Saturday, April 6, 2013

Why Don't We: The Great American Apparel Diet

If you have read my previous post here about "Eat, Pray, Love" up to the very end (it was a long post), you would have come across the article "Eat, Pray, Spend" from Bitch Magazine.  In this article, I learned about The Great American Apparel Diet.

The Great American Apparel Diet is a movement started by a group of American women (and even a few men!) who vowed not to buy any piece of clothing for one whole year, either as a response to consumerism, cut nonsensical spending, simplify their wardrobe,  reduce the closet clutter, or lessen one's carbon footprint, with their efforts to be documented in a blog. 

I thought it was a great idea for me to adapt in my life.  As of now, I have 3 closets/drawers filled with clothes.  Although my wardrobe pales in comparison to the sheer volume of clothes and wide range of styles/brands of cosmopolitan women, I find the quantity of clothes that I own still too many for me to handle.  

 For starters, I have already reached a point where I get surprised that I own a certain piece of clothing (i.e. "I forgot I bought that!").  Some have been used only once. Some have never been used at all.

Second, my closet has become a jungle.  There were times when I couldn't find a piece of clothing since it has been relegated to the back/bottom by newer purchases.

Third, I have been spending a huge chunk of my income on clothes, going on shopping sprees at least every month. And, since I have a secret love affair for the latest fashion trends and fall on the heavier side of the spectrum, I am doomed to shop at high street brands that carry a wider range of sizes (as opposed to local brands which cater to the petite frame of an average Filipino female!). These high street brands may be considered affordable, even cheap, in the US, UK, Europe, Australia, and our better-off Asian neighbors, but for a Third World country, the cost of a top from one of these brands could already be considered a luxury.  The money spent on the latest fashion could have been used more wisely and efficiently to finance investments, pay credit card bills, or to fund travels to my dream destinations. 

Before I turn into a complete shopaholic, addicted to the latest trends, at the mercy of the fancies of fashion dictators, living in credit hell, I decided to go cold turkey on my fashion cravings.  

I am subjecting myself to the Great American Apparel Diet.  The next time I will purchase a piece of clothing on a whim, it will be on April 5, 2014

Ready, Get Set, Shop...STOP!

For those who want to join me on this, here are the rules of the game:

Indulge without the guilt (or, items you can buy):
  • Underwear. A girl has got to have clean panties at all times.  Granny panties and bacon bras are a crime against humanity. Items that give support such as Spanx, slimming stockings and the like are A-OK as well. 
  • Footwear.  You still get to channel your inner Carrie Bradshaw, provided you don't over indulge with the Manolos.
Statement Shoes - Miu Miu

  • Accessories. As defined in the Webster dictionary, "An article or set of articles of dress, as gloves, earrings, or a scarf, that adds completeness, attractiveness, etc. to one’s basic outfit." 

A scarf can spruce up a basic ensemble.  Take it from Kate Middleton.

  • Clothes currently in your closet.  As long as they're not "new" -- they have not been paid by you.   Anything bought at secondhand shops or at the Salvation Army are still considered new.  Let me put it out of your mind as well that any kind of deception to yourself such as writing yourself a check, getting a family member or a friend to write you a check, or giving them your "wishlist" are considered cheating. 

The exception to the rules (or, if you must absolutely buy):

  • Wedding Gown.  Don't deprive yourself on your special day.

    Dream Wedding Gown
  • Costume.  If you cannot recycle a costume in your closet, or you lack the vision and ingenuity to assemble and transform individual pieces of your normal clothing into the character's ensemble, or if you must absolutely win that Best in Costume award, then go ahead and buy or commission one. The costume to be purchased / commissioned cannot be one that can be worn in normal circumstances, unless you're crazy or Lady Gaga.  

  • Special clothing that you don't have in stock in your closet.  This is a tricky one and requires complete honesty.  These are items you don't own or has gone AWOL from your closet. 

    • Example 1: The last time I had a swimsuit was in college.  That was 10 years ago when I was still 40 lbs lighter and can still pull off a pink teeny tankini.  Now,  with nephews and nieces requiring chaperones while in the pool, I had no choice but to get myself a new swimsuit.
Dream Swimsuit (and Body) - Chanel Spring-Summer 2013

    • Example 2: I have a gala event to attend which requires me to wear a long gown.  The last time I wore a long gown was at a friend's wedding, where I served as bridesmaid.  Satin is a sin. And is un-salvage-able in my opinion.   So I have no choice but to commission a long gown for this new event.It'll be one of those classic silhouettes so I can use it for other occasions as well. 

Minimalist Elegance - Audrey Hepburn's iconic black in Breakfast at Tiffany's
Demure front / Sexy back -  Audrey Hepburn's iconic black gown in Breakfast at Tiffany's

  • Basics that are way past their due date.  Another tricky one which requires complete honesty.  These are your white long sleeved tops which has started to yellow from age, black pants that you've outgrown.  Faded and torn jeans are not considered in this category  In order to be exempted, these items must come in neutral colors (black, white, beige and gray) and must be standard items of clothing such as a white T shirt, white long sleeved top, black pants, black skirt, with zero embellishments, not a pip of  a sequin or a fold of a ruffle.  One will not be charged guilty as long as the purchase is restricted to one piece per basic item for the year. 
Basics are the foundations of any wardrobe.

If someone gives you clothes for a gift (without you telling them!), then lucky you. 

If  you fall off the wagon every now and then, its alright.  You can always pick up where you've left off and try again. 

As the Great American Apparel Diet blog says, "We all have our reasons for embarking on this project but it all gets down to this…who are we without something hip and new in our closets?  We shall see."


Me, Version 2.OH!

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