Opinion: Living with less clothes: Is it possible?
Working in Fashion, one slips even easier into the new normal of buying clothes all the time: Going for some drinks in Central? Sure, I'll arrive a bit earlier and go have a quick look at the shops on Oxford Street. Been there, bought that.
For a while, I had been toying with the idea of getting rid of general clutter, thought I admit this newly found less-is-more philosophy only showed up after I moved houses four times in the last year. Facing the reality of what I actually owned, packing things in suitcases and boxes, moments of "when did I buy this", "what was I thinking when I got that" or "oh God, how could I think flower prints looked good on me" ensued.
I am in no way sure this is just a consequence of fast fashion, of the High Street poisoning our psyches with you-need-this-to-be-happy messages, as we are so told to believe.
Luxury brands keep bombarding us with messages about their craft and quality but, above all, the timelessness of their pieces. when in fact they too want us to buy a new timeless piece every season. Every month if possible.
After these many moves, I decided to take karma's hint and began a decluttering process that went beyond clothing. I have sold, thrown away or donated books, bric-a-brac and accessories that most times I had not used (or seen) in months. Still, I felt I needed to have a healthier relationship with what I own and specially, what I spend.
Reluctant at first, as the more I read about the book, the more it seemed like a spiritual self-help guide to emotional decluttering than a how-to guide of organising one's storage spaces. But I gave it a go.
I am not particularly animist, so I found it hard to treat objects as possessions with a soul or as givers of joy. If those were the criteria for judging if they needed to be kept or thrown away, I would probably have ended up naked and living on a mattress on the floor.
Yes, I consider myself pretty much detached from most possessions. I have things, I like things, do not get me wrong. I like my stuff as much as anyone's, but for example I do not keep pictures, or almost any mementos, and my living quarters barely have any decorative object that does not have a real purpose, besides leafy plants or the odd white tulip bouquet I treat myself with.
I jumped at this tidying-up magic, my own way, and got rid of all those prints and trousers I do not use any more; all those tops I bought for a particular occasion and that I never wore again (Christmas jumpers, anyone?), and most of the white-collar shirts I still kept from my previous, well, white-collar jobs.
Once finished, I put up my six-foot long clothes rack that I had hiding under my bed and made it the centre piece of the space. In the end, there were twenty three pieces of clothing on it, between trousers, shorts, coats, shirts, t-shirts and sweatshirts.
And this has been my challenge for the last two months: So far, so good.
The process required re-adjusting some of the numbers, as I use more t-shirts than anything else during the Summer. Also, I do not stress about including gym clothes in the equation, as that will be taking it too far.
But, overall I think my creativity has grown with all the different possibilities and pairings I can do with this finite number of clothes. My credit card is also happier, yet bored.
Autumn is now approaching, so let's see how I will keep up with this. I will keep you posted.