This is another unconventional #MoneyBliss post. My journey into building a basic “capsule” wardrobe in consonance with minimalism has led me to other unexpected sub-paths such as ethical fashion and sustainability. My work-in-progress basic wardrobe has so far benefited me in the following ways:
1. I have a 360 view of all the things I have in my closet.
2. After I’ve filled in the priority gaps in my wardrobe, I now think twice before I buy new ones.
3. I’ve discovered my personal style.
4. I wake up in the morning excited to dress-up because I know I can instantly find something that I can and like to wear.
5. That being said, I now spend less time roaming through my clothes, trying to find what to wear.
6. Lastly, I have maximized the use of my closet space.
While I find minimalism a bit easier to be achieved during my mini closet journey, I find the topic Ethical Fashion harder and even controversial. Currently, “ethical fashion” or those brands which are identified as eco-friendly and those employing fair labor practices are inherently more expensive. Also, there are organizations who report on these kinds of stuff, but I believe that none of them are of authority to “classify” brands as ethical/sustainable or otherwise, if you know what I mean. Lastly, I’m not completely sold in boycotting fashion brands which have questionable labor practices because in boycotting them, people will suffer, maybe from hunger. It would be nicer if we could push or force these fashion brands to practice fair labor instead.
Okay, since Ethical Fashion is still a sensitive topic that I don’t feel confident discussing yet (I need to read more about it), let me just share with you how I, in my own little way, practice sustainability when it comes to my clothes, shoes and bags – and that is through taking good care of the things that I already own. (P.S. Thrift and second-hand stores are not so cool in my area so buying used items and vintage shopping, although popular options especially abroad are something that I do not currently practice, at least regularly.) So, this is basically how I care for my stuff :
Repair immediately. Anything that needs to be stitched should be stitched in the immediately following rest day or weekend. Delaying repairs means less opportunities for you to wear the damaged item. Same thing with repairing buttons. Based on my experience, you will most likely lose those buttons if you don’t stitch them back immediately. The only thing that should take-up space in your repair bin are those which damages you cannot repair on your own, meaning you need to get them to a tailor, for example.
Immediately remove stains. This is something that I find to be very effective. I’ve had blouses which I absolutely loved but were ruined by stains. And, it’s because I let the stains stayed for too long. I guess I’m a lousy eater that I actually need a bib whenever I eat. Common stain causes in my case are, tomato sauce and mango! Now, whenever I get something on my blouse I either immediately wash it off with running water wherever I may be or I immediately hand-wash the area with a gentle laundry soap bar as soon as I get home. So far, it works like a wonder. No main stay stains.
Clean your bags regularly. I learned from a vlog that bags are actually one of the dirtiest items in our closet. Maybe next to our shoes. I haven’t thought about it before but now that I have, I could not agree more, especially when you commute or really gone somewhere, just imagine all the places and spots where you put your bag (say, in the comfort rooms). So, I made it a point to clean my bags before I store them away or every day if I know they get dirty. Just simple steps really, first, vacuum the inside for any food crumbs (haha). I don’t do this before and I discover candies and biscuits every time I decide to use a certain bag again. Secondly, wipe them with a soft damp cloth. Let them dry before you store them away. By the way, put padding on the inside or other small bags when you tuck them away so that they won’t deform. Third, make sure you store them in cool dry places and put moisture absorbent packs or balls in your storage area. I will also try to occasionally wipe them with leather balms. Will let you know how would that work.
Be mindful of your laundry habits. Just a few tips. We all know how to separate colors, right? I would also recommend using laundry zips or sheets for delicate garments. Also, I like buttoning up my garments and turning them inside out, except for denim jeans. I choose mild detergents and fabric softeners too. I don’t expose them to direct sunlight and I use appropriate hangers. Exposing clothes to direct sunlight will deteriorate the fabric faster while using bad/inappropriate hangers could damage or distort their shape.
Occasionally, or as the case may be, bring them to a professional or skilled worker. For clothes which you cannot repair or alter on your own, take them to the tailor. If you can’t or you won’t, get rid of them. Bags, especially if you’ve invested a great amount of money on them could be restored by people who really know how. The same thing goes with shoes, always check if you need to replace the soles and the insoles. Yes, they should and can be replaced. Shine the leather up. Make them water proof. Dust them off. Clean them before you store them properly. Always use foot-socks not only for the love of your feet but to protect the lining of your shoes as well which may be damaged by your toenails.
With the TLC I have for my closet items, I hope I contributed even a little in the sustainability drive (plus I will save some bucks since I will get to use these items for a longer period of time). I was wondering if I’m beginning to be obsessed with my wardrobe, but, I think not, I’m just being mindful – of my carbon footprint, of my gratitude over the things I’m blessed with, of making good use of what I have, of spending my hard-earned money, of not being wasteful, of my image, of my comfort and of how I like my kids to perceive style and fashion. I guess being mindful is just the way it should always have been.
(Disclaimer: I started getting conscious about these things and practicing proper care only when I embarked on my closet journey, which isn’t finished yet.)