Wednesday, 5 January 2011

New things

Waaay back in November 2009, I gave myself a little challenge that meant I would not be buying any new clothes. For a year. A small number of items were exempt, but I am very very pleased to say that I maintained this self-imposed consumption rebellion for one year, one month and one day.

Now the very funny thing is that I have been thinking, all along, that my challenge was indeed to buy no new clothes. But just now, I have looked back at that original post, and realised that I didn't remember the challenge quite correctly. I had, in fact, challenged myself to make my own wardrobe for a year. Ah.... now I remember...I also remember a few cheers I received at the time, and certain people expressed an interest in following along. Well, I guess I have disappointed.

But. Let me explain. I did in fact make myself a few items. A groovy pair of jammies, matched by my sister who shared the fabric with me in the first place (no, you don't want to see the silly sisters in their matching jammies). I made three pairs of 'lounge pants' - some people may call them pyjama pants - I call them lounge pants. I lounge around in them, OK? And last summer I made myself two cotton skirts. And I think that's all. Hardly a wardrobe for a year. I did buy some pre-loved clothes, mostly from the fabulous Material Pleasures - about 4 items, I think. Oh, yes, and I knitted a very lovely February Lady sweater.

This experience of thinking that I would make myself all that I needed, and desisting from buying anything new, has taught me something very valuable. I don't need much.

That's right. I don't need much. And I didn't even start out with a very big or varied wardrobe, if that's what you are thinking, dear reader. No, I have just enough clothes to get me through the working week, and some very casual gear for the weekends. See. I don't need much.

(Yes, I know this is getting a bit wordy, but I just have to say a couple more things. Tune out now, if you like. There's sure to be knitting content in a couple of days.)

What else? Well...
  • the knickers are getting a bit thin

  • I'm pretty sick of wearing the same old things

  • I have actually had to throw out the black pants that I wore to work 3 out of 5 days every week

  • having lost a few kilos, some of my stuff just looks plain daggy

  • it did feel good to go out before xmas and buy a couple of dresses for summer

The more personal and surprising outcome of not buying new stuff and not making much stuff was that I started to not actually care about how I looked. Yes, this shocked me too. I think that I was just looking at the same old stuff all the time, throwing it on and heading out the door. I was actually looking daggy most of the time. What was this all about???

It is all very interesting to me.

Not only were there no new clothes, but no new books or CDs, only 2 haircuts, and giving up my French lessons for the year. It wasn't all about consumption rebellion. I gave up French because I knew that my time would be taken up with more important things during the year. And the hair thing? I just couldn't be bothered finding a new hairdresser, after having been unfaithful to the previous one.

Lately I have written about change, and I think that the desire for change has sprung from my last year. I still don't want to buy lots of stuff. I know I don't need it. I will think carefully, more than ever, about the things that I do buy. And I will make more time to create lovely things too. But I will also try to take more care about how I present myself to my world. Starting with the new hair. I like it.


Taphophile said...

Congratulations on making it through the year. It's a great achievement. And thanks for your encouragement in my new challenge.

And yes, your hair is lovely.

Michelle said...

Well I think you always look lovely and you always carry yourself with such confidence. But I understand what you say about other things being more important than clothes or looks.

I think you have come up with some solid conclusions on what you need and what you want. New things are nice but so are different things. I am happy when I can make myself a new skirt but I think the real thrill is something to wear that's different to the skirt I have been wearing all winter, for example.

Anonymous said...

Loving the hair, can't wait to see it this weekend! :)

I must admit to kind of going in the other direction to you. I always care about the way I look, to the point of stressing needlessly about it. My New Years resolution, to stress less, applies not only to work (my predominant source of stress) but also to things like the way I look.

That being said, I'm determined to do a bit more sewing this year, starting with some boxer shorts for summer! :)

Michelle said...

Oh, and I meant to write "LOVE THE HAIR" but my phone was having a conniption last night at the amount of typing I was doing in my first commment!

We should have a little clothes sewing club going for help, support and pattern finding - you, Kel, Bea, and me and anyone else who wants!!

Jess said...

I can't believe I found out about your new haircut by reading your blog, Mama! Surely this was worthy of a Facebook status update?? Hmmm...or perhaps I should just call my Mum more often...

Denise said...

Congratulations on getting through the year so frugally - we're doing the same thing this year ... love the new haircut!