Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Something to read today: hard, honest talk about minimalism, clothes, and stuff like that

Worth reading:  7 Things Building a Plus-Sized Capsule Wardrobe Taught Me.

From that article:
"When I gained weight in college, finding decent clothing on a budget became even more difficult. Although I still love the orderly cohesiveness of the capsule approach, I think it's important to be aware of the potentially problematic nature of contemporary 'magazine minimalism' that treats making do with less as the latest trend."
Way way back, I wrote a post here on the Treehouse about expensive (but nice) designer toys, Trendoids Spend Lots to Scale Back. I've had similar concerns and conversations about the luxury of being able to super-fine-tune one's diet, or about the trendiness of "tiny houses." These are, to some extent, problems unique to a culture that has enough goods and enough money for people to make those choices. We think of the creative and resilient pioneers and Depression-era survivors, those who made their potato-peel pies and whatnot; but they were as happy as anyone else when times got better. Laura Ingalls Wilder did not spend her later years wishing to eat only wild game and cornbread. Years ago I knew of an "intentional community" that was formed, with the highest of ideals, by a group of overall-wearing, long-haired couples in the 1970's. By the time I visited, ten or fifteen years later, most of them had moved back to the city with their children. Rural realities were not all that romantic.

What about those of us who live on a low budget because of choices we have made (such as staying home with children), who stretch food, make low-cost gifts, re-use, re-cycle; who really do depend on used clothing stores...but who still realize that "fast fashion" has become a problem and that excess, even extremely cheap excess, causes its own problems? (Is there any difference between our family's semi-retired lifestyle and that of, say, someone who was laid off, or a single parent who needs more work hours?)

I bought summer shoes new this year, and a better pair, from a better store, than I am accustomed to getting. For my ugly-bunion feet, they were totally worth it for a season of no blisters. I put an unusual amount of money (for me)  into the sustainably-made dress I bought for our anniversary. And I'm saving up for one more somewhat expensive item for the fall. Does that make me hypocritical, when I get most of my other clothes at the lowest possible thrift store prices? There have been times when it would have been all thrift store and discount store.

But yeah. We see the ridiculousness of Marie Antoinette playing shepherdess in her spare time, but our own understanding of "simplicity" needs to be carefully considered as well. Does "less is more" help us to identify with those who have less, or insult them? Do we take on style, housing, homeschooling, church styles, because they are the latest thing that floats by, or because we believe those choices put our values into action?

Those are questions that we will just have to keep on asking.


Silvia said...

It doesn't make you ridiculous, it makes you the beautiful Anne you are!
Ha!, you nailed it. (I laughed with the Marie Antoinette's example, so true).

Silvia said...

I meant, it doesn't make you a hypocrite.

Mama Squirrel said...

Thanks, Silvia!

Carol said...

Enjoyed reading this & the post on Social Studies - had trouble trying to comment on your blog but it may be a problem at my end.

Heather said...

I think that saving for something is a purposeful act that requires restraint and contentment. It also shows that frugality does not mean robbing yourself and those around you of joy in your purchases.
Good post, Anne.