And I laughed, because I have to admit, she's right. Because frankly, sometimes I make my head hurt, too. So today, I'm not going to talk about health care, or new economies, or individualism. I promise I'm not going to throw around the words "Jeffersonian pastiche."
Instead, today, I'm going to talk about fashion.
No, I'm serious.
Don't roll your eyes at me! Sheesh!
Okay, fashion. Once upon a time (or about five years ago) I was a struggling actress (seriously) who taught SAT classes for a living. I was having a conversation with my Pilates teacher (shut up, I live in LA) about clothes. She was talking about how she had all these clothes that she never wore, and I smugly remarked that I wore all the clothes in my closet.
Fast forward to myself a year later. I had quit acting and the SAT teaching, and was working an office job that required me to wear business casual wear. My closet started to pile up with business casual clothes (many of which I didn't like) and the army of jeans and tee-shirts I had needed when teaching SATs were left neglected.
Fast forward six months later. My father died, and I rapidly lost 20 pounds, thanks to the only diet that has ever worked for me. I call it the "too sick with grief to eat" diet. None of my clothes fit anymore, but I was too depressed to care much. Plus, I assumed I'd gain back the weight.
A year later, I still hadn't gained back the weight. So there I was, with a closet of ill-fitting clothes. I had a pile of work clothes I hated, and a bunch of tee-shirts I loved but never had the opportunity to wear. Where I had once bragged about wearing every piece of clothing in my closet, I now wore a tiny fraction of my clothes.
Now most people say stuff like, "Oh, if I ever lose 20 pounds, I'll treat myself to new clothes." Well, here's the problem with that. I had lost 20 pounds, but I hadn't gotten any richer. I simply could not afford a whole new wardrobe.
So here's what I did. I started off by stealing clothes from my younger sister. Okay, okay, but this is not as bad as it sounds. First of all, it is the *right* of sisters to steal from each other. This is what we do. And secondly, I only stole the clothes that she left at my mom's house when she went to college. I mean really. If she didn't care enough to take them with her, she obviously didn't need them. Those clothes were sad and lonely and I was just giving them a home! On my ass. Plus she didn't even care! Fine, she cared. But then later she stole some stuff of mine, and now we're even. This is so not the point. Can we move on now?
Next, I went through my closet, and pulled every article of clothing that didn't fit me, but that I actually liked. Once I had together 15 pieces of clothing, I got a recommendation for a tailor from a friend. Then I went to the tailor, and had her alter everything. A mere $85 later, I had well-fitting clothes I actually liked.
And then, and this was the hardest point, I worked to slowly hone my own personal sense of style. This isn't the easiest thing to do when you're a woman. There's a multi-million dollar industry out there whose sole job is to tell you that ponchos are in, and skinny jeans are out, and then that skinny jeans are in and ponchos are out. I am 5'2" with a propensity to fall down. I am hardly a fashion maven. Yet, I owned two ponchos. The pull of the fashionistas is strong.
But I didn't want to have to buy ponchos one year and vests the next. I wanted a nice wardrobe that would make me look decent year after year. So, I started to ignore Glamour and Cosmo, and instead started trusting my own eye. I don't particularly like button down shirts, but I tend to gravitate to shirts with Indian embroidery. So I bought those, and when anyone went to India, I got some from them too. I bought things in colors that attracted me (largely forest green and burgundy.) And I picked up several dresses with cute floral patterns. I bought tops that worked with the bottoms I already owned and vice versa.
And slowly, I had a wardrobe of clothes I liked. Clothes I was happy to wear.
So when it came time to the non-consumer challenge, I decided to forgo all clothes shopping for a year. Because, honestly, I had more clothes than I really needed, and I was pretty happy with my wardrobe. I didn't feel like anything was lacking, so why buy more?
So for almost 10 months I haven't bought a single article of clothing. Not new clothes nor used clothes. I admit, I did receive a few shirts as gifts, and I participated in a clothing swap, but I haven't spent one single dollar on clothing since August.
And truthfully? I don't miss it at all. Okay, that's a lie. I miss it a little.
But I miss it much less than one would think.
Because the thing is, I already did my homework. I already have a great wardrobe full of clothes that fit me well, clothes that fit my personal style. Clothes that if you saw them and you knew me, you would say, "That's a shirt Arduous would wear."
Eventually, the clothing I have now will wear out and I will have to buy new clothes.
But for now, I'm happy with my clothes. Once again, I can smugly sit back and say, "I wear all the clothes in my closet."