Over the years I have been an advocate for less consumption. Of stuff in general, but of clothing in particular. Most of us are aware that the clothing industry is responsible for a large part of the waste and pollution in the world, be it discolored rivers from dye run-offs in Asia or mountains of discarded clothing piling up in landfills here or in Africa. However, I am also the first to admit that making a commitment to never buy overseas mass produced clothing has proved to be difficult. Supply is the first limiting factor - it is still really hard to find American made garments, although it is getting better. Price is the second factor, American made and especially artisan made clothing is still prohibitively expensive for most people, me included.
My resolution (of sorts) is to avoid buying clothes at all. I have sorted through my belongings and I am not lacking for anything; winter coats, dance shoes, swim wear—its all covered. Instead I intend to make what I want, and possibly allow myself a visit to one of the many vintage clothing stores in our town. But even when making our own clothes (or buying pre-used) I think it is important to ensure it is something we really like and that will work with other things we own. If it is not quite the right color or the fit is too snug it most likely will not be worn. A homemade discarded garment is just as bad as an impulse bought discarded garment, with the added element of wasted time...
I have recently gone through my entire closet, and although I am not compulsive enough to catalog every garment, I do have an idea of what I own, and what colors are most common (yup — lots of black, gray, and brown, with a sprinkle of burnt orange and blueish gray here and there). Personal style is another issue to consider. My default uniform is a pair of jeans, a tshirt, and a sweater for chilly days. I often admire more adventurous outfits on other people, but they rarely work for me. So my current (and future) wardrobe will always be a variation of the uniform, the jeans are occasionally swapped for a skirt or other pants and I throw in a few dresses or tunics in the mix as well.
I will give myself a modest budget for patterns, yarn, and fabric purchases, although my current stash is quite large. Mostly I need to feed my mild obsession with Alabama Chanin inspired garments. I have made several plain t-shirts from their patterns (some featured here) and must admit it is utterly rewarding to make something comfortable and beautiful totally by hand. And if you forgo their famous fancy embellishments, it is actually a rather quick sew.
Knitting is something else that I can't give up. I recently finished this gray lila sweater by Carrie Bostick Hoge and I absolutely love it. I will extend my effort and make more things for the rest of my family — they are all reaching an age where I think they will start to appreciate something handmade. I will post about my progress and accomplishments throughout the year. I realize that this might be a bit self indulgent and even boring to others, but somehow I think that setting an example (or fessing up to ones failures) could be inspirational?