Wardrobe review

About a year and a half ago (holy cow) I wrote a post about The True Cost , where I reflected upon the impact of fast fashion on the environment and the people involved in the clothing manufacturing industry.
At the time I went through all my clothes to get an idea of how bad I was doing (turned out: pretty bad). During the following months I’ve been revamping my wardrobe with the double goal of getting rid of things I didn’t like/use and moving towards a more ethical collection. I am now proud to announce that I finally got to the point where I love everything I have and have everything I need.
So today I went through my wardrobe again to reassess the situation. This is what my wardrobe looks like, plus a couple of other places where I store my clothes:




And below is the final verdict.

NOTE: “Ethical” to me indicates a piece of clothing that either comes from an ethical brand, or I purchased second hand, or it’s a hand-me-down (so it could be from an unethical brand but I haven’t personally purchased it).

Total: 19
Ethical: 9
Unethical: 10
Not sure: –
Total: 4 (plus 1 I’m not sure I want to keep)
Ethical: –
Unethical: 1
Not sure: 4
Sweaters I lounge around in
Total: 4 (plus 2 I’m not sure I want to keep)
Ethical: 3
Unethical: –
Not sure: 3
Total: 2 for winter, 3 for summer, 3 for both
Ethical: 1
Unethical: 5
Not sure: 1
(Go me, I used to have 12 dresses that I never used!)
Total: 3
Ethical: 2
Unethical: 1
Not sure: –
Total: 2 plus a pair of dungarees
Ethical: 2
Unethical: 1
Not sure: –
Total: 2
Ethical: 1
Unethical: 1
Not sure: –
T-shirts (short sleeves)
Total: 12 (plus 2 for work)
Ethical: 5 + 2
Unethical: 4
Not sure: 3
(I used to have 43 t-shirts! Forty three!)


Tops (long sleeves)
Total: 7
Ethical: 4
Unethical: 1
Not sure: 2
Tank tops
Total: 7
Ethical: 2
Unethical: 3
Not sure: 2
Total: 4
Ethical: 2
Unethical: 2
Not sure: –
Other pants
Total: 5 pair of leggings (2 ethical and 3 unethical), 2 pairs of harem pants (not sure), 2 pairs of lounge pants (one ethical, one not sure)

Not listed: underwear, sportswear, ski stuff, coats and jackets, shoes.

Last year I owned 39 pieces of unethically produced clothes out of 89 pieces of clothing in total. As of today, both numbers went down: 29 out of 48 pieces of clothing I own are unethically produced. In more mathematical terms, I went from 43% to 60% of my entire wardrobe being unethically produced.
As bad as this sound, the reason behind these numbers is not me purchasing unethical clothes, but me getting rid of ethical ones. (Although well, I guess I did buy a couple of sweaters from H&M.) As I went through my decluttering process, I found that lots of items I purchased second hand were not in good conditions or the quality was quite poor, whereas most of my favourite clothes are – alas – from unethical brands. I don’t want to keep something just because it’s second hand, I’d rather stick to the clothes I love most until they last, and purchase second-hand replacements only when the original ones are falling apart.
All in all, I’m happy about my wardrobe now: I have everything I need, and everything I have I love.  I don’t have any desire to buy new clothes nor to let go of anything (except a couple of things that are already in my “Maybe” pile). It took me years to get to this point, and it might not be the more sustainable collections of clothes ever, but it is the best I have ever done, so perhaps it means I can stop spending hours in my closet getting rid of stuff. Success!

Nothing is sexier than confidence

(First written on Feb 28th, edited on March 16th/17th)

Last Monday I was having a lazy day. Winter came all of a sudden, and I spent the morning having ginger tea and working on some video projects feeling cosy in a warm sweater, the rain tick-ticking against the window. Then the rain turned into storm, and I wasn’t really feeling like walking all the way to Newtown t meet Kate for coffee. But I did, and boy was that an afternoon that made a difference.

Kate is not someone I really know. I met her through some volunteering we did together and she seemed like an interesting person but we’d never really had a proper conversation, so I was quite excited to finally get to sit down with her and lay the foundations for a possible friendship. We went to one of my favourite cafes, and over our soy lattes we found out we have so many things in common.
I hadn’t planned this, but as we spoke I opened up like I hadn’t with hardly anyone else before. It might have been because Kate is so chilled and friendly and she made me feel at ease straight away, but I found myself talking about how tough last year was, how it felt to be back home for Christmas, how accomplished I feel with my life now, and what I’m working on for the future. I talked about self love, mental health, self discovery and growth – with a terminology and confidence I wish I could use on a more regular basis.

I wouldn’t normally bring up any of these topics on a first conversation with someone I don’t know, as my inner self tells me it’s not “appropriate” to get too personal with somebody you’ve just recently met.
Being a hopeless introvert, I suck at small talk and I have very poor social skills. I’m always very conscious about what comes out of my mouth when I first meet someone, and I tend to only say things that I think the other person would want to hear, with the result that my conversations often sound clumsy and forced. My worry is that I won’t come across as who I really am, and that by the time I feel ready to open up these potential friends will have an idea of me that is completely different from the real deal, and it will be too late for me to talk about all the things I want to talk about because they will not expect me to have all these repressed issues, they were probably already thinking I was not worthy of their attention anyway and if I reveal my inner self now they’ll be taken aback and I would sound fake and unexpected, so instead I will continue to pathetically cling to these shallow relationships until everybody loses interest in me and I’ll be left to die alone. (In all this I obviously spend hours recreating past conversations in my head where I am the life of the party and always have the perfect comeback and I sound natural and relaxed and people actually like me.)
These thoughts have been haunting me since I can remember. Trust me, it’s not fun to have this voice in the back of your head that constantly reminds you that you really should be concerned about how people perceive you.

By the time I moved to New Zealand, I was done with it.
I saw moving overseas as an opportunity for a fresh start in many senses, and when I settled in Wellington I made a point that I was going to be myself one hundred percent.
It obviously didn’t happen overnight, but I have been working hard towards becoming better at meeting people and at feeling confident talking about myself. What really helped was reminding myself of how it makes me feel when somebody is honest and genuine with me even if we don’t know each other very well. When someone opens up to me, it always makes me feel good about myself, because it means I’m creating a safe space for them to feel relaxed enough to talk abut anything. It means I can be trusted.
I do believe very few traits are sexier than confidence: I admire people who are not afraid of putting themselves out there and expressing themselves for what they truly are. That’s what I aspire to be: confident, genuine, not afraid of whether my feelings are “appropriate” or what others might think of them.

Moving to a place where I didn’t know anyone was the perfect occasion for me to present myself as truly me. If people were ok with that, great; if they had a problem with it, also great – I wouldn’t need them in my life.
In fact, I’ve been getting more and more used to the idea that it’s ok not to be friends with everyone. I’d much rather have fewer friends I can spend quality time with, instead of acquaintances I have hardly anything in common with. After learning it’s ok to say you don’t want to do stuff because you don’t want to do stuff, it became much easier to stop seeing people who were not adding anything to my life.
As harsh as that sounds, it’s true: I’m done with small talk and wasting time building relationships that I already know will not lead anywhere. I only have one life, and what I want to fill it with is authentic interactions. I want to surround myself with people I can be myself with. People who support me and who understand me. People I can drop my barriers and preconceptions with. People who make me feel good about myself, who make me feel at ease and like it’s ok to talk about all my repressed deep shit and who can do the same with me.

So thank you Kate for being one of the first people who made me feel valid and accepted. Our conversation made me realise that being honest and genuine is not as scary as I thought. I can tell people I’ve had a rough year and they will not think I’m not worth of their time.They might even think I’m actually cool. Can I be your cool friend? Ok maybe I still need to work on those social skills after all.

The MBAWYAO Series – Episode Four

Hello and welcome to my MBAWYAO Series – Episode Four. (I’m quite impressed by the fact that I’ve stuck to this series for more than two episodes.)

A while ago I wrote about my ideal jobI’ve only “manifested”* two things so far and look, one has already happened! Well done universe – I mean, ME – for not giving up and finally being hired at the place you’d been pestering for months.
To celebrate my newly employment, I thought I’d do a little “expectations vs reality” comparison and see if this is actually the job of my dreams. This is a list of what my requirements were before I had a job, and whether my current job meets them or not.

  • No set location
    I work in a supermarket, so the location is: the supermarket. I can’t work from home unfortunately – those shelves are not going to restock themselves, are they – but since I’m only working part time this doesn’t really bother me since I can still go to the library or to a cafe’ and get the rest of my work (aka writing my book and this) done wherever I prefer.
  • Human interaction
    My job provides the exact amount of human interaction I need. My colleagues are incredibly nice and it’s great to have a chat with them from now and then, but it’s also ok to spend our lunch break reading or napping if we don’t feel like talking. And since it’s an organic shop, the clientele is also selected which basically means our customers are decent human beings who don’t treat you like a piece of trash. 
  • Stable income
    I am a casual worker for the time being, which means my income varies every week. However I’m never working less than three days a week, so I know what I’m going to get at least. Also payday is fixed which is also nice (it wasn’t in my previous job and it was crap.) 
  • No dress code
    We do have a t-shirt and an apron we are required to wear, but we can wear whatever bottoms we want as well as jewellery, as long as it doesn’t bother us/get in the way. Also we are allowed makeup, piercings and tattoos. I really don’t mind the t-shirt as I would wear a t-shirt anyway (I’d be more concerned if I had to wear office clothes, bleurgh). Also if it’s chilly we can wear a jumper on top and it’s all good so I can pretty much wear whatever the heck I want.
  • Flexibility
    Being a casual means I can pick and choose my shifts, which does make it very flexible. It’s kinda frown upon to take a shift and then change your mind, but I’m generally given enough time to plan around them so I’m happy with the situation.
  • Creativity
    You’d be surprised to know how much creativity my position requires. This is not your regular franchise: it’s an independent family business, which means there are no crazy rules such as the tile pattern has to be the exact same in every shop all around the world (I’m looking at you, Subway). Everyone is given room for their own initiative and ideas. Although we do have to stick to some general guidelines, we are also free to express ourselves however we see fit.

Overall, I am extremely happy with my job. It also have the extra bonus of providing me and my colleagues with free food and a 20% discount which let’s be real is fucking amazeballs.
Conclusion: work hard for what you want, and you’ll get there eventually.



*Remember I’m not using the word “Manifest” in its strict meaning (“the ability to convert the energy of our thoughts into a newly materialized form”). I’m using it as a way to find out what I want out of life.

Money tracking – February

Money-wise, February has been shit. I spent way more than I was expecting in spite of my best efforts, which demonstrates that I’m REALLY BAD at money tracking.
Before I draw my conclusions, let’s analyse this catastrophe in more details.

  • Groceries
    This baffles me: somehow I managed to spend more in groceries than I have in January. How is this possible? I get free food from work! I’m thinking I fell into the 20% discount trap I have at work and treated myself with a few goodies too many. I’ll need to keep an eye on this.
  • Coffee/eating out
    In February I funnelled nearly $160 in eating out, of which only $40 were coffee though. My aim was to spend less than $50 in coffee so that’s an achievement. And to be completely honest $120 for eating out in a month in Wellington is not that bad. However, this is the category that would be the easiest for me to improve on, so I’ll throw all the blame on Giac and say he’s the one forcing me to have dinner out once a week.
  • Op shops
    This is a hard one for me because I tend to justify op shopping thinking it’s second hand shopping and so it’s ok. But it’s not if you’re trying to save money. I spent $29 in op shops last month, which mainly consisted in an AMAZING coffee plunger which yes I’d been wanting for months but no I didn’t really need. *tut tut*
  • Other shopping
    And here comes the hot potato. “Other shopping” last month included: some stuff from Amazon and iHerb, two pairs of shoes, a new editing software, A MACBOOK AIR and a plane ticket to go back home in September. In my defence, these are not purchases I have to save up for every month (thank fuck), and yes my old shoes had holes, and yes I did say that I would get myself a new computer when I got a job. BUT. Fuck.
  • I have also added a new category called “Experiences” as it’s festival season in New Zealand and I have purchased a bunch of Fringe tickets. I also went to see the Rubens and to a session at CoLiberate which will be reviewed in a separate post (it was AWESOME).
  • Then here are the things that went as predicted (let’s cut this short as the more I write the more I have the urge to start breathing into a paper bag): I’ve spent the same as last month on transport and phone contract, and I haven’t spent anything on health and sport.

And now, conclusions!
Despite managing to spend zero dollars for a total of six days in the past month, I still spent – in scientific terms – a shitload of money.
Now, I have been working my ass off in February and I will even more in March, so it’s not that I can’t afford all this. Also I don’t want to punish myself too much: I finally got a job that pays well after two fucking years of basically not having a job at all, so there’s nothing wrong in treating myself a little. However, I am learning that shopping considerably raises my anxiety levels. After I bought the shoes the other day, I had a panic attack in the car and had to stop to hyperventilate on the side of the road. The truth is that I am on the stingy side after all, and spending money  – even on things I need – fills me with shame and guilt.
So after seeing the numbers in February and acknowledging how spending money makes me feel, In March I’m challenging myself to spend no money at all.
I am allowing myself some extra food that I might need in case what I get from work is not enough, as well as some home necessities (i.e. soap), but that’s it. Other things I think I “need” will have to wait. (Oh well and I’ll have to pay for my phone. And transport.)
It’s already day two and I’m doing great. Yesterday I worked all day and today I haven’t left the house. I guess if I keep it up (i.e. work like crazy and spend the rest of the time locked in my apartment) I should be fine.
Wish me luck, and you’ll hear from me soon.