and takes it to a charity shop. I have bought stuff that is tatty and comfortable and stuff that is shiny and new. Mostly though I have bought stuff, and it has not felt like I am getting second best, if anything it has made me think a lot more about what I wear and whether I can actually make something work.
I have a rule that if I own it I wear it. This is proving challenging given the volume I now have.
I express myself differently everyday through my clothes. I have learned to style it up and style it out. Yes- you can wear that into the office, people will comment but only usually nicely and who cares if they don’t. That is simply a reflection of their lack of bravery in clothing choices. Although I do admit, on some days, no one sits next to me on the train. I also see that as a bonus.
I haven’t really thrown anything away either. There is usually a reason you bought something. Remember once you paid money for it so chances are once you liked it. Clothes are like your husband, there is a reason you married him, take him out of the drawer and try and find that reason again. If you really can’t image why or how then give it away to a charity shop.
I have a dress that is really only suited to a 1920’s cowboy themed party. I have never been invited to one in all the time I have been on the planet. Yet I did find a way to wear it-I actually arranged a charity day at work-‘if you own it you have to wear it’ was the theme and we raised money for a mental health charity. I wore it that day with a stylish cowboy hat (questionably stylish I would say) I had borrowed. I may yet wear it again, without the hat. If not it has to go to someone who does get invited to 1920’s themed cowboy parties.
Go through that cupboard, look at that dress, see those trousers, style ‘em up, style it out, you are the queen of your own fashion statement. Save the planet. Shop somewhere different and feel the sweet sensation that your clothes are part of a story that is not just yours, they belonged to someone else and have their own story to tell. They have been places you haven’t (more than just the inside of a washing machine), you are part of a chain, a fabric that is passing through lives, yours and maybe after you, someone elses. Go shop, go charity shop.