Last October 19th in 2007 I decided to do an extreme fast. No buying of any clothes, shoes, or accessories for myself unless it was of absolute need or a replacement. For example if my jeans ripped I could buy a new pair or if I needed a new leotard for a performance. Other than that nothing, zip, zilch, nada. I knew it would be challenging but I had hoped that I would learn to be grateful for all that I had and not be so quick to buy buy buy. Since I looove fashion I knew it would be a great sacrifice. Well I made it! It wasn't easy. I learned so much about myself and I wanted to share it with you.
1. You don't need a lot of clothes to be fashionable. I had a lot of clothes with a continual thirst for more. Inspired by this article of this fashion designer who only wore gray and her closet was half the size of mine, I began to purge. Not only did I not buy anything that wasn't a necessity but I also I gave away at least 4-6 large shopping bags of clothes and shoes over the course of this year. I began to put my creativity to work and focused on accessorizing.
2. Do your laundry often. I realized when I wanted to shop the most it was when my clothes were in the dirty clothes hamper! I had forgotten all about them and I was tempted to shop. Also, carrying 3-4 large bundles of laundry down the three flights of my Brownstone apt building made me not want ANY more clothes.
3. Know your body type. Understanding what looks best on your silhouette makes a world of difference and will save you a lot of time. For my athletically curvy figure, dresses and skirts, especially A line or vintage always looks great and modest.
4. You can wear the same thing over again. It's not the end of the world. Change up your shoes, add a belt, wear a sweater over it. No one will notice. And if they do, WHO CARES!!!!
5. When you buy, buy quality. It's better to have a few favorite quality pieces than a whole bunch of cheaply made things. Cheaply made things fall apart. You also can not always know the quality based on the price. Just because a pair of shoes costs $200 doesn't mean that its well made. You can find QUALITY items at a boutique or at the Salvation Army. You must examine where it's made and what it's made out of. ( Most things made before the 1990's are much better quality. That was before outsourcing and when people actually cared about the quality of their work) Only invest in timeless pieces. Unless you're Rihanna don't buy a military print Louis Vuitton bag. If you're going to invest in something like a Christian Louboutin pump or a Dior coat make sure it's something that can be worn season after season.
Overall, I believe I have a more discerning eye and appreciation for what I already have. I am also not afraid now to give away. If it doesn't fit quite right, or I haven't worn it in a year or I just don't NEED it I will sell it at Beacon's Closet or donate it to the Goodwill. While it's fun to look fabulous, this challenge also helped me to grow in my confidence of my inner beauty which is more valuable to God. With the recession looming over us, I am sure we'll all have to cut corners wherever we can.
This afternoon after a hectic day at work I decided to go see Trouble the Water. I wasn't looking for a pick me up and it certainly wasn't that but I just needed to be shaken out of my own world for a bit. Because I am a Black Woman living in America I ultimately somehow identify with all the struggles of all Black people period. But it was jarring to see how vastly different my coming up and the upbringing of the couple in the 9th ward in New Orleans was.
I had two parents in my household. Both of my parents went to college. Even though they had their issues and we weren't the richest family on the block we never went with out food, running water, school supplies, or anything we needed for that matter. My parents tried to protect me from negative media images and kept me in constant dialogue. I got to go to college and graduate school and I get to live my artist life in NY because of their sacrifices. Not because I'm just oh so smart or oh so talented or oh so cute. I was set up to win.
The couple in the film had the complete opposite experience. Their schooling was sub-par, their neighborhood was dilapidated, parents on drugs and dying from HIV no money to go to college. They were set up for failure. Yet this couple was able to prevail in spite of the government spitting in their faces. They might have been "uneducated" but they sure were not stupid. They are acutely aware of what's going on in this world and why. My whole concept of poverty has changed. See the movie; let me know what you think.