The ever-accelerating march onwards of seasons and micro seasons keeps the fashion industry churning. Each season (or each week if you're ASOS and pals), we're subjected to new styles, silhouettes, prints and cuts, rendering the ones we feel like we literally only just bought outdated.
"Psssst", retailer newsletters and facebook banners say, "I know you bought a shirt with a waist tie last month but this month it's all about embroidery so you better whip out your bank card or you're going to look shit, mate." And often we fold because, well, who wants to look shit? I don't.
But our quest to not look shit is endless because as soon as we're satisfied with our new ruffle shirt or our corset-waist t-shirt, the fashion industry will go and design something different and we'll need that instead. It's a futile process and one which resulted in me feeling genuinely stressed when flicking through any new season issue of Vogue, faced with all the things I would soon need.
Luckily, I've since had the following realisation: you literally don't have to get stressed about buying new clothes. At all*. The dress you bought last year defo still looks great and I won't like you any less if you don't have one with an on-trend hanky hemline. You are 100% allowed to want new clothes but you also definitely do not have to stress about owning them. You can just go ahead and wear what you have and everything will be fine.
Even if you're steadfastly dedicated to new trends, even then you still don't have to stress about buying new clothes. To prove it, I pulled together three looks straight off the SS17 catwalks from the clothes I already had in my wardrobe.
1. First up, MSGM. Most current season trend stories would lead you to believe tulle has just been invented but sheer slips have been hanging from the rails in H&M, Topshop and others on and off for years now; I bought this blue one from indie label Somewhere Nowhere back in 2013/14. It just happens that we've gone particularly mental for them this season. The top is actually a folded down strappy top and a piece of ribbon, the shirt came via Depop and the leggings came from wherever it is stray black leggings magically appear from. So that's one SS17 look and zero new clothes. Let's move on.
2. Stella Jean knows how to do prints and I covet every single thing she's ever produced. Luckily it turns out that I could quite easily emulate one of the looks from her spring/summer collection by wearing my striped vintage dress as a skirt, nabbing a white shirt from my boyfriend's wardrobe and breaking out a trusty Paul Smith shirt that I got at an outrageous 100% discount when I worked there. (Uniform allowance truly was the best part of working in retail.) Who knew I had a full Stella Jean look just ready and waiting to go in my wardrobe?
3. Finally, we move onto my favourite look, a copy of Isa Arfen's delicate summer layers. While admittedly I prefer the real deal top, I do fear that it would struggle to contain even the most modest boobs so my over-a-year-old Topshop number is probably the safest option. The vintage Levi's aren't a great match but were the closest thing I could find. As for the white, split front dress, that's a story of vintage serendipity. I was forced to admire it on a sad looking mannequinn for weeks, unable to buy or reserve it, convinced that someone else would nab the perfect layering piece when, one day, I noticed it was no longer in the window and marched into the shop to find it staring at me from the front of the very first rail I came to. I'd give this a 7/10 for accuracy but a 10/10 for being the most wearable of the bunch.
Releasing myself from the stress of feeling like I needed new clothes has been truly transformative. And, as evidenced above, next season's looks aren't always so groundbreaking anyway, so why not just stick with what you already love?
*Obviously this applies to the lucky ones among us who can buy clothes for fun and not to those who are struggling to afford a shirt for an interview or new school uniforms. That's an entirely different, much more difficult issue to be addressed another time when I'm not playing dress up.