I started with a clothing audit in 2020, bought conscious clothing in 2021, and bought close to no clothing in 2022 while massively donating and Poshing.
Now, I’m developing a minimalist style I love that’s all my own.
My mom went to fashion design school and designs Wearable Art. Growing up, I was surrounded by pattern books and fashion magazines. I got to feel the textures and see the array of colors and patterns at fabric and craft shops. I learned hand stitching and machine sewing, which has come in so handy over the years for alterations and embellishments.
Fashion is a passion of mine, and thanks to my mom (and dad) I am comfortable with bold choices. I love beauty and elegance, comfort and flowiness in clothes. As a form of self-expression, fashion is virtually limitless.
A Conscious Clothing Audit
Analyzing a microcosm of my wardrobe, in 2020 I took a look at how what I wore fit my socially conscious goals. The analysis was a major learning experience, taking into account the Buyerarchy of Needs in addition to what the clothes were made out of, who made them and how, if they were made to last, and how to dispose of them.
This was eye-opening for many reasons. Foremost, I owned a lot of nice pieces that I didn’t wear very often because in my mind I needed an excuse or occasion. 2020, as we all know, was the epitome of not having an excuse or occasion! Without an office, restaurant, party, or event, it was easy to wear a T-shirt and sweats every day while ‘saving’ nearly everything nice.
Second, it wasn’t just that I was saving up everything nice. I was buying cheap things to not get anything nice dirty or damaged. I packed, and wore, mostly clothes I could lose or damage without caring.
Basically, I was buying and wearing things I didn’t care about so that I could treat things irresponsibly and dispose of them. The opposite of being socially conscious!
What that also meant was that I wasn’t always dressing in clothes I loved or that I really felt were the best expression of myself. The look was chaotic and didn’t reflect any particular taste, nor did it feel purposeful or meaningful. My look was the epitome of fast fashion, the plague of all millennials: Quantity over quality.
Collecting Conscious Clothing
After releasing that video, in which I admitted to buying extremely cheap pants from ‘questionable Chinese companies’ among other things, I knew it was time to make a change. My quest for cheap ‘stuff’ was so unconscious that I felt scammed by how easily I was taken in. When I realized what happened, I actually wrote an article for Medium about it.
By 2021, it was time to move forward. Mid-year after getting the vaccine, boutiques, and malls were open again, and I was in the market. First order of business, stylish and comfortable sweat clothes from Aviator Nation. More upcycled fair trade silk pieces from Indie Ella Clothing (designed by my friend Jayna Lamb). Massive thrifting, swapping, and giving/ receiving gifts also ensued.
Soon I had a reputation for my unique and interesting style, in my co-living home as well as in the coworking space I joined.
Paring Down and Minimalism
Accumulating clothing, whether consciously made clothing or not, soon became a problem for my closet. I wasn’t paying heed to the basic tenet of wearing conscious: Wear What You Have. I knew I had a massive issue: I needed to pivot, reassess my tastes and priorities, and most importantly, purge my closet of everything I was carrying around that wasn’t sparking joy.
Buying nothing for all of 2022? Great. In tandem with repurposing, upcycling, gifting, selling, donating, and (at last resort) throwing away? A recipe for a wardrobe that would fully reflect my own personality, interests, and tastes.
Turns out my tastes accommodate both beauty and art in fashion as well as the socially conscious aspect.
Near the end of 2022, I realized I had accomplished something. I was loving my style and wanted to share the joy I’d newly discovered in my wardrobe. That’s when I started my new Instagram just for socially conscious fashion: Wearing Conscious.
2023 Socially Conscious Clothing Goals
This year, it’s one-in-one-out. That means selling/ donating/ swapping/ gifting everything I can, and only replacing an item if there is a specific need.
It also means getting even tighter with what I own, if I don’t love it, wear it, feel fabulous and look stellar in a piece… It’s time to find it a new home. So far I’ve sold several pieces that were difficult to part with at first for emotional reasons, but once they were in the mail with a sincere note of best wishes to the recipient, I knew I made the right decision.
I’m having fun making a business/ hobby out of selling clothes, shoes, and accessories, as well as showcasing my own taste as it evolves. It’s a great journey and I’m happy to blog about it!