Ethical Style

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Purposeful Dressing

It seems like Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up has found it’s way into everyone’s (or at least every lifestyle blogger’s home). And I am no different. A pack rat and former shopaholic like me needs guidance on what to discard. The “does it bring joy” method was super helpful. And as long as I could answer does it bring joy? with, “well…if by joy, you mean do I like putting it on after a long day, cooking in it and not caring about getting coco on it,” then yes, it does. Needless to say, I was a little loose with the joy part.

I threw away 6 large bags of clothes. And found myself with a section in my closet that I am referring to as “novelty pants.”

Now that my closet is organized and my drawers decluttered (I have been calling my underwear drawer a work of art. It is nothing short of that), I have come to a realization. I have too much. Still.

I have mentioned the guilt associated with my consumption before. It is one of the things that drove me to start Future:Standard. I wanted to be able to have the clothes, without the environmental and ethical consequences. I wanted to be conscious about what I chose. And I have, for the most part, been a conscious consumer, making my choices both on style and desire as well as the ethical nature of the product.

But, after discarding so much, and tidying for days, I realized that even if every single item in my wardrobe is ethically, locally, and eco-consciously sourced, I am still consuming. And that consumption is not great on the environment. Especially if I don’t use it or wear it. Over consumption of ethical goods is still overconsumption.

Which got me thinking about Purposeful Dressing.

There is a lot of talk about creating a purposeful life and creating purpose in one’s career. I am going to take this further and talk about Purposeful Dressing. I think dressing on purpose probably means something different to everyone. For me, it means being aware of what I already have. And cherishing it. Getting the best jeans in the world fixed (rather than sitting in the “fix it drawer”), loving the clothes I already own. Marie Kondo mentions being grateful to your clothing for all they do for you. So, for me, appreciating the not as brand new coat in my closet for what it is – something I wear once or twice a year at most, that keeps me warm when I travel in the winter. It means not buying a new, better more “now” coat, that I will also only wear once or twice a year. And then letting things go when their usefulness to me is done. Let someone else enjoy the almost brand new work pants that just don’t quite fit right.

Since tidying, I have found two “new” outfits in my wardrobe. Two new combinations of clothing that I never thought to put together. I have worn two sweaters that my husband loves and has never seen before (they are OLD!). I have a necklace on today that has been only a holiday necklace in the past, but with a denim shirt is very every day. I have created better outfits because I know what I have, I am organized and I am left with only things that give me joy. I am purposefuly dressing.

I expect in the coming weeks and months, my closet and drawers will loose a little of their wow factor. I also expect to discover a little more about what purposeful dressing means to me. But for now, I am appreciating what I have. I am purchasing only what makes sense and also creates additional joy. I am toying with the idea of a capsul wardrobe. I hope that not only will this help with my environmental impact, but will also create some clarity in the morning as well as help me create better, more “joyful” outfits.

What is your idea of purposeful dressing?  I’d love to hear about your experience with Tidying Up.
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