I just had an insight. I am not a conscious consumer, I am a previously starved consumer. A consumer for whom there was nothing to consume, therefore I did not consume it, therefore I am "conscious."
As a lifetime fattie, I've mostly been ahead of the size range game. The availability of clothes that fitted was pretty dire, and clothes I would wear? Next to nothing. As a teen my only items of RTW apart from unders, were my school shirts (men's ones bought at op shops) and my dad's old suit jacket, which I loved. The eclectic collection that comprised my wardrobe was no more attainable in a womenswear shop in New Zealand than a handful of magic beans.
Over the years in between, more fashion in my size range has appeared, but its at one end uniformly depressing quality, cut and fondness for cheap synthetics, or at the other end loose cut and lovely fabrics but scary prices, kept my engagement very low and picky.
So, here we are in the 2010s, and I have been on a quest to own only A Few Good Things for most of it. And feeling a tad superior about it too I am ashamed to say.
Last night I performed the cross seasonal ritual of taking my most wintry clothes out of the wardrobe and packing them in flat containers that live under the bed, while hauling out sundresses and other summer fare to hang up. I have three feet of hanging space only so this really is necessary even with A Few Good Things. But this year I have noticed that my three feet is feeling a bit pinched. My wardrobe appears to have been packing on the pounds. And I have only sewn costumes for Constance (kept elsewhere) and done mending. So where did all the extra stuff come from???
Oh hai, City Chic.
City Chic (CC) is my Achilles heel. A ready to wear shop that has many flaws, such as having no colour sense whatsoever and an uncanny fondness for polyester. But it also acknowledges that women love a fit and flare silhouette, a peplum top, a maxi dress, and an interesting jacket cut.
It started with Constance - I was given a converted CC cocktail dress and it looked so good on me, I sought out the shop to see what else they had in that cut. QUITE a bit let me tell you. A good half of Constance's wardrobe staples come from there. But then I started noticing real girl clothes, trying them on and getting interested. And then when I landed an office job again, I went a bit mad.
So yes, I am off my high horse. Of course if you can't find anything that you like and fit, it's easy not to buy anything.
I am really incredibly grateful to have had a body that bucks the RTW trend for most of my life, otherwise I would never have had the motivation to sew, I would never have formed a sense of style that was initially more about making a point about being different than anything else, but allowed me to learn to draft and drape and learn how to make the shapes I wanted to wear.
But it won't get me to Heaven any faster. Not when I keep prowling the online site Sale section, and buy things because they are marginally ok, instead of exactly what I wanted.
You may let out your breath now -having rumbled myself doing this, I am stopping.
Here's a collage of Constance in costumes that started life as City Chic buys. They've all been embellished in some way, except the devore corset cover. Which ripped at the seams on first wearing. More reason not to buy fast fashion tat!