Since the start of the year*, I have been participating in a Fashion Fast. I’ve posted a little bit about it on Facebook and Instagram and wow people have questions. It’s been neat because a handful of friends have joined me. But, I thought I’d start talking long form about why.
In short, there are 1,000 reasons and no reasons. But there are some core reasons why it started. Probably the snowball started shortly after Sean was born and stuff was pouring into our house faster than we could keep up with it. Baby gifts, holiday gifts, diapers, crap I ordered while I was breastfeeding and sleep deprived, artwork by the truckload coming home from daycare, more, more, more. And coupled with less time to manage anything in my life, I was drowning.
Then when I coupled everything above with my growing concern for the environment and an acknowledgement that my own actions haven’t been in alignment with my politics, I knew I had to do something. I’ve also felt, for some time, that living in a position of abundance — and not that we’re independently wealthy or anything but that as middle class Americans, we have much, much more than we need — means that we should be giving. These issues that are concerning me right now from improved gun control, protecting women’s choice, and supporting environmental activism, all need dollars behind them. They also need focus and action, I felt the need to stop getting distracted by frivolity.
This hasn’t been an easy thing to come to grips with. In a way it has contributed to my anxiety as I’ve figured out how to get my arms around it. But, now that I’m on a path it does seem to be helping. In thinking about writing this post, I felt like I could group the issues into four main reasons.
Financial – This one is pretty easy. Even though most of my life I’ve been a notorious bargain hunter, my spend in the last few years has jumped up as our income has grown. We’re lucky that our finances support this but with a business to run, two kids to send to college and the hopes of retiring some day, I have to acknowledge that every little bit helps. I also know that to support people in my community, politicians that I believe in and organizations that are out to do good, having financial resources to do so is really important.
Environmental – Clothing has quickly become the second-largest polluter in the world. While the US has put strict regulations on manufacturers, most of our clothing comes from overseas where regulations aren’t as strict, and you add on the carbon footprint of shipping and the true cost of these cheap tee-shirts really begins to add up. I also learned recently that 80 percent of donated clothing ends up in the landfill. In the past much of it has been shipped back overseas and many of the countries that previously accepted our clothing waste will no longer accept.
Political – Aside from the reasons I listed above about having the resources to support the candidates I believe in. I also have a vested interest in seeing the economy struggle during this administration. Our 401ks are invested in the stock market and the fact that we’ve made money during this administration makes me nuts. Keeping my dollars out of retail matters a lot to me right now.
Simplicity – In describing my fashion fast to a friend, I said it’s a lot like getting married. You get to opt out of dating, and so now I’m opting out of shopping. There’s just a relief to knowing I’m not looking. I’ve unsubscribed to so many emails, I don’t browse online or in stores and I skip huge sections of the stores I visit. Not to mention that by streamlining and simplifying my mornings are easier. At the start of the week I pull out a few items I haven’t worn recently and build outfits from there.
Closing out my fourth month, I haven’t dropped as many clothes from my life as I’d like. Each month I’ve posted things online to sell, and I’ve pulled a few things for donation as well. A friend I met through knitting/blogging has simplified her wardrobe to 33 items plus handknits. While that’s an ambition beyond my capacity, I have been bringing out more handknits and that’s a win to be sure.
What’s going on in your wardrobe these days Country Mama?
*technically since Thanksgiving since that was the last thing I purchased