A lack of money is a really good excuse for a lot of things.
I can’t come to your hen do because I’ve got £2 to last me ‘til Tuesday and you can’t even buy a packet of penis pasta with that. I can’t chip in for Malcolm the Doorman’s birthday present because if I did I’ve have to subsist on the free cashew nuts at work for the rest of my life. I CAN’T GO TO ANY OF THE EVENTS YOU KEEP FECKING INVITING ME TO ON FACEBOOK BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE ANY MONEY AND ALSO I DON’T FECKING WANT TO.
When I moved to London on an Editorial Assistant pay-packet, I quickly realized that I was going to have curtail a lot of habits – like using whitening toothpaste or buying Christmas presents. But one thing I didn’t have to deal with was my addiction to fast fashion because, thanks to the glorious likes of Primark and H&M, a £20-a-month clothing budget could stretch to a necklace, a bag, two skirts, a dress and a t-shirt that made my tits look like doughnuts.
It’s a weird and wonderful world we live in when you can purchase an entire wardrobe for around the same cost of a bottle of vodka.
But, as my pay-packet has grown, my social conscience has grown louder (sometimes not even gin shuts her up anymore, she just starts to rhyme) and I can no longer justify the purchase of pretty pieces of temporary fabric with which to adorn myself. I can afford better – not in the same quantities, but how many pairs of Disney pajama bottoms does a person really need?
And since many cannot afford to make those changes in their lives, I chose. To quit lining the pockets of retail giants just because I can, and do it differently. And here are my rules:
POO-POO TO PRIMARK AND HELL NO TO H&M
This one is hard. This one is really hard. Part of my soul really enjoys body-blocking thirteen year olds from the rack of £4 bikinis. But the more you read about production practices, the less you can justify sponsoring the behaviours of companies who don’t give two shits about ethical practice, the environment or how your face looks when you realize that your 50p towel has turned your vagina orange.
THINK OF THE MONKEYS
Feel free to substitute “monkeys” with any aspect of the environment you hold dear, whether that be rainforests, kittens or actual deer. Fast fashion produces chemicals, waste and pollution in quantities you can’t even comprehend – and while I am far from an Environmental Soldier (both my sisters are so I know what they look like – thin and pretty and better than you) it’s not that difficult to figure out that trading in the ozone layer for the ability to buy 9 t-shirts in slightly different shades of blue for a fiver isn’t a good deal.
IF IT’S SHIT QUALITY YOU PROBABLY LOOK SHIT
Gone are the days when I could cover my bits with a pillowcase, writhe on a sticky dance floor and get instantly propositioned by an only-slightly-wasted babe. Quality garments come with quality fabric and quality structure and were probably designed by someone who knows that most breasts aren’t shaped like tennis balls. If you don’t want your ass to look like dough that’s being kneaded by a disillusioned baker on MDMA, shell out the extra few quid for something someone’s thought about.
YOU DON’T NEED SEVEN OF EVERYTHING
This one time, my boyfriend asked me how many black skirts I own, and I mentally got into double figures before I asked him why he couldn’t just accept me for who I am, goddammnit. Sadly, the question made me realise that I couldn’t accept who I’d become, goddammnit – the kind of person who couldn’t make do with one when she could have one hundred. Fact of the matter is that one skirt that makes you look like Michelle Obama is better than a bunch that make you maybe look like Lindsay Lohan glimpsed through the crack in the toilet cubicle door.
YOU CAN FUCK UP
I sometimes fuck up. I have an unhealthy addiction to those white £3 Primark tennis shoes that look delicious for the first five seconds you wear them, and thereafter look like you’ve stood outside in a rainstorm, which you probably have because London. So I buy them, wear them ‘til they’re grey, then I buy more and chuck the old ones straight in the skip. I know it’s wrong and I know I’m an idiot.
But if any of this strikes a chord, just try and change your habits.
Only if you can afford to – because I’m aware that only my privileged position allows this to be possible. And only if you want to, because otherwise you won’t stick to it. But it’s worth asking if your financial position permits you to stop shopping like an 18 year old enjoying her last days on earth.
And if it does, do something different. Just for a while. Just to see how it feels.
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