To Fashion or Not to Fashion

(Black and white photo = broody, thinky, rambly post ahead).

Roughly a year ago I started getting rid of a lot of my clothes. I had been feeling a little weighed down by the number of shoes, bangles, earrings, blouses I had and rarely wore. It wasn’t excessive. I’d say it was the average amount of stuff that most of us have who are at least slightly interested in fashion/style (and can afford to be).

I gave a bunch of my stuff to Cath, went to a couple of clothing swaps, sent things to charity shops, etc. I knew I’d be moving and thought it would be a great time to start with a clean slate.

By the time I made it to Scotland in September, all of my clothes fit into one large duffel bag. I had this idea that this “clean slate” (aka extremely paired-down wardrobe) would give me the chance to really think about things (warning: long-winded rambling about to ensue.). Could I live with less stuff? How important are clothes and outfits and trends to me? Did I really want to be a fashion blogger?

Cath and I rarely talk about just clothes and fashion on AsianCajuns, but when I do, I feel kind of fraudulent. I like using clothes/attire as a way of expression, but I feel a bit stuck. I don’t feel the urge to shop at the places I can afford (H&M, Zara, Primark, Target, etc.) because I’m still struggling over the ethics of fast fashion. And the fashion world that I can’t afford, seems a little silly to me sometimes. I’ve always been inspired by the gorgeous craftsmanship and creativity that goes into high fashion, but my brain struggles with cost and importance of it. The artistry and creative expression will always be necessary, but the price, turnover and regurgitation of trends seem unnecessary and out of touch.

There are charity shops, Etsy designers, and independent boutiques to shop at when I do want to consume (nom nom nomm). But there’s still the tricky balance of buying less and having less in general.

In conclusion: I’m in a muddle!

While I try to figure this out, I hope you’ll continue to be inspired by Cath’s wardrobe and our adventures around Atlanta/Decatur and Edinburgh! I’ll try to keep most of my ramblings to myself and just share any light-bulb moments I have. In the meantime, thanks for your generous patience, readers!



24 thoughts on “To Fashion or Not to Fashion”

  1. I went through something very similar when I moved to Switzerland a few years ago. I got rid of nearly everything before we moved. We definitely had a “less is more attitude” the whole time we lived there, which was about 2 years. While there I wore pretty much the same “pullover” (i.e. sweater) and jeans several days in a row. I had no desire to shop at H&M or Zara or Tally Weijl. Everything beautiful was like $4000. Then when we moved back to the States I needed work clothes ASAP and I didn’t want to spend all our money on clothes, so I made a one-year promise to myself that I would only buy resale/thrift/vintage clothing. Even now that that year is up, I much prefer to buy resale/vintage/thrift. I find that my style is more unique now than ever before. I dictate what is stylish, not retail shop windows. I hope you embrace this less is more time!

  2. Oh Lar, I hope you get that muddle sorted out soon! Ever since you wrote that post on ethical consumerism, I’ve resisted going in to Forever 21, Target, and the like, saving my pennies instead for something thrifted or handmade. I know I can’t afford super expensive designer stuff (yet, I hope) but I can live with the stuff I have now and slowly add to my wardrobe when I get more funds too.

    But, I totally love all the posts in your and Cath’s blog anywho– fashion or non-fashion related!

    1. Thanks for your sympathy, Laura! I’m so impressed with your holding off on F21 and Target. I did go into Primark the other day (brought out-of-towners) and managed not to buy a thing — but sheesh was that hard. I’m also trying to do the same: slowly add to my wardrobe when I have the money to support the places I want to.

  3. Thank you for being so honest in this post, Lar. I’ve been grappling with some of the same issues myself, though not on as deep a level as you have. I’ve been purging my wardrobe and editing down what I have, and rebuilding it by adding in pieces that I know I would wear all the time and can wear for a long time to come. Hence the “buy less, but buy better” New Year’s resolution.

    I just got sick of buying pieces that would fall apart, shrink in the wash, not work with anything else I own, etc. I got sick of experimenting with of-the-moment trends and finding out they’re not really me and discarding them. I’d look at the stuff I was donating and getting rid of and think to myself “How much money did I waste? How much could I have saved for travel, my future home, going back to school, a wedding? I could’ve spent the money on reaching life goals instead of silly throwaway stuff.”

    That’s not to say I’ve stopped shopping entirely. I still love fashion, accessories and makup. I’m not immune to the siren’s call of H&M or Zara. But I’m trying to really think through anything I buy.

    Anyway, sorry for the long diatribe. Hope you muddle through your thoughts alright and figure it all out!

    1. It’s a great “diatribe,” Lisa! I love hearing what fellow fashion bloggers are doing to help curb the itchy fingers to buy, buy, buy — especially the trends. You nailed it. I felt the same why when getting rid of stuff: why did I throwaway money on things I was pretty sure wasn’t me? I like the idea of refocusing on your more fulfilling life goals 😉
      Thank you!

  4. I feel your pain as I’m in the same spot. I am *home* but I find myself leaning towards make, mend or make do and leaning primarily on reused items.

    My shopping allowance just keeps building up because I rarely use it; my plan is to use it on tailoring for items I have but don’t wear (aka “mend or make do”).

    1. I really like that idea, Jesse! I really do want to have clothes that fit better without buying new or really expensive.

  5. Agree with Laura – love all the posts both of you write, whether they’re about clothes/accessories/ whatever! I personally think part of this process for you as writers and us as readers is to grow and learn from each other, so maybe that means what you used to do/think/buy have changed in ways that are different from where you were when you first started writing – doesn’t mean one is better than the other, it’s just a part of evolving. And now that i totally sound like Oprah (You get a new shirt! And you get a new shirt!) – i’m signing off. 😉

    1. Hahaha! I love it, Currylove (and I love Oprah hahaha)! I do like the idea of blogging being a process. Sometimes I wish I had things styled and curated perfectly for AC, and then I just think that sounds exhausting and not fulfilling. I’m glad you’re enjoying the journey!

  6. It’s funny that you mention this because while I like the fashion blogger-ness that happens here, I’ve never really considered your blog a fashion blog. Just glancing at where I’ve got you guys on bloglovin’ echoes that sentiment: “Life & Style”. I like that your posts don’t just focus on clothes and fashion, but on life, work, home, etc, PLUS thrifting can be such fun. like that atlas I scored for $4!!

    And I totally agree with your comment about cutting up old books! It was painful at first but I figured that since it had maps of the Soviet Union, an undivided Korea, plus East & West Germany meant that it could be dismantled. Lovingly, of course.

    1. Thanks so much for the encouragement, Faith! And seriously, I’m heading to London this weekend looking for falling-apart-already books that I had cut up. I’ll let you know if I find anything good!

  7. I feel completely the same. I’ve been struggling with this same thing for a while now and feel like a complete fraud. I love my clothes {I’m away of how materialistic that sounds, but it’s true}, but I don’t want to sacrifice ethics for a pair of colorful skinnies.

    Let me know if you want someone to chat with about the whole thing. I’m all upside down about it right now and couldn’t provide you any clarity, but I’m definitely up for a chat!


    1. Hi Ashley! Definitely up for a chat! I’ll shoot you an email soon. MIss you and hope you and your hubs are doing grand!

  8. OH MY GOD.

    This is such a great essay illustrating the conundrum between being conscious as a consumer and also wanting to have something of quality while living on a budget.

    I don’t think I could have said it better.

    You’re amazing, Lar.

    PS. I emailed you last week about a possible blog re-design, please kindly check the account and get back to me when you can! XO

    me ke aloha, Mae

    1. Thanks so much for the sweet comment, Mae!

      Sorry for being so lax about checking emails! Hope you got mine okay 😉


  9. Great post, really relevant to what I think too, and so candid. Thank you, Lar. After “fashion” blogging for several years now, the urge to do outfit posts (and therefore buy clothes because you know you have to post outfits!) has waned a lot for me. That helps a little with the tension between fast clothing vs luxury vs handmade because I increasingly dress for myself and find that as I get older (Christ. I sound like a grandma!) I am buying less but when I do, it is made in New Zealand, good fabric, and a higher price point (labels like Kate Sylvester, Starfish and Juliette Hogan particularly). I still cave into temptation but I think the fact I’m conscious about where my clothes are coming from is a hell of a lot better than a majority of other people. So keep on at it, Lar! You’re amazing. I love reading the posts.

    1. Thanks for such a sweet and thoughtful comment, Ana! Your blog definitely encourages to be more conscientious and focus on things other than clothes and shopping.
      Cath and I have felt the same waning interest in taking photographs of our clothes/outfits. I think blog evolution is an exciting thing!

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