Tuesday, September 11, 2007

green clothes

New blogs are started every few seconds, I'm sure. I contribute to the glut. But sometimes you find one that stands out.

Lesley introduced me to an AWESOME site called Confessions of a Closet Environmentalist by two students who are doing their best to live consciously on a student budget. I was so inspired by their "Green Clothes Part I - a long lasting wardrobe" post that I followed some of their advice last night. One tip is to wash your clothes less often and air garments outside to freshen them up. Sounds like something out of the 19th century. I like that, old fashioned as I am. For inspiration and encouragement, check out "The List" where they openly keep track of what they've changed, and haven't changed, in their lives.

Funny thing is that I hung our shirts out on the porch last night, and Don's poor shirt ended up on the floor of the porch with Bishop the cat sleeping on it this morning. (You just have to keep your sense of humor.)

Yes, so Lesley and I were excitedly talking about all this on our cell phones coming home from work today, brainstorming ways we could simplify and consume less.

At the end of the call Lesley told me why she called, to tell me that she met Elie Tahari today. I used to sell his high end expensive clothes. We laughed at the irony of our "let's consume less" conversation that ended with star-struck giddiness that she had shaken hands with one of the world's premiere designers. (You just have to keep your sense of humor.)


Anonymous said...

Hi Ruth, I love the bit about the cat sleeping on Don's shirt. That's perfect. :) I went to that blog and I think her major point is very true: don't buy a bunch of new clothes all the time. That will be the hardest habit for me to break. Of course, we must keep Lesley in business, so we must buy her clothes! :)

Ruth said...

Heather, our stores' cycles of "new season" this and that, and the trends that change just enough from last year's that last year's are now "so 5 minutes ago" are getting on my last nerve, but I used to love it. I mean, I still love fashion, I can't help it, I love beautiful clothes. And I agree with her point too, that you can have a few good things and take good care of them so they last.

It's way fun that you are buying some pieces from Lesley! You rock! And it's also nice that she recycles sweaters, getting them at second hand shops, so that is comforting. I want to see what you end up with from Etsy. If you wear them to Sapphos sometime, I'll take a pic and send it to Les.

lesleyanne said...

yes i love that idea! :)
right on, clothes are just so fun to look at and wear. wearing a new outfit is so invigorating, even if it's something simple, like a black dress, or a bright scarf. i always try to find one or two things i can simply add to my outfit to make it pop out, to make me feel more like myself.
let's boycott consumerism!! i don't need to buy any new clothes or shoes for at least 6 months, how bout you?
i will always recycle clothing, so you can always feel good about purchasing from me! thank you for the sweet words. :)

[[why is your Paris Deconstructed blog in hiatus?]]

Ruth said...

I dunno, Les, I've been dreaming about the VOA. :D I want to go there just for the challenge of finding something cool for $2.50, hehe. We'll see. I want to go through my closet and take out what I don't wear, then take that to the VOA with me in a bag.

I think you and I love design too much to let go of beautiful things, like clothes. But we can re-think that, as you say, and find ways to make something feel new, exciting and attractive.

You know what I want? An ankle bracelet that jingles when I walk to the atelier and that I can look at when I lift my leg in Pilates. :| And a toe ring! Hahaha. But those can wait. I'd rather have a macro lens when I get the camera back from repair. But actually, I don't NEED anything.

Paris Deconstructed: I ran out of photos. So you know what this means: need to go to Paris, need new photos, hehe. Change that to WANT to go to Paris, WANT new photos.

Want, want, want . . . wah wah wah . . . whine, whine, whine.


lesleyanne said...

i've been thinking about this all day! these are such interesting ideas, i want to run with them. but i am also torn, mama. i want to boycott consumerism, but i also want people to buy my pretty things! i want to make things that say 'boycott consumerism', but then would i have to GIVE them away?? i was thinking i could donate 15% of my sales to a worthwhile organization, so then people would feel like they're helping someone, but aren't i also a worthwhile donation??? i'm paying my student loans! i'm a poor little designer girl!!

buying second-hand does not count as consumerism to me. even as boycotting consumerism, we still must consume. but it is the simple act of not buying as MUCH. the quantity. we all need to buy things. but it is staying away from the things we don't NEED. like you said. maybe we could try it for a short while, like a trial. or just participate once a year on Buy Nothing Day (day after Thanksgiving!)!!!

lesleyanne said...

oh yes, let's go to Paris! then we can just be non-consumers in Paris and take photos and knit all day long. that would be fun.

Ruth said...

Oh, sweet girl. There are so many realities, layers upon layers, interwoven and complicated. It's overwhelming.

And that's why in our own reality is the need to find a balance, I suppose. Even Mother Theresa had to eat, had to wear clothes. And come to find out now, she did not feel God's presence for her last 40 years. What was her story? Her story was her story.

Princess Diana gave herself in love. She wore tiaras, but she held babies with AIDS. That was her story.

Who is right and who is wrong? Everyone and no one. How can all the relativities add up to anything?

I think you know in this moment what to do. And then tomorrow, will it matter what you did today? I don't know.

Ruth said...

Ok, Weswey, let's go to Paris. I am DYING to go there with you and listen to you speak your beautiful French, ma cheri.

Yolanda said...

I loved this post and the photos are glorious.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Yolanda. You have a beautiful blog.

Theresa said...

My husband and I am trying not to accumulate too much stuff and to simplify our lifes- I applaud your efforts-and your right you do need to laugh when things don't go accordingly to plan- and who could be made at such a cute cat!

Rauf said...

Seems like i have been away Ruth, i am very much here and nearly missed this post.

We can't afford to do that Ruth.
Indians bathe twice a day, and my sister spends half her time washing clothes. We sweat a lot in India. And there is dust everywhere. By the way 'Heat and Dust' movie will give you some idea, Shot in India(Julie Christie) a Merchant Ivory production, the people who made 'a room with a view' (Helena Bonham Carter)

Another disturbing fact i came to know last month while talking to my friends who are running hotels. They both said Indian guests use 6 times more water than the foreign guests. I am told Indian Hotels don't like Indians in India.

Ruth, i have a bath only when i have to go out. That too not before but after i come back home.
i sit sweating. i find it unnecessary to wash clothes every day. My all time quote is 'Cindy Crawford is not coming to give me a hug'

Like music art literature folklore, conserving water also is a culture. Believe me Ruth, Indians are very uncultured in that respect. Indians have respect for gold but not for water. Don't know when we are going to learn Don't know when we will wake up.

Ruth said...

Well, rauf, if I lived in India, I would probably worship water, and no one would be able to come near me if I have not showered two or three times a day maybe. In your heat, things must be very different from here. Water, keeping things clean, these must be as important as eating and cooking.

There are hotels in the US now, and maybe elsewhere too, that will give you a choice of having your bedsheets and towels changed daily or not. We always choose not to have new linens, what a waste.

Believe me, rauf, there are very few citizens here who think about saving water. They let the water run and run while doing dishes, for instance, just let the hot water run from the tap without a thought. We are in grave danger, I'm afraid, of our water in the Great Lakes around Michigan running out. All the states in the West want it and are negotiating for it to be pumped to them. The Lakes are down, and how can we be so stupid?

Ruth said...

Theresa, I'm sorry I missed your comment there before replying to rauf.

It's very good that you are trying. It's all we can do, try and learn and try some more. It's a daily practice.

I'm glad you like Bishop, she is the most elegant cat I've met: sweet, quiet, and good at all the cat things.

Ginnie said...

I have been in heaven reading this post and comments, Ruth. I wish I had the time to respond to everything. For someone who is retired, you'd think I'd have the time. Donica's mom says when you're retired, you don't manage your time as well. She may be right!

Anyway, I think I learned a lot of this stuff from Dad when I was a wee kid. Or maybe conservation of everything is just in my blood. Or maybe I really don't need and can't stand buying too much of anything. But then I'm married to someone who is just the opposite! So I am always learning to live with the balance.

Do you remember all the clothes out on the lines of our life? Probably not. You probably were born after all that. The smell. It's the smell of those clothes.

Ruth said...

It's pretty funny what Donica's mom said. It makes sense that retirees might not think of managing their time. And why should you?

Oh I definitely think you and Dad both have/had conservation in your blood. It's like breathing for you.

No, I don't remember clothes on the line growing up, until Dad started washing things and hanging them in the bathroom. Hanging our sheets on the line now is one of my great joys: standing in the sun hanging them, taking them off, folding them with that smell, making the bed with them and smelling that freshness. Ooooweee!

lesleyanne said...

yes you are so right mammas. in so many ways. it's a reality that's difficult to live with, but we just have to find our own balance with the universe, and with our planet.

Rauf, that is fascinating! the Indian culture has always fascinated me, and this makes so much sense. it makes me think about a hundred years ago when women spent the entire day cleaning and washing, for what? so they could just wear the clothes again and wash them again.

things are much more efficient in this day and age.

Greeley's Ghost said...

We're dangerously close to adopting this approach with the clothes. My mother used to do it in the summer in the mountains (OK, we had no electricity so we HAD to, but she did it at home too in the garage!).
I'd love to do it from an environmental standpoint and to tweak my side neighbors, just after we built a new fence!
Ruth, this is a great blog and a great find! Thanks!
(loring's friend, brian fuller(

Ruth said...

Brian, good luck with whatever you decide to do with this clothes thing. Just paying attention to it makes me stop before throwing stuff in the dryer, and I'm a lot more willing to use stiff towels. It all helps, I think.

I'm glad you came over, thanks so much.

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