Now’s the Time?

erm, remind me why people need to shop in a pandemic again?

Bit nervous about saying this but I don’t really understand how people are buying so many new clothes right now? There’s the obvious answer, that it makes people feel good and provides some happiness in what is a difficult time. I get that and I’m not offended by the odd pick-me-up purchase. What I don’t get is how people can look at the world around us, be aware of our impact on the environment and the future of the planet, and still think a weekly H&M haul is imperative.

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There is email after email imploring me to buy loungewear. Why on earth do I need specific clothing to sit around the house? And why does it need to be new? I have a wardrobe full of clothes, most of which are perfectly acceptable to put on and do sod all in every day. I don’t need to contribute to the wasting away of our planet with 17 must have co-ord lounge sets thanks all the same. I wonder, if Instagram didn’t exist, would so many people really be so bothered about buying a different pair of joggers for each day, or would they just wear what they already had?

There might be another argument that we won’t be in lock down forever and so what’s so wrong in buying new things now for the time we get to taste freedom again. Fair enough, but I can almost guarantee there will be an explosion of celebration purchases when freedom does once again reign supreme. Post after post about this dress for this garden party and these trousers for the beer garden. The once sought-after leisure wear now nothing but a heap in the wardrobe waiting for the charity shop pile.

Am I being harsh? Maybe, but I’ve seen enough big-name influencers trot out new outfit after new outfit to know how it works. And they’re called influencers for a reason; because they influence us to do the same. But I think we can do better.

I posted on Instagram recently about how the time we are living in should be a wake-up call about what can happen. Our fast fashion habit may not have directly contributed to Coronavirus, but what is has done is show us how scary the world can be when it stops working in the way we need and want it to. And you would have to have been living under an Inditex sized rock to not know that we’re literally years away from a climate catastrophe. Years away from altering the world we live in forever. It’s been tough living in an altered reality for mere weeks, so just try contemplating forever. Is 30% off another ‘It Dress’ really worth it?

So yeah, I understand new clothes inject a bit of happiness in an otherwise upside-down world and I don’t begrudge a few new bits to boost your mood every now and then. Alongside that though, perhaps we can try to find happiness elsewhere, away from material things and more possessions. Satisfaction in putting a fresh outfit together from old clothes, excitement in saving towards a big holiday because we didn’t spaff all our money on skirts, or escape through exercise and being healthy. There are of course the comments about shopping habits boosting the economy. I understand that, but whilst spending on clothes might save the economy what price will the planet have to pay?

When this is all over. I am going to go shopping. In the last six months I have bought just four new things, which believe me is a huge improvement. So I am going to add a couple of new summer things into my wardrobe because it will make me feel good. I will consider what I buy and where I shop. I’m not going to entirely give up something I enjoy. I’m not going to be an evangelist or a liar. What I can, and am, doing is not shopping anywhere near as much as I used to and I’m most definitely not racking up Klarna bills on co-ords to see me through a few weeks in my house. Breaking a shopping habit is hard, but right now, when home-schooling is exhausting us, when this crisis has affected so many of us, and when the world really needs us, it’s surely never been easier?

Me in lockdown wearing (shock) clothes I already own

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