Last year I started toying around with an idea, one that totally freaked me out yet also felt like it gave me a glimpse of the promise of a kind of freedom. It still freaks me out. What if for an entire year, I committed to not buying any new clothes, shoes or accessories? I know. First world luxury choice. I quite understand if you think this is a puerile or shallow thing to blog about – that’s okay with me. This little blog is for me, a way of forcing myself to be accountable. My sister and probably my mum and step-mum might read it. There may even be someone else out there who finds it mildly entertaining or encouraging. Certainly one of the influencing factors behind this decision has been reading about people who have taken on similar journeys. So back to the rest of the tinterweb for those of you Who Do Not Approve.
Why do I need so much stuff? And when I say stuff I mean specifically clothes, though I’m sure ‘stuff’ is in for a bumpy ride this year too. I mean outfits. Fashion. Jewellery. Shoes, oh darling darling shoes. Sigh. (See?) At the same time, when do you ever have enough? Let me explain what I mean by that. So I managed to get myself addicted to gaming last year. No I’m not ready to tell you what the game was *hangs head in shame*, but the reasons for starting were genuine enough (really). It was the realisation that I was never, ever going to “win” that game that ultimately caused me to stop. That and the ridiculous amount of time I was spending zoning out, engaging in escapist behaviour and not reading books. Well the fashion game is kind of the same. Not that I would call myself particularly fashionable, I just like dress ups. I don’t paint or write music. Dreaming up outfits and getting dressed is creative expression … for me. I love all things sartorial. And I have collected a lot of clothing, jewellery and shoes. Hoarder? Maybe. That’s another post. Anyhoo – how is fashion the same as gaming for me? Well its the never-ending pursuit of something that is never going to be complete/done/achieved. There is ALWAYS a new event or party. An idea, trend, cut, colour, fabric, designer, shop or … sale. If not that, there is always a new season to dress for. Or a holiday. Let’s not ignore the blatant “oooh, look at these pretty new things …. you should have them, your life will be better, this is the must-have item” that every magazine pushes with their thinly veiled agenda i.e. BUY MORE STUFF. Viva this morning for example. The pink Marc by Marc Jacobs wallet with gold trim. Sigh.
I adore my wardrobe, I count my clothes as friends (cue much eye rolling from anyone I admit this to). I see it as a curation. I seldom have throw outs because most of what I acquire is so considered. But I love new additions! I love to dream up outfits! I like the pleasure of wearing them. Receiving compliments and comments. Yep, that too. I don’t buy big ticket items, I spend very little on one item (with exception, but I’m talking NZ$200 – that is A LOT for me!). But spend I do. Acquire I do. Financial death by a thousand tiny cuts. And amongst the various piles, there is literally a hip height pile of clothing in my room right now! Clothes EVERYWHERE, piles and on hangers and stuffed into drawers and under the bed … ugh.
So what if I put the breaks on all that for an entire year?
The rules: no buying of any new clothes, shoes or accessories for a year. So that’s until December 31st 2015. This is about shopping. I can receive gifts but not ask for them. And no second hand shops neither. Which is a bit of a heart breaker because I love discovering treasure for $4! Second hand clothes can be gifted to me. Hey – it’s my year, I’m making the rules.
I am adding a three point caveat. Because I can.
- I should have bought a new pair of sports shoes for running and the gym about a year ago … so when I finally get around to it, they don’t count. And IF I get
- married or
- pregnant in the next year – there may well be exceptions relating specifically to those events. And I won’t be writing more on any of those unless they actually happen.
This is about other things too. More important things. Like finances – what if I got real about my credit card debt and savings and stopped frittering money away on …
stuff clothes. Gulp -did I just admit that? Because I’m not a big spender I kid myself that its not a waste of money. What if I become a student this year? My first world heart would break at not being able to have all the pretty things … a No New Clothes, Shoes and Accessories (C,S & A) rule would actually make life easier.
And what about the 80% of people who live on this planet with me who survive (and don’t survive) on less than US$10 a day? The 3 billion on less than US$2.50? How gross am I that even thinking about not having new C,S & A for a year is a hardship for me. Seriously? I’m ashamed of myself.
Where do all the clothes get made? Who got exploited so I can have a fab bikini for $40? Am I contributing to the exploitation and misery of humanity by always wanting … just. one. more. thing?
Another theme of the last 6 months has been the nature of addiction. Gaming yes. My alcoholic father’s death in September 2014, yes. My sister, step mother and now the gorgeous bf all stopping drinking entirely.
Am I addicted to acquiring new clothes, hats, shoes, jewells?! Ugh, how distasteful. And wasteful. And ultimately selfish. I can think of a bunch of better places for my money. And on that point, its not my money! It’s God’s money, He has chosen to bless and entrust me with it, and I’m going to stop spending it on
stuff he doesn’t care about clothes, shoes and accessories for a start. He cares about me and that should be all that I need.