Most of the clothes that most of us wear, most of the time, are products of the global garment industry. Unless you raise sheep or weave your own cotton, there aren't too many ways around that. Even buying mostly-thrifted clothes doesn't exempt us from needing to care about worker abuse, or chemical processes that damage rivers and soil. The fact that technology has now advanced to spray-on dresses is also beside the point. It's only when we stop thinking of the fashion industry as a big anonymous entity, and ask "Who made my clothes?" that we can begin to care about things like the well-being of employees. And that leads us to ask further questions, like "What plants or animals were used to make the fabrics for these clothes, and how were they processed and handled?" "How can we use the clothes we have well?" And finally, "Where will they go afterwards?"
Giving donated clothes a reprieve from that final destination seems to be something I'm good at, and I'm happy to pass on anything that I've learned. But there are a lot of clothes out there (literally tons of them) that the earth and our closets would have been better off without. And (sermon's almost over, I promise), we need to remember that we're humans living our lives in clothes, not mannequins, not subjects to be photographed. That doesn't mean "wear ugly clothes"; we still have choices about colours and styles. But when we've got enough things to wear--let's let that be enough.
Enough, she said
Our summer travels are mostly day trips, maybe to the beach, walking in the woods, or visiting flea markets and small towns. Although I'm not packing for summer at a cottage, or even an extended trip, I'm planning a small-sized wardrobe anyway. That makes it easy if I do need to pull a few things together for a night or two away.
Filling in a gap (something new)
I wear a lot of grey in the fall and winter, and by spring I'm ready to switch over to navy blue. Navy is easy to find in thrift stores, almost too easy; it can also end up looking like a uniform if you overdo it. One thing I thought would help pull my navy things together was a pair of everyday sandals. I chose a pair of Keens in the same style I bought a couple of years ago.
Old ones, new ones
Sleeveless top with embroidery
Pants with embroidery similar to the top
T-shirt, cap sleeves
Blue jeans, dark wash
Cotton jacket, white with navy print
All the rest
If I didn't mind repeating navy, that could be enough by itself for a weekend away. But let's add a few neutral things to mix it up.
White crewneck t-shirt
White linen button-up shirt
White linen pullover
Greige cardigan (short, fitted)
Greige cotton pants
That comes to 12 items of clothing. Kind of a Vivienne Files Whatever's-Clean-13.
A few accent-colour tops for variety, and one fancier dress:
Crewneck t-shirt, navy/pink/white stripe
Purple t-shirt with crocheted yoke
Light purple sleeveless button-up shirt
Floral sleeveless top
Silk maxi dress, blue floral print
And because it's not sleeveless-and-shorts weather quite yet, I'll add a few warmer things.
Lightweight navy pullover
Jade green t-shirt dress (bought from Duffield Design four years ago)
V-neck blue top, plus a pink tank top for layering
Bright jade t-shirt, long sleeves
Zippered sweatshirt, purple
On my thrifting wish list: a navy purse. But since I don't have one yet, I'm mixing and matching from what I have. Update: found one!
Satchel I found recently
Scarves and Hats and Other Things
Crocheted-look sun hat, bought several years ago at a dollar store
Update: and an extra one!