Friday, 8 July 2022

my sustainable wardrobe, part 3 : the audit

 it's funny when you start down the path of a new way of thinking things, and it's funny to ever think you ever thought another way. i've been going through loads of mental shifts and discovering new pathways and ways of being, and my wardrobe is just one of them. 

and before we get going, i actually think that what we wear is important, i do. it reflects a care for yourself that other people "read" - and more importantly boosts your self-esteem and mental health. don't underestimate the power of clean, put together clothes, whatever your style. rock it. now onto the blog...

when i think about my history with my wardrobe, it seems like it's actually gone sort of full circle. when i started buying clothes, i saved for specific pieces, i didn't really go on crazy spending sprees, instead it was just one thing i thought was beautiful enough to save for and then i would add it into my wardrobe. as time went on, i purchased in larger 'hauls' from Zara and H&M, cheap places, where I could try lots of different styles and shapes and colours. 

then when i started to learn more about sustainability, i started thrifting, but the hauls were still as big, and the mindset hadn't changed yet. i felt like i was 'saving' the clothes from landfill, and somehow doing a good deed by buying even more...

BUT, i ended up in the same place as before, if not worse, getting rid of even more things to the charity shop again and again and again. i wanted this process to stop. it's time consuming, and mostly showed me that i wasn't buying in a very efficient way. i wanted pieces that would stay with me for a long time. 

so, i had to find my personal style, and the only way i did that was to go through my wardrobe each season and AUDIT it. i actually found i learnt most about what i was and wasn't wearing by thinking about WHY i was or wasn't wearing it. which colours did i gravitate towards and which fabrics? why? if i was going to donate an item, why? what was it about each piece that meant i didn't reach for it, or enjoy wearing it?

i ended up working out a sort of mental list of things i do love in clothes, which i mentioned in my last blog post, things have to be: SOFT, FEMININE, COMFORTABLE and TIMELESS for me to wear them. i found this out because all the harsh, shiny fabrics, all the boycuts and masculine shapes, all the constrictive clothing with too tight waistlines or too short a hem, and all the things i though were trendy and that i 'should' wear were in the donations pile. 

what would be on your list? 

i found this way of thinking about it so much easier than following only a colour scheme, or a 'style' name of dressing. i don't fit in one particular category, and it's tricky for other people to try to label my style. i think we are all unique and i love that what we wear can be a reflection of our overall personality, as well as our mood that day. it can communicate what we're doing that day as well as how we feel. ie. i'm feeling flirty, or i'm chilling at home doing the dishes. 

after my last audit i did another round of culling, a BIG one. somehow a simple AUDIT of all your things gives you the vision or ability to release more things that don't fit. for me, there was a lot of things i was holding on to that i still wasn't wearing, and having gone through SO MANY items i realised that i really could get rid of some of these things without being left with any holes in my wardrobe. i wasn't going to go short. i had enough. for sure!

so much of what i got rid of fell into two categories: sentimental attachments, and 'i thought it would be cool' (read: i wish i was Beth Jones but i'm not). i had bought things i thought were trendy that i'd seen in someone else's YouTube thrift haul and then tried them on and realised they didn't suit me - sometimes they fitted me, sometimes they looked ok, but there was always something a bit too 'try-hard' about them. 

the sentimental attachments are the worse, they are the hardest to get rid of for me. things i'd worn to events or on special occasions, where there's a lovely photo of me with family & friends in a particular item. it's like getting rid of the memories, and it's like letting go of an old version of yourself - often a younger, peppier one - and embracing the new. sentimental attachments to shopping experiences are a thing too - 'oh, my husband bought me that in Belgium, and the lady in the store was so complimentary', gosh, those are tricky to get rid of.

in my latest YouTube Summer Wardrobe Audit video, i gave each and everything a couple of labels: a brief description of what it was, whether it was old or new, and what sort of place it came from. i just felt like distinguishing the types of things and where i get my things could be really helpful, and it turned out to be a great exercise for me personally. i'd spotted that i was far less likely to throw something away that i'd thought about for a long time, spent a lot of money on, or tried on in the store before purchasing. generally things from eBay weren't things i kept for very long, because they usually didn't fit or the colour wasn't quite as pictured - unless it was an item i'd seen or tried on before, aka really specific.

but i mention these labels, because there was one label that i found really tricky to 'label' as such : so i called it 'sustainable brand'. BUT the whole idea of the phrasing is chosen because i hope people understand it's a brand that tries a little harder than the others to do better for the planet somewhere, and usually for me that means seeking smaller brands and better fabrics. 

so some of these brands include, Little Cotton Clothes, Kowtow, Toast (yes I do count them as sustainable because the products are made to last for a very long time), Naked Generation, to name a couple. i don't seek perfection with these brands, i just know that if i'm making a more mindful choice, and i intend to keep things for ages then it's already sustainable, because it doesn't feed into the crazy fast turnover of seasonal/fashionable dressing that keeps the fast fashion, cheap plastic fabric world alive. and by george it's almost impossible to source clothes that are truly locally made organic fabrics, naturally dyed, local seamstress who was fairly paid, shipped in an ethical way or offset, etc, do you see what i mean? that's why i always boil it down to, are you truly going to keep this item for 10 years? will it biodegrade after you use it? would you chose to mend it if it got broken? that's a really good starting place.

right, if you didn't see the last audit video, go and check it out, and if not, watch this one. i hope it encourages you to do a little audit yourself. and if so, please let me know how you got on! and see if the magical second pile appears a couple weeks after your first one...

and as a last note for this post, if you've made it this far, thank you. thank you very much for being here and for being such a special person. i'd really like to hear your thoughts on sustainability and clothing, i'd love to hear anything you've learnt, any ideas or perspectives that might help me move forwards in my journey, i'm all ears x

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