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Mindset: The vicious cycle of fast fashion and the need for more

I had a bit of a rude awakening the other day with a neighbour.

She said to me that if she had never worn an item in more than 2 years, she immediately gets rid of it, so when she has too much stuff, she just gets rid of things so that she can see what she has, and finally wear it.

Admirable right?

SO. MINIMALIST.

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So, inspired by this comment, I mention that it’s a great thing to de-clutter but I find that I can’t for style & fashion, because even if I tried to, everything I own is tailored to fit me, and I still really enjoy the items even if I don’t wear them daily, and wear them once a year.

I like having variety and all these different pieces, and it makes it hard for me to choose what to get rid of because.. I don’t want to, and lose out on that diversity.

I just try to figure out a way to display it in a more organized manner so that I want to wear it when I see it, and I slowly cull that way by picking out items that look too similar to each other, choose between the two, and then sell it or donate the reject.

So for instance, I own 3 camel-coloured coats. Why? Because two were thrifted.

I recently sold the third one and now I only have two, a super tailored Smythe jacket (@saverspender Instagram) and a vintage Jaegar camelhair coat that I kind of love the cuffs on…


I asked her:

Why not keep the pieces you still like?

Just re-organize a little so you can see them!

At the end of my little spiel, she pooh-poohs me and says very definitively:

Oh I’d rather get a whole brand new wardrobe than wear old stuff.

I’m going shopping this month to do that, actually. 

I clamped my mouth quite firmly after that.

I am in ZERO, absolutely NO position to say anything.

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It is a mindset that .. well, I have.

Or had.

I don’t know.

I’m working through whether I still have that mindset or not, but seeing as I am talking about it, I obviously do not think that way any longer.

Why?

I racked my brain and here are my few reasons why I think I am no longer a fast fashion addict:

1. ALL MY THINGS ARE TAILORED TO MY BODY

Everything I own, even some tank tops that I know are staples in my closet, like my All Saints Stam tanks, are tailored to my body.

Yes, TAILORED. I am that committed to good fit.

I have had the straps brought up for modesty’s sake, I have had the sides nipped in on shirts, skirts are shortened, hemmed and/or nipped in as well.

Everything fits my body as it was before Baby Bun & mothers can attest to how hard it is to get back to your normal body shape.

DO NOT get me wrong, I have easily lost all the weight off having Baby Bun, but there are things that change that can never be put back to how it was.

For instance:

  • My shoulders are about 1″ bigger. Not a big deal? Well. I can’t fit into my beloved Burberry trench as comfortably as before. I refuse to sell it though, I love that trench, so….
  • My hips are slightly wider by about 1″, so my pants fit better, but the old tailored pairs are a wee bit tight.
  • My feet have thankfully stayed the same size, but oddly enough, the sides of my foot have widened a little to begin rubbing a little around the joint, but I have not gone up a size.
  • My stomach has gone flabbier than before, and now I really need high-rise pants more than ever to hide that non-existent muffin top that appears.

On top of all that, tailoring costs money.

If you want to bring in an item to be tailored, it better be something you want to keep until it gets holes in it and dies, amirite?

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2. FEWER, BETTER THINGS

I used to have a wide range of things to wear (more than now, believe it or not), and it got to the point where I opened the wardrobe and said:

Why don’t I ever wear these practically brand new but got-for-a-steal-at-a-sale jeans?

Oh.

Right.

It’s because I have OTHER PAIRS that are my favourites, and these are not, most notably my old Citizens of Humanity high-rise jeans and my AG Farrah high-rise jeans.

These premium denim jeans look so similar to my cheapie pair (yet are not), but that’s why I dont wear the cheap pairs — why would I? I already have two perfect pairs of jeans that feel like sweatpants and look fantastic even after a good 5 years of wear.

Even once they wear down and get holes, I’d be pleased to keep them as distressed jean options.

I have reached the point of realizing that similar items do my closet a disservice.

I don’t need 3 camel coloured coats, I don’t need 8 pairs of dark rinse jeans, and I certainly should only buy the perfect item to reach the mantra of “Fewer, Better Things” whatever they may be, even if they are thrifted and I have to get them tailored.

3. I USE HANGERS AS MY LIMITER

I could never limit myself based on any other trick or style.

Here’s everything I’ve tried:

  • One in, One out rule — sort of similar to the Hanger rule, but fuzzier because is a scarf “worth” a jacket? Or is it just if a scarf comes in, it has to be a scarf that leaves too?
  • Secondhand-Only items — Coming back to this in full force lately, but not 100%.
  • Haven’t worn it in 3 years, get rid of it — Yeah right. LOL.

What has worked thus far, is using hangers.

Once I run out of hangers, I need to get rid of pieces to make room.

If I want to bring in a new piece, I need a hanger for it, from wherever — tops, jackets, pants.. I just need a hanger.

So this vicious cycle she is caught in right now of constantly purging and buying, is something I am shying away from more and more, or at the very least, extremely aware of.

4. QUALITY OF FAST FASHION IS CRAP

Yes, for $100 I can get 2 or 3 fast fashion items, instead of 1/3 of a really nice item, but does it make me happier?

Why do I want QUANTITY when it is quality I crave?

Nothing irks me more than having an almost new sweater PILL and look like it is 3 years old, after a few wears.

Sure, not all high-end stuff stays looking pristine because price is not a guarantee of value, but if I got it secondhand, I feel even better about its shelf life.

Fast Fashion?

Why not Fast (Secondhand) Fashion instead? The prices are dirt cheap and juuuuust right.


Food for thought.

5. REALIZING IT IS SATISFYING BUT NOT SUSTAINABLE

It is truly satisfying for me to shop.

We can talk for hours on end about how bad this is, and I’m just using this as a hobby when I should find something more constructive, but at the end of the day, I enjoy hunting down and finding great pieces, then styling them in outfits which I then document for myself (and on Instagram).

If I go window shopping, I’m tempted.

When I am tempted, I have low self-control, and I want it. I obsess over it, and I MUST HAVE IT.

So the solution? Stop window shopping.

(Easier said than done online, by the way. I love online browsing too.)

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Then the money side of me screams:

NOT SUSTAINABLE, SHERRY!!!

THIS IS NOT SUSTAINABLE.

Yep. It is not sustainable, and unless it’s thrifting, it is ruining the environment, I feel terrible and guilty when I do it. My wallet also cries and whimpers softly in the corner after a break in self-control, which triggers more guilt and terrible feelings.

But like I said, I just don’t go out to “look” any more…. 😉

So even now, when I go thrifting, I have to really scrutinize myself and say:

Will you wear this? REALLY?

Do you want it that badly? Never mind it costs $5.

What will you get rid of in your wardrobe to free up a hanger for this?

Thus far, fewer and fewer things have started entering the house.

What about you? Are you on the fast fashion rollercoaster?

P.S. Here are my 5 Fashion Splurges & 5 Fashion Saves and my 5 Must-Have Minimalist Pieces.

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have paid my $600K home in cash (my half was $300K), my $180K casr in cash, worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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Posted on January 12, 2020

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