10 lessons I learned from 365 days of only recycled and handmade clothes.

Hey stitchers,

Gosh! It’s a new year. I can hardly believe it! Hope you had an amazing Christmas with your beautiful loved ones.

I don’t know if you feel the same way about your 2015 in review, but last year was a big year for me. If you’ve been with me a while, you’ll remember my one key goal – to not one purchase any new item of outer clothing for 365 days. I wanted to increase my sewn collection and reduce my shopped collection (with the exception of shoes, underwear and accessories) so for the length and breadth of 2015 I could hand make it or buy it recycled, but that was it!

NAILED IT. 2015 came and went with no brand new shop purchases.

On the first day of 2016, I thought I would bust into the shops and spree like a lunatic. But no. The time taught me a lot, about myself and others, but there were a few things I noticed that I really didn’t miss. Like shopping malls. I realized how much I actually don’t like being in them, and how much more relaxed I am in an op-shop. Why? Because I see an op-shop, pull over and walk in, and that’s it. No need to fight for a parking space; no rolling my eyes at pretentious shop decor/music/assistant; no crappy piped muzak; no getting lost or walking past every shop because they design those places so you have to; no weird loss of the sense of time because there isn’t a clock anywhere; no greasy food court with grotty little tables; no strip lighting and also no rent-a-cops.

Seriously, now. In my 365 of shopping celibacy, I learned:

1) There’s a world of thrifting out there!

Check out my post here re: suitcase rummages and wardrobe warrior markets – there are so many second-hand fashion markets popping up everywhere. What’s better than meeting your bestie at one of these grabbing a coffee and a bag full of bargains? UM. Nothing.

2) Thrifted clothed are always a little different to the general trend.

I love following fashion, but there’s a line. Few of us like that identical twin business, so thrift shops are where you can really cultivate a range of unique styles to suit your mood, context, weather, occasion, or style – you name it. And the odds are that, when you arrive in your latest bit of thrift fashion, you will get noticed because, well, you got that thing honey.

3) I love an op-shop find so much more than I love a brand new item of clothing.

There is something extra awesome in the feeling of making the thrift shop find. Who wouldn’t when it’s an awesome rare gem from a bygone era whose style is back in rage? The bonus – that cost is $2. Crazy town! And the gems are everywhere – you just need to be there to find them.

4) I have enough.

Like most of us in the first world, I have far more than enough, which is way more than I need. This year was about appreciating what I already had – those things I haven’t worn that have made their way to the back, or the bottom, or a bag in the garage. Speaking of, what is that? Why do we pay for space to store things we no longer use? Ridiculous. If it hasn’t been worn for a year it’s going to a new home. I won’t get started here about the emotional holes that shopping fills on the short term, much like crack cocaine is said to.

5) You can literally wear clothes to death.

Over the year, I just kept wearing this one black t-shirt. I have never done this, ever. I’m one to buy a brand new t-shirt when the old one gets a liiiiittle bit old – so I really desperately wanted to buy a new one because the one I was wearing had that old feeling to me. But you know what? There’s a difference between need and want. So I had just sat with it, because  that brand new shirt wouldn’t change anything in my life, including how others think about me. Crazy realization time.

6) Nothing I buy changes anything.

Not me. The people around me. How you see yourself. Nothing. Changes. Your brand new shirt won’t change how people treat you, or even how you treat yourself. It might give you a momentary high, but you can be sure that it will be a fleeting moment. I learned this year about filling that emotional hole where shopping used to sit, and it feels good. Try it.

7) When you can’t just buy what you want – you got to work with what you got.

I got creative, and I started mixing and matching like a boss! Instead of just going and buying something new to create a new outfit or look, I just looked harder at what I already had, and worked with that – and I loved the results. My boy would say to me with a confused look ‘that’s different but it works, suprisingly’. (And sometimes I would wear it anyway even if he said it just looked odd, because.. that’s just what I do)

8) That if its not handmade or recycled I don’t really want it.

I don’t want to go to the tweeny shops again. Ever. After 365 days, there’s nothing I need that I can’t find thrifted. Maybe that one black t-shirt but, even then, I’m in no hurry! My budget bottom line is so much healthier for it, too.

9) The truth about the clothing manufacturing industry.
The reason I started avoiding the shops is from understanding where our clothes are coming from and who is making them. One word people: slavery!

I just can’t support it. There are thirty million people today are still working like slaves, literally. This means working as many as 18 or twenty hours in a day, for not enough money to feed the family. The film ‘True Cost’ documents the actual price humanity pays for the fashion so few of us get to wear (read more about it here).

10) Op shopping is easy!
Nuff said. There are fab people in every town documenting where the sweet spots are. To find the best op-shops in Bris Vegas, Hannah Klose over at Never Ever Pay Retail shares some amazing finds and links the op-shops close to you! Awesome, right?
Here’s a snap of my fave 2015 finds!
Looking forward to sharing another recycled and handmade year with you guys! Get excited.

Waste not want not!

Kris x





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    • Kristyn says:

      Thanks hunny! So much learning for me last year. I love that I’ve made you think, but I believe you’re totally mindful about what you buy, tailor and up cycle of course (to me! Thank you!) xxx

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