I’ve been thinking about minimalism. I’ve been thinking about my carbon footprint. I’ve slowed down on bartering on Bunz, but am still making about 3 to 5 trades a month – mainly in Toronto – as there isn’t much of a community in Kitchener-Waterloo.
Mainly, I’ve been thinking about the clothing industry. I still need to watch the documentary True Cost, but am already aware that this industry remains the second dirtiest economy, after the oil industry,, on a global scale. It also has a lot of human rights violations and donating used clothing to charities that sell them overseas is actually hurting African nations. It really doesn’t do much more than make us feel some warm fuzzies.
As I reflect on my current wardrobe, I’m pretty well stocked. I have all the work clothes I need. As a substitute teacher, I can get away with similar outfits as I’m often at different schools each day (and really, do kids care?). I spent the summer throwing away pants and leggings that no longer fit my 34-year-old waistline and purchased replacements that are fairly comfortable and not restrictive. I have pretty much what I need right now* and now I’m aware that I’m privileged living this way.
In terms of winter gear, some of my pieces are new (i.e. my snowpants and heavy-duty gloves are less than a year old) and I have older items that act as backup when I need to toss the usual into the washing machine. I’ve got a plethora of functional footwear** and replaced a lot of my undies recently. The last thing I bought was a pair of rain pants ($100 CAD) at Mountain Equipment Co-op; the last pair I owned were well over 10 years old and I ended up giving them to a student in the rural north.
So here’s the question: Can I get away without buying anything in 2018?
Of course I can!
This isn’t a new idea. Lots of bloggers have written about going a year or more without buying clothing (such as The Frugalwoods, as well as Eden Ashley). If you’d asked me the same question a few years ago, I would have flinched and recoiled. But as I already buy very few clothes, this doesn’t feel like an insurmountable challenge for me. And what’s even better, is that I can look for items on Bunz if I want to feel as if I’ve got something new. In fact, I got this American Eagle sweater this morning and it feels great!
It’s still hit and miss when I barter. I’ve gotten a few items that didn’t work out for me, but I’ve gotten some really great stuff, like the Lululemon hoodie I picked up in November. Last week, I picked up a pink work top … I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t even had the chance to wear yet! But what is important is I can switch up my wardrobe with secondhand clothing without leaving a significant carbon footprint.
So I’ve decided to make zero clothing purchases in 2018! That also includes no gifts of new clothing from family and friends (used items or second-hand are fine). I won’t be buying any more jewelry, nor accessories, like purses or belts.
Still feel like you can’t live without a big and varied wardrobe?
Check out Jennifer L. Scott’s TED Talk, which is the reason I reworked my wardrobe over the summer. This is such a great video that I had shared with a lot of friends.
What are your clothing shopping habits like? Do you use it as an emotional outlet? Do you have a big or small wardrobe? Are you a fashionista?
*The only thing I might need to acquire are leggings without logos if I start teaching in a yoga studio, but I’ll deal with that once I cross that bridge
**Two pairs of ice skates, a few casual shoes, enough work shoes, three pairs of summer heels, two pairs of Vibram FiveFingers, two pairs of hiking shoes, three pairs of winter boots, two pairs of galoshes … I’m embarrassed to say that this is “trimmed down”.