Well, I didn’t want to start doing the mega wardrobe cull until I’d hit my Slimming World target, but after weeks of chaos upstairs with having to clamber over stuff and not being able to find anything, I admitted defeat and started putting stuff in binbags and donation bags today.
I’ve come a long way with my hoarding problem over the years, but I still find it hard to let go of stuff, especially clothes. I think it’s partly because I was so broke for so many years post-graduation – during that time, even a £5 Primark top was a hard-earned purchase, and it feels almost disrespectful to my struggling younger self just to toss the item away, even if it’s old and full of holes.
I’ve been trying to mitigate this by using the digital hoarding method – taking a photo of each piece so that I still ‘have’ it. I’ll probably never look at these photos again, but knowing they’re there makes getting rid of the physical stuff a lot easier.
I threw out a lot of shoes today. My previous total of 91 pairs first went up to 95 pairs, because I found four pairs that I thought I’d previously thrown out but it turned out I hadn’t. I’ve now got it down to 77 pairs, and I reckon I’ll be able to get it down further when I finish the cull job tomorrow. It’s especially tough to get rid of shoes, because I love shoes, but I’m trying just to keep thinking about the lovely neat shoe shelves I’ll be able to have up in the dressing room (not to mention, I must confess, the shiny new pairs I’ll be able to buy).
The biggest motivation for all this de-hoarding is the fact that I can’t wait for the house to look nice and uncluttered, so that I can finally relax and properly feel like this is home.
…is gradually, very gradually, starting to feel like home. Sort of.
I spent most of today dismantling the old Ikea Billy bookshelves that we don’t have space for anymore. The plan is to make new ones out of them, but I’ll get my dad’s advice on that when he’s visiting later this week. I also put one Billy up in the living room as temporary shelving next to the TV. If I like the way it looks long-term it may get a reprieve. It’s currently holding all our ornaments, which sounds frivolous but actually has the useful function of giving us some time to work out which ones we like looking at enough to keep.
Boxes are also getting unpacked a bit quicker than expected. This is mainly because twice a day I realise that I need something, but don’t know which exact box it’s in, so I have to go through a few before I find the thing. There’s not really anywhere for the stuff to go yet, but I am finding a lot of temporary solutions.
This week should be a real breakthrough, as once my parents have visited, we will have the walls painted upstairs, meaning that we can get the furniture finalised up there, meaning that I can get all our clothes and accessories put away. Well, in my case, about 40% of them. Dear God, I have far too many clothes. The amount I’ve pulled out of boxes this week has been enough to send anyone screaming into the night. The main reason I’m so impatient to get to my target weight is that I can’t wait for the giant trying-everything-on-and-then-getting-rid-of-most-of-it session that I’m not allowed to have until then. You never know what might suddenly look awesome at target, so I’m not allowed to chuck anything out till then, no matter how old and scraggy it is.
(I realised yesterday that one of my current-rotation bras is about twenty years old, judging by the style of the M&S label. Somehow, I don’t think it will survive the cull.)
Well, I did say February was going to be big for vintage fairs. Averaging two a week at the moment!
Today I went to the Vintage Pop-Up at Newcastle Student Union, put on by University Vintage Fairs. Like the one at Northumbria I went to last week, it was quite a small affair, but I managed to pick up another addition to my ’80s jumper collection:
Seeing as winter’s not showing any signs of going away yet, I’m going to count this one as a ‘sensible’ purchase!
There have been a few periods in my life where I’ve tried to fit in with the prevailing fashions of the day, but in all honesty, I’ve never really succeeded, and when I look at photos of myself during those periods, I always think I look uncomfortable and not quite right. The style of the ’80s has always felt ‘correct’ to me; it gives me a strong sense of ‘these are what clothes SHOULD look like’, and later fashions just look dowdy and unstylish to my eye. I’m not sure whether I just internalised it really strongly when I first came into the world, or whether I’ve just come to love that aesthetic by chance, but thirty years later it’s still what I’m drawn to, and I think I always will be.
So, my history of being an ’80s fashion throwback, then. I don’t think it counts as being a ‘throwback’ when you’re still in the actual ’80s, but that’s where it began, and clearly my toddlerhood was the best dressed era of my life:
I wore so many different (and AWESOME) outfits during this era. I guess most toddlers go through lots of different clothes, due to the whole rapid body growth thing, but looking at pictures it really seems like in my five short years spent in the ’80s I wore more clothes than in the rest of my life put together.
Shame they couldn’t all have grown with me. Especially the moon ‘n’ stars nightdress in the bottom right corner, my favourite nightdress of all time.
The ’90s, meanwhile, were probably my most difficult decade fashion-wise. Due to a combination of hand-me-downs from family friends, thick curly hair that utterly refused to be browbeaten into the poker-straight trend it was supposed to be following, and a stubborn fully-developed taste that meant I was already gravitating towards the styles of the ’80s, I spent the whole decade doing the awkward ‘dated by quite a few years, but not enough to be retro or vintage yet’ look:
Jeans, especially, I found so awkward – I was drawn to high-rise straight-leg styles, but as the decade went on, they became more low-rise and bootcut – that it put me off them for a long time, and nowadays I don’t own any blue jeans at all. When I reach my target weight, I’ll maybe give them another go.
The ’00s were better (not in general fashion terms – I think the trends of the ’00s were the absolute nadir of fashion in my lifetime so far – but for me personally in terms of style). My teen years, 1998-2004, coincided with the first big wave of ’80s nostalgia in pop culture (The Wedding Singer! The BBC’s I Love The ’80s series! The accompanying CD that I got for Christmas in 2001! Bergerac repeats on BBC2 every day while I was on school exam leave! Websites such as Like Totally ’80s starting up! ’00s indie bands aping ’80s indie bands…now I’m nostalgic for a period of nostalgia. I’ll stop there), and so it was then that I first became conscious that I loved the ’80s so much – that the music was better, the films and TV shows were better, the fashion was better. (I also had a brief flirtation with the early ’70s due to my love of glam rock. You can’t beat a pair of silver glitter platform boots.)
2003 was also the year I became goth. Goth is a wonderful subculture for ’80s throwbacks of a certain style, because the look has basically stayed the same since 1978, and all the clubs play lots of post-punk and synthpop. Utter bliss.
Which brings us to the ’10s. The less said about the first half of the decade, the better – I was uncomfortably overweight and spent most of it hiding away in leggings, baggy t-shirts and hoodies – but now that I’ve lost most of the weight, I’m starting to remember how to have fun with fashion again, hence my recent interest in cultivating a vintage ’80s wardrobe.
I know – from reading stuff by people who are into mid-century vintage – that as time goes on, ’80s vintage stuff won’t always be as readily available and affordable as it is at the moment. As such, I’m making the most of it, with the aim of being able to dress in clothes from my favourite decade for the rest of my life. I hope I’ll be lucky and long-lived enough to be eighty or ninety years out of date one day!
A good vintage fair day today! I went to the Vintage & Street Food Market at the Boiler Shop in Newcastle, put on by Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fairs. I didn’t even notice any street food vendors (probably because of the overriding allure of The Shiny), but I managed to get some of the essential purchases that were on my list for this year:
From left to right: the black velvet material is a knee-length pencil skirt, which I’ve been looking for since I realised I needed to replace my old black pencil skirt with the broken zip (I got that one from Matalan in 2001, so it’s ‘not due me anything’ as my mum always says). The silver shiny material is a lightweight vintage ’80s miniskirt that will look awesome with going-out outfits this year, and the black and blue materials with the fabulously old-fashioned gilt buttons are blouses for the spring and summer. I’m so excited for the weather to get warmer now. Just have to be patient for a few more weeks.
I went to my first vintage fair of 2018 today (and definitely not the last – there are another six coming up within the next month alone. Good thing vintage stuff can be so cheap!) Today’s fair was a small event held at the Northumbria student union, put on by Headlock Vintage. I was itching to get going with the vintage shopping this year, especially as I’ve been wanting to get some more interesting patterns into my mostly-solid-black wardrobe (the goth is still strong with this one).
The three things I ended up buying were light summer garments. I think this is my not-so-subconscious telling me I’m getting fed up of winter now. The black and white diamond material and the pink and black material are both capri trousers; the floral material is a dress. All black backgrounds, I know, but I think I’ve been successful with the ‘interesting patterns’ thing.
When I went up to pay, I also got a voucher for 20% off on the Headlock Vintage website, which was a nice bonus! I went home and promptly used it to grab myself a nice top. A blue top, without a hint of black. I am branching out, sort of.
I have far too many coats and jackets, because, like most things, I never throw them away. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve not yet thrown away the old winter coat that I wore to death in uni, the one that has a big rip in the front with stuffing coming out of it. It’s one of those collections that badly needs to be culled when we move into the new place, ’cause I don’t think we’re going to have a lot of hanging space for coats.
This didn’t stop me acquiring five new ones this winter, however. Three were gifts from my sister-in-law when she was clearing out her Edinburgh clothes stash, so I’m going to raise my hand and say ‘not responsible’ for those, but the other two were Etsy purchases. Having really got into vintage clothes shopping in the last couple of years, I’m developing a bit of an Etsy addiction.
Thing is, I love ’80s trenchcoats. They’re much longer than their modern-day equivalents, so you don’t get the awkward hem battle when you’re wearing a skirt, and like most clothing cuts from the ’80s, it’s a much more dramatic silhouette, with nice wide shoulders and a nipped-in waist. I find that in the depths of winter, when you’re always wearing a coat outdoors, a bit of dramatic dressing is refreshing, especially after the sparkly Christmas stuff has all had to be put away.
It’s probably for the best that there’s only one more month left of winter, ’cause Etsy keeps tempting me with more and more coats in all the colours of the rainbow (and in the ’80s, it was a very brightly coloured rainbow). If only I had the space!
I went to parkrun again this morning. Another solid sub-35, happy with that! Volunteering next week though, because I’ll be getting work done on my tattoo on Friday so will still be a bit tender on Saturday.
I qualified for my first parkrun milestone shirt when I did my 50th parkrun in October, but the company that did the T-shirts had been having problems with shirt stock so there was a huge backlog with people waiting for them. However, parkrun has now taken shirt production in-house so hopefully I shouldn’t have to wait too long for my shirt when they release them. I should at least get it before I qualify for my 100 shirt some time in early 2019!
I’ve been a lot colder than usual this winter. I’m guessing this is because I’ve lost a lot of weight and so I don’t have that cosy layer of fat keeping me warm anymore. Luckily, my love of vintage clothing fairs came to the rescue, and so in recent months I have become the shamelessly proud owner of a new collection: a collection of vintage ’80s jumpers.
In previous winters, I lived in hoodies. This was the most practical thing at the time, because the various sources of heating in the house, combined with my larger self’s tendency to overheat every time I did any activity that wasn’t sitting down, meant that I was constantly doing the too-hot-too-cold dance and needed something that was easy to throw on and off. This winter, though, I’ve found it’s most comfortable to wear something warm and cosy all day long, which is where the jumpers come in. They’re nice and hardwearing, and there’s never any shortage of them at vintage fairs, so I think they’re going to be my winter go-to for a few years to come.