I want to say I’m going through a phase, but maybe I should say I’m emerging out of one that has dominated the way I have thought about consuming for the best part of my adult life. By consuming, I mean first and foremost the way I spend my money and what I spend it on but perhaps it can be applied to all areas of consumption in my life.
It started earlier this year when I had had been thinking long and hard about my dressing habits. I liked clothes but had no idea how to shop for them or my body shape or dress in a way that conveyed who I was and/or wanted to be. My normal shopping routine was scroll through ASOS click on what I wanted, guess the size and proceed to the checkout. 8 times out of 10 the garment was wroooooong and as it was so cheap instead of going to the trouble to return it, it would stay in my wardrobe with its tags still on until it would be taken to the charity shop. My thinking being at least I had a good feeling someone less fortunate than me would be getting a bargin.
I had a little savings I could have some fun with so I researched personal shopper/stylists/wardrobe consultants until I found one who understood what the brief was. To say it wasn’t emotional would be and understatement. I was surprised at the feelings it stirred up inside me about how I saw my size and body shape and also at the items we chose together that I never would have dreamed of wearing in a million years. These have become my favourites and make me feel like a million dollars. The most interesting thing I took away from the experience is that each item was of premium quality, beautifully made and therefore beautifully fitted. I have found the saying ‘the clothes maketh the man’ definitely applies. Not only have I felt a lot more confident in myself, I have a beautiful wardrobe I like to take care of and a lot less tat cluttering up my life. I now approach clothes shopping in a more considered way where I identify what might be missing or what might want updating and research the best pieces that can fill the gap. More often than not I’ll need to save up and in doing this I treat it with more care than I would normally, which in turn again makes me feel good! I’ll admit in moments of boredom I’ve fallen off the wagon and found myself with an unwanted acrylic white bikini and wooden soled clog ankle booties, but all in all I’m learning that the value I place on my clothes comes out in the value that I place on myself. Now I know this isn’t going a great way to save the Whales and minimise the global carbon footprint, or maybe in a very round about way it is? The point is I’m spending less but getting so much more.
A few weeks ago I had another knee operation which turned out to be a lot more complicated than initially thought and kept me housebound for two weeks. Then ready to go back to work, my face swelled up so I looked like a hamster, another week at home. The swelling is starting to go down but the cabin fever is at an all time high. A very thoughtful friend sent through a link to the New York Times ‘T Magazine’ latest profile on one of my and Ben’s favourite interior decorators/shop keepers and friend Robert Kime. It profiled the flat above his shop in Bloomsbury and his cottage in rural Cumbria. Reading the article and looking at these images reminded me of what I have trying to apply to my consumption habit all over again. Why not wait for the best and make do until you get it? No more ‘that’ll do’ no more ‘if it breaks I’ll just get a new one’. Why not focus more on bringing fewer things into your life that are beautiful and that you want to take care of forever, which in turn will take care of you by becoming a part of your living aesthetic. Again, it’s not saving Whales, but I can think of fewer nicer things than starting the day with a good coffee out of your most favoured coffee can, or bringing in some freshly cut flowers to go in the prettiest vase you had ever seen. Using your best everyday because everyday should be the best. Do you know what I mean?