Thursday, January 6, 2011

12 in 11

Yesterday, on Taphophile's blog, I read of a challenge she's set herself for 2011 - to buy only 12 items of clothing in 2011. She borrowed the idea from The Really Good Life. I've often been tempted by challenges of the 'make do and mend' variety, but have found them a bit too austere and daunting. Twelve items of clothing in 2011 seems manageable. I've slept on the idea since reading Taphi's blog yesterday and have decided I'm in.

You might ask why I would want to do something like this, given the extent to which clothes are one of the great pleasures of my life. I think the primary reason is to save money - or at least prove to myself that I can be more frugal and restrained as I rapidly approach a time of significantly diminished income. Though who knows? If I limit myself to only twelve items I might feel each has to be a significant investment. I've always felt slightly guilty about the extent to which I love clothes (though it doesn't take much to make me feel guilty about anything). At various times I've felt I spent too much money on them, and at other times, particularly more recently, I've spent more modestly. But I know I get just as much pleasure - and often better results - from recombining or rethinking how to wear the clothes I already own than I do from buying new ones, so I can learn to indulge my clothes passion in a different way.

And there's also still the nagging realisation that there's just too much stuff in my life, and this is one strategy to limit new acquisitions. Moving house was great for acknowledging just how much stuff I have. I did throw out some clothes, but there are still more than enough to keep me going for some time. Fortunately, it's a long time since I dressed 'fashionably', so it's unlikely my clothes will go further out of fashion.

Of course no such challenge comes without exceptions. These are the exceptions proposed by Louisa and Taphi and they seem sensible:

* Essential footwear. Initially I was going to delete this exception as the examples given were new sports shoes when the old ones die, or gumboots or essential footwear for safety - none of which I own. But for the last several months I've been enduring some very painful heel spurs and I think I might have to buy some shoes specifically to help deal with this. Given what they'll probably look like, I'd hate to think I'd have to count them as one of my precious 12 purchases.
* Essential underwear – bras and undies are exempt but on a replacement basis only. Hosiery is exempt but purchases are to be minimal. I'll add pyjamas to this list as my current nightwear is appallingly ragged and in need of replacement.
* Gifts - gifts of clothing are exempt, but clothing gifts must not be solicited.
* Stuff made for oneself. I don't sew, but this does allow me to knit for myself (preferably from stash). I'll also mend and repair - though I do that anyway.

So, let's see how I go. I'll report my purchases here on my blog to keep me honest. Any other takers?


Rose Red said...

Hmmmm, I do like this idea. Like you, I do love clothes but my lifestyle now means I have less need of "nice" clothes (read work clothes - which for me were rarely suits, but separates which I could also wear on the weekends). It will really make me stop and think before I buy things (although I tend to do that anyway now). I might have to sleep on it too, before deciding.

M-H said...

You're talking about finished clothes? Things you make don't count?

missfee said...

I am very tempted but i am not sure how I would stick to this - as clothes are my weakness too. I have been considering an audit as I think I have many clothes I don't actually wear.

Anonymous said...

Heel spurs - excruciatingly painful.
Get the to a Podiatrist to have inlays made-to-fit. You will probably be told to 'wear them in' over the first week.

Then just select your FLAT shoes to have a tad more depth to accomodate the inlay - the salesperson will help with this.

This MAY help to the extent that you can wear your normal pretty shoes. for normal pretty events without trouble, but only after you have 'taken the medicine' consistently for a fair old while.
If you are lucky you may cure the spurs completely, but DO NOT lose the inlays - you may need them again in the future.

Gae, in Callala Bay

Cecilia said...

Unfortunately (because I hate clothes shopping), I actually have to buy clothes this year. And soon. I got rid of a whole heap when I left Sydney and, while I'm happy to putter around in my old jeans and t-shirts, I'm afraid my students will soon notice I basically have about 2 outfits I wear in various combinations all semester!

I'm looking forward to seeing your 12 purchases!

louisa @ TheReallyGoodLife said...

Hi Lyns,

Welcome on board! All the cool kids are cutting back this year ;)

If I limit myself to only twelve items I might feel each has to be a significant investment.

That's one of the reasons I'm doing it too - both a financial investment for better quality items and an emotional investment for something I really love and will treasure, rather than another already-got-20-of-them t-shirt.

Rose Red & missfee - one of our regular commenters has said she doesn't think she'll be able to stick to the 12 either, but she's come up with a compromise - recording all her purchases on a calendar so her purchases are more conscious and accountable.

I'm with Cecilia though - I'm looking forward to seeing your 12, Lyns!

Yarna said...

I think I like this idea too. I know I have too many clothes but am reluctant to part with any. i am trying to throw something out if I buy a new item.

Is this another one where the rules can be bent very slightly?

Taphophile said...

Welcome to the club, Lyn. I've been tempted already by some Very Silly Shoes. The challenge made me think and I decided not to waste one of my precious items on cute but cheap and probably unwearable footwear.

Anonymous said...

During a visit to one of my favourite craft destinations - Past Times in Cooma, I discovered a fascinating book - Make Do and Mend. Fascinating but gruesome.
"Reproductions of official Second World War instruction leaflets"
And I clearly remember sleeping on sheets that had been cut down through the worn middle, and the less worn outer edges seamed and the new 'outsides' hemmed. And every tiny leftover of knitting wool wound into a butterfly and hoarded - especially coloured wool for Fair Isle vests for Dad.
Dead give away, ain't it, that I was born in 1944?

Gae, in Callala Bay

1funkyknitwit said...

Ooooo you intrigue me Lyn !!!! ;D

I REALLY don't know how I would do with this challenge because clothing also gives me such pleasure to buy and wear, however I greatly admire you taking it on. I too think we have way more than we need, but I also think these are life's simple pleasures ?.

I think the items you left exempt are legit and a fair call.

your a brave woman ! ;D