Welcome to Part 2 of the “How I Veganized My Closet” series. I’ve been itching to update you!
Back in Part 1, I shared with you all of the details of the actual day back in January 2015, when I put the biggest part of the process into action – the 95% detox of non-vegan clothes, shoes and accessories from my closet. I also shared my own personal reasons for making this switch, my chequered history with personal style, how I approached the veganizing itself, how I was feeling throughout the day as I made the shift, and what was different for me by the end of the day.
Here in Part 2 I’m going to share with you what has happened from that day through to the end of August 2015, including answering the question I know you’ve been itching to ask me… “What happened to your Inspiration Pile? Did you find everything?”. Plus, what did I do with all of those clothes, bags, boots, shoes, belts, scarves and jewellery that I bagged up at the end of that memorable day, and where has my journey led me so far in terms of finding the right clothes for me?
All this and more will be shared with you here today in Part 2!
So, when Sue left me at the end of the big closet detox day back in January, I was feeling mixed emotions. On the one hand, I felt great that I had done what I set out to do. I had zero regrets and I knew that I had definitely made the right decision (for me), and that there would be no going back. (I still feel this way.)
On the other hand, I felt resistance to wearing the remaining non-vegan items, and wanted to replace them as soon as possible. Plus, staring at that huge mound of bags and boxes full of clothes that didn’t make the grade… well, that was quite overwhelming to say the least. How was I going to get rid of them quickly and easily without giving them all to charity?
Meanwhile, I think a fair few people had concerns. The most common concern was that I might not find everything I was looking for, not just short term, but forever – and thus I would be condemned to a life of wearing nothing but plastic and feeling miserable and totally uncool for the rest of my days. The second was, had I gone mad? How could I possibly consider getting rid of my Celine or Mulberry bags?!
Well, me being me, disappointment is not an option (!), and so I didn’t entertain the possibility of wearing nothing but plastic for a single moment.
And so here’s what happened next…
First, I gave as many clothes as possible to charity. As I had paid a lot of money for some of my things, I didn’t want to give everything away, but certainly a huge percentage of them went this route.
Next, I made a pile of things that I wanted to sell on eBay. The volume was so overwhelming that I paid someone to do the posting online for me, and this turned out to be a good move because it enabled me to make some of my money back without me having to invest too much of my own time to do it.
As for the Inspiration Pile, I found a lovely blue faux leather jacket which I actually preferred to my Baukjen one, however, I disliked the lining so much, that I couldn’t bring myself to wear it more than twice (sob). Currently I am not actually worried either way as to whether I find a replacement for that, so I’m not proactively looking. With the studded belt, I found a non-leather one on Asos that I love even more than the one it’s replacing – it’s silver and sparkly and I simply prefer it more, so that was a huge relief! With the leather cuffs I found some lovely replacements at Esse, a local boutique near Royston, so that was very straightforward. And with the leather blouson/gilet, I haven’t actually looked for a replacement yet, because the weather has been warm until very recently, but it’s back on my radar now as I would really love one for the Autumn.
I should also add that in the middle of this, I moved home and office, so my eBay activities did not complete, and I still have some bags of miscellaneous not-yet-sold items somewhere in the spare bedroom full of unpacked boxes. It’s not a priority right now, but I am definitely hoping to sell my Celine bag in the next few months, as that’s a lot of money tied up right there, £££ that I could be using for new winter boots and jumpers!
Now onto the fun part…
For me the fun part has been finding gorgeous new pieces that tick all of the boxes. I honestly didn’t know how hard or easy it would be to find gorgeous things across the board, but knowing the criteria is truly the biggest part of it.
My approach thus far has been to go shopping with a clear agenda of what I’m looking for in terms of the item itself, and then of course already knowing what fabrics/materials are a no-go. This makes life very easy!
Quite simply I will look at something I like, check what it’s made from, and if it’s vegan I’ll try it on/order it, if it’s not, I’ll just let it go and move on.
Has it been difficult at times? Actually, no. I had just one time at the end of last year before I made the shift, when I found a stunning purple blouse that turned out to be made from silk. I tried it on and I loved it, it was so nice to find such an unusual colour and for it to suit me so well, but the fit wasn’t quite right, whichever size I tried, and so I left empty-handed.
In hindsight I’m so glad that I did, because if I had have bought it, it would have been gone three months later and it cost over £100!
So where am I today?
At time of writing it’s the middle of September 2015, and a couple of weeks ago I did a pretty significant Autumn shop.
I needed boots, jumpers, tops, workout gear, running shoes and long sleeved dresses, and a few new scarves to warm and colour things up.
I have to say that I had an incredible time of it!
I found fabulous shoes, boots and clothes at Lipsy (you can see some pics on my Instagram), and I ended up with tons of fab new scarves and an awesome pair of ankle boots from Asos. I used Next for the workout gear, as well as vest tops for layering under jumpers, and I discovered that the awesome Nike Free 5.0 running shoes are 100% man-made and are also some of the best running shoes out there.
As far as dresses and jumpers go, I’ve found these easily both online and offline. I’ve actually been quite amazed at how many gorgeous jumpers I’ve been able to find that have no wool in them whatsoever, which was the thing that I was worried about the most. And to complement my already fairly significant collection of faux leather trousers, only 10 days ago I found a great pair of black faux leather leggings at another local boutique, What Sarah did in Hitchin, a bargain at only £35.
And finally, I’ve found some beautiful new shirts/tops that look like silk but aren’t, one of which is from Ted Baker, the other from French Connection. I shall be revisiting both of these brands in the future.
So, at this point, I honestly couldn’t be happier. Whatever I choose to look for, I am finding. Having the criteria in place is everything. And I found exactly the same thing happened when I went vegetarian, vegan or raw with my diet. As long as I knew what was off-limits, I was then free to find things that were perfect. And I have to say that I think this is a great metaphor for life, too…
Why settle for OK when you can have fantastic?
In my future instalments I’ll be sharing how I make my way into and through each season, and what all of my buys have been.
It’s definitely getting cooler here now in the UK, so I’m wearing heels one day, boots the next. It’s just as well I received those new boots two weeks ago! My feet would be freezing by now.
I share all of my latest buys on Instagram, so if you want to see them as I buy them and you’re not following me there already, click here to follow me and also peek at some of what I’ve bagged so far. Moving forward I’ll be posting everything.
My style is form-fitting chic with a fair share of edge, or that little something special.
If this series has been inspiring you, what changes do you plan to make, or have you already made in your closet, and how have you found the experience? Or perhaps you’re considering it, but you’re feeling a little bit of trepidation?
Wherever you are at, I’d love to hear! (Please post below.)
Also – don’t forget to check out the brilliant series of articles by guest author Ginger Burr, who has written about each of the different non-vegan materials that are commonly purchased. They make for fascinating, illuminating and enlightening reading. Start with her leather article here.
Now that I’ve been veganizing my closet for three-quarters of a year, I have to say it’s been a breeze, and now I cannot see any reason whatsoever that any of us should feel the need to wear any clothing or footwear made from animals. My findings have been that there’s an equally gorgeous (if not better) replacement for everything, and the peace that I feel within myself for having gone this route is absolutely priceless.
Agree? Disagree? Let’s have a conversation! Post your comments below – Part 1 received the most comments of any article so far, so let’s keep the conversation going.
Update – 17 January 2017 – I’ve now started an Instagram account to showcase all my favourite vegan fashion finds as I come across them. You can check it out (and follow too!) at @veganfashionpicks