How I learned to stop worrying & love the atomic bomb

by jennine on January 25, 2008

I mean the green movement.

Well, not really. I still worry, all the talk of the end of the world, and I can barely save my own apartment. Keeping organized with over-the-door shoe racks falling apart is really tough. If you ever opened my closet door, you would know what I mean.

Recently, I shared with you all the The Story of Stuff. To tell the truth, when ever I hear compelling arguments for change, it scares me, because I know that I just want to be a good person, I’m trying my best, honest.

While, it’s hard to talk about what ‘should’ be done without being hypocritical or preachy… all I can do is to give you ideas of how to make change in your own personal life. These are all suggestions, and I try to follow them as much as possible.

Since my post titled No Sweat, I have made a change in my consumption habits. Financial issues have also played into my decision, but since then, I had changed, I don’t miss the old days of dumping huge chunks of money at H&M to have an overflowing closet that gets purged every few months.

So here are the changes I made:

1. I only buy clothes I can afford with money that’s in my bank account: After purging all the *cheap* clothes I bought with my credit card, I’m still left with debt. It sucks.

***Following are personal guidelines I use in purchasing my clothes. I generally want the clothes I buy to fit in one or more of these categories***

2. Recycled: There are so many options here, buy sell trade places like Buffalo Exchange, or Painted Bird if you are here in San Francisco, but there is a multitude of great vintage boutiques both online and in real life. Not only am I recycling, my money is going to small business owners who are often times women like me. So giving money to them is something I feel good about.**AMENDMENT** Someone brought up thrift shops, which is something I missed, mostly because I have a hard time thrifting, and I don’t do if very often, but I do know there are lots of people who have great luck with thrifting. While I’m in the recycled catetory of things I originally missed, here are more places I’ve heard about.. estate sales, garage sales, carboot sales… if you are in London, Brick Lane has a great street market was it Sunday mornings? I can’t remember. You can even start a great career finding great stuff at the Alameda Flea Market, first Sunday of the Month. Obviously I can write a whole post of resources to where to find recycled clothing.

3 . Fair labor practices: This is a bit more tricky, I try to buy my new stuff at places like American Apparel. I’m too lazy to really do research on who does and who doesn’t use fair labor practices, so I generally try to go with my gut on it.

4. Made from organic, eco-friendly materials: This is a bit harder for me to do, as many of these items are out of my price range. But I do often check for them, and as I consume less, I have more money to spend on things I actually need.

5. Independent designer/local designer/handmade: With sites like Etsy, where you can just about find anything you need, it’s hard not to find something I like. Also there are great indie designers out there, and many places to find them. Yesterday, I just bought a dress from Diana Bobar. It’s really nice to be in touch with the people who make your clothes.

Separating shopping and fashion; and fashion and style is very important to making change without feeling like I am depriving myself. Since I’ve been practicing these principles I’ve noticed that my taste has changed and that clothes I used to buy by the bushel arent’ as appealing. Seriously I’ve walked into H&M and wanted to buy something, but looking around, I couldn’t stop thinking of the dress that fell apart, and the sweater that lost it’s shape, and the looming credit card debt. So when it was put that way, I couldn’t find anything worthy of my purchase.

I just wanted to share with you what I do, how I manage my own habits, granted I still buy more clothes than I should, but I’ve slowed down and become more mindful of where I put my money. One of my favorite artists, Andrea Zittel made her whole career by developing beautiful and thought provoking art by setting limitations on herself. Hopefully you’ll see something in this post that inspires you in some way.

Helpful links: NYT: Buying into the Green Movement and Another Way. Stylewillsaveus is a great online mag.

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tricia of January 25, 2008 at 8:26 am

you mentioned recycled, but don’t mention thrift stores, of which SF has some of the best i’ve encountered. an even cheaper option than resale clothing stores, though the digging takes more effort (i actually really love that aspect, myself).

jennine January 25, 2008 at 8:32 am

thrifting is recycling… i guess i should have said ‘used’. but i just don’t have very good luck with the thrift shoppes for some reason, and i wanted to keep the article as true to my experience as possible. and honestly, i don’t shop at them very often but i do know lots of people find great stuff thrifting.

Poochie January 25, 2008 at 10:21 am

I love to buy vintage (recycled, I guess), especially shoes and have had great luck on eBay. I also think that buying timeless pieces that are made well, (so they don’t fall apart in 6 months) and not discarding things in 6 months is good too.

I buy a lot of stuff, shoes again, but they’re unique with classic styles so I can keep them for ages. It helps that I don’t wear the same shoes everyday and I maintain them. Good items, treated gently and kept up well is a great strategy for not adding to the landfills.


PS That video was very impactful. I’m sharing it with my friends and family and plan on working more of that into my own life. Thank you.

Jess January 25, 2008 at 10:24 am

Those Diana Bobar dresses are AMAZING! Which one did you get? i love the stretch fushia one with grey sheer overlay.

jennine January 25, 2008 at 12:46 pm

poochie… i love ebay shopping for vintage too… classic styles are really important!

jess, i must say, i’m really waiting or the dress, so i’ll be able to try it on and prance around for you guys!

(its a really cool one)

Pomegranate January 25, 2008 at 3:39 pm

Great article. I try to practice more eco-friendly methods whenever i can.

Jeanne January 25, 2008 at 4:15 pm

I don’t have very good thrift luck, either — there are only a few places I’ve had good luck, and most of them are reselling boutiques anyway (one being in Harajuku, which is no good to me on a regular basis). I’ve had good luck with eBay, too, but I would definitely love to see a guide from you on great recycled clothing shops!

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