As we come to the end of the second week of Slow Fashion October, I need to write about the theme of Week 2: Small. For this prompt, Karen Templer writes: Today begins Week 2 and our theme is — we’re talking handmade / living with less / quality over quantity / the capsule wardrobe / indie fashion / small-batch makers / sustainability in every sense.
I think I'll start by showing you a couple of very unattractive pictures of where I keep my clothes. Here's my half of the bedroom closet:
This is where I keep jeans and corduroy pants, most of my long-sleeved shirts and a couple jackets. I also own precisely three dresses: one is from the thrift store and it's a cute little number I can wear about once a year when my husband and I get to go out someplace fancy, one is from REI and good to wear on hot summer days, and one is a little black knit dress I got at T9 that is perfect for gigs when I don't have to be too formal (like auditions). You can see the shoe rack peeking out from under the clothes. I don't actually own that many shoes, and I haven't bought myself new shoes aside from running shoes in years. My shoes aren't particularly nice or special; I just haven't bought new ones.
In keeping with this week's theme, our closet is small. Heck, our whole house is small (and will remain so even after the remodeling is done), and that's fine by me. Less space to heat, cool, pay taxes on, and fill with clutter. It's a challenge keeping everything organized with a family of four, though. Especially when some of us (ahem) have creative hobbies.
Below is an equally unattractive snapshot of my side of our bedroom dresser. You can see in the side of the photo that my husband never completely closes the drawers on his side (insert frustrated emoji here). The dresser is where my socks, underwear, PJs, running clothes, grubby gardening clothes and t-shirts are stored.
I keep my hand knit items in a drawer elsewhere, and I also own a couple very fancy skirts for the rare occasion when I need to dress up for a more formal gig (like a voice recital). And that's it for my clothes. I'm fortunate not to have to dress up for work very much. I teach piano and gig as an accompanist, but living in the Midwest where we take [a little too much] pride in being casual, as long as my jeans aren't ripped and my shirt isn't stained, whatever I'm wearing is good enough unless I'm performing.
I don't make enough money to spend it on expensive clothes. I'm not necessarily proud of my wardrobe. It's a mix of items I've found in thrift stores, admittedly cheap jeans and shirts from places like Old Navy and Target, a few splurges from Title Nine and REI, and so many hand knit sweaters that over the summer I actually donated a bag of the ones I don't wear anymore to St. Vinny's because I didn't have room for all of them. The clothes I like best are the ones that last. I love my hand knit sweaters. I love the running and outdoor clothing I've collected from REI and T9; though I'm afraid I can't say whether or not the people who made them are treated well or paid fairly, those items cost more up front and wear like iron. Of course I can't say the same for the cheaper things I've gotten at Target and the like, though I wear those things hard, too.
For me to declare that everything I wear will be made by me or come from small-batch makers and sustainable sources is, frankly, wishful thinking. I'll never, never, be able to sew running tights or tops that come close to what I can find from brands that specialize in that. I seriously doubt I'll ever make a pair of jeans. (Soon I am planning to venture into t-shirt sewing, however, and I wouldn't have believed that a year or two ago, so never say never, I guess.) And I certainly can't afford to buy everything sustainably, though I can certainly live with less.
Because our space is so limited here, I go through my clothes pretty often to cull the things I don't wear enough. Now that we're getting into fall and cooler weather, it's probably time to do that again. In fact, I have been waiting for The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up for months at the public library, and it finally arrived yesterday. Considering Slow Fashion October and the Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge, its arrival is timely, don't you think?
So that's the story with my clothes. It's not very interesting, and I don't have a lot of time or money to do a big overhaul at the moment (we're doing the house first). However, I believe in starting small. I remember when the organic/local (not the same thing, you know) food movement took hold about 15 years ago. Many people couldn't afford to buy all organic food, or all locally produced food, so these lists were published along the lines of "Top Five Vegetables you should buy organic". Start small. If can only afford one expensive food item in your budget, say, buy organic apples because apple production uses more petrochemicals than other fruits.
How will I start small? I won't buy any more crap clothes for starters. I have more than I need already, and when the cheap daily t-shirts wear out, I'll figure out how to make more for myself with better fabric than you'll find at Target and the like. (Good excuse to save up and do some more online shopping at Organic Cotton Plus, now that I've discovered how fabulous they are!)
Second, I'm going to acknowledge publicly that I have too much yarn in my stash and I'm going to give some away at the end of this and every SFO post I write this month! The first step to living with less is to actually have less, right? And so I'm going to share the excess. You get free yarn, I free up a little space. Win win.
Here are two balls of Sublime Organic Merino DK. One is a pale herby green, and the other is a natural cream color. It's soft as a baby's butt and I think I was going to make a hat out of it before losing interest. There are also two hanks of Tahki Cotton Classic in a sunny yellow. They were going to be a top for Anya when she was a baby...obviously I never got around to it and two skeins of cotton isn't enough to make her anything useful anymore. Do you want this yarn? I hope so, because I want you to have it! Leave a comment here or on the IG post by TUESDAY OCTOBER 13, 8:00CT and tell me how you might use it, whether to make a small thing, or to be a smaller part of a bigger project. Be sure to include your Ravelry username or an email address. I'll pick a number out of a hat and announce the winner later this week.