The time we have all spent in isolation has certainly taught us some lessons in terms of fashion.
And what we can and can’t do without.
Shopping your own wardrobe is the obvious answer when you can’t go to a physical shop, but for anyone who is even vaguely interested in fashion, it doesn’t entirely dampen the desire for lovely new things.
I have bought nothing but track wear over the last couple of months. Instead, I’ve spent many enjoyable hours internet shopping and popping lots of desirable, frivolous pieces into my trolley.
But then I never make it to the checkout.
I’m struggling to know how to approach this time, and about how to be a more responsible consumer. You can take the ‘buy nothing new’ approach.
Which is certainly the best option in terms of climate change and waste, but on the other hand, there are fashion businesses, with sound ethics, that have been hit hard financially and need our support.
Actress and activist Jane Fonda has gone the buy-nothing route.
Last last year she said, “When I talk to people about, ‘We don’t really need to keep shopping. We shouldn’t look to shopping for our identity. We don’t need more stuff,’ then I have to walk the walk too. So, I’m not buying any more clothes.”
Given that Ms Fonda already has some very impressive clothes after decades of shopping, it’s no wonder she is happy to pull them out again.
I do love seeing her on the red carpet, recycling her Bob Mackie beaded gowns and sequinned tuxedo jackets – and it sends a good message.
If you are buying good-quality pieces, which often come with bigger price tags, the longer they will last and the more you can re-wear them.
The “make do and mend” philosophy is sound but harder to apply to low-priced clothing.
Case in point: I bought a longline cardigan coat, not great quality, and the shoulder seam very quickly came apart.
I took it to be mended at the local dry cleaners, which cost $20.
(Need to add here that I cannot sew myself, as I had a truly mean sewing teacher in fifth grade who terrorised me over my chain stitch sampler and I became convinced that sewing machines attracted poltergeists.)
I then popped into Kmart for something and noticed a not dissimilar cardigan to the one I had just paid to mend.
It was $35. What incentive is there to mend something when you can simply throw it away and replace it?
I find myself torn between buying pieces that are affordable or investing in something expensive that will last the distance.
One moment I have told myself that I am just going to wear jeans and a navy-blue sweater for the rest of my life, and then I am convincing myself that I need that faux leopard coat with the jewelled collar that I just saw in Prada.
I’m going back to look at what I already have in my wardrobe and give myself a good talking to. Again.