Monday, September 7, 2015

Less is More.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I like clothes... quite a lot.  In fact, I would almost be willing to say an unhealthy amount.  When I have money to spend, my first reaction is to go buy new clothes.  I'm sure some of your are judging me for this, or maybe psycho analyzing me, or thinking very stereotypical thoughts about women right now.  In whichever case, I write this only to say that one of the reasons I began looking into clothing companies and their supply chains is because I give a lot of my money to clothing companies.  The problem, though, with analyzing mainstream, fast fashion clothing brands and their production lines is, while many of them have policies which sound fantastic, in practice, they are often doing much less than they say they are.  It's really difficult to be 100% sure that no one is being harmed in the making of your clothes unless you're buying fair trade.

I've been struggling with this idea for a few months now, and between it,  the conviction that maybe I'm storing up treasure on earth and valuing temporary things rather than storing up treasure in Heaven, and inspiration from another young woman I follow on Instagram who is living out justice by purchasing fair trade and thrifted items, has led me to believe it's time to make a change in my wardrobe, in my spending habits, and in my life.

When I considered the appeal of clothes shopping the other day, I realized that it is actually a very selfish act.  I can say that I'm helping people make an honest living by supporting companies that are treating their employees well (and I do believe I am), but really I go shopping to find things I want and I like so I can look a certain way.  Then three months later I clean out my closet and think, maybe having 16 dresses, 35 t-shirts, 7 jackets and 12 sweaters is a little excessive.  

This week, I am learning that less is more.  Having more clothing doesn't make me any happier or make me buy less.  So I emptied my closet, made a pile of timeless, neutral pieces that I can wear throughout the year and in many different circumstances, and a pile of everything else.  I am choosing to base my closet, and hopefully soon after every other area of my life, off of needs rather than wants.  I need to wear clothes,  I don't need a different outfit for every day of the month.  I need some clothes for warm days and some for cold days, I don't need 7 jackets, 12 sweaters and 6 pairs of shorts. From now on when I shop, I will ask myself, do I need this more than what I already have?  

Our culture promotes the mantra that more is more.  The more we have, the better we are.  And I've bought into it.  It's difficult not to, when the media, society and sometimes even your friends are telling you that you need more stuff.  But I can't help but wonder if we're just trying to placate a need that can't be met with material things, and as we accumulate more, we drown out and push aside the One that will actually meet that need.  Not to mention mass accumulation is terrible for the environment and just serves to make exploitation of the vulnerable easier and more necessary.   

In my own experience, having more tends to lead to apathy.  It's almost like we sacrifice the part of our soul that cries out for something greater than this world when we settle for having the things of this world.  So I'm getting rid of the excess.  I'm sacrificing the things of the world, because I want that part of my soul back.

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