Rise of the recessionista 

I didn’t see the Sex and the City movie, not having been a huge fan of the television show. But more than that, the whole premise — the hyper-exaggerated glam of Manhattan’s Manolo and Vogue obsessed — just seemed so dated. Who lives like that anymore? Who consumes that way?

The fashionista has been replaced by the recessionista — the fashion industry’s self-conscious attempt to recognize that stratospheric gas prices have left all of us, at every income level, reconsidering how we spend our money and on what. We both need to consume less, as our income goes more toward necessities like food and gas, and want to consume less, as we realize the environmental impact of manufacturing and transporting any item that doesn’t come from our own backyard. Looks like Summer 2008’s trends are budgeting and going green!

This marks my first full week of a two-month journey called the Wardrobe Refashion Challenge, an online pledge that means for the time of my contract, my clothes will be recycled, renovated, or made by hand (preferably my own hand, but not exclusively).

What does that really mean? It means that Banana Republic can stop sending me the daily online-sale alerts. No new, manufactured clothes. It means that instead of picking up a new white blouse at the mall, I look at the half-dozen white blouses in my closet and decide to put darts in one, cut the sleeves off of another. Renovated clothes. A big occasion on the calendar, one that calls for a new party dress, means heading to a great vintage shop and bringing back a look from the past. Recycled fashion. And, when I’ve had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day (as one of my favorite children’s authors put it) — no retail therapy. I am lucky enough to know how to sew, and so I’ll turn my negative energy into creativity and discipline, and end up with something I know I’ll be proud of.

Feel inspired? Join me by signing up at nikkishell.typepad.com/wardroberefashion, and read Clothes-minded every week in the Current for tips and suggestions.


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