Tuesday, February 11, 2014

cargo pants and a t-shirt

Like many American women, I've been obsessed with clothes since I was little. Dresses are like candy to me. I sewed doll clothes, my own clothes, relished the box of hand-me-downs from my cousin, and spent hours with fashion magazines and catalogs. Finding the perfect dress for a social occasion was like setting out on a treasure-seeking adventure. My closet was clean, organized and treated like a shrine. Ok, so maybe I'm more obsessed than the average American woman. 

After the nest emptied out, we moved from the burbs to a downtown area fat with bars and restaurants. I indulged the dress obsession on eBay and the local consignment shops so I could look good going out. The time and expense I invested in my wardrobe was considerable. It became a major hobby.

When we were downsizing the household goods, I started reading blogs on minimalism. It was easy to divest of the dishes and furniture, but my clothing collection was sacred. I didn't want to apply the concepts of minimalism to fashion. Collecting clothes was super fun. It was the one thing I was still allowing myself to accumulate. I wasn't ready to give it up. I felt, somehow, that my identity was intricately tied to the brands and styles I wore. And I wasn't ready to give up the feeling I have when I'm wearing a pretty dress, that twirling, sweet feeling of, well, a dress!

Minimalism catches hold, though, and I started reading more. I read Project 333 and counted my items of clothing (66 for all seasons, I still have a ways to go). I watched the TED talk on the Uniform Project. I read Overdressed about the cheap fashion industry and the effects of our massive consumption of clothing on our planet and factory workers. I read about cotton production and pesticides and water use.  The reality of my fashion addiction was too big for me to ignore anymore.

I'm on my journey now. I've pledged to buy no new clothes in 2014. The herd continues to be culled. Clothes that are of questionable necessity go in a purgatory bag for a few months.  If I haven't pulled them out, the bag gets donated. There are still a couple of dresses in a garment bag for those special occasions, but these days I'm following my husband's lead. 

Every day he puts on a relatively clean pair of cargo pants and pulls the next t-shirt off the shelf.