We’ve just passed an important anniversary for me! It’s been over a year since I made a conscious decision to follow through on an impulse buy. Perfect timing, especially around the Easter holiday that marks redemption and rebirth! How many times do we find ourselves buying an item that we know we will struggle to wear more than three times and still get it because we are short on time or in need of a quick bit of retail therapy?
I found myself in one of these situations because I didn’t plan ahead. Well actually life got in the way. I prioritized other activities instead of looking for an outfit to wear for a wedding and left it last minute. I mean…wedding shopping at the last minute? What was I thinking??
Anyways what’s a girl to do? Well of course I turned to the magic of the World Wide Web, prayed to the shopping gods, and got next day delivery! I won’t deny the thrill or feeling of release; I don’t think we should feel and shame from the pleasure of shopping. However, it does mean I used a lot of energy to make sure this purchase would be meaningful and holistically have a better life in my wardrobe and my mission to have an impactful life.
It was a bit of a risk buying last minute as shopping online can go wrong, but the dress arrived on time and looked exactly like the picture! So although I didn’t get burned, I still felt anguish that I most likely wasn’t going to wear the dress again.
Wearing items as often as possible is a way to combat the impact of clothing ending up in giant waste piles and reducing their impact on the environment. In addition, it’s a way of keeping more money in your pocket! Win/win! So I resolved to restyle this dress in a way that I could wear it casually!
I promised myself I would wear it again and work on integrating it into every day wear. The path to redemption wasn’t easy as the months kept rolling past, and the dress kept not getting re-styled. I began to feel guilty as I was clearly perceiving defeat at adopting an ‘ethical fashion’ lifestyle. However my depression wasn’t helping anyone and one day decided to stop mentally crucifying myself over an unrepeated outfit and forgive myself.
So I decided to be kinder to myself, and after stepping back I realised I might have over complicated things to be honest. I took a step back and asked myself what the real issue was I was avoiding it. The colour and print were neutral and the length appropriate for any event. So what was it!? Then it hit me that it was how bare it was at the top. One of my favourite features are my shoulders. With winter closing in, I couldn’t think how to get wear out of it. In addition, the cut is a bit revealing for my office and casual wear style.
But I brought this outfit back to life – the turtle neck, yes I did buy it brand new, but with the intention it would save this outfit, and be wearable on its own. Which I am happy to report I have worn it at least 15 times…30 wears fashion challenge watch out! Totally feeling vindicated and more than that I think I enjoyed the challenge of making better consumer decisions.
What do you think about my consumer mistake gone right? I hope this personal story helps you see that with the fashion revolution upon us, we as consumers have the opportunity to set our own trends, create our own style and redeem our mistakes. For so many forced labourers and animals impacted by consumer choices and the fashion industry, unfortunately it is a life or death situation and therefore it’s not about feeling guilty about your current clothes but realising we can make better, fairer sustainable decisions starting with the clothing skeletons in our closets!