Consumption, Finding Abundance

Finding Abundance: Giving and Getting

In declaring to myself, before God and Capitalism, that I was done buying unethically produced clothing, I did not stop to think about what I would wear in the future.

My response to the ethical and environmental nightmare that is the fast fashion industry is far from uncommon. People have always used their money as a signal, and I’m in a moment of awakening that others have surely had before me. These other people did not, however, have to think about what they were going to wear through a sweltering Parisian summer on a grad student’s budget.

Or, maybe they did, but I haven’t read their blog posts about it, so here we are.

As of June 13th, it has been five full months since I purchased an article of clothing. My search for fair-trade, organic denim has been thoroughly documented on this blog, and yet, despite my research, I didn’t even flinch towards my wallet when my leggings bit the dust.

Part of my resolve came from the weather. Jeans have fallen very, very far down the list of things I’m willing to wear in this heat, so waiting until the fall to make a purchase is not a hardship.

Another piece of my resistance, perhaps the lions share, came from the fact that I own SO. MANY. SKIRTS! I had no idea! All of these things, in my curated, pared down closet, without my knowledge! I wanted to see how long I could go without buying any pants.

As it turns out, you can go a very, very long time.

In the wake of my “HOW MANY SKIRTS?” discovery, I’ve been working on further evaluating the clothing that I own. I’m uninterested in donating or throwing away any clothing to a nameless source. I am, on the other hand, very interested in creating a clothing vault for myself this fall, and in outfitting my friends.

Just this morning, I looked at a beautiful, red linen blazer that I bought with my mom at a market in Italy. It is so pretty, and I never wear it. So, I snapped a couple of pictures and a close up of the buttons, and made my way over to meet up with some friends. One girl is very interested in the blazer, and bam, it has a new home! I know that, as with many articles of clothing, it’s likely that this jacket will end its life in a landfill (no!) or in industrial stuffing (yes!), but at least I know it will be used for at least a little more time.

I’ve been hopping from one social call to another before I start back at work, and I went on my way to visit an auntie-friend. She’s handed dressed down to me before, and today she brought out a very cute denim dress that I’ve seen her wear around her apartment. She felt it was too short for her to wear without pants, so I tried it on.

As I was rolling up the sleeves, she had me turn around and around, and we agreed it fit. Once I had stopped my spinning, she smirked and said, “You know, you really do look good in my clothes!”

It’s not as though my friends and I are constantly pawing through each others closets or hand not-right-for-us items off to each other, but today felt like a very neat “Give and you shall receive!” experience.

In addition to the good feelings of sharing between friends, I’m also very, very happy to incorporate this dress into my weekly rotation. I’ll share more about that in an upcoming post on my summer capsule wardrobe. It’s more of a ‘curation for the truly lazy’ wardrobe that I’m hoping to wear for the season, and I just might add multiple photos (!!) to the post!

The cosmic exchange between a linen blazer and a denim dress has reminded me that I am a source of abundance for other people, and that I am not nearly as isolated when it comes to my ethical efforts as I may feel. It makes me want to go through my closet with my friends to keep the good karma rolling, but even one experience like this is enough to keep me feeling good in the weeks to come (and whenever I wear the dress!)



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