Hello again, all! It’s been a while since I was a regular here. My living expenses went up a lot, so I cut back on discretionary spending like clothing, and going cold turkey from clothing-related forums, blogs, and retail mailing lists made it far easier to resist temptation. I still want to resist temptation, but after a rough pandemic-time just trying to put one foot in front of the other (like everyone!) and barely paying attention to what I was wearing, I’m ready to start finding a bit of joy again in wrapping myself to go out into the world. I also love the warm interactions on this forum, especially while the world still feels like we’re more isolated; it’s been a comfort to lurk again recently.

A few years ago I set a goal to be more sustainable in my purchases. It’s a mushy idea, and everyone will have their own valid priorities of what that means. I’m not trying to get it perfect, but I have a rough hierarchy of criteria to support my goals of having fewer & better possessions, and keeping a lighter footprint on the planet. Even if my contributions are only a very small drop in a very big bucket, that's okay. Here’s an attempt to articulate my checklist, in approximate order of importance to me:

  1. Do I actually no-kidding need it?
  2. Do I truly love it, and do I think I’ll keep loving it? (Sub-criteria: Do I think it’s beautiful?)
  3. Will I get a lot of use out of it, and will I keep it for a long time?
  4. Is it made from sustainable and/or natural materials?
  5. Is it good quality?
  6. Is there a good earth-friendly way to dispose of it when it's at the end of its life with me?
  7. Is it made in the USA? (Bonus points the more local it is.)
  8. Am I buying from a small business or individual artist/artisan?
  9. Is it made with fair labor practices?
  10. Is it secondhand?
Nothing (probably) is going to check all these boxes, but the more, the better. Every item MUST hit either the first or second criteria. Honest mistakes are acceptable; try to keep them to a minimum but they’re going to happen. Let things go without guilt if they don’t fit, are too worn down, or if they no longer spark joy (ideally after a long and useful life).

So how have I done with sticking to that?

In 2020, the only piece of clothing I bought was a pair of Vuori performance joggers to wear as lounge/exercise clothes. I *love* them.

It feels like I’ve been on a mad shopping spree late this year, though the numbers aren’t high compared to previous years: 10 items of clothing bought in 2021, and I’m going to try to call it quits for the rest of the year. Two skirts, one pair of jeans, one pair of pants, two pairs of lounge/gear pants, two pairs of ankle boots, one sleeveless top, one sweater. (Sweater and one of the boots in the Finds.)

I give myself a fair-to-good rating on sticking to my criteria over the last couple of years. The effort has been a success regardless, because it makes me really slow down and be more thoughtful about what I bring into my home. Now I just need to wear the heck out of my purchases, and keep buying things slowly or not at all. Possible outfit labs ahead as I try to figure out how to make the most of what I have, especially the newest arrivals.

I hope everyone’s been getting through the last couple of years as well as possible, and that we all have easier times ahead. Thanks for continuing to keep this forum a bright spot on the interwebs, Angie and all!