So Long, Farewell to the Wartime Wardrobe Challenge

I promised a while back that I would do a round-up post of the entire Wartime Wardrobe Challenge for last year. The reason you didn’t get a November round-up was quite a simple one and a little bit of a vain one, I have been trying to locate a decent picture from the BHS ball where I borrowed a dress from my riding instructor – another brilliant thing I have discovered through the challenge, the generosity of others – I must remember to ensure I return the favour or pay it forward! 🙂

So November coupon-free! I did buy a couple of second-hand items, a Coast dress that was the wrong size so eBay=ed it back to hopefully fit someone else perfectly! Also unfortunately after a year where I thought I had truly got grips with my ‘ooh look at that’ manner of shopping I did also “win” a pair of cowprint cowboy boots which I knew I didn’t want as I willed someone else to bid watching as the clock ticked down. So I own some second hand boots now, boots I didn’t need or I realised particularly want – I have decided to keep them for a short period of time just to remind me why I take part in sustainability challenges related to consumption. A colleague did tell me to think of my purchase another way, that the person selling got some money and in the run up to Christmas too which is nice.

December was a different story! I caved and bought the People Tree Peter Jensen jumper I have been coveting since it came out – I absolutely adore it and have been wearing it to work and to play with lots of compliments and queries as to where it came from (perfect for being able to talk about the awesome brand that is People Tree). Then in the sales I lost my willpower and got:

  • A Seasalt skirt
  • A pair of Komodo black trousers – can’t stop wearing these ones, I love them they are definitely “my” style
  • A Nancy Dee top – returned, lovely but not great colour on me so where I would have probably kept it in previous years I have returned it, I will definitely be going back to the brand when I require a new dress – a brand I only discovered thanks to Meg
  • A Finisterre top (a ethical sportswear post coming soon about this brand) – beautiful tshirt in organic cotton but looked a bit odd on my shoulders so was sent back

A bit of a sorry end to it all but here goes with my final thoughts and round up. There are aspects of this challenge that I want to ensure I keep as part of my normal shopping habits whether related to fashion or just in general, there were parts of this challenge that I found difficult as well and I won’t lie I will be happy to see the back of those even though they have helped me focus on curating a sustainable and ethical wardrobe. First to the positives:

  • It made me actually keep track of my purchases, I used to think that I didn’t purchase much but I realise now how easy it was to buy things each month, small things even
  • It got me back into looking at 2nd hand clothing – I hadn’t really used eBay much and had got out of the habit of spending some time wandering around charity shops – I had sorted that now all thanks to this challenge and now enjoy it again
  • It got me examining need and want – working hard to distinguish between the two but not removing the want aspect entirely
  • It made me see where I tend to over buy
  • It made me discover I have lovely friends and family who are more than happy to lend things if they can
  • I also enjoyed discovering the blogs of other participants all of whom had interesting blogs and ideas to inspire

Lessons learned:

  • I am really not happy that I went over coupons, the purchases I made at the start of the year were not wise and I realise I didn’t need them which is true of a couple of my purchases throughout the year – as mentioned above over-buying and need will inform my shopping more
  • My 2nd hand clothing addiction got out of hand pretty quickly and I bought a fair few items that I either have not worn or did not need/really want – this is why I started giving half coupons to brand new with tags as I was particularlly worried all that would happen is I would buy a lot of brand new clothing in this manner rather than direct from shops

The coupon chart did confuse me at times, mainly when it wasn’t clear how many coupons I should charge for something, for example the swimsuit and leggings. Overall though I enjoyed the challenge, pleased that I took part and I enjoyed it immensely. It has helped me realised how important ethical and sustainable fashion is to me.

I have put my final tally below along with some links to a couple of online resources that I really enjoyed. On to 2014’s challenges, which have all been informed by the WWC so thanks to Meg and Nik for giving me inspiration.

-13.5/66 coupons – definitely could do better plus 3 items within this tally have either been given away or are rarely worn, without those buys I would be -2.5 coupons.

Things I have been listening to lately:

British Textile Industry – can it be revived? An interesting radio documentary, I believe a British textile industry would be a great thing, what do other people think?

People Tree – Fashion takes action – either 10 minute or 40 minute (available on youtube) long videos on a discussion organised by People Tree, good videos with useful points

A TedTalk on the voices of Chinese Workers – this is really interesting giving voices to the Chinese workers who make a lot of our products

 

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2 thoughts on “So Long, Farewell to the Wartime Wardrobe Challenge”

  1. Thanks for taking part in the project & for this thorough round-up. I’m glad that you learnt a lot & will take some things forward, but I’m most thrilled to read that this challenge triggered generosity from friends & family through the simple act of sharing. That’s probably the most delightful outcome I’ve read about! Particularly as it is the antidote to the marketing message ‘buy this new thing to be somebody, be respected, be liked…”

    I’ve enjoyed the many resources you have shared along the way – I await your write up on Finisterre with interest ! – and I’ll definitely be listening to the BBC & TED materials.

    Like you hope for a revival of the British textile industry. Whilst People Tree & Komodo do great work and have a good range, sometimes the most environmental & ethical solution is to buy an item from a small local producer that makes the garment here with locally sourced materials, keeping real skills alive and creating worthwhile local jobs in the process. It may not necessarily have a green/ethical label stamped all over it but it can still tick all the boxes that matter!

    1. I really enjoyed the challenge Meg, I am so pleased that you and Nik created it – thanks. It has been lovely to find that people are so generous and it has definitely inspired me to be the same.

      I am interested in small local producers too and I agree with all your comments. I particularly love a trench coat I had made by an Edinburgh based pair called Totty Rocks (I got it as a massive treat for completing my Masters) and I want to support them more, their clothing is all slightly quirky but infinitely wearable. It would be brilliant to see a revival of the British textile industry and I am definitely going to try and do all I can to support it.

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