Friday, March 13, 2009

Binge and Purge

You know what I love almost as much as buying clothes? Getting rid of clothes! Weird, right? But something about deciding to part with a piece of clothing, though sometimes difficult, is overall extremely satisfying. Over the past few weeks, as part of general spring cleaning, being strapped for cash, and preparing to move to London for the summer (don't get excited/sad just yet, this is only a thought and not yet a reality, more on that in another post) I have been purging my closet of items that I infrequently or no longer wear. I am trying to get rid of at least 3 items per day. This might seem like a lot, but if you know me and have seen my closet, it makes more sense. This is anything from an AIDS Walk sweatshirt I got for free (off to Salvation Army), to some rather neat vintage items that I just don't generally wear (such as this 80's leather jacket).

In this age of the "recessionista" (I hate that word), I think a lot of clothes-minded people are considering what it means to live with less. What this means varies from person to person. To me, it has meant avoiding the cheap, high-street stores like Forever 21, H&M, and the like, where purchases tend to be badly thought out and impulsive, ending with buyers remorse and items that either sit in your closet or fall apart after a normal amount of wear. I'm trying to focus more on pieces that are versatile, well-made, and more of an investment (financial and emotional). I'm also trying to envision a life where I could live out of a few suitcases and feel satisfied with my wardrobe and not feel like I have nothing to wear.

Thus, after years of binging started this major purge. Ebay, Etsy, Beacon's Closet, Buffalo Exchange, and finally Salvation Army have been my friends. Unfortunately nothing is selling for quite as much as I would like it to (with some exceptions, god bless "buy it now"). But generally its selling, and if it's not worth anything, I have no problem giving it away. In a discussion with one of Samantha's other fashion-addicted assistants, we both agreed that it was rare that you "miss" something once it is gone.


I recently started a new FIT class on Fashion Production in preparation for my potential career change-up and have been learning a lot about what drives people (in particular, women) to buy. Something I thought was interesting was this: When men go into a store, if they find what they are looking for and it fits when they try it on, 75% of the time they buy it. Women, on the other hand, will only buy this item 25% of the time, and a quarter of those will return the item later on. In other words, for many women, shopping is emotional rather than utilitarian: we shop as a leisure activity, as sport, because are are marketed to and because we care more about how we are perceived on the basis of appearance. As someone interested in fashion business, this is useful information to decide what to design or what to carry. At the same time, its also useful to assess what drives me to buy and helps me to stop and think whether I really want or need this item.

Its baby steps, surely, and I still expect to give in to my emotional shopping needs every once in a while. After all, that Paypal money was burning a hole in my e-wallet:

eley kishimoto shoes!

Oh hai beautiful Eley Kishimoto shoes, thanks for being on super-sale and for accepting Paypal!


Anonymous said...

So funny. I just took a break from the excruciating task of organizing my closet and your blog is speaking to me on so many different levels. I want to get rid of everything and start all over again. I love getting rid of stuff. What's the point in having 60 adorable party dresses when I wear black jeans almost every day? Ugh. I say we have a national Naked Lady Party Day or something.

PS London in the summer! Hell yeahs!

Rachel said...

Part of my inspiration was watching a bunch of rock documentaries and seeing chicks like 7 Year Bitch who basically wore the same shitty clothes all the time and yet I would never, ever be as cool as them. I wasn't quite ready to throw away all my party dresses but it did give me some initiative to edit down. Harper's has an interesting article on "cost per wear" that is good movitation to par down as well... if its not an occasion piece, is it something you wear all the time? Or once in a while? Or hardly ever? If its edging toward the last catagory its time to let it go!

Margo said...

wait, need more info about this london for the summer situation! is it for reals?

Rachel said...

maybe... it depends whether i get a job in the next month or so... i need to escape my life! i'll write you about it :)