Thursday, 23 March 2017

Six Items Challenge Week 3: A broken washing machine, my last pair of tights and endless accessories

I'm halfway through my Six Items Challenge now, and it's definitely making me think about how I use my (usually ample!) wardrobe; how much stuff is too much, and how having lots of clothes can make life both easier and more complicated.

Last Friday, my partner took a load of washing out of the machine, and with it came two of the three plastic 'blades' that help to tumble the garments around in the drum. I had no ideas these could come off; in my three years of doing multiple loads of laundry every day as a theatre wardrobe assistant I had never seen this happen! Fortunately for me, my partner is very practical, so ordered the parts and fixed the machine when they arrived on Tuesday after watching an online tutorial. Over the weekend, I hand-washed my six items in the bathroom sink and gradually depleted my stock of knickers, tights and socks.

I work full time and have a long commute, so I’ve found that having a large wardrobe makes life easier in some respects. It reduces the number of washes I have to put on in order to have a sensible outfit to wear; I can afford to wait a few extra days before putting a wash on to ensure I have a full load and  I'm not wasting water. Since my clothes get worn less frequently, they wear out slowly and I don't need to replace things very often.

I wouldn't deliberately amass the amount of clothes I have now if I had to start again from scratch, but it has meant that I haven't had to buy anything new for months, and that I can put some careful thought into if and how I replace items as they wear out; I won't have to panic-buy the first pair of leggings I see or risk having cold legs, I'll be able to choose a good quality, ethically made product.

In the meantime, while I'm only allowed six items, I'm really enjoying experimenting with my accessories, as well as making more of an effort with my hair and make-up. I’ll confess to often forgoing non-essential styling in favour of an extra few minutes in bed on a weekday, but when I only have a few different items to wear I feel like I have to get a bit more creative. This is no bad thing - since I own a huge number or accessories that don’t often see the light of day, and I enjoy doing a bit of personal grooming, it’s been a good excuse to organise my morning routine to be a bit more efficient.

Although I am still continuing with my usual habit of sorting out an outfit the night before on work days, only having a limited selection means I don’t experience the worry of not having the ‘perfect’ outfit for a specific occasion; I simply choose the one that seems the most appropriate (according to style or practicality) and accessorise accordingly! I think I made a pretty sensible selection of items overall; I haven’t come across a situation yet where I didn’t have anything suitable to wear, although I have a feeling I’ll be wearing anything but a black cardigan once the challenge ends!

Overall, it’s been rather like travelling; as long as you have some imagination and enough clean underwear, you can make an occasion-appropriate outfit from even the most limited resources!

If you want to support the good work done by Labour Behind the Label to help garment workers around the world, you can sponsor me here.

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