At the beginning of the year I committed to buying no new clothes all year long and I’ve been sticking to it for the last five months. After a while I started thinking of it as “the nothing new project”. You know, as in…I’m not buying anything new. But also as in “eh, no big deal…it’s nothing new” because I kind of needed to convince myself of that and I also wanted to recognize that for many generations buying new clothes was a luxury. My grandmother, for example, would have mended garments until they were threadbare and sewn everything else, including men’s work shirts and suits. It’s good for me to remember that the shift toward cheap, new clothing is a wild extravagance not a necessity.
That said, I do want to feel cute, sexy and fashionable and the world of fast-fashion makes finding a balance tricky. Trends swing wildly from skinny jeans to wide cullottes; certain styles quickly become old and out-dated. It leaves me with competing emotions; I want to stop the wasteful consumption of new clothes but don’t want to stop dressing well. I don’t want to become a woman who looks like she has ‘given up’ and is wearing the same sweatpants from 10 years ago. (Well, ok, I don’t want to look like that every day; some days I am just fine with that look). Or, whose every outfit has that tell-tale 80’s look that is just to easy to end up with when thrift store shopping. I have to admit that how I dress is important to me. I feel good when I like what I’m wearing, when I feel like what I’m wearing fits me well, looks good and fits who I am. So at the same time as I don’t want to buy anything new I do want to feel like my wardrobe is fresh and fun. That’s why I’m selectively buying used clothing, sewing handmade and swapping enough clothes to feel not only fully outfitted but (mostly) guilt-free!