My teenage daughter has been taking me to school.
In her freshman year, Sophia joined a "Sustainable Fashion" club at school. In this extra-curricular gathering the kids school themselves about the environmental impacts of the fashion industry. They read articles and watch documentaries, and then they put their knowledge to work: avoiding brands that are environmental offensive, shopping secondhand, getting together to "upcycle" and alter their clothes -- and then teaching their parents to do the same.
Sophia has been bombarding me with facts about "fast fashion," including the fact that American women today buy about twice the clothing items than they did two decades ago, and that about 1/3 of those items only get worn two to three times. Cheap clothes, made by cheap labor, from cheap fabric, the excess of which will end up getting burned in developing nations, is in high demand because women want "new" things to wear. One of the driving forces behind the need for fast fashion is social media. Women -- especially young women -- don't want to post pictures of them wearing the same outfit twice.
I can so relate to those young women.
I speak in front of groups of people about once a week, and I admit I often choose not to post a picture if I'm wearing the same dress as last time.
I repent of this.
Seriously, y'all, in my quest to be authentic and help you do the same, sisters, I'm going to be showing up on-line most likely in my four favorite outfits. Including, my polka dot power jump suit that my husband doesn't like but I love. Shown below, on Christmas day, and featured in the previous blog "That Turtleneck Doesn't Deserve You," it will be appearing on stage at least twice in the next four weeks. Next month, I'll be filming my first video series based on my book, and if you happen to purchase a download of it for your small group, you'll see me in some of the same tops and cowgirl boots you've already seen on Instagram.
I read a lot of Victorian literature and Jane Austen, and I grew up on the Little House on the Prairie series. I'm drawn to the concept that the women in those stories had their "best dress" (for church, weddings, funerals), their "second best dress," their "school dress," and then their cotton print to stay at home. People expected to see one another in the same outfits over and over again. But in our culture, when newly married Princess Kate would show up in the same wedge-front cream colored pumps, it made headlines. It was in the news so much, that years later, I remember it! Cosmopolitan says she is "known for recycling outfits," (I.e. wearing her thousand-dollar dresses more than once. Shocking!)
Well, I'm going to help bring that "best dress" trend back, jack! Me and Kate....we'll be influencers together. Only my clothes are from Target, a thrift store, or Anthropologie's deep, deep sale rack.
Will you join me? It's good for our budgets, our closet space, our stress level, our clutter, our earth, and our souls. Frankly, it's hard to find clothes I really love, so why not just wear my very favorites more often rather than hunting for new stuff. I have enough cute tops to match my -- I'll admit it -- five pairs of cowgirl boots, four of which I bought second hand, and I'm going to just go ahead and wear them out.
Wouldn't having a few "best dress" outfits also help us compete less with other women? If this is not your issue, sister, good for you. But I would appreciate one more way of keeping things real around here.
So here's my suggestion: If you need something new, go rescue a jean jacket from your local thrift store. If you have things you love, keep wearing them! Wear your favorite dress weekly, and post yourself in it as many times as you want. I'll make sure to like it.