Oh crikey, what with the wedding and the… well, just the wedding really… the poor Wartime Wardrobe Challenge seems to have taken a back seat in my priority list! The halfway point in the challenge came and went without even a second thought in my mind, which I find a little sad, and I even missed my June update – so I’m playing catch-up a little here!
To my fellow participants: can you believe we’ve been doing this for six months? Blimey. It has been so fascinating and morale boosting to read about everybody’s WWC journey, and I’m so impressed that we’ve all managed to stay on the bandwagon and take the rules seriously. What’s more humbling is that from your posts that I’ve read (and I’m sorry if I’ve missed any) there seems to be a genuine desire to learn more about ethical clothing and sustainable principles through the challenge – to make it into a way of life.
Despite my recent blog silence on this year long ethical clothing challenge and missing the landmark ‘halfway stage’, I still find that the ethos and principles that the challenge set out to instil into its participants are always at the back of my mind. Just because I was too preoccupied to blog about my progress in the challenge, I didn’t forget it altogether and rush out to blow all my cash on hordes of cheap, poorly-made and ethically dubious fast fashion garments. This just goes to show that sustainable and ethical ways of shopping for clothes can become part of the way you live your life and also shows that I’m not feeling like I’m ‘missing out’ on anything by taking up the gauntlet of the Wartime Wardrobe Challenge.
I wonder whether this was the case for people living under the clothes rationing during the war – did they feel particularly restricted by the lack of availability of certain materials, the enforced restriction on new purchases and the need for ‘make do and mend’ or did they just adapt and get on with it? I’m guessing it was probably the latter.
June/July Purchase Update
I’ve been buying pants again. What is it with me and underwear this year?! But when I heard that Who Made Your Pants? were holding their infamous sample sale, I dove on the opportunity to have a bit of a old-grey pant cull (converted into dusters, of course) and replace them with these beautiful UK-made creations.
All the lovely lace-y numbers sold by Who Made Your Pants? are made in Southampton using leftover fabric being discarded by the lingerie industry at the end of each season, by women who have ‘had a hard time’ – mostly refugees from war torn countries. Who Made Your Pants? support the women in learning new skills, in addition to those required to make the pants themselves, and provide them with a safe and harmonious working environment. The garment makers individually sign each garment, so you know EXACTLY who made your pair of pants, and you can even read about them on the site.
I ordered a batch of four pairs of seconds, which are hardly seconds at all really – I have eyeballed them quite a lot and I can’t see anything wrong with them! I’m going to dare to say that they qualify under the Wartime Wardrobe Challenge Coupon Chart as ‘low impact’, which means 2 challenge coupons per pair.
4 x pants: 8 coupons
Owing to my recent weight loss, I’ve also found myself member of a new hand-me-down chain, getting first choice of old clothes coming from Claire who works on the farm (she’s tiny, so I had no chance of fitting into any of her old stuff before!). She handed me a batch to sift through and I picked out this Florence+Fred dress (i.e. Tesco, soz for terrible photo).
Tesco are a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), which means they have made a commitment to follow the standards set out by the initiative (although in practice we have seen that many members have not actually done this e.g. Primark). Tesco have offered fairtrade, organic and Made in the UK ranges in the past, although it has never formed the majority of their collection. They do have an ethical policy, which is displayed on their website here if you fancy a read.
My dress is not organic or fairtrade or Made in the UK… but it is second-hand, which means it does not use up any of my precious coupons.
I’ve also got a dress coming from my younger sister, who has been advertising some of her old clothing on Facebook recently in a bid to earn some cash. I don’t know where it’s from yet, but clearly I’m on a polka dot theme this month!
2 x dresses: 0 coupons (second hand)
Lending a Hand
In the run up to our wedding, I was spending an awful lot of time outdoors, getting the farm and the ceremony/barn areas ready for the day. We married on 11th July, which was smack in the middle of the blistering heatwave, and despite spending the best part of two weeks slathered in factor 30, I still inevitably began to acquire strap lines – a problem as my wedding dress was strapless!
Claire noticed this, and immediately rushed home and brought me three strapless tops to wear. They were such a godsend. I am not a fan of strapless tops at all – I hate not wearing a bra with things and hate how I look in them – so I would have never wanted to buy any for myself, but this solved my issue perfectly, and they have now been returned to their rightful owner for many more years of use.
This got me thinking about ‘loaning’ clothes. It isn’t something I’ve done very often, and probably not since I was a teenager swapping frocks with my friends, but it’s a great way to meet a specific need, especially when you know you won’t be needing that item again afterwards. For ‘going out’ clothes, sites like Wish, Want, Wear will loan you a dazzling outfit for your big night out, or even a wedding dress for your own big day, but for more practical items, perhaps we should be less afraid to just ask – friends, neighbours… hell, put a shout out on Twitter!
Six Month Review
Having tracked my purchases throughout the year so far, I’ve also noticed a few funny little patterns emerging in the things I’ve bought and the way I shop… some of which have surprised me. What better time to touch on this than at the (roughly) halfway stage?
- I’ve acquired 21 items in total, of which 8 were second-hand (see my ‘hand-me-down’ post for my thoughts on the second-hand clothes industry).
- Six items were passed onto me by friends and family for FREE!
- Three items were presents for my birthday.
- I’ve spent the princely sum of £719.70…
- … but £450 of that was my wedding dress and another £224.70 was other wedding-related items!
- Excluding the wedding frock, I have spent an average of £13.50 per item so far.
- I’ve used up 40 of my 66 coupons for the year.
- I’ve acquired six pairs of pants and two bras…
- …three pairs of shoes…
- …four dresses, a playsuit, a blouse, a skirt, a pair of tights, a scarf and a swimsuit!
I have been surprised at the amount of second hand purchases I’ve made, as if you had asked me at the start of the year I would have told you that I rarely buy second hand. I’m also surprised by my low spend – I knew that I was quite thrifty when it came to clothes, but didn’t realise just to what extent! When you deduct the wedding related purchases from my total, I’ve actually only spent £45 this year so far on my wardrobe!!
If you’re participating in the challenge and have blogged about your progress, how you are feeling at the halfway stage of the challenge, if you’ve discovered a new company, or if you’ve read a good article/book recently, please do share your links in the comments box for the rest of us to see!Tweet