I like clothes. As a kid, Halloween was always my favourite holiday. Partly, of course, due to the copious amounts of free candy; but mostly the costumes. I loved dressing up and becoming a different person: Snow White, a ballerina, a beat up hockey player, an angel, Poison Ivy. It was a way to be an actor without needing any actual talent or dealing with pesky stage fright which worked for me just fine. As an adult (if in age and nothing else) I get to do this to a smaller extent with the clothes I wear every day. I am a firm believer in fashion affecting mood. I am always more content in a pretty dress. Animal print is the definition of sass. Clicky shoes demand confidence.
I like fancy. Where some people enjoy wearing sweats when they’re having a shitty day, I purposefully dress up. I have a bad habit of spiralling when I’m in a bad mood. I stay inside and don’t do anything and feel guilty about it. Which makes me feel worse and makes me want to do things less and makes me feel more guilty about the whole situation. For me, putting on lounge wear when I’m in a bad mood is just giving up without even trying. For that reason, I don’t even really own sweat pants (a fact that baffled my last roommate to no end). Instead, I dress up. Half of the time this forces me out of the house: “I look amazing in this skirt and everyone need to witness me and my superior pattern combining skills”. The other half of the time I’m just proud of myself for showering and putting clothes on and being a productive human adult: “Good job self, it doesn’t even matter if no one else sees this super cute outfit because I wear clothes for me. Win. (Also you can wear it again tomorrow and no one will even know. Double win.)” In either case, mood solved.
I like cheap. I went to a fairly affluent high school (this is probably an understatement) where a majority of students had a distinct (read: expensive) style. Because of this, one of my favourite things about one of these particular kids complimenting me on an article of clothing was being able to turn around and tell them how much I didn’t spend on it: “Oh this top? It was on clearance at Kohl’s for $3”. Then proceeding to watch them squirm as they realised they liked something that was probably knock-off and probably last season. I wasn’t really toppling any fashion cheerocracies, but these little victories made me smile.
I like the earth. Since cycling across the UK with Otesha in 2010, I learned all about the darkest sides of fashion: pesticide use, labour conditions, transportation implications, not to mention the industry’s obsession with the perfect body no real person actually has. (For more information about the ethics of fashion, check out the clothing chapter from the Otesha Project UK Handbook. Even if it’s just the FYI section on page 3. This is eye opening stuff.) For me, this means I now get 99% of my clothes second hand. It reduces waste while supporting local communities and charities instead of the questionable practices of popular brands. Also it’s cheap. Now I just get to brag about getting a 3$ top from Salvation Army instead of Kohl’s.
So here is my fancy, cheap, second-hand holiday party outfit. I would describe it, but I’ve already rambled a bit now. And pretty sure the sequins speak for themselves. Happy new years!
- Top: gift/ hand me down
- Jacket: St. Vincent de Paul ($3.50)
- Skirt: clothing swap
- Shoes: Salvation Army ($5.00)
- Hair clip: ??? Had since I was very tiny
- Ring: Zellers ($0.78)