In one door and out the other

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This year it seems I will make more from selling my clothes than I spend buying new ones.

I have been calculating my fashion expenditure this year and frankly, it is looking parlous.

Not that I spend much in a  good year. My personal spending allowance used to be £15 a month, from which I have to get all my clothes, makeup, books, CDs, DVDs, etc. 

But what with the recession and all, we cut it this year to £10, and that is a serious difference. For £15 I could always get something, but with postage, as I have to buy most of my things mail-order, £10 is a serious restriction – I am down to absolute necessities. 

When it comes to clothes, I don’t count those I buy at the supermarket as my personal allowance because those are part of the normal shopping budget – if I want something, then something else on the list has to go, such as meat. But there hasn’t been a deal of that this year either, having cut the food budget from 140 euros to 50. 

This year, my clothing expenditure has been:

* Boden taupe leaf-print wrap dress (Ebay, 6.73). Worn maybe once, so crap has the summer been…

* Bootcut denim leggings from BHS (Ebay, 7 quid – to replace a pair that fell apart). Wearing these to death.

* Ugg-style suede boots with a ‘cardi’ trim (Ebay, 7 quid – to replace a pair that fell apart). Haven’t received them yet – this is me getting ready for winter.

* Navy Crocs (Ebay, 21 quid) on the podiatrist’s orders. Sent to the Cayman Islands by error, so I’m still waiting for these too.

From the supermarket:

* Nine pairs of men’s jockey shorts (Lidl, 9 euros) to replace my falling-apart knickers (and SO much more comfortable than women’s underwear).

* Two cotton vests (Lidl, 3 euros) that are actually long enough to go over my jeans.

* A pair of Trex walking shoes for hiking (Lidl, 14 euros). 

That’s it. About £65 all told, and most of it to replace items that had expired. 

In the earlier part of the year, I spent all my personal allowance on medicines and supplements for my cat Lucy before she died; in April the money went on my sister’s birthday present; and other than that, I’ve spent it on books – this month, works by the Dalai Lama and Taro Gold (thank heavens, once again, for Amazon resellers, where you can pick a book up for a penny).

Meanwhile, I have actually sold a bunch of my vintage stuff for 200 euros, so that makes me feel very virtuous – more clothes going out than coming in. Among them were:

* A 1920s black lace and velvet dress that my husband bought me. (It was beautiful and I literally cried at parting with it, but I couldn’t see me ever wearing it again.)

* A bright turquoise 1950s velvet coat (I wear an almost identical burgundy one).

* A black lace blouse from M&S (I wear another, almost identical one). 

* An art-to-wear jacket from a modern designer (didn’t suit me). 

* A white ribbonwork cardigan with scalloped hem and sleeves (I wear one of the two others…). 

* A late 1930s crimson rayon chiffon dress with crochet sleeves (never worn it, too fat for it). 

* A Jean Muir jacket that I wore precisely once (fits my old life, not this one). 

As an upside, the women who bought the clothes looked far better in them than I did, so I know they’re going to good homes. 

It can be hard to part with things you love, but once they’re gone, I find you don’t think about them much. And you have to be realistic about the kind of life you lead – many of these clothes are my old life. When I eat out once or twice a year, there is no point in hanging on to 20 evening gowns, and I would rather have some more money at the supermarket, or money to spend on books than have something beautiful to gaze at in the wardrobe. 

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