A couple years ago, I decided that I needed to learn how to polish and properly care for my leather boots. Growing up in a steady rotation of sneakers and snow boots, I never really learned how to do it as a kid. Consequently, the leather boots I purchased in college looked more salty than supple. Ditto for my suede mukluks.
I sat on the bench by my front door brushing, polishing and buffing my boots, trying to hide some of the damage that had been done over the years. It helped, but it wasn’t a perfect fix. It wasn’t a quick fix either, as I noted looking at the time.
My gaze moved to the overflowing stash of used and abused shoes in my closet. I need to do this to all of them? More than once a year? That’s a time and energy sucking proposition if I’ve ever heard one. I momentarily felt defeated.
Then I had an epiphany: If I don’t have enough time to look after my stuff, I have too much stuff.
It was true. I had an overflowing entry closet full of heavily worn semi-loved shoes and dirty coats. I had a walk in closet stuffed full of wrinkled clothes on shelves, hangers and the floor. Even buying most of the items at inexpensive chain stores, I had literally thousands of dollars worth of shoes and clothes sitting in a state of ill repair.
Even if they had been expensive clothes, it wouldn’t have helped them look any better. The wealthy don’t appear wealthy because of the brands they wear. The wealthy appear wealthy because of how they care for their clothes and themselves. Clean. Polished. Understated. Elegant. On a good day I nailed 2 out of 4, and it had cost me a lot of money over the years to look that rumpled.
I put down the boot I had been working on and picked up its partner. As I buffed the polish on the toe I realized I had to stop throwing my money away when it came to my wardrobe. I had too much stuff, plain and simple. If I was to take care of my things properly, I needed fewer of them. If I was to get away with a smaller wardrobe, I needed things that would last.
So began the end of my addiction to fast fashion.