Back in the 80’s and 90’s I worked in the fashion industry for 12 years. I coordinated fashion shows, I was an active member of the Fashion Group of St. Louis and I worked at a modeling agency.
I loved clothes. I lived for clothes. I learned how to copy styles from the runways in New York and Paris, finding knockoffs in the mall stores in St. Louis.
I had a clothes addiction starting in high school when my grandpa used to take me shopping and I’d try on dozens of things…the addiction was a part of my life for the next 40 or 50 years.
Maybe it wasn’t just a clothes addiction, but a shopping addiction. For decades, I’d buy stuff and feel such a rush from the purchase, only to feel intense regret when I got home. Sometimes even shame.
And then I’d take everything back.
It was like bulimia really! Stuffing myself full of excitement in a shopping binge, only to purge from shame and embarrassment.
Over the years, I’ve taken countless bags of clothes I no longer wore, some things I’d never even worn, to Goodwill or resale shops in a different sort of purge. Other times I simply threw stuff away to head to the landfill.
As far as I can tell, that addiction is over. I rarely shop for clothes anymore. In complete transparency, I did experience a little bit of online shopping addiction during the Covid shutdown. My heart would quicken every time a delivery truck would come down the street. But I’ve stopped that and after a couple of disastrous experiences with clothes that looked amazing in pictures but didn’t look remotely the same when they got to my house, I’ve stopped buying clothes online as well.
Back in the day when I found Forever 21, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. The variety was dizzying. The styles so fun. Who cared if it was cheap fabric, it was so trendy I probably wouldn’t wear it again after this season! The same happened with H&M. Zara has that reputation, but I found a few things at one of their stores in Paris about 12 years ago that I still wear.
I have a friend who’s a clothing designer. She passionate about getting people aware of our addiction to cheap clothes which we know we might only wear once or never at all. She wants us to know ourselves so well we stop buying for the instant and stop supporting the “Fast Fashion” industry.
Simplifying this all boils down to Buy and Wear What You Love!
Deep love. Steady love. That kind of love. Not lust.
You see, women around the world are buying more and more clothes that we’ll wear less and less, feeding the cheap fashion industry which is drowning the small countries who manufacture all the fad clothing. In the US, people wear an item 7 times before donating or trashing it. In China, it’s 3 times!
In other cases, we never even wear the thing.
I’m always on the path for more self-awareness and I continue to get to know me ever better. In this case, knowing myself sets me up for the success of knowing what I like to wear. Knowing it’s better for me to buy things I can see and touch so I can judge the fit and also, very important for me, how the clothes feel. I have super-sensitive skin so soft fabrics are imperative for me. Also, I buy long-sleeved white tops to wear in the summer, protecting my sun-damaged skin.
Knowing myself also allows me to know my closet. I have my closet organized by color so I know what I have and if I really need anything to fill a hole, like the long-sleeved white tops. My awareness tunes me in to something that might be a perfect addition. I do have a tendency to buy super-unique things like the tie dye boots I saw on Facebook. When I opened the box, they didn’t look like the picture. And even for me, they might be a bit much. Usually I know myself so well, I rarely buy something I consider a mistake.
I do love to occasionally buy something new, so I’m adopting my friend’s request that I simply buy what I love.
And hopefully two things will happen. I will rarely need to add to the landfills with my mis-judged clothing purchases, nor will I support the industry which feels the need to mass-produce cheap clothes.
And one of these days I’ll figure out how to incorporate those boots into a What Would Kasey Wear Wednesday!!