Anyone who knows me knows how much I love fashion. I’ve always loved it. I used to throw tantrums when my mum tried to persuade me not to wear flowery dresses to climb trees, and embellished velvet skirts to infant school. I saved my pocket money for Camden market couture as a teenager, and still spend a good proportion of my wages on clothes today. I’ve written before about having a bit of a shopping problem, and I’ve even tried to give fashion advice from time to time!
Previous attempts to buy fewer clothes have always ended in failure for me, I think in part because it felt too much like giving something up. Most of my beloved childhood clothes were second or even third hand, and I felt that stinging shame a long way into adult life. But recently I’ve been more and more aware of the social and environmental impact of my shopping habits. We all know that the people who make our clothes aren’t paid enough, but we choose to ignore it. I push that guilt aside with affirmations about my own virtue all the time. I recycle. I cycle to work. I’m a vegetarian. I live in a tiny flat in a dense urban neighbourhood. My carbon footprint is tiny! Maybe. But that doesn’t make it right to exploit people.
As I get older I care more about living authentically. I don’t want to wear something once and toss it away because it doesn’t express what I was aiming to express that week. I want to have a personal style, one that’s settled down as I have, and reflects my own blend of adventurous contentment.
But like I said, giving things up never seems to work for me. I’m too stubborn and rebellious. But I love a challenge. So for the next three months I’m going to be undertaking different outfit challenges to help me be more mindful about my fashion habits.
The August fashion challenge is simple: I have to wear a different outfit from my existing wardrobe every day for the whole month. I can only wear shoes and sportswear multiple times. (And coats if the August weather doesn’t turn out quite how I’ve hoped!)
I’ll be documenting my progress on my Instagram account @ohbelles with my outfits featuring in my daily story. At the end of the month I’ll write about how it went and move on to my next challenge.