I have a blue coat for sale. A powder blue, wool-blend winter coat. Soft, warm and fuzzy. I knew almost instantly, this delightfully chic statement coat needed to come home with me.
Yet it’s been hiding in my closet for years since then, and I’ve only worn it a handful of times. What a waste for such a pretty coat. The warm pop of colour was a welcome surprise in the sea of blacks and greys we’re so accustomed to seeing during the cold winter months. It’s a shame then, this trendy little coat hasn’t had the chance to see the light of day. That is until now. I plan to find it a new home.
I love fashion, putting together outfits that reflect my nature, my mood and over time I’ve curated a small but mighty collection. In fact, over the last few months, it’s gotten even smaller. I have stuffed garbage bags full with long-forgotten tops, ill-fitting pants and barely worn dresses and dropped them off to the nearest Salvation Army. My immigrant mother would be mortified if she knew just how much I tossed away.
Yet it had to be done. Many of the things hiding in my closet I held on, with the belief I may need them in the future. Ha! And a great many just didn’t fit right anymore. As I’ve become more physically active, I’ve trimmed down and I’ve kept telling myself this great story: one day I will be able to alter my own clothes. I just need to take a couple sewing lessons and I’ll be good to go. Ha! Again. I definitely want to learn how to sew, but right now, it’s not high on my list of priorities. Those long-forgotten pieces needed to go and with that, I purged.
And now, time’s up for this blue coat. If Kijiji doesn’t work, I’m thinking of dropping it off along with a pile of clothes I’ve set aside for a local woman’s group. Dress for Success Toronto is a fantastic charity supporting women in the community looking to secure meaningful employment with professional attire and job training workshops. If I can brighten one woman’s day with a cute little coat, I will gladly part ways with it.
Slowly freeing myself from the trappings of our consumer culture; with hard-earned lessons and wisdom earned along the way, I have a better idea of what’s worth investing in.
That long-held desire to one day living in a home (mansion, let’s be real) with a vast and expansive walk-in closet filled with the trendiest outfits no longer entices me. The dream home has been downsized. The square footage won’t be as sweeping but I still long to have the most inviting family room, a warm kitchen to bring everyone together, a library with floor to ceiling bookshelves, and a mudroom for my kids to hang their jackets and line their muddy boots out of my sight. The closet will be smaller, but the wardrobe will be mighter! My small, smartly thought out wardrobe will make space to hold certain fashion must-haves, like the quintessential ‘little black dress’, a well-tailored blazer, the finest saris passed down from my mother and the softest denim pants to name just a few. Just enough to allow me to dress in a way that feels comfortable and speaks to my personality.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, I already knew this from the basics in first-year university economics. The law of diminishing marginal utility, in the simplest terms, the more you have of something, the less utility (happiness) you gain with the introduction of each new unit (piece of clothing). So with the purchase of every new pair of yoga pants, undergarment or blouse, I’m not really doing myself any favours! The same would apply to cars, gadgets, things and other things. Having a lot of stuff doesn’t guarantee greater happiness.
I think I’ve jumped onto the minimalism bandwagon. I’m learning with experience: in every ‘mistake’ and ‘success’ what’s most important, what’s the takeaway and how can I improve? We don’t need a lot. I don’t need to armour myself with an expansive wardrobe for one to feel good but it’s still ok to want certain things and aspire to. How I dress, is a reflection of me but it’s not all of me (and I don’t need a lot to dress creatively).
Create a life you’re proud of. Buy whatever the hell it is that makes you happy, dress in whatever speaks to you, carry the gadgets and drive the cars you want. Own the house with an inground pool but know, to truly be happy there are a few key ingredients, that can’t be bought in order to live a vastly more fulfilling existence:
- Good health (mental and physical)
- A healthy sense of self: be your own biggest cheerleader but also know when to simmer down, drop the ego and own up to your mistakes
- loving relationships (romantic, familial and platonic)
- a sense of humour – don’t take life too seriously 😉
- memorable experiences
- a sense of purpose and a sense of urgency when work needs to be done
- energy to fuel your personal passions
- and meaningful connections that tie us to one another and reminds us, we’re not alone in this journey.