Friday, January 16, 2009

Upon realising that I have too much stuff

No longer being in fulltime employment, my finances aren’t exactly in glistening form. Resigning from my job in the middle of a recession wasn’t exactly a sensible move, although one necessary for my sanity. I’ve had to cut down on my day to day expenses: no taxis, no dinner at Waverly and, above all, no shopping.

That last has been surprisingly easy to maintain. I can honestly say that I have lost all interest in buying any of the things I used to lust after. No more do I pore through the glossy catalogues that clog up my mailbox or press my nose to the glass windows on Bleecker.

It helps of course, that I bought my London home in 1999, and live in a Village shoebox here in New York, so have no need of cookware or interiors stuff (one of my worst shopping vices) right now. As for clothes, not only am I carrying 10lbs of winter overweight right now which takes the edge off desire, but I’ve turned a mental corner. Shopping just seems to have lost its thrill for me. I have a wardrobe stuffed with beautiful clothes, shoes & bags, and there just seems no reason to add to any of it. Actually what I want to do is get rid of it all. I feel quite ill when I look at all the stuff I have that I bought through insecurity or emotion rather than through need or real desire.

I think I’ve been coming to this point gradually for over a year now. When I looked, for this piece, in my wardrobe to see what I bought since I started my job at the beginning of last year, the list was slim. A handful of simple silk tunics & shifts for work in the summer. Zara in Paris furnished me with a black body con dress for everyday, a denim pencil skirt, a black wool bubble skirt and a couple of pairs of shoes that cld pass for designer for winter. A cream & black polka dotted silk shirt from New Look Limited Edition. Two bargains: A camel coat reduced from $800 to $100 in the DKNY sale, and a $70 (from $1200) black knitted silk YSL shirt & matching thin scarf in the sample sale. My new found earning power meant some investment pieces: A classic tux, a leather biker jacket and a beautiful black, bell skirted winter coat from Theory. And my mother bought me some thigh-high black suede boots from Jaime Mascarolo in Paris during the SS09 collections . And that was it. For a fashion editor that was mighty slim pickings for two seasons.

But the common thread between all those pieces is that they are part of one simple style. They all work together. They are all chic, maybe even grown-up. It’s taken me a long while to get here. My personal style has always been schizophrenic, but working in a Serious Job all last year, with no time to shop or even to worry about clothing myself, made me streamline my style automatically. Restricted packing for the Milan & Paris collections in September made me downsize too: 16 days away in one suitcase. It helps too that now I’m in my thirties, I can recognise the person I am, have no need to experiment, and no longer try to be someone else through my wardrobe.

So, this week, I have made the most enormous pile on my bed of every piece of clothing that I’m not quite sure about, all the pieces I've collected and don't wear, every flea market bargain, each sample sale rush of blood to head, all the tops that don’t quite stretch over my bosom. And I’m Ebaying the lot. That should pay the rent for a while.