I used to always want new things. I LOVED new things. I had new things all the time. I bought new things, and I had to wear them immediately. I looked forward to the next day when I could wear or carry my new thing, as if everything would suddenly be different – better.
And there it is. The allure of acquiring something new, wearing something for the first time: newness represents some change – a transformation – however small. Wearing something new says, “okay, I’m ready, let’s start fresh.” Having new things is a way to quietly begin again with something “pristine,” something not yet touched by life. To start over.
Having new things is a way to quietly begin again with something “pristine,” something not yet touched by life. To start over.
If you’re adding new things to your wardrobe as often as I was, you’re “transforming” yourself every couple of days. And in so doing, continuing to hide from and cover up the pain you feel inside, or the feelings that you’re not good enough. Which is exhausting, frankly, and not sustainable. I was tired.
The new things are armor. You view your clothing as armor, meant to protect you from the “slings and arrows” life inevitably throws your way.
But. Clothing is not armor, and nothing, not even all the new things will shield you from the ups and downs of life.
I found that out when I had all the new things all the time, and I was still struggling with not feeling “good enough” or that I deserved what I had. I still felt sad after the loss of my beloved Ozzie. OF course I did – new things won’t make that go away.
When I finally reached the point of complete frustration and suffocation under the weight of all my stuff and made a promise to myself to face my reality, to come to terms with the things I was struggling with, both in my closet and in my life, I slowly started to feel more free. I started to purge things from my closet I didn’t need, didn’t want, and vowed to shop more consciously.
Now, about a year into my “minimal closet” journey, I’ve noticed that I’m much more excited about wearing what I have. As we’re transitioning from winter to spring, I am looking forward to wearing things I haven’t been able to the last few months: my long black Oak dress, my harem pants, sandals…just a t-shirt…I found myself not wanting to buy much this spring because I was already happy with what I had in my wardrobe that was waiting to be worn.
Is this a sign of maturity? Satisfaction? Happiness? Growth?
In a way, now that the seasons have changed, I am wearing “new” things. New from a week ago. Not new to me, though; I “shopped” my closet instead of the stores this season. I did add a few completely new things, two chambray shirts, a long cardigan, wedges and slides, but they were totally new styles for me, something that I didn’t already have in my wardrobe, not duplicates or similar things.
And instead of wearing all the new things, all the time, as I have done in the past (as a shield, and to the point of exhaustion), I’m learning to cycle them into my wardrobe. Also bringing in much older things like my Repetto flats, jeans I’ve had forever.
I understand what it is about “new” now. I haven’t conquered it my desire for new, by any means; I still get a thrill when I’m getting a package. It is human nature, I think, to love new. But I know I was out of control. And I was using “new” to self-medicate. To cover up. To forget.
Now, new is nice, but not necessary. New is fun, but not everything. I don’t need new. Sometimes I don’t even want new; old is even better.
My old clothes have history, meaning – have proven their worth.
What is your relationship with new? Do you use it like I did? Or do you have a healthy relationship with acquiring new things?