Back in 2012, I read Lucy Seigle’s ‘To Die For; Is Fashion Wearing Out the World’ and swore off buying new clothes by the time I’d finished the first chapter.
And whilst I absolutely would recommend Seigle’s book – because it’s an excellent, well-written, wonderfully cited, non-fiction tome – I would probably be more likely to recommend Lauren Bravo’s work to people who genuinely love clothes.
The thing is, this book is half environmental activism and half love-letter to style (not fashion – important to note), and by the time I’d finished reading it, I cared about the way I looked in a way I haven’t done since I was at school. Which, I suppose, could be percieved as a negative statement but it really isn’t. I’d given up on having beautiful clothes some time between my first and third year of university – it wasn’t that I didn’t want to look nice… more like I wanted to eat fancy foods more*.
So far from making me feel like I was ‘breaking up’ with anything, reading this book was like being given permission to fall in love with clothes again – a narrative that I feel is often lacking from environmental literature. I found myself examining the garments in my care with a new, appreciative eye and things which I’d been self-consciously saving ‘for best’ have been been rediscovered with great gusto. The passion and enthusiasm for feeling good in what we’re wearing is so infectious, but by focussing on how we can do so without creating waste and misery, Bravo sheds new light on the subject.
For those more concerned with the ‘whys’ of ditching fast fashion, Seigle’s book is probably the one you want to reach for (first, in any case – reach for both eventually). Whilst Bravo does touch on the horrible cost to human life and damage to the environment, it isn’t done in nearly as much depth.
That’s not a bad thing, mind you. The ‘lightness’ and humour of this book is part of it’s charm. A favourite quote is;
An Outfit should at least have 20 percent space for pasta.
Why, yes! Yes it should.
Have you read Bravo’s book? Or Seigle’s? Which did you prefer?
*To be absolutely crystal clear, when I say, ‘I wanted to eat food more than I wanted to look nice’, I am in no way referring to weight – it is absolutely possible to be heavy and look awesome.
Looking Nice ≠ Thin.
In this case, I am referring to the fact that I had to choose between buying fancy ingredients and maintaining the purchase of new clothes. Buying fancy food won. Because food. Nom.