I have become ever more aware of the implications of fast fashion on our planet and an innate sense of greed for the quantity of clothes I can end up buying and owning. I remember from being a child, an annual pre-season routing of shedding clothes that no longer fit or we no longer wore in order to distribute them to the local charity shops. I appreciate the privilege that I had to do this and often found myself feeling that I had spent money on clothes that were made and yet I’d barely worn them, for a range of rather trite reasons.
I can offer a host of excuses and explanations as to why I buy too many clothes and I’m sure you can all relate to most. I needed new professional clothes to update my student look; shoes often smell and become ratty; my summer clothes rarely get a refresh and tank tops from when I was 17 no longer fly so well; jeans become shapeless and ripped and whoever thought wet look leggings was a good idea needs a serious rain check. But what if you really could limit these?
Having become ever more aware of it, I decided that 2020 was the year where I would aim to buy 20 new items. I had just a few caviats: underwear (within reason!!) didn’t count, as darning laddered tights comes with a time commodity and some knickers have just seen their best days. Presents were also excluded, as I felt it was unfair to place my restrictions on others and trading items with friends was also an exclusion.
At the beginning of March, lockdown came in to Milan and I was told by my work to leave, having only a few hours to pack a bag for an unknown length of time in an undecided location. The phrase ‘capsule wardrobe’ took on a whole new meaning. I opted for the more casual end of my work clothes, still thinking I would be working from the UK and allowing room for some jeans/ blouse combinations. When lockdown also took hold in the UK, my wardrobe shrunk again, as I moved in with my boyfriend and his parents, so as to avoid moving between houses.
To date, I have bought 2 new items- a blue spotty dress and a sports bra from one of our fav’s, girlfriend collective. The dress- a cancelled flight due to a storm meant that I was stranded in London with no work clothes for the following day, which demanded a speedy trip to Wimbeldon’s TK Maxx.
Without the opportunity to browse shops or really have occasions in which I require many new clothes, I am coping without feeling too deprived. The weather is still relatively cold here, although a peep of sun over the summer weekend had me aching for new flowery dresses, t shirts and flip flops.
Apart from the emergency dress, I have been forced to apply a wish list. Rather than simply buying things, I ponder, research and add to a mental, and physical, clothes wish list. I have found a few things have dropped off, such as a belt, after we found some old leather belts, repurposed it and the new one was no longer required. I have also found that when I am no longer thinking about it, it’s probably a sign that I don’t really need it. Someone had commented that December would be difficult if I had already reached my 19 quota mark. As the fourth month slips by, i’m feeling quietly hopeful for my Christmas party outfits.
Have you ever thought about a similar challenge? Or done it yourself? Give me some tips, I’m only a message away.
Love Zo xx