Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wardrobe Wednesday: Inside Louise's Wardrobe

Hey friends
Welcome to week two of our month of Inspired by.  Please go ahead and add your link at the linky thingy down the bottom.

This week I've interviewed our April guest judge* Louise Jennings, one very brave women.  Brave you say - I shall explain.
Louise describes herself as a mother of two very commonly named children, avoider of housework, reader, painter, freelance proof-reader, copy editor and writer.

Lou has made a commitment not to commission, thrift, trade or buy a single stitch of clothing for a whole year. She is basically opting out of consumerism (but certainly not fashion and style) for one whole calendar year.

She annouced her intentions back in December and I've been dying to ask her how she is getting on ever since.
Some of Louise's more recent paintings; favourite nooks and crannies and
the dinning room which also doubles as her painting and writing studio.
Tell me about your initiative around clothes and your wardrobe - what was your thinking that lead to the challenge.
I was inspired by a number of things – I’d read about fashion bloggers and regular folk taking up the challenge of a ‘Year of No clothes Buying’ and thought that’s definitely something I could do. The idea of stepping away from consuming for a while appealed, along with the thought that this would be good for my creativity. 

I have been a pretty stalwart ‘thrifter’ for years and shutting down the outgoings in the area of my wardrobe helped me justify my gym membership payments which began on 1st December 2011, the day my ‘year’ began.

What exactly are the 'rules' you have set yourself.
So, my rules are (and these seem to vary between people who do this) no buying of new/second-hand clothing, accessories or shoes for me.  What’s OK to do: alter clothes already existing in my wardrobe, receive clothing as presents or from friends, and dumpster-diving (hasn’t happened yet!)  I put one caveat in place which was that I could buy a sports bra at some stage during my year.

How far through the challenge are you?
Just past the four month stage.
Tunic: Maya
Tights: Glassons
Shoes: Me too

So, how are you finding it?
I’m starting to find my rhythm now. 

My first lapse occurred about two months in with a designer top for $3.  I’ve spent about $17 in total to date (ouch!)…and let me tell you I feel TERRIBLE about it! The guilt seems disproportionate to the expenditure. I think it has to do with breaking my word/letting my (creative) self down.  In order to assuage the guilt I’ve been selling clothes/shoes on Trade Me, which has helped a little bit. 

The lapses have served me in that now I feel more determined to stay on track.
Blue cardigan: Glassons
White singlet: Rachael Hunter
Blue/white apron: made by my lovely mum!
Skirt: thrifted Max denim skirt
Shoes: thrifted Hush Pupploafers

What is the hardest working piece in your wardrobe?
I’ve begun to realise that despite much inspiration involving skirts and dresses, I always revert to (and feel best in) my uniform of jeans and a cardigan. And there are plenty of ways to keep this fresh. 

I’m close wearing out a pair of straight legged Espirit jeans.  I have a fabulous pair of Hush Puppies I find it hard not to keep wearing despite being chewed by a dog last Xmas (Editor note Oh!  The irony!!)   Also my large stock of Glassons cardigans are taking a Rena-like battering.

What is your most beloved piece?
Right now it is my thrifted $3 ‘Cybele’ top that clings to me like a baby koala but still manages to make me feel curvy, sexy and slim.
Top: Cybele
Jeans: Jeans West
Pashmina: gift
Belt: Thrifted
Watch: Glassons
Also a grey knitted hat from my dear friend Tracey McKean. She sells these and other homemade lovelies on Felt from time to time under the name of ‘pipsqueak’. I think I wore it nearly every day last winter!
Handmade hat by Felt seller Pip Squeak
I'm interested to know if the challenge has allowed you to 'find' items in your wardrobe and re-evaluated pieces.  
While focusing on my what exists in my wardrobe, and not adding to it (too much) I’ve been able to discover more about what really suits me. What colours, shapes and styles resonate best with me. 

I’ve learnt that belts around my waist don’t suit me and empire lines make me look pregnant. I’d been forcing these looks FOR YEARS! Now, my belts are worn low, and if I’m truly honest a lot of the time I could pass for a pirate. Honestly! I seem default to pirate (even in a skirt!). Maybe it’s time to go easy on the eyeliner?!

I think if I returned to shopping I’d know a lot more about what was going to really work.

Just today I decided to have my traditional cream silk wedding dress altered into a long skirt for a ball in November. It’s been sitting in a box in my wardrobe for nearly 10 years, so I’m glad it is going to have a new incarnation!

Have you thrown anything out and why?  
I’ve thrown at least a rubbish bag of clothing out. I’m continually sifting and sorting clothes. Some were appearing on the ‘this’ll never work!’ pile too often and had to go. 

Is this challenge having the desired outcome?  Are there any effects happening you didn't expect?

The exchanging of shopping for step and pump classes means my body has changed. My posture is better and I feel like wearing clothes that better show the work I’m putting in. This is new for me– I’ve always tended towards clothes I could hide in. I’m glad this year has given me a chance to shake up my mental clothing status quo.

What do you think you'll do when you complete the challenge?  Will there be a shopping spree?  Is there anything on your 'wish list' right now?

Oh, Nin! – there IS one thing I’m really hankering for! A rocking pair of cowboy boots! The kind that’ll go with jeans, a short skirt or a floaty summer dress (who am I kidding…?) So, for the record I’m size 8!
I think I need more cowboy boots..
Image via Pinterest
Louise is.... reading
‘The Swan Thieves’ by Elisabeth Kostova 
Stephen Fry’s biography ‘The Fry Chronicles’
Bill Bryson’s ‘Troublesome Words’ and lately, way too much Katie Fford.

...listening to
Avalanche City and National Radio (I’ve finally grown into their demographic!)

...dreaming about
In no particular order: Cowboy boots, James Macvoy and whales (I’m painting a seascape and whales keep turning up – I’ve finally decided to let a sperm whale in). 
(Actually just reread that, and it sounds very dodgy!)

If you want to join in this week.... 
Add you link below and be sure to check out what everybody else is wearing.  You can grab this button to add to your post if you like.  Linky is open until next Tuesday.  Everyone who links up is automatically entered in this month's prize draw.

Pin It

*If you would like to be a guest judge/sponsor in future months, please mail me from my contact page up the top and we'll chat. 


  1. Great interview, beautiful guest judge

  2. What an inspiring interview. Thank you Louise and Nin. I don't think I could do it, but it definitely gives food for thought!

  3. oooh, i'd like a pair of those boots toooo~!!
    brave lady indeed :)

  4. I love the way Louise talks/writes! awesome and very inspiring...especially about the exercising instead of shopping part hmmmmmm.
    And yay I am a fellow low belt wearer and feel so 8 years ago, but the waist belt just does not work with me either(despite having a proportionally smallish waist for my figure...weird)

  5. I missed the link (I've just clicked over here for the first time), but I just posted an outfit yesterday too! Lousie puts me to shame. Kellie xx


Oh thank you for your comment, its so nice to hear from you.....