As of late, my friends and I have been very interested in our relationships with our clothing. We’ve started being more aware of what pieces we wear, and how often we wear them. We’ve begun to think through how quickly we accumulate more clothes, discovering we’ve bought dresses we have no occasion for, or online shopped for the third time in one week. My guy always teases me that he’s never seen me re-wear an outfit, and that’s intrigued me. Because ever since I could dress myself, it’s been a great outlet for self-expression. I can remember all my ridiculous phases of Limited Too matching sets and hoodie sweatshirts and colored gauchos, as fashion shifted and my body grew. I’ve always loved matching things together that no one else would think of: combining preppy and punk along with three opposing patterns in one outfit. I’ve been influenced by all types of styles, and like to push the boundaries of what’s expected. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me, “only YOU could pull that off,” I could buy all of Free People (and I would be quite a happy kitten.)
But the line between enjoying the creativity fashion allows and an unhealthy addiction to clothes is razor thin, and I’ve been dancing on it for quite a while. How can I be more healthy in my interactions with fashion, enjoying the sweetness and resisting the addiction?
My dear friend Hannah and I decided to explore occurrence of our overflowing closets in this photo project. We are both enthralled by fashion, and find joy in putting pieces together. We value the aesthetic design of the clothing we own, and feel that in some ways, it is more than a search for identity, but a creative exercise. But we also realize we are living in excess, and are open to figuring out how to solve that.
We live in a culture that whispers we aren’t enough and we don’t have enough in each moment. This culture defines us by what we wear, who we know, how hip our Instagram is. Each advertisement tells us we need more to be happy: more things, more people, more attention, and we believe them all. Just look around. We obsess over our social media because we look to it for fulfillment, thinking one day a notification will declare that we have enough likes to be considered enough. We categorize people by importance, glamorizing fame and devaluing those who consistently care for us. The accumulation of stuff around us shows that we’ve bought into this lie that we can buy our happiness.
So from now until the end of the semester, I’ve decided to spend some time away from my sweet love, Shopping. Last year for Lent, I gave it up and it was so difficult and refreshing, and since Lent is just passing, I’m going to make my own time of rest and reflection. Also in this shopping fast, I’m going to clean out my closet and think of creative, healthy ways to return to my love in a few months time. Like maybe whenever I buy a new article of clothing, I have to get rid of one. Or I could automatically get rid of clothes I haven’t worn in half a year. The possibilities are endless.
If anyone wants to join me in this discussion or take the challenge with me, please speak up. As we peer into our full closets, let’s counter the phenomenon of “but I have nothing to wear,” replacing it with an excitement for discovery and deep feeling of contentment. Let’s begin to use our clothes as expressions and conversation starters, adopting an attitude of “I have more than enough, and I am more than enough.”