Day Three: 2017
I spent New Years eve watching the Minimalism documentary on Netflicks. It seemed a fitting way to enter 2017 after the highs and lows of the world in 2016 and sitting on the cusp of the uncertainties of a new Trump era.
How much is too much?
One of the women interviewed spoke about the 33 for 3 challenge. Basically you reduce your wardrobe down to 33 items for three months. Google it and you'll find endless videos of people showing off their minimalist wardrobes. It resonated with me. I've been committed to largely buying second hand clothes for decades now mixed in with new basics. But I'm suffering from that full wardrobe but nothing to wear syndrome that sends you to the shops (read op-shops) in search of new things.
The Hoarding Gene
So I spent today cleaning out my wardrobe. I was ruthless. I culled enough clothes, shoes and jewellery to fill a big warehouse plastic bin and another big paper sack. But I wasn't quite ruthless enough to get down to 33 items. I've now got about 40 items hanging plus sport gear, underwear, jewellery and shoes. It feels like enough for now - minimalism comes harder to us hoarders. There is a kind of emotional attachment to clothing. And is it just me or is there almost a kind of fear that if you give it away you might not be able to replace it? Is this some kind of squirrel type hoarding genetic issue that means we are all complete suckers for fast fashion?
Fashion vs Style
There used to be four seasons of fasion released each year. Now stores pump out a new range each week. Even if you shopped last week - this week you are out of date. That's why fashion stores e-mail you at least weekly once you join their mailing lists. I dropped my clothing cull off at the Salvation Army store in Dominion Road. Seems like I am not alone in the New Year fashion cull as the volunteers out the back were struggling to keep up with sorting the donations. Which begs the question - how many clothes do you need to be stylish?
Avoiding Decision Fatigue
President Obama always wears the same thing. "You'll see I wear only gray or blue suits," [Obama] said. "I'm trying to pare down decisions. I don't want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make."
Last year I flew down to Dunedin for four days with a small carry-on bag of clothes. Guess what - I felt great. No decisions to make, I'd chosen the clothes I look and feel the best in. These are the ones that I wear all the time and struggle without when they are in the wash. I remember reading an article about Lucy Marr (founder of Sans [ceuticals]) where she talked about her mother always looking incredibly stylish despite having no more than 15 things in her wardrobe at any time.
The capsule wardrobe has been talked about for years - a finite set of clothes where everything cunningly mixes and matches perfectly. If only we all had our own stylists this might be so. The latest trend hitting blogstreams is the Uniform. A black turtle neck and black tights, a white silk shirt and black trousers, a striped top and navy skirt - something stylish that can be worn everyday. Now something about that seems appealing. Only problem is I'd have to give up most of the 40 items still hanging in my wardrobe.
My name is Carolyn Cox, I'm the Director of Green Businesss HQ.
I help businesses develop sustainability strategies, action plans and provide sustainability advice for businesses, industry sectors, education providers, and communities.
I am passionate about my family, sustainability, gardening, my bike, good food, movies, and doing stuff that is good for the planet.