Investing in quality clothing over a culture of consumption
I’m not a minimalist at all. It’s one of the biggest reasons I rebranded this blog from the Minimalist to Kale Farts: I generally like stuff, and parading myself as spartan felt palpably insincere. I hoard books; I hang onto old clothing “just in case”; and I have “important papers” I’ve not looked at in years.
So, I’ll certainly never reach Vincent Kartheiser levels of minimalism; but I’m gradually exploring the idea of paring down. One goal I’ve made for 2018 (along with #DrinkMoreChampagne) is to invest in quality over quantity, especially when it comes to the clothing I buy.
Doesn’t every season — sneakily creeping from frostbitten winter into the halcyon days of spring — simply beg for a shopping spree? I can’t ease from the heavy heat of August into the cool calm of autumn without my eyes lingering longingly on store windows.
Inevitably, that means perusing racks at H&M, Joe Fresh, and Forever 21. It’s fast fashion, cheap and of-the-moment. Just a dollop of that latest leopard print/wool/bedazzled craze to spice up your wardrobe. Or at least, to add a dash of flavour for a few months — a season at most. Before long, the clothes fall apart: stretch, pill, shrink, tear, sag, shed threads, and fade. That cute lil’ number you so eagerly purchased is soon destined for Value Village or a clothing swap.
I just unloaded a garbage bag full of old clothes at the thrift store. Months before, I donated another bagful, and brought a handful of items to a clothing swap. Why do I still have so much stuff to get rid of? Why do I welcome this excess into my life so readily, knowing full-well the clothing’s on borrowed time?
I haven’t yet watched the Minimalists‘ documentary (apparently it’s sad, and I’m still steeling myself for it); but I know there are plenty of issues associated with this fast fashion. Deplorable and unsafe working conditions in factories and environmental degradation are just a few effects of this culture of cheap consumption. I hate that I’m an active participant. Sure, I buy secondhand clothing, but certainly not in exclusivity.
Which brings me to my intentions for the New Year: carving out the excess. Divesting from stuff. That doesn’t mean paring my wardrobe down to the bare essentials, à la capsule wardrobe.
It does mean refusing to shop at H&M, Forever 21, Joe Fresh, and other brands built on questionable ethics and quality. I’m dedicating my money to clothing I can trust will last. I won’t weigh myself down with bags full of cheap clothes anymore. Instead, I’ll portion out my dollars carefully and purposefully. I got some inspiration from Bethany Menzel’s reduced closet, and from Refinery29’s video on the capsule wardrobe.
A few people have pointed out before that I wear the same clothes all the time haha (in a positive way). I’ve actually been really intentional about that this past year. I used to be a deal hunter, quantity over quality every time, especially since I was always doing photos I felt like I should have different looks. Then I realized I always want to wear the same basics anyway so I sold pretty much all my old clothes and went out and spent more than I wanted to on jeans, a couple tops, and a coat that I livvveee in. I always feel like myself and the stress of what to wear doesn’t happen as often anymore. I see lots of people sharing “under $20!” dresses to swipe up for etc. and it’s easy to get sucked in, but resist! Since minimizing my wardrobe I feel so much better about my clothes, and I don’t care if you see me wear the same thing everyday 😅
I don’t want to be part of the flashy fast fashion world anymore. I’m shifting away from the sparkling spectacle, towards simplicity.
Do you have any go-to, quality fashion sources? Please let me know! I’m a big fan of Victoire Boutique and Hunter and Hare, and have been very happy with my purchases at 8th & Main. I also recently bought a pair of Citizens of Humanity jeans that were about 50% off their original price at Plenty, and these babies are going to last me for years to come. Blogger Erika at Rain & Grace also shared an excellent list of brands to buy from.
Image by Eduard Militaru