Friday, March 09, 2012
It makes me very happy to rejuvenate clothes. I always go by the principle of quality over quantity and I'm surprised at how many people still don't get this. Buy three well made, but relatively expensive, pieces of clothing per year, wear them for ten years vs. buying a whole new wardrobe every season from the high street: Guess which is more economical?
I am seriously hardcore about this: I'd prefer my clothes to last at least fifteen years, so I wouldn't have to replace things I love that I've searched for high and low to find the perfect, cut, colour, fabric etc again. I've thought of having a dressmaker I know remake a few pieces that became too sad looking to wear, but that I was too sad to part with. Nothing lasts in perfect condition forever, however well made.
The things I really love are the things I end up wearing a lot, so I've learnt to look after them. I can sew, which helps with repairs and I'm on great terms with my dry cleaner and shoe repair man. Now I have the fabric de-fuzzer/de-bobbler, I will never have to shop again! My god, that thing works! I don't know where this thrifty make-do and mend side comes from, but I do remember my dad welding pieces of bicycle tyre onto the bottom of his tennis shoes to repair them when I was a child... I promise I will never go that far. (In his defence he was born during the second world war and grew up with rationing, which didn't end in the UK until 1954.) But I get coats re-lined when they look tired, I get my shoes re-soled and heeled often (professionally!), I hang everything properly, put my cashmere in boxes with anti-moth stuff, get things dry cleaned, sew loose buttons back on. My wardrobe is generally a well oiled machine.
And people think I'm insane to do this. No, really, they do. It just makes sense to me - why would I throw stuff on the floor or not take care of it? When I worked in swanky designer stores people would often try things on and leave them in a tangled heap on the changing room floor. And I bet they did that at home because their maid would go round and pick everything up and get it dry cleaned. Since many of those people went shopping on Sloane Street all day every day anyway, they probably forgot all about an item having worn it once (I have stories which illustrate this but I cannot tell!) and just went to buy more. Also not economical - though if you spend your life going shopping with your husband's black Amex card and having facials every day you probably don't care!
It's not just about money - I'm not sitting there with my de-fuzzer hoping the batteries won't run out because I can't afford to buy any more. It genuinely makes me happy that a Miu Miu coat that I couldn't wear for years except for gardening or dog walking - or something else I never do - I can now wear again in civilised society.