Friday, May 23, 2014

Frustrations with Fashion

It's a fact that our society is one that loves to consume. Every year we buy more and more, and the long list of luxury items that directly correlate to our (perceived) social status grows and grows. I'm not here to bash on this, in fact, I am probably a large part of it and a huge offender myself.

This blog started as a fashion blog and I've been slowly attempting to move into the more lifestyle/whatever may tickle my fancy domain. I'm not going to dump on the fashion industry, but I do feel the need to share my frustrations with the state of first world countries, and myself.

We are a society obsessed with consumption. We consume at ridiculous rates, yet produce very little. Its an infectious disease that just creates a vicious cycle of dissatisfaction. It constantly amazes me how back in the day people rarely used/bought more than they could consume for. If you were a farmer, anything that you might need that your crops didn't produce, you would quite literally use the fruits of your labour to trade for. You had to give something up to get something. Today we just get, get, get, but what do we give? What do we contribute to justify how much we expend beyond our means? Not much, if you ask me.

I'm as guilty as anyone. I love fashion, I love pretty things and I absolutely cannot refuse a good deal. Its actually a problem. I have so much stuff, yet time and time again face the age old dilemma of "I have nothing to wear'. Scoring a fantastic deal is a great feeling. You feel satisfied, like you somehow "won" against the system, and to boot you have a pretty new thing you didn't break the bank for. It all sounds rather lovely, right? Well it is, temporarily.

This sentiment of contentment is followed by one of contempt, for me at least. At least once a month I have a complete freak out and look at my closet with utter disgust. When experiencing one of said freak outs I just can't help but be disgusted with how much I actually own. How much stuff I have in my closet that I barely ever wear. Things with the tag still on them. The 10+ little black dresses I own. And so on, and so forth. These freak outs cause me to go through a complete closet purge. When this feeling fades, the pack rat in me surfaces and I cling on to unnecessary items that "I might just need one day". It usually takes about 3 separate attempts to actually make a dent in my daunting closet.

So, where am I going with all this? I've realized that it's a tad overzealous and unrealistic to passionately claim during my fits of frustration that "I'll never shop again!" Instead, I've decided to implement a few of my own rules to live (and shop) by, that will hopefully lead to a more balanced closet and lifestyle.

2 for 1
For every new item I buy, I have to head into my closet and get rid of two. This will really make me think twice when making purchases. 

Donate, Donate, Donate
I don't actually throw any items of clothing in the trash. One woman's trash is another's treasure, so everything that leaves my closet makes it's way into someone else's. 

Swap Shopping 
Luckily, swap parties are all the rage these days. Hosting or attending a swap party is a great way of not only getting rid of some of your old clothes, but getting some "new" stuff for yourself as well. 
P.S if you are in the Ottawa area check out this Spring Swap Shop event on Sunday, June 1st! I'll be there with a good chunk of my closet! 

Quality over Quantity 
When making new purchases, stick with quality over quantity. Quality items will a) last longer and b) be more expensive, therefore making you think twice before purchasing. 

Be Aware
Find out where your clothes are coming from. Try supporting local brands or vintage/consignment shopping instead of the cookie cutter stores that are all made in poverty ridden countries. It's a little daunting and frustrating, I know. One person's shopping habits will not change the world, but I'm a huge believer in the fact that every little bit counts, and the less we buy from those types of commercial giants, the less they will eventually have to produce. Not only that, you'll feel better about your lifestyle choices and chances are most of your pieces will be more unique and come with a story. 

What are your tips and tricks for remaining fashionable and sustainable in a society obsessed with consumption and the latest trends?


  1. OMG I feel like I could have written this, Darcy!!! Sometimes I just feel so disgusted with all the STUFF (esp moving recently and seeing it all). I got rid of over 10 garbage bags of clothes, shoes etc and I'm still overwhelmed. And yes, left frequently w nothing to wear. Ugh!
    I am still purging (and consigning) tons if stuff. I have also started being more thoughtful on quality vs quantity. I'm sick of all the cheap crap I pick up 'because it was so inexensive'.

    I like the toe for one rule you're implementing. Such a smart idea!!!! I'm going to try this (eep!!). GREAT post. So glad I'm not alone!! :P

  2. I lost a lot of interest in OOTD blogging because of this. I was getting sucked into a machine. I am definitely an offender of buying too much crap, but since I've stopped blogging it's been a bit more manageable.
    I love your 2-for-1 idea, I might try that myself :) good luck!

  3. Have you read Elizabeth Cline's terrific book "Overdressed: the Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion"? Her perspective (and well-researched it is) echoes many of your concerns. And it tells us why we should be concerned about the quantity/quality issue. A good read for anyone interested in fashion...and the world.

    1. I really relate to your frustration. I LOVE fashion! And it's all about the new and different. It's so easy in our culture to get bored of what we already have, but once you realize how irresponsible "haul" shopping is, (not only for our wallets, but the environment and world as well) you're kind of forced to find the fine line between the new and old. I've become very interested in slow fashion since reading the "Overdressed" book. As an independent designer, I'm investigating ways to apply that to my own business and wardrobe. Have you ever heard of Natalie Chanin, who designs Alabama Chanin (all locally grown organic cotton that is actually stitched and embellished by hand)? I've heard that her rule of thumb for purchasing items is she won't buy anything she won't keep forever. It kind of flies in the face of my binge shop and purge model I used to stick to, but can you imagine what a difference it would make if we knew we would keep everything we bought? We'd buy very little, and we'd buy responsibly, and it would be very good quality and classic. I guess I'll save the rest for my own blog, but I really identified with the post! Thanks for sharing.

  4. I do some purging every time a charitable organization calls. I regularly shop at thrifts.

    My last but most helpful answer to my eternal closet discontentment is a shopping fast that usually last about thirty days. During this time, I only give!