Monday, July 31, 2006

Wardrobe Refashion

I've finally been accepted to Wardrobe Refashion for a 4-month term. A major undertaking IN ADDITION to my steps. The term begins August 1 and goes to December 1. That is a LONG TIME not to buy ANY new clothing!

The pledge is as follows:

The Wardrobe Refashion Pledge

I, rani,

Pledge that I shall abstain from the purchase of "new" manufactured items of clothing,
for the period of 4 months.

I Pledge that I shall refashion, renovate, recylcle pre-loved items
for myself for the term of my contract.

I Pledge that I shall create and craft items of clothing for myself
with my own hands in
fabric, yarn or other medium for the term of my contract.

I Pledge that I will share the love and post a photo of my
refashioned, renovoated, recycled, crafted or created item of clothing
on the Wardrobe Refashion blog,
so that others may share the joy that thy thriftyness brings!

I will post whenever I've made something new and at least weekly to update on my progress. I will do my best not to use the Get out of Fashion Jail free cards I get (2 for the total pledge).

IN ADDITION, I have my steps to write about today:
another mall trip (I go to a medspa there). I deftly avoided looking in clothing store windows, averted my eyes from rows of sunglasses, and even stayed away from beauty and makeup shops! (I did spend about 10 minutes at the Aveda store...can't resist...but bought nothing and had a nice cup of tea there)

I also finally put together my AIDS walk tshirt-to-pants which I plan to post this week on Wardrobe Refashion but which needs some waistband reworking first.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Climate change

Well, global warming is real, but I mean the new balmy weather in my new 'hood. It's perpetually 90, it seems.

The worst part of it is having sweaters hanging in the closet that I cannot use for at least two more months. I am so spoiled by mostly-same-all-the-time San Francisco weather. Now I have to set aside winter clothes and summer clothes, not wear everything at once. I even find it difficult to wear anything long sleeve these days (too hot!).

It makes window shopping a real temptation, especially when you see cute tank tops and floaty blouses. I'm reverting to closet-shopping (digging through my clothes to see if there's something I haven't worn in a while).

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Mall

The mall is a dangerous place. I went there for lunch and I already felt like just browsing, just stepping inside to see what's there, just stopping by the store window to admire the clothes.

I bought food of course, and junk food, but stayed away from actually buying any clothing. Still, I WAS drawn in by those windows and stores. Hence, Step 8:

Avoid window shopping for clothes and accessories.

I know, this is hard, because you of course pass by windows everywhere. But it does mean no staring at the windows in admiration, no holding up clothing against me to see how it looks (unless I've got something absolutely necessary to buy that i can't make or buy 2ndhand) and no trying on (see previous). The other exception to entering clothing stores will be if I am with someone who is looking for something, but it still means not window shopping for myself.

Only vicarious pleasures for those trying to be virtuous...

Monday, July 24, 2006

Nothing new

It's my birthday, but I'm not wearing anything new. I found this Abercrombie butterfly shirt several months ago (kind of like the one shown here) which fits like a glove. Okay a tight glove. It's new to me and I love it.

Step #7. If you cannot make it, buy it secondhand. Check secondhand before buying new.

Despite my ownership of a sewing machine and my ability to make really simple things, my sewing skills leave something to be desired. Thus, step 7 covers for any lapses in step 6.

Polka dot

I wore the polka dot top! So the black one has to be returned. I can't return the polka dot top even though I only wore it for 4 hours - exchanges only. Might exchange it because it isn't as off-shoulder as it seems.

I was sorely tempted by a fashion-show for hunger, a series of dress-for-less-makeover type shows, and almost went to the clothing section of but I resisted and haven't looked back.

Instead, I go to sleep dreaming of what to wear and how. To counteract, I set aside one of my Indian salwar sets to give away.

Step #6: If you truly need something, MAKE IT instead of buying.

In that vein, I am going to try to make a pair of short capris out of that XL tshirt I bought for the AIDS walk. I do need a pair of stretchy workout capris, especially in this summer heat.

Friday, July 21, 2006

I bought something

Okay, so I bought two. I am EITHER going to wear the black sling-neck tank top (with my own pretty silver and black skirt) OR the black-and-white polka off-shoulder top (preferred, with black skirt or pants) for the scene. Whichever one I DON'T wear will get returned. Or maybe both depending on what happens with the final costuming decision. Can you tell this is low-budget?

Anyway, now that I've already partially busted a step, I am going to be more conscientious from now on, and add another. A really really tough one.

Step 5: No fashion websites. I allow myself a few: the Splendora style newsletter, the wardrobe refashion blog, and my own fashion cents (and of course this blog). Only these three. Forever.

I think I'll just pass out now, thank you.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Moving complete

I've finally moved to the new place. It's a suburb, not a big city, so it's really different and kind of boring. Which is okay, because I've been trying to unpack.

Limitation: No drawers! The walk-in closet is HUGE but I don't have enough hangers, nor do I have ways to store my delicates. I'll have to find clear boxes or shelves and get some more hangers.

I've managed through no fashion-related tv, no magazines, and no buying. yay. In fact, in the process of moving (and trying to fit all those clothes on less than 50 hangers), I got rid of a few. Phew.

The no buying thing is going to take a hit again. I need to get myself a top to match a skirt for a dinner party movie scene (yes, I am acting!). I HAVE to wear the skirt and I have NOTHING that goes well with it. SO, may I please be excused this once? I guess this qualifies for the exception: absolutely necessary.

Once I buy it, I'll hang out. I'll let you know about step 5, too, coming soon!

Update: here's a photo of the new place.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Progress on "NO BUYING"

My plan not to buy any more clothing is doomed from the start. I realized today I already pledged $60 for 2 tshirts (okay one isn't for me) that are for the AIDS walk. Do charity donation-tees count? I'm not sure myself. Still, the pledge was made before I started the steps. One of those t-shirts is an XL will (according to plan) be made into capri pants a la this tutorial.

In the process of packing and moving, I've realized just HOW MANY clothes and just general STUFF I have. I have a good stock of cloth and cloth scraps, plus a HUGE bag of yarn, plenty of beads and knitting/crochet supplies. The possibilities of refashioning are endless.

But this is about DE-fashioning. And that means, no more obsessing about fashion today.

Try it, it's harder than you think.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Steps 3 and 4

Moving right along those steps: no tv at all today (so far), and no magazines browsed (though plenty of websites). I temporarily became inspired to try patchwork by Cut + Paste, which has some of the cutest things I want to make! So, I tried it out on my sewing machine. Maybe I'll post a photo later.

Fortunately for my 12 steps, my sewing machine moved today to the new place. No more sewing, at least for 4 days.

On to step 4, which is a toughie: No buying of new clothes, accessories, or materials unless ABSOLUTELY needed.

I have enough underwear and socks and shoes to last me a lifetime, I think. Only if the last one runs out will I buy, or maybe if I need something truly special for some occasion.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Step 2 progress

My attempt to stay away from fashion tv shows is going well. Didn't watch any today!

I'm going to start Step 3: no fashion magazines. This means I don't allow myself to read Vogue, Glamour and all those other millions of magazines that mention fashion. The less you see, the less you are tempted to buy and indulge and obsess. For now, websites will be allowed.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A Fashion Addict's 12 Steps

I admit it. I'm addicted to fashion. I am a fashionholic.

Step 1 of rehab is to give up old and torn and non-wearable clothes. Already done, as much as I could part with. (I still have the number of items above)

Step 2 - refrain from watching fashion-related tv shows (What not to wear, The look for less, Next top model, How do I look, etc). The only way not to be exposed to fashion on tv is not to watch it (even newscasters and Sesame Street characters dress well). But these I will give up...after today.

Progress to be noted tomorrow.

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Count

Well, I finally managed to count up every piece of clothing and every accessory I own. To be noted: I didn't include rubberbands for my hair, which alone might inflate the number drastically, but I did include hair accessories, hats, jewelry, and things like that.

Without furthur ado, here is the list. Please note that I am baring my wardrobe here!

100 indian clothing pieces (35 tops, 35 bottoms, 30 scarves)
2 shawls
6 pr pantyhose and tights
10 pr socks
1 set thermal underwear
20 pr underwear
12 bras
25 short sleeve tops and tanks
5 tshirts
20 long sleeve tops
4 sweaters
14 pr pants & jeans
17 skirts
7 dresses
6 coats and jackets
9 pr shoes
3 scarves
4 pr gloves
16 pr earrings
15 necklaces
45 bracelets and bangles
3 belts
9 bags
3 rings
10 pj bottoms, tops, and gowns
1 robe
4 headbands and hairclips
4 hats
3 watches
= 378 items of clothing

Phew! That's a LOT more than I thought I had. I suppose it's less than some people might have, but more than most.

More amazing to me: all the stuff I owned fit into THIS WARDROBE, now for sale (please ignore messiness):

I wonder how many clothes other people own. Anyone?

Friday, July 07, 2006

A Refashionista Rethinks Fashion

I start this blog knowing that people all over the world are obsessed with fashion. I read various fashion magazines at the library, in bookstores, on the plane. I stand in front of the mirror putting together my clothes in new combinations and trying them on repeatedly. I browse for clothes and buy things I don't need.

The history of fashion is thus:
- In the beginning, people wore leaves, or skins, or (gasp) their birthday suits
- Then, there was fashion.
- After fashion, came the fashionista.
- With an increasing use of resources, some wise young people decided to destruct and reconstruct their clothes into new forms - the REfashionista came into being.
(See Wardrobe Refashion, which has been a great source of inspiration)

But making your clothes different doesn't rid you of them. It only creates more clothes you can hang on to longer. Together with bought fabric, more and more thread and needles and velcro and buttons, your one shirt becomes two, two become four, and before you know it, you have a wardrobe full of new old clothes.

In my efforts to live a more simple lifestyle, I have tried the following:
1. Stopping buying new clothes
- but I keep getting gifts and hand-me downs
2. Getting rid of clothes periodically to Goodwill, Freecycle, Craigslist
3. Buying organic and sustainable whenever I can

But it's hard, darn it, to keep from still trying on and making clothes and sighing over things in store windows.

SO, My first step towards realizing what I already have is to count up every single piece of clothing and accessories that I own. A huge task, but one that must be done, because I'm moving soon, too!

Stay tuned...