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Wartime Wardrobe Challenge – March roundup


I promise not to say this every single time one of these posts comes around, but time flies! I can’t believe it’s April already (and Milo is 4 months old! man!).

I still haven’t spent any coupons (hurrah!) but I have been shopping. While the challenge is giving me some help in not buying anything new, I’m not really sure it’s particularly helping me in reducing the size of my wardrobe. For me, actually knowing I’m doing these posts has almost encouraged me to buy second hand things, because it’s a place to show them off.

I’m sure I’ve written about this before, but I cannot for the life of me find it now (though see this on different types of ethical shopping), but I don’t think thrifting is quite the ethical panacea that people sometime make it out to be, because (1) donated clothes have got to come from somewhere, and without new shopping there ain’t no thrift shopping, or at least not on anywhere near the same scale and (2) because it allows people to continue to consume and doesn’t challenge the need for novelty that we’ve become used to in the times of fast fashion and that is ultimately what is causing all this over consumption.

With this challenge, because second hand clothes are exempt, it almost encourages you to start channeling consumption into that, rather than actually stopping altogether. It’s quite interesting that if they were included, I would have spent half my coupons already after only three months.

I got this Eley Kishimoto skirt in a local resale/vintage shop that was in the process of closing down and was selling everything for £10:

thrifted eley kishimoto skirt

It’s a little bit too big around the waits and that length isn’t hugely flattering on me, but I can adjust the button, I love the pockets and I was probably a little bit blinded by the label. Plus the shop owner lady was so lovely. She was floating about chatting to everyone and offering coffee and chocolates (there were lots of people she knew, it was obviously some kind of closing down party). I tried on a beautiful aquascutum coat as well, but it was probably a size 18 or so (no size on the label), and in the end it was too big even belted. Anyway, the skirt would be 8 coupons new.

I also got this uniqlo merino wool jumper from the himalayan charity shop for £4:

thrifted uniqlo jumper

It would be 5 coupons if new, I was surprised to discover that wool is classed as sustainable regardless of its organicness.

I did at least manage not to expand the size of my wardrobe, since I also got rid of two things in March (no photos this time I’m afraid):

  • This People Tree dress/tunic, which was just too short to be practical as a dress, but so a-liney it looked a bit weird over trousers
  • And a pair of jeans my sister was getting rid off and I took because they fit me. However, they weren’t flattering at all and were too long, but not the kind of cut where turn ups look good. And not worth the effort to take them up or the money to have them taken up.

So in summary:

Coupons used: 0
Coupon equivalent for second hand items: 32
Money spent : £26.99

Previous posts in this series:
Introduction to the challenge

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Meg 12 April 2013, 9:56 am

    It is good that you are keeping a running tab of coupon equivalents for second hand items. That is very much in keeping with the spirit of the challenge! (After all the wartime coupon free principles only applied to clothes under a certain value to avoid any black market activities with nearly new clothes.)

    Wool: sustainable or not? There are issues with each type of fibre which is why I believe the answer to a sustainable wardrobe lies first and foremost in consuming less. Wool is sustainable in that it is not a finite raw material (unlike fossil fuels) but there are of course many other things to consider (e.g. sheep produce methane (more harmful than CO2), diet, chemical pest/disease treatments, land use, chemicals in the processing of yarn…) highlighting just how complex ‘sustainable fashion’ is as a concept. On this basis and as there is so little organic yarn on the market, my personal aims are to prioritise wool from free ranging herds in areas where there are no land use competition issues (e.g. Dartmoor, Shetlands…), which have a good yield per animal (i.e. not cashmere), and where possible undyed or unbleached before dyeing.

    I hope you are enjoying the questioning and analysis that goes with this challenge as much as the clothes!
    Meg recently posted..The small matter of supportMy Profile

  • Jen 12 April 2013, 1:50 pm

    I agree with what you’ve said about thrifting and trying to reduce my consumption overall. I’m trying to combat some of this by re-fashioning some of the clothes I already own, and also doing some repairs so that things last longer. I can do my own pants hemming like a pro by now so that helps, but waistband adjustments are still too difficult. Would that skirt look better on you if you took it up at the hem? Or made it longer by adding a panel of contrasting fabric at the bottom? These are the kinds of things I’m going to start doing, trying to combine clothes I already own, so that I’m making new things out of old instead of buying clothes.

    • Meg 12 April 2013, 5:42 pm

      Jen, good on you for reworking your clothes. That is the approach I am taking more and more: I darn my knitwear to death but am also changing hem lengths and have even dyed a few items to cover tea stains. I don’t know about you but I get a sense of satisfaction out of stretching clothes. It feels oddly subversive!
      Meg recently posted..The small matter of supportMy Profile

      • Jen 12 April 2013, 9:59 pm

        I haven’t dyed anything for a long time but thanks for reminding me about it! Darning, yeah, socks mostly.

        I’m re-working things partly because I want to reduce consumption, but also because I have some clothes I really like and don’t want to give up on but they have fit issues. I really want to wear them so I’m going to try and make them work for me before I give up on them.