Sunday, 28 October 2007

Consumption versus... another view?

Had to go to London to visit my stepdaughter, and it was lovely to see her, although I had to hid my knitting! Also went to Uniqlo to pick up some classic pieces. I bought:
  • a scarf that absorbs solar power to keep me warm!
  • a skinny black cardi (to look smart)
  • two tops.
All for under £30. Not necessarily a bargain, but for the quality, I'm happy. I love Uniqlo clothing: it's well made, doesn't fall apart or loose shape in the washing machine and has a sophisticated colour selection. I don't buy woolen goods from Uniqlo though, after the buttery softness of designer yarns, I find their merino/lambswool blend a tad itchy. I'd rather knit woolen cardigans for myself. Am I wrong?

Anyhoos, had a come to Jesus chat with my stepdaughter over the weekend. She seems to think that I'm letting myself go appearance wise. I don't dress up anymore, or shop, and she finds my hobbies of knitting and inline skating offputting. To be honest, since I've started recycling in earnest a couple of years ago, I've changed my consumption habits, some have been:

  • Not buying glossy magazines: I try and do most of my reading online. So for my gossip fix I'll go to ONTD, and for news, I'll look to BBC World. If I do buy papers, it's the Sunday papers. Then, I recycle them.
  • Buy the best clothes I can afford, and make them last: I've gone off stores like Primark and Topshop - where the clothes may be fashionable but they fall apart so quickly, and especially with Primark, where clothes can be as little as £1, it's really frightening. I'm trying not to buy clothes because I 'want' to be on trend. I'm trying to buy clothes that will last for years. In this regard, I'm following the lead of French women - buy the best clothes I can afford, and just make them last. This means taking control and responsiblity for what I put in my body and how I maintain it by making sure I stay the same size all the time.
  • Finish using whatever products I buy so that I can recycle the containers: I used to be a product gladfy - I'd buy a facecream this week, and one next week - only to have six opened bottles of product in varying stages of use. Earlier this year I've decided to use up the bottles, (and carry them to my local recycling facility) and oh my, I've been a bad girl! Now, I've decided on what my face product is going to be (Neal's yard - organic and the containers are recyclable).
  • I think twice about what I buy before I do: Will I wear this jacket/trousers/shoes everyday or almost everyday? Can this item of clothing go from smart/casual, and vice versa? Can I wear it layered? Alone or not? When I buy a garment, I now expect to wear it until threadbare. Same thing with shoes.
All these thoughts were in my head as I flicked through the magazines that my stepdaughter had. The articles were along the line of: How to get star style with high top swag? The makeup to buy/try NOW! These magazines seem to drive consumption by telling you what to buy and what to wear, all masked in the sly chatty tones. You get the feeling of derision by the fashionistas if you want to dance to your own stylish drum, although they do say otherwise by showing the great and good in the styles du jour instead of the classic and the quirk. Hmmmm.

Also, with the amount of money that you spend on fakes and knockoffs, if you save long and hard, you can have a stylish version that you can keep for years and years.

Anyway, lest our thoughts get serious, I've been knitting. Yayyy. Stuff I've been doing:

  • A charity square. My square was supposed to be 8 inches square. It ended up being 11 inches. Hmmm. I haven't the heart to rip it. Yet.
  • I now know how to knit continental. My tension is loosey gooesy in continental, but I can knit wicked fast. Faster than how I normally knit, and I'm relatively quick. I could see myself doing continental for a moss stitch - going down a few needle sizes.
  • I'm knitting Roza's socks. It's the first patterned sock knitting I've ever done. I've done a pair of socks before, but the basic Opal sock knit version. I can see why people like sock knitting: it's portable, doesn't call for much committment (mismatched socks are cool!), and you can use gorgeous yarn without breaking the bank. I only have 300 m of yarn, and grumperina's socks call for 394m. I might only do one sock with the yarn I have (70 percent wool/30 percent ramie) because it's sturdy and serviceable.
  • I'm waiting on my 3.75mm needles from get knitted. The knitpicks options needles never seem to be in stock. I do wish to start my icarus shawl. Never have done lace before, and my thoughts are of fear and trepidation.
Right! There are more things to say, but will keep schtum for now, for I shan't jinx them.


ETA: Oh my Lord, Kim Hargreaves has a new book coming out. I'm selling on my Weardowney book for this one. Oh yes.

1 comment:

JayJay said...

Wow, I'm so impressed with your conservation efforts! I agree with buying classic clothing and wearing it for years. This extremely consumerist society really bugs me sometimes.

I first learned to knit continental from my mom, but then took a class where I learned to "throw" instead. I really want to go back to continental, though.