Comparison is the thief of joy. That is a mantra I repeat to myself over and over. Especially as one who loves fashion and lives in LA, in the thick of all things hip and new and trendy.
This mantra started in the winter of 2014. I was working in anti-trafficking at the time and consumed with doing everything I could to fight for justice for those around the world who were being enslaved and abused.
My job was difficult and as someone who also loved fashion, I shopped to give myself relief from the burden of caring too much. On one particular day, I ordered two pairs of boots from Forever 21’s website. TWO pairs y’all, for a mere 20 bucks a piece. You cannot beat that!
I remember receiving the package, excited to have my hip and trendy new boots to wear. I opened the box and pulled them out, only to have that feeling of excited anticipation completely dissipate. You get what you pay for. They were so cheap! They didn’t look like the ads on the website. I hated the feel of them. I hated them. And then it hit me.
There’s a reason they’re so cheap. And that reason can’t be good. Having spent years working in anti-trafficking, I immediately began to think about how these boots were made. And the many people whose hands touched these shoes as they were manufactured. What are the worker’s conditions like? To make such cheap shoes, they must be using really cheap labor.
So here I was, working hard to end trafficking and then at the same time contributing to it because of my need to have more, new, trendy, cool. Something had to change. And it did.
Over the past few years, I have been on a journey to shop less and save lives. Conscious Closets was born from that. I decided in that moment to change my shopping habits. To fight against the consumerist Western culture that says, “You need this to fit in, to be accepted, to make you somehow complete.”
I decided at that time, to only purchase clothes when I knew how they were made. I want to know where the clothes are manufactured, and even where the materials come from as best I can. This decision has lead to a much more simple life and a much more simple closet. And it has brought me so much joy!
I can’t repeat that enough. When I cleansed my closet of all the items that no longer brought me joy, items more than likely made by cheap or slave labor, when I replaced those things with items made with care by people treated with dignity and respect, it changed me!
I’ve become a more centered and thoughtful person. I don’t let marketing messages or fashion bloggers trick me into believing I’m not enough – that my closet isn’t complete without the latest bag or shoe or trend.
Over the past two years, my closet has transformed from a consumerist one to conscious one. And I have changed from someone who compares myself to others to someone who is at peace with who I am and all I have.
I’m curious, in what ways has our consumerist culture been a challenge for you? Is comparison something that you struggle with? I’d love to humbly suggest starting to evaluate your own closet and look for ways where you might simplify not just your closet, but your life. I’d love to hear your stories and even share them with me on social media.
If this has resonated with you in anyway, leave a comment below and share your thoughts with us!