January Sales

Besides the new year’s diet and holiday booking advertisements, television is trying to brainwash us right now into more thoughtless and panic-stricken consumerism than usual.

I guess the message reverberated somewhere within me as I thought about how it would be nice to return to work/research with a new outfit. This wasn’t really frivolous shopping though, since I really do need some new jeans and other trousers (without holes) to wear to the department. Falling asleep on Thursday night I had the feeling that Friday morning was going to be a good time to browse the charity shops, and it definitely was.

I’m getting better at practicing restraint and I did not purchase a single item that was not ready to wear. I did try on a few shirts that would’ve needed to be taken in or that I would’ve stopped wearing after a few outings, but placed them back on the rack remembering all the alterations awaiting the scissors and needle. Just because it costs £2 does not make it a worthwhile purchase if I’ll only wear it once. In the past, I had rationalised purchases I wasn’t head over heels with by thinking ‘oh, its a donation to charity. If I don’t want it anymore, I’ll just donate it again’. This time, leaving a charity shop with one prized item rather than multiple items I was temporarily excited with, or leaving empty handed after rejecting some, was extremely satisfying.

This satisfaction was heightened by the passers-by who rushed from one retail establishment to another, arms full of bags with brand-new, factory-fresh garments. In fact, one of the charity shops I was in had two identical shirts in the same size, and I felt a small unease by the idea and only realised why when I passed by a large ‘January Sale’ sign in a store window, with a full rack of mass-produced sameness.

While my personal wardrobe refashion pledge is now technically over, the feeling I have towards regular stores and clothing reinforces the importance of the pledge and I am going to try and keep it as long as possible. I am therefore placing a three-month ban/pledge on myself.

And now, on with the show:

Cargo corduroy trousers

A pair of cargo-cords that are very comfortable

Green cotton sweater

Grey cotton cardigan

two cotton sweaters in almost-new condition (the green one was made here in Scotland, and the grey one was 99p)

Brown linen blazer

Apple seed necklace

from two weeks ago, a linen ‘jacket’ (fitted and unlined) and seed necklace I’ve worn with the jacket three times already

Bucks County Pennsylvania boy scout uniform

Bucks County Pennsylvania boy scout uniform

The one ‘impulse’ buy, was a shirt that caught my eye in the second (out of 6 I visited) shop: the words ‘Bucks County, Pennsylvania’ caught my eye since that is where I grew up! The patch carrying these words was sewn to a Boy Scout uniform that ended up here in Scotland! I picked it up, put it back, took a phone picture of the patch, decided I was only buying it to be sentimental, tried on clothes, and went back to grab it. As a lifetime Girl Scout, I felt a bit wrong about this, but then realised ‘hey, they’re sort of my neighbours’…and was content at the end of the day.

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