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?