I stumbled across Becky Earley’s website last year and really enjoyed reading her personal blog. In a similar way, for the last eight years, like some kind of early modern housewife (I’ve read numerous numbers of their seventeenth-century wills and inventories…) I’ve kept a detailed account of the money I spend on clothes, including shoes, bags and underwear, in the tiniest of notebooks.
I buy a lot of clothes from jumble sales and then have the occasional splurge on expensive dresses. My yearly totals for the eight years range from over £1200 to under £200.* Looking back over the entries it’s the emotional impact of buying that interests me. My high from visiting a particularly good jumble sale can last a week or so, but I’m also aware that the years when I’ve spent more on clothes are the years when I’ve felt I deserved to do so. That said, some low-spending years were because I was totally, happily, wrapped up in other projects and clothing took a back seat.
Two photographs in particular from the blog bewitched me (both above). One, of Bridget Harvey’s visible mending because the jumper looks so beautiful with its proud flashes of colour (I’ve been inspired to mend with vigour) and the other, a photograph of Angelica Kitchen, a vegan restaurant in NYC. I’ve never visited but was inspired to buy their cookbook, and then, as a follow-on, the cookbook The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen, by one of their former chefs (given to me as a Christmas present, and pictured here). The latter book (which is easy to adapt to vegan) I heartily recommend, in fact, I can’t stop dipping in and out of it, as do many others judging by the reviews.
*I felt almost shy about revealing these figures. This soon dropped away when a survey covered by The Independent in 2014 suggested the average UK woman spends £1200 a month (!) on clothes, the Daily Mail (urgh) suggested a figure of £4000 per year in 2012, and Good Housekeeping the lower figure of around £600 per year in 2013. Like all analysis, these figures depend upon when, who, why and where you’re asking…