I have a thing about knitwear

I’m more than two weeks in to my no shopping challenge and I will admit that I’m not finding it easy. I keep typing my favourite shop urls into my browser, and I have found myself scrolling my way through shirts and dresses and shoes, before I really realise what i’m doing. Yesterday I even made my way in to the city centre, and walked past beautiful shop windows full of gorgeous fabrics and interesting shapes.

And I have bought not one single stitch.*

I have managed to work my way through the heap of clothing that was serving as my wardrobe, to tidy things back in to drawers and on to hangers. And I managed to do a fairly successful job of it, with just one tiny flaw. I do not have enough space for all of my clothes. This is partly because the bottom drawer of my main chest of drawers is full of things that aren’t clothes. I’m going to have to take a look at that. But mostly it’s because I have a lot of beautiful knitwear, and the thing about beautiful knitwear is that it takes up space.

I’m hoping that this will be a temporary problem. Once spring starts making an appearance it will be acceptable for me to put my thickest, warmest jumpers – the ones that make the most demand on closet space – into storage. Either under my bed or into the attic space. And I will not have to think about the problem of knitwear for a good 6 or 7 months, until the leaves start to change and the wind blows up again. Right now though it is freezing, and the last couple of days have seen a fierce wind and a tiny sprinkling of snow, so I am living in my jumpers and cardigans, switching them up to provide some variety to what, otherwise are remarkably similar outfits. I have a thing about jeans too.

 

*This is a lie. I have bought some stitches. The stitches in question are currently on my knitting needles, and brought to my attention an oversight in the rules I shared in my last post. Once finished they will form part of a beautiful cardigan. I won’t let it happen again though!

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The Rules

I’m going to admit it – I haven’t started tackling tidying up my wardrobe and seeing what I already have yet. That’s partly because I have a job and a toddler, and the cooking, cleaning and laundry that goes with those things, but mostly because I’ve spent the last couple of days glued to season 3 of How To Get Away With Murder. Proving that resolutions don’t mean much when faced with hours of cliff-hanger endings and binge-able TV.

What I have done is firmed up my rules for the no-shopping challenge.

  1. No buying new clothes, shoes, accessories or makeup.
  2. Not even if they’re 2nd hand.
  3. There can be only one justifiable exception and that is in case of emergency (I’ll expand on what I consider justifiable emergencies below).
  4. Don’t start with a clear out and build a real case for anything you want to say goodbye to.

I think that’s pretty straightforward – though might seem a bit backward to some. I’m happy to explain my reasoning.

I’ll start with 3 – justifiable emergencies.

First of all, underwear – as a big-boobed girl having a decent, supportive, well-fitting bra is fundamental and the lack thereof tends to make me want to hide, so – should all of my current bras decide to give up I will be allowed to replace them.

Secondly – event that I have travelled somewhere exciting and on arrival find that my suitcase has been sacrificed to the gods of the runway then I shall be allowed to purchase a couple of items to help see me through whilst I wait to be reunited. Of course, my current travel plans for the year don’t involve any plane journeys, so this is a very unlikely scenario.

If any of these justifiable emergencies do arise I will be setting myself a strict budget, and making sure that whatever is bought has a long term place in to my existing wardrobe.

Rule 2: Not even 2nd hand.

In some ways my reasoning here is about what this challenge is about for me. It is about learning my way around my own wardrobe, how to wear the things that I have, and to not feel like I need to constantly add things in order to have choices. In many ways I’m an all or nothing kind of a person (I can’t, for example, just have one chocolate) and I feel that if I allow myself to buy anything, even 2nd hand then I’m on a slippery slope.

Which brings me to rule 4: no closet clear out.

This might be one of the more backwards things, given that a lot of people when tackling their wardrobe and shopping habits, when Marie-Kondoing etc. will start with clearing out the clothes that don’t fit, the items that they’ve never worn, don’t wear often, and simply don’t like. And I think that is valid, justifiable and definitely has its place. But I also think that it’s not going to work for me and this challenge right now.

I’ve done closet clear outs before, and I nearly always find that I use them as a justification for more shopping. In some ways the reason that I can say ‘not now’ is because I’ve done a clear out within the last 6 months, and I’m already in a position where most of the items that don’t fit have gone. What I need to do now is take the time to think about individual pieces and really build a case for each as to whether it stays or goes. I will be removing clothes from my wardrobe over the next year, but I’m going to take time over it, and think about what is going to happen to those clothes – because I’d rather they didn’t end up in landfill.

The Un-Aspirational Closet

So here it is in all its glory, a picture of my wardrobe as it was on 1st January. A complete jumble and mismatch of clothing, bundled together any old how. No one wants that.

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I have decided that this year I am going to take action on an idea that has been playing at the back of my mind for a little while. Having thought about capsule wardrobes and beautiful, tidy, neat spaces for the last couple of years I have now decided to place a ban on purchasing new clothes, new shoes and new accessories for the next 12 months. Also new make up.

Why?

I have a few reasons. Firstly, I have a lot of clothes, a lot of really beautiful clothes. Secondly, I don’t have a lot of money at the moment, and I’ve been wasting a greater proportion than I care to admit on clothing. I’m hoping that by not buying new clothing I can save a little towards something more exciting. Or maybe just towards my pension. My final reason is the environment and a recognition of the damage that fast fashion causes, which is something that I’ve become increasingly aware of in the last few years, but intend to educate myself about more over the coming year.

Today I’m making a start on documenting my experience, and already have some plans for the kinds of things that I’d like to share here. My first task is going to be tackling the mess in the photo above – tidying, sorting and taking stock of the things I have.

Wish me luck?