My birthday, September 16th, marked one year since making my slow style commitment and I wanted to take a moment to reflect back on how it went, what I learned and consider where to go from here.
Where I Started
I’ve had a draft sitting untouched forever about my starting point last year, so I’ll just go ahead and summarize here and delete that! Out of curiosity, I counted the total number of garments I owned at the time and how my wardrobe measured up in the categories Handmade, Thrifted, Ethical and Fast Fashion. I was happy to find that of about 120 total, over half was thrifted, one third was fast fashion and the rest was split between handmade and ethical. Of course, I donated literally hundreds of garments after becoming a mom and quitting my job 2 years ago, but these numbers showed that once I started over with focus and a conscience that I was really walking my talk. It’s also worth noting that, with few exceptions, all of the fast fashion has been in my closet for 3+ years.
What I Bought
Now this was actually quite startling to me…I STILL bought 27 pieces of clothing throughout the year! That’s equivalent to one every two weeks and I felt like I’d completely quit shopping. Goes to show how bad I was before I can at least say that 21 were second hand from thrift stores and the other 6 were from companies I felt good about. Not pictured is a sequin skirt I bought off ETSY for a Vegas trip and future occasions, the top was handmade in Guatemala and purchased from a vendor in Santa Fe, the pants are from Patagonia and the cami’s are from PACT.
What I Made
Although I started this back in September of 2015, I didn’t actually start sewing until April of this year. So in 6 months I made 6 garments, a pace I’m totally satisfied with. It’s given me the chance to see what I reach for every day and plan projects accordingly. I’d love to sew all day every day but then my closet would probably be the same mess it was before!
What I Learned
I learned that I LOVE the clothes I make for myself, even when they’re imperfect, and that one handmade item can easily replace a handful of ready to wear items because I’m happy to wear the same things over and OVER again. Unfortunately, I learned this the second half of the year once I started sewing and had already thrifted a bunch of clothes that I’ll never wear now…but at least they weren’t brand new. Some of the items I thrifted are my favorites as well, so not all was lost. The unworn stuff has been piled on my sewing table to make quick notes about what I don’t like. I think that, along with a good look at the favorites will keep my sewing focused on true wardrobe builders.
What started as a goal to change my shopping habits and improve my technical skills ended up being a true shift in my mindset and lifestyle. In the second year of my Slow Style series, I hope to continue with about one garment per month using mostly materials I already have in my stash. I’ve been interested in slow stitch and natural dyes for quite some time and I think that’s where I’m finally heading now. Blurring the lines between my art and my wardrobe more and more. This moodboard is hanging in my sewing area to gently guide upcoming projects. I no longer need rules about where to shop, it’s second nature. This year is simply about making. Experimenting. Creating mindfully.