I love clothing an embarrassing amount but I struggle with the degree to which it makes me a consumer. Theoretically, I want to be a minimalist who owns 15 well-chosen pieces of clothing. Like any good millennial, I value experiences over belongings. Outside of the contents of my closet, I own very few “things.” But I recently had to confront just how much clothing I own when after three weeks of “no time for laundry” I had to wash everything I own.
I realize this is an incredibly privileged position to be in but I struggle to reconcile with the happiness clothes give me and the very American desire to consume. In particular, what it means to consume as an American woman?
When I first started making money I bought a pair of leather pants (still wear them). I loved them not just for how they looked but also for what they represented, that I made my own money and I could spend it, however, I wanted to. Freedom baby! In other areas of our lives, women are taught not to consume. Not to eat too much or take up too much space. Somehow shopping is an area where that doesn’t apply. Which makes me wonder sometimes if I love fashion because of the reasons I think I do (a chance to interact with art every day) or because it’s a socially acceptable way for me to indulge my desire to consume.
I’m not sure what the answer is but until I figure it out I’ll continue to do my best to shop second hand and donate or sell any clothing that I no longer wear. Till then my crowded closet makes me happy even though I also feel guilty admitting that.