AW23 Part 1 - The Wardrobe Zoo
Once upon a time there was a girl with a zoo of a wardrobe. Bursting with many different species of clothing – work, weekend, summer, winter, sport, beach, skiing, party, black tie, and fancy dress. A wardrobe groaning under the weight of dusty, lonely pieces and sadly bent wire coat hangers. Thank goodness she’s a Gone Girl.
Meet The New Me… or so I tell myself after many culls. Leaner. Meaner. And no longer the Zara-loving mortal enemy of Landfill. Now I beat a path to the doors of a new guru – the Red Cross, to donate & recycle. My sustainability niece is my wardrobe zoo inspo – she 99% hand-me-downs or vintage recycled pieces. Nothing new in her zoo.
I still keep too many Old Favourites that I’ve barely worn this century, and I still buy too much new shit. My new partner and I are currently debating it, as he lobbies hard to negotiate more wardrobe space. There’s a pact being drafted in the UN of Wardrobe Zoos. I’m trying to be brutal in both the culling, and the new purchasing. Clearly I did not inherit my mother’s genes in this regard – “one in, one out” was her zoo mantra.
Old Me says “Winter’s a-comin’ and I NEED more shit”. New Me says “I really want to be a better Fashion Citizen”. I don’t want to keep-nor-buy endless amounts of stuff that I’ll wear only a few times. Hoarding the Old is bad - donating/recycling it is good for the planet, and for my soul too. Buying endless New is bad - for the planet, my wardrobe space, and my wallet too. So all that said… How do I balance Old & New in the zoo?
1. OLD - Cull to Favourites-Only
2. NEW - Buy only to replace… then donate/recycle
3. WEAR – Try trans-seasonal dressing
Culling the Old… Play favourites + Pay it forward
There’s one crucial factor at play here if I’m being brutally, sustainably honest with myself. It’s just gotta be absolute love. If it’s not one of my everyday favourites, I won’t wear it enough to justify keeping it. Let it goooo. No more happy memories & thinking that maybe I might want to wear it again. If I got so much wear out of it then chances are that someone else will too. So, pay it forward. Plus, my spacey new zoo will be so much airier, and accessible.
Buying the New… Think “travel wardrobe”
I remember when I travelled in my youth. A backpack with the bare essentials. Just my pet pieces that had to earn their space in my backpack by multi-tasking across seasons, and occasions. A rare combination of Can’t-Live-Without creatures that qualified for a place on the ark. They had to be favourites, and they had to be multi-purpose (you can see my suggestions about multi-tasking travel pieces in a previous blog “Summery Holiday Abroad” – add link). But importantly, any new purchases meant swapping out an oldie (so it would fit in my bloody heavy already pack), and then donating the oldie to a grateful fellow traveller. Remember Mums mantra: One In, One Out!
Just like dressing for travel from one hemisphere & season to another, trans-seasonal or to coin a new buzz word “transitional” dressing means wearing the same pieces the whole year round, through each of the seasons.
Sure, I don’t travel for months nor work in an office anymore. But to earn their stripes the clothes in my new zoo need to work hard. They need to dress-up, dress-down, and wash well. To work from weekdays to weekends, from day to night, from everyday to getaway. And across the seasons, I need them to do double-time to transition me from one season to another too. It’s all about multi-tasking & layering. Layers on in the cold, off in the heat.
And I apply the same rule to my accessories & jewels. Just like I wouldn’t think twice about using my summer straw tote as an everyday bag on a winter getaway, why on earth should I put my fave summer accessories on ice in winter? It’s a bit like obeying the old fashion rule of no straw hats after summer, only wool & felt. Bugger that. No Fashions in the Field judges here ladies. Keep those classic, all-season, all-day accessories and jewels in play all year round I say.
Of course, it’s not just about endlessly culling OR just recycling my favourite wardrobe pieces. That’s good for landfill, but nor for not for my shopper therapy! I still want to add new styles and a little bit of something on-trend. So how can I balance the Old & the New PLUS sustainably transition through Winter? And how can I add just a dash of seasonal-trend?
Read on to Part 2…