Thursday, March 6, 2014

Lent 2014

Three of my first five Slices of Life were related to clothing, fashion, and beauty, giving you some sense of where my priorities lie. I am, in fact, kind of fashion obsessed.

I did the math yesterday. Over the past 3 months, I spent $523.77 (at least, but possibly more) on clothing, hairstyling products, and accessories, over a total of 49 separate transactions. Granted, I made $290.45 of that back in eBay sales, but that's still a lot of money.

It's also a lot of time. I'd guess (unscientifically) that I spend about an hour and a half each day planning my look, executing my look, and shopping for future looks.

Considering how much money and time I'm spending on making myself look good, it wasn't hard for me to figure out what to give up for Lent. On the other hand, figuring out what to say I was giving up was a little harder.

At first I thought I'd just give up "recreational shopping," but that didn't cover the many hours I waste standing in front of the closet trying to find The Great American Outfit.

So then I considered giving up "fashion," but I don't object to reading about fashion and finding out what people are wearing; I just wanted to limit how I apply it to myself. So that wasn't quite right.

I thought maybe I'd give up "vanity," but that seems a little too vague and could easily be misconstrued or redefined at my self-indulgent whim.

Finally after many hours of thought (I've been pondering this issue for the last several weeks), I decided to say that I'm giving up "self-adornment as hobby." Sure, that's going to require some explaining if people ask, but how many people ask? And if they do, I'll just point them to this blog, wherein the central tenets of my Lenten resolution are conveniently outlined below:
  • I will refrain from shopping for clothing "just for fun." I will still keep an eye out for the essentials that I've been needing, like the heavy-duty winter gloves that are more for function than style, but I will no longer pass the hours before bed and my lunch break trawling eBay. I will accompany friends to the store if they go, but I will not purchase anything!
  • I will no longer spend a good portion of my evenings trying to pick out an amazing outfit that's never been done before. I will select my clothes the same morning that I wear them, and I'll stick to staples that I know look OK.
  • If I go out, I will wear appropriately dressy attire, but I will not spend a half-hour on my makeup, and I will choose simple clothes.
  • I will also be putting my fashion blog on hiatus.
  • When I find clothing I no longer want in my closet, I will donate it instead of selling it as I usually do. That way, my previous consumerism can immediately benefit someone else!
I hope that this will open up more time for me to be a good person. Although sometimes the emphasis of the Lenten fast is on sacrifice, I prefer to think of it as an opportunity to do better. Or as I read in someone's Slice of Life yesterday (sorry, can't remember whose!) it's about making more room for God. That's what I'm trying to do by giving up all activities related to my personal style for 40 days. Imagine all the productive, generous things I can do with 60 extra hours and 104 dollars unspent!

P.S. If, after reading this, you can distill my Lenten resolution down to a concise couple of words, please let me know! I'm still not sure whether "Self-adornment as hobby" cuts it.


Patricia Holloway said...

I think you did a great job explaining what is important to you and why you are giving it up for Lent. I'm not sure it could be done in a couple of words. I like your choice words, "self-adornment." I think donating also shows your commitment. Nice post.

Julie said...

Now this is one of the more interesting Lenten sacrifices I've heard! Hope you'll update us in a couple of weeks so we can hear how it's going!


Your desire to live a more simple life will free up so many hours. Who knows you might even write a book. I am at the end of not buying any clothes for 365 days. (Then I started to buy pencils.)
I wish you all the best.
Giving up Consumerism? Giving up shopping? Self adornment does sound clear.

Jackie said...

Oh, Valerie...I wish you would have known my mother, Maxine, better. She loved fashion...all 90 year...and would have loved looking at your fashion blog. She noticed that about you the couple of times she met you. She thought you looked so stylish in your clothing...that you had your own unique look.

Valerie said...

Jackie, I remember reading some of your posts on Maxine's style, and I often think we must have had a lot in common! I would've liked to talk fashion with her.