From the intro of the new book “The Colette Sewing Handbook” by Sarai Mitnick:
“But I’ve found there is a dark side to fashion. While it can be an amazing creative outlet, it can also fuel an almost endless desire to consume, to buy more things and to buy them less thoughtfully. With the advent of “fast fashion” in recent years, this is only getting worse as stores turn over stock and bring in new fashion every few weeks rather than months. Advertisements inundate us with the message that we need newer, trendier items, and more of them. Soon, we’re not sure what our own taste is anymore, or how much we really want to own. We have closets full of stuff and nothing to wear. Worse, our clothes feel like commodities, with no real relationship to who we are.”
I had just read the intro to this book when I was off to the Mall of America* to exchange a toaster over that didn’t want to fit under my 1924 kitchen cabinets. I’m not a mall person. The few clothes I do buy these days come from catalogs and vintage/consignment shops. But as I walked through the mall I was hit with the same feeling I have whenever I’m there: that I need to buy a lot of stuff. Stuff I don’t even want, or really need, that isn’t me, or just simply doesn’t work with my I-had-three-babies body anymore.
Then this quote came to mind and the more I really thought about it, the more thankful I was for having the skills to not even need to go to the mall. I can sew or knit something beautiful that I really love, something that says who I am and not what some store says I need to be. I can keep my closet and budget** under control. By making and not just buying, I can create a little more balance in my life. An these days I love balance!!
I’m giving myself the freedom to stop worrying about what else I see around that I think I should have and just wear what I love.
And I’m staying out of that dumb mall.
*Math Boy read a series of books this summer in which the entrance to Hades was in the Mall of America. I find that rather amusing.
**We will just not talk about how much a yard of double gauze runs these days, okay?
5 responses to “A Quick Thought”
I hate malls for similar reasons and avoid them like the plague. Unfortunately, I , too, had to visit one yesterday—in my case, I had to go to the Apple store in the grandiosely named King of Prussia Mall. Malls are such weird places, with carefully engineered environments (no windows, no clocks, music everywhere, stale air) that always make me feel anxious. I was SO GLAD to leave!
I think the only reason I would consider going to the Mall of America again is for the See’s Candy store. I’m completely in love with their chocolates but would have an awful long way to travel to buy some!
Those books are wonderful. We met Anne Ursu at a book signing at Wild Rumpus and she was so sweet to S. Also recommend her newest, Breadcrumbs, which caused S to exclaim in the middle of a page, “This is so beautiful, it’s like reading poetry.”
I’ve been reading “How We Lived Then” by Norman Longmate. It’s a companion book to a BBC series (from the the 1970s) about life in Britain during WWII. The descriptions of how many people even back then had to learn how to sew, knit, can, etc. was an eye-opener.
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