14 June 2008

dispassionate fashion

I just finished reading a book called 10 Steps to Fashion Freedom, which basically makes you look through your closet and bad shopping habits, and seriously evaluate how your clothing reflects your inner state. I have absolutely gutted my wardrobe, tossing most of my spur-of-the-moment purchases, and things that I just bought without really thinking about WHY I was buying them.

Now my closet and shelves look pretty empty, but very organized and functional. I now look at my closet and only see stuff I love, and that I know functions as a wardrobe—not just a mess of random pieces. The last chapter of the book is called "Shopping." It doesn't encourage you to go out and replace all the stuff you've just gotten rid of, rather to make a list of your clothing priorities (in my case: a suit for job interviews, a black cardigan, a flowy summer dress, and sandals (check). It helps you keep track of what you actually need so that the next time you go shopping, you have a plan.

Kate recently wrote about her vow to give up shopping (a favourite pastime of hers), and it is nice to know that I am not alone in my downscaling. I have always loved clothing, shopping, and hunting for unique pieces, but being broke and looking critically at my own consumption habits has certainly tempered my fashion zeal.

The pressure to look trendy and current, and to compete with the throngs of twentysomethings (with their jobs and disposable income) is something I find difficult to keep up with. With Facebook photo albums becoming like weekly fashion reviews, it seems everyone feels the need to keep a fresh crop of clothing and accessories on hand. It's amazing how many people can't afford to realistically do this, and the lengths they will go to in order to try.

The age old trick of the buy-wear-return of clothing items seems to be happening more and more frequently. People who do this habitually seem to me to be selfish, shallow, and desperate. I put it in the same league as the dine-and-dash (an instance of which I witnessed last night) which really exposes weakness of character. Basically, if you can't afford it, eat at home, or learn to get creative with your existing wardrobe, for god's sake.

Who knows, maybe once I get a job I will change my tune about clothing consumption. But I really think that it's one thing to enjoy fashion and stay current, but quite another to be fixated to the point of obsession, and worst of all to judge those who you feel don't keep up as well as you do.


Kate said...

Do you ever watch Tim Gunn's Guide to Style? It's on Slice and Gunn (from Parsons and Project Runway as I'm sure you know) tells every woman the 10 things they must buy to have a complete wardrobe. They include the classic trench, a basic white shirt, black pants, etc. I know what you mean though, my wardrobe is random at best. But I love shopping- and also cannot keep up with the one-outfit-wear that always seems really fun until you have a closet of clothes that have "been seen." I'll keep you posted on my consumption status- it actually helped me find a lot of back of the closet clothes to wear out! ( And p.s. your inventiveness always inspires me.)

Erin said...

So glad you hate the buy-wear-return! I've never done it and never will - sooooo tacky.