Welcome back to another update on my attempt at a low buy year using the 20 in 2020 challenge–where the goal is to buy no more than 20 items of clothing. I didn’t write a March update because I was busy being terrified, anxious, and glued to the apple news app (you too?). I’m writing an April update in the same emotional state, mildly dulled by its consistency for the past 45 days. Am I feeling better? I think so, until I need to bring my stress blanket to bed.
Some of you might be wondering, how is your 20 in 2020 going? I will sum that up in a gif that has encompassed the last two months.
No really, I keep seeing posts on Instagram that say “how can anyone think of shopping at a time like this?” I respect that that is someone else’s experience but uh, for me, it’s been more of a “I can’t think of ANYTHING but shopping at a time like this.”
I could probably do a psychological deep dive for you at this point about how my mom and grandma went to the mall any time either of them experienced any sadness. “We’re stress shoppers, that’s what we do,” I think my mom said by way of explanation. I have no doubt inherited the gene.
With fashion revolution week last week I’ve been thinking a lot about lessons in buying things slower. I keep returning to two thoughts: 1) you can’t unlearn 20+ years of capitalist consumption at once, and 2) slow fashion is in the practices not the brands bought.
I’ve been feeling some frustration toward my Instagram lately–and yes, I know I shouldn’t care–but I feel that I’ll never be fully “in” the slow fashion Instagram community because I don’t have the ethical brands that seem to count as a ticket to entry. While I like those brands and spent the first two months of the year thinking “maybe if I limit my consumption I can finally buy some of this trendy ethical $300 stuff,” that’s definitely not where this challenge has gone for me.
It turns out, I still want the $15 poshmark items from fast fashion brands that I enjoy but no longer feel comfy giving money to.
But the problem with immense stress and opening the Poshmark browsing flood gates is you can get a lot–A LOT– for your money. So, I probably “only” spent about $200 on clothes in the last two months but have acquired:
-4 new workout items (not counted in my 20 items but still)
-a pair of sandals (on my list)
-3 Brass items bought with some credit (the small business feels!)
-some new bras (if it’s practical it’s easier to justify…)
-1 Vetta dress (the small business feels meet the “please let my wedding continue as scheduled” feels!)
If it’s not clear right now, I feel like a mega loser at this challenge at the moment, and if there’s one thing I strongly dislike it’s failing at my goals. On the other hand, some true wins have occurred in the form of:
-not adding extra items to carts to get free shipping
-focusing my endless browsing on things actually on my list
-salvaging a pair of jeans by changing the hem and dyeing a couple of stained shirts so they are wearable again
-avoiding succumbing to the immense Instagram temptation to purchase matching sweatsuits for quarantine
This last one has been the most important, I think. I doubt I am the only person who has not changed their consumption habits in the last month but has instead felt their wants move toward comfort, better work from home clothes, and anything (anything!!) that can arrive in the mail and make me feel a positive emotion, if only for a moment.
On the opposite end, I feel the pull to buy dresses for wedding events, swimsuits, shorts, and anything (anything!!) that feels like a pledge that life WILL continue and I WILL get to wear those happy clothes to happy non-canceled events.
So, that’s where I am. Trying to live in a very very precarious here-and-now that both doesn’t need to buy vacation wear as a promise but also don’t end up with a whole new work from home wardrobe. A here-and-now that somehow commits to the idea that this is not a forever but that I can stay accountable anyway.
All of this to say, I bought a lot of stuff this month. I’m taking May as a chance to restart and remember that my needs are met.
Anyway, how are you?