I love fashion. I mean I just love it! Now let me clear this up for you. It’s not buying new clothes, new shoes or accessories that I adore. I like my clothes because I love the colour, patterns, different textures and different looks. I only buy shoes so they can go with the clothes and style I create each morning. I am not a big fan of accessories and I really only have these to add and they are always playing a neutral addition to my fashion style. I don’t buy any more handbags because I have my basic staple of bags for when I go out. These do include vintage clutches in cream and black which can go with everything. But I love playing with clothes and putting wonderful different looks together. I mix stripes with polka dots, I love to layer. I have a number of styles but my vintage 1950s and 1960s clothes, and those that copy those eras are my favourites. In fact … I love them!
I love them so much that I keep everything. I even have a box in storage that is labelled “Size 6 Clothes … Just in case!”. Everything I have owned I have loved and with every piece of clothing a time in my life, an event, an emotion, a place is attached to it. I did not want to throw anything out so instead, I decided to go on a nine-month shopping ban. If I don’t bring more stuff in then maybe I can keep it all, in an ordered way so I know what I have so I can wear it and know I have it. I choose nine months because when I was pregnant for that one and only time, I remembered how after that long period of time I had this wonderful little person at the end of all that time. That sweet little girl has just turned eighteen and graduated from high school. I placed the same emotional rationality on my shopping ban. I believed that in the end, I will have saved a mountain of money. It lasted three months and I did save loads of money. My husband was pleased, how did we ever manage this he beamed. I realised that buying clothes, and buying stuff only made my heart skip a beat. Afterwards, I realised that it was only ever one short skip of the heart. Instead, I was just left with guilty feelings of spending money on stuff I did not really need and stuff that also came with additional packaging that was going to make its way into the environment including plastics in the oceans.
Why do we need to buy so much stuff? Why do new clothes and shoes and handbags make one’s heart do somersaults? There is a great article Why we buy things we don’t need by Margot Aaron that gives a great run down and helps to answer the questions I pose. I like this one, “We don’t buy things. We buy how things make us feel.” That’s it, in our fast-paced world where social media tells us how other people, who filter everything … yes, they do! … show us how boring and unexciting our lives are, we search for some sort of emotional mecca. When you have to work and look after the home so you don’t have science experiments growing in your shower, and shop so you can eat and pay the bills so you don’t live in the dark, it really is very difficult to have an exciting life all the time where its all champagne corks popping and fabulous people to meet. If you throw a difficult and busy workplace or difficult relatives or that you are raising children life is not always that fabulous. For a lot of people, they are doing all three at the same time in their lives. No wonder shiny new thing beckons as something we need, to fill an emotional void. To give us a feeling of pleasure. But it doesn’t last. It doesn’t change our lives. A new dress or a pair of shoes will not change our perspective on life. Only we can. Being mindful and working hard to start to see the beauty in the world around us, to give our living spaces a new decluttered sense of being and not hanging onto clothes you haven’t worn for the past five years might just be the respite you need. I know it has for me.
When I was on my shopping-ban I started to do so many wonderful things. I started to read more because I own more books that have not been read. The State Library would be proud. I started to exercise outside. I started to paint, to write, to bake and to just be. During this time life was special. And so, I am going to try again. I was at peace and happy and content during those three months. It was a good time. A happy time. That is why I am going to make it a little easier for myself. If three months was the magic time frame then why not take it a quarter of a year at a time, four times a year. Therefore, as of tomorrow … I brought luggage for an overseas trip today … I am going to start my second three-month-no-shopping goal.
Oh, and yes … I am going to start to de-clutter what I don’t need. “Serenity now” as George Costanza cried out in Seinfeld although mine is declared quietly and calmly. Might as well start from all angles.