Sometimes something you read will jolt your brain into a whole new direction, a sudden insight into the lives and perspectives of others can give you a whole new view, or an idea of your own. That's one of the things I love about blogs.
I'd already been kicking around the idea of trying to curb my thrifting habit, when I came across a challenge going around in Finnish blogs, which implores people to not buy new (from the store) clothes for a year. The rules were pretty simple: intimates were allowed, as were thrifted items, and there were three get-out-of-jail-free-purchases included.
Like I said in my last post, I've always been really good at and enjoyed thrifting and for the last ten years I've increasingly bought only second-hand clothing, with about 1-5 pieces of new-from-store items a year (mostly rubber boots, underwear and ridiculously underpriced jeans), so I'm more or less already living by the rules of the challenge. Reading about it though, got me thinking about how habitually I get new clothes and how little wear some of my finds get.
Certainly some of my love of vintage has been channelled to selling and swapping, but still, under scrutiny I'd have to admit that thrifting is a life-long hobby for me. It's not a bad one at that: it's not expensive, it conserves resources, it's creative and fun and it enables me to be generous, as I often have the exact have the exact thing you're looking for. We rarely, if ever buy household items, or furniture and most everything we have, form utensils to linens is thrifted, or gifted, or from The Dump.
However, peering into that perfect closet it occurred to me that there was the air of a collection to it. While I love everything in my closet, to the point that the idea of culling items just makes me mournful, because each of them perfectly reflects my taste, there's a lot of things that go for long periods without wear. Now, according to a lot of schools of de-cluttering those items you haven't worn for a year are not something you'll ever need and warrant getting rid of. I disagree, at least when it comes to my own closet. Just because I haven't worn my horse dress for a year, doesn't mean it's not one of my favorite pieces of clothing. I will admit though, that each horse dress, and renaissance-style Gunne Sax deserves more days in the sun.
After all, I've never thought of myself as a collector. Sure, i have 12 Gunne Sax Dresses and countless blank notebooks and endless 1970s mugs, but they're all useful items, not something secreted in a display case. Or so I've been telling myself. I guess this year is about putting that to test.
Generally I'm not one for rules. In fact, if something's a rule, it makes me want to brake it, especially if the rule in questions seems arbitrary. I'm often told that it's a charming personality trait. However, these are the somewhat arbitrary rule for my personal shopping challenge are as follows:
-I'm only allowed to buy three new pieces of clothing this year. New means new-to-me, so this applies to store-bought, vintage, secondhand, etc.
-I'm allowed to make clothes, get clothes from swaps, be gifted and get free stuff from the Dump. I'm also allowed to trade, but the trade has to be instigated by the other party and not myself.
-My clothing budget remains the same as it has been for the last four (?) years: $365/ calendar year. In case you're a new reader, I chose this sum for all clothing purchases, because I was trying to learn to budget and picked this sum, as it is the lump sum for all the living costs of many people on this planet: a dollar a day. I figure if folks can live off that, it should be plenty for me to buy frocks with. I also chose it because I don't think I've ever spent more than that on clothes on a given year, even during my most consumptive years. Typically I buy one or two expensive things, usually dresses and then thrift a lot of $1-$10 things in course of the year. Most of the time I average around $200-250 a year (more about this another time). All remaining funds can be channelled to the causes/ charities of my choice. I usually pick a few causes I'd like to donate and try to keep them in mind when I'm shopping. Sometimes this works, at others, not so much (more about that later)
-Addendums to the rules: I am still allowed to purchase clothing for my vintage store and as gifts for others, though I am going to try my hardest to refrain from buying any new-from-the-store-items for anyone. In the case of an emergency (also known as The Great Underwear Panic), I'm allowed to buy underwear from a store. However I implore myself to pre-empt any such emergency, by trying to source underwear responsibly within my budget and my clothing allowance. Five items of underwear are considered one clothing item should this occur. I'm allowed to purchase fabric and yarn outside the clothing allowance, BUT the moneys have to come from my budget. I implore myself to not use this as a stopgap measure.
-For the past couple of years, I've been lamenting the dwindling amount of personal style on non-"fashion" blogs and am hoping to reinvigorate this long lost folk tradition on my own log with this challenge. Outfit details will from here on out be included in those posts, with the garment's place of origin and the year it was acquired (as best I can remember), partly 'cos I'm curious to see how my wardrobe is aging (Like fine wine, or like that fish sauce I never use, but keep finding in the back of the fridge?). Like so:
dress (as top)- local consignment-2014 (This might be the last piece I bought…)/ skirt- local thrift 2014 /vest-gift from Missa circa 2011/ shoes-local thrift circa 2012 / socks & belt-free from The Dump circa I don't know/ tights-gift from mom 2014 (I didn't know these were blue until I looked at these photos. I thought they were black. Go figure.)
-Mug purchases are still allowed, provided that they cost less than a dollar and have some amazing 70s motif/ no-spill quality.
-You'll find these posts under the tag: The Dream Closet Sufficiency Challenge. Thanks Lori!
Goddess Speed, right?
My next post is definitely not about clothes, I promise. It's either about herbs, or books. 'Till then.
ps. Total bonus points to whomever catches that title reference. Here's another hint: "Kissing is not what keeps me up to my elbows in placenta all day."