Creating a Classic Wardrobe - Part 1

I want to consume less.
I want to have a classic style.
I want quality clothing that lasts.
I want the money I spend on clothing to help others.

The logical conclusion then is that I create a classic wardrobe that is timeless, fits beautifully, holds all of the essential fashion items and will withstand fashion fads, wear, tear and four children. I want this set of clothes to last for 20 years. Is that too much to ask? How about for 10 years? And the only time I will NEED to purchase something new is when one of my essential clothing items is worn, torn, stained or destroyed. That sounds pretty simple and logical doesn't it?

It is easier said then done. I am involved in a year long buying freeze with the 12X12 Project, so my wardrobe is as it is right now. Unless I inherit something from a friend, what is in my closet will last me an entire year. This year long fast serves two purposes. First, it forces me to be content with what I have. A lot of people around the world feel blessed to have clean clothing let alone numerous outfits to choose from. As an American, it is hard to distinguish "want" from "need." When you grow up in a culture that encourages you to indulge in every desire and teaches the mentality that self deprivation in any degree is wrong, you start to think like that. I have never known want. And I deny myself very little. This year is a time to reflect on the abundance I have and choose to think about my possession in another way besides my right as an American. I am going to choose to think of them as a luxury.

Creating a Classic Wardrobe

Luxury: free or habitual indulgence in or enjoyment of comforts and pleasures in addition to those necessary for a reasonable standard of well-being

This is what I teach my four year son. That a luxury is something beyond what we need to survive. Why don't I teach it to myself? That is what this year is about. 

Retraining my mind and heart to realize that:

I am rich.
I have much. 
I own to excess. 
And just because I want it, doesn't mean I should have it. 

The second purpose of this year is to reinvent my style. I have been toying with what I truly like in fashion, whether it be vintage hairstyles or girly shoes or timeless silhouettes. When I walk out of the house, I want my clothes to look put together, stylish, modest and feminine. So often I try to dress like others or what I perceive to be fashionable. Even though it is fun to do that, I want my clothes to be a reflection of who I truly am. 

After this year is finished, my purchases of these timeless, essential items will not be like old clothing purchases. I want my money to make a statement about what I believe and what I stand for. Sure, it is easy to head to Target and grab a cute outfit off of the 30% off rack, but how is it that a garment of clothing is only $14.99? Fabric alone is pretty pricey and I wouldn't have the foggiest idea how to sew a tailored dress, so why is that adorable grey sleeveless tailored cocktail dress at such a steal of a price? It means that somewhere down the line, someone is not getting paid what they are owed. And you know that it isn't the people calling the shots who are denying their wants of a cushy pay check. I am not asking anyone else to change how they shop, but for me and my house, we will purchase as many items as we can that are made ethically, made by people who are being paid a fair and equitable wage, and are being eco-conscience in their manufacturing practices. Believe me, I realize this is a tall order. A lot of items that we consume as a family can not be found according to this criteria. But I can no longer sit by and allow my dollars to tell the world that:

I support planned obsolescence.
I support dishonesty.
I support slave trade.

It makes my heart sick to think about how my luxuries are at the expense of people's lives. Just let that sink in. If you aren't convinced, read my post about how I employ 56 slaves. And after readying this article with pictures of people living right now in slave labor around the world, how could I look into their eyes and make another choice then the one I am making? I would love to talk more with anyone who wants to about the slavery that exists right now in 2012. Just ask and we can chat, because it is a pretty big deal to me and I would love share what I know and open up a dialog about it with you. I know it seems like we can't make a difference, but I know that we can. One fair trade item at a time.

My recently purged closet.

And back to clothing talk!  In order to achieve this dream wardrobe of mine, I purged my closet pretty intensely last week and created a Pinterest board of my essential wardrobe. The ruthless sorting brought my wardrobe down to only classic items, with a few trendy pieces. There are some noticeable holes in my fashion arsenal: shoes and shirts. Those seem like basic things, but I am lacking on both departments!The Pinterest board I created has received the attention of friends, since I can't shop for a year. It will just have to sit there and wait until next October. 

And while I wait, I am going to focus on getting to my ideal weight and body figure. I don't want to purchase all of these expensive, fair trade classic clothing items in a size I don't plan on staying. So, I should be heading out to the pavement to burn some calories right about now, but I think I'll wait until tomorrow. 
Tonight, pumpkin pie ice cream awaits!

Continue reading part 2.

No comments: