I got this crazy idea in my head that I could go a whole year, or at least six months without purchasing a single article of clothing for myself. Someone had posed the hypothetical question on a community message board I frequent, and a little more on-line digging found an entire legion of women prepared to engage in a similar experiment over at unclutterer.com.
Here's the thing: for years now I've been buying crappy clothes because we've been on a budget and I've been on a never-ending weight loss adventure. So, apart from a few beautiful, classic items my mom insisted on buying for me, my wardrobe is composed mainly of sleazy junk sewn by children (I love kids, really I do, but they're not exactly whizzes with the old Singer - thanks to Kelly Oxford for that observation). And right now, about half of what I own is about two sizes too small. And I didn't even wear most of it last year because I was too busy lying around in the same pilled fleece pants day after day, eating chips on the couch and crying over reruns of "A Baby Story".
Yes, I'm back to work now (yo - holla!) but the 30 pounds I managed to put on over the last 12 or so months has landed most of my clothes in a Rubbermaid tote in my closet.
I love clothes - I truly LOVE them. I come from a family where our memories of events are not so much focused on what we ate or who we saw, but what we were wearing. Before I started considering this clothes shopping moratorium thing, I'd actually got a new blog set up where I was going to record, every day, what I wore and how I felt about it. Right down to the gonch.
But then I had a change of heart. I thought about people who didn't give a shit about their clothes as long as they were clean, comfortable and relatively appropriate to the setting. People who would rather stick pins in their eyes than shop for a new pair of anything. Was I happier, or more well respected, more popular with the other kids because I spent so much more psychic energy on my appearance? Should I really spend money on new things when so many of my clothes had barely been worn? Were there better things to focus my attention on (like losing the weight, just as one example)? And did I have the self-discipline to just quit clothes shopping cold-turkey?
I decided to do it. Starting September 1, I would not buy a single article of clothing for myself for six months. Not even a pair of socks.
So about a week ago, I hauled out all my clothes, purged a few items (not many, honestly - I actually do this regularly already. I don't really have a tonne of clothes compared to a lot of women; they're just not great quality and kinda tight...) I determined that the only thing I really, really needed was a long-sleeved white top in a decent fabric with some interesting detail, that could go under anything. That and this super-cute blouse that had little butterflies all over it that was working its way through the clearance process at my favourite not-so-cheap clothing store.
I headed out from the office at lunchtime last Wednesday to pick up the blouse (now marked down from $50 to $12.99!) and to begin my quest for the holy grail of white t-shirts.
Well I managed to get the blouse but had no luck on the t-shirt. As it was already the last day of August I was thinking I might have to give myself a day or two extension.
And that was what I was contemplating (along with OMG! How cute were the little butterfly-imprints on the buttons of my new blouse?!) when I tripped on the sidewalk outside the mall, rolled over on my ankle, and hit the pavement.
The ankle is broken. The details of that event can be another story for another day, but right now I'm still deciding if the universe thought it was helping me by making it pretty near impossible to shop for at least a month, or taunting me by forcing me to make one more purchase: a hideous goes-with-absolutely-nothing $200 grey boot cast that that my insurance may or may not cover.
Thank you universe; I really like your...uh...style.