Monday, January 15, 2018

On the longevity of clothes...or not

I'm taking time out from studying the philosophy of adult education (really) to throw out a few thoughts on why we do or don't, should or shouldn't keep clothes around for years. It's two years since I started following Project 333, a.k.a. trying to get my own clothes thing together, so it seems like a good time to pause and remember what this was about in the first place.

I just read a post that could be summed up as "better but fewer, keep them forever" by a minimalist blogger. My reaction was "that could really make you feel guilty." My own first clothes page from two years ago has maybe ten things on it that I still own, and those were all fairly new (or new to me) then. Ironically, some of those ten things were the cheapest, the ones that theoretically should have fallen apart by now, like the stereotypical $8 grey t-shirt. So, point number one: cheap does not always equal lousy.

Do I see myself keeping what I have now for several more years? I probably will, because I like what I have, and  I'm wearing almost everything I own regularly. I don't have the particular problem of wearing 20 per cent of the clothes 80 per cent of the time. On the other hand, I have re-donated many of the clothes I tried out during the past two years. I got tired of them, the style was too young or too old, they made me look even shorter than I am, or whatever. Thank you, departing clothes, for teaching me what doesn't work, as Marie Kondo would say.

The last point is one on which I do agree with the article, and that is that you should not feel guilty about skipping whole categories of closet must-haves if they don't work for you. I've said it before myself, but it's always worth repeating: you may not be a pants person, or a white shirt person, or a little black dress person, or just a 2018-round-hole person. You may walk through an entire mall full of clothes, and dislike everything you see, because you are not "that" woman. You may also spend fifteen minutes at a thrift store, and find your favourite dress ever. It's not all about what things cost, or where they're made; it's also about how much we do or don't buy into what's new, what's normal, what everybody else buys; it's about what works for us. I had a classic denim shirt, but I recently handed it down to my daughter because it didn't work with anything, and fastening  the teeny little buttons drove me crazy. I like pullover tops better.

Ask who made your clothes, and think about the planet and the rivers and the landfills. But wear what makes you happy, hold onto it awhile if you can, and let the rest go.

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