Arianna Huffington once shared a conspiracy theory with me. We were discussing guilt, and why it was the default female emotion, when the Huffington Post founder narrowed her eyes and hissed: “I think they implant the guilt when they deliver the baby.”
This does seem likely. Although of course it would only account for maternal guilt, and not the smorgasbord of guilt many of us have suffered from since well before the smurfs came along. Guilt about family, friends, work and the constant imbalance between the three; guilt about food, drink and every form of trivial ‘indulgence’ right down to your basic, joyless body-admin. Guilt, in these desperate days, about health, happiness and even laughter, when so many are trapped in a waking nightmare across the world. Only two things had always remained cordoned off from that guilt for me with neon ‘DO NOT CROSS’ tape: coffee and clothes. For decades I’ve enjoyed an unashamed addiction to both, ignoring those who tried to tell me that six macchiatos a-day would give me anxiety and insomnia, and arguing that since 70% of the clothes I buy are second hand if not vintage, my rampant consumerism wasn’t harming anyone – least of all me. In fact when they stuck a halo on top of the words ‘second hand2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程’ and decided to rebrand what I’ve been doing for twenty years ‘ethical shopping’, I was effectively canonized for my clothes addiction. So I kept calm and carried on amassing.
2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程Only there was always the other 30% of my purchases - and the fact that whether he was delivering something from Etsy, Matches, eBay, Rouje or Youngbritishdesigners, the DHL guy and I were now on close enough terms to be having lengthy discussions about his daughter’s paralegal exams. Then, last year, something happened that still makes me shiver: I nearly bought a Topshop dress twice. To be fair it was £16 in the sale the second time around, but only as I was checking out online did I stop, frown, and rifle through my wardrobe to find the same green midi – with its tags still on.
What I felt then wasn’t just guilt but the kind of self-disgust that hits even those hard-to-reach spots and makes you want to sanitise your soul – were there enough sanitiser left in the world to do that. I was the equivalent of those repulsive womanisers who can’t even remember who they’ve slept with: a sartorially promiscuous person with a U-bending wardrobe rail of clothes that no longer meant anything to me… if they ever had.
So I had a clear out. Boy did I have a clear out. And it didn’t so much feel like soul sanitation as intensive therapy. With every bag I dropped off at my local Octavia Foundation I felt lighter. Then I got in touch with Cudoni about the pile of designer items that remained. I’d bought from the three-year-old premium resale service2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程 set up by entrepreneur James Harford-Tyrer in the past – a Stella McCartney silk shirt and burgundy Maje mini dress that are not going anywhere, ever – and been assured by a fashion friend with a more debilitating clothing habit than mine that Cudoni “made it easy.”
Those were the magic words. I’ve tried to make back some of the money I’ve squandered in the past with a couple of the woefully poor designer resale companies out there: companies that require all your time and energy when it comes to dropping off your items, and then take a disproportionate chunk of the proceeds; companies I’ve bought from before, only to find that the descriptions were inadequate and authenticity “couldn’t be guaranteed.”
A single email listing what I had to sell preceded my free Cudoni home collection. Within days a representative contacted me with my valuations, “should I choose to accept them.” I did, and they took all the pictures, authenticated every item, and sent off the goods when I made a sale. All I had to do was sit back and get paid.
I’d just agreed to become Cudoni’s ambassador when Covid-19 struck and changed the world as we knew it. Suddenly the idea of voluntary ‘paring down’ seemed luxurious. As did the preachy aspect of ‘ethical shopping.’ Many will be forced to pare down in every area of their lives for the foreseeable future; many will also discover the joy of ‘pre-loved’ clothes for the first time.
But there’s a grounding aspect to all this too: a recalibration. Because one by one, in their isolation, my friends have started to address the general abundance in their homes. Whether it’s cutting back weeds in the gardens, clearing out the Baxters Scotch Broth (Best Before 02.06.16) tins at the back of the kitchen cupboards or addressing their jamming drawers and buckling wardrobes, it’s an abundance they haven’t had the time or inclination to address before.
Clothing, in particular, is so cluttered with emotion; it’s why many of us have trouble parting with it. And when, last month, I again went through my cupboards selecting items to be sold through Cudoni – with the proceeds going to Great Ormond Street - I found it was the hope attached to some of the pieces that made it both hard to let go and freeing when I did. The hope I would one day go back to being the carefree woman who went clubbing in leather-panelled black Helmut Lang micro dresses or attended weddings – in sheer blue leopard print – that involved drink-offs with Liam Gallagher. And actually I’m still that kind of woman, (but the dress doesn’t work on me anymore.) The hope they would one day discover a non-invasive shoulder-narrowing procedure that would enable me to pull off the wincingly expensive Mother of Pearl dress I still adore, in the same way I adore some of the exes who were a similarly bad fit.
2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程Many of the pieces I decided to let ‘run free’ were aspirational, I released: I’d bought them thinking I would one day become the kind of powerhouse female who wore statement jewellery. Today I’m happy – and relieved – to say that I will never be that woman. And by the way if you’re still uncomfortable with a hemline, neckline, or bodycon fit at 40 or beyond, that’s never going to change. In the ‘outgoing’ bag, please.
There will be the odd heart pinch. God knows I had a few during a purge that’s ongoing and is beginning to scare my husband, who feels he might be the next thing to be tossed into the ‘pre-loved’ pile. But then I remember the Charlotte Olympia cat bag I’ve been ogling on Cudoni, and that Comme Des Garçons striped cotton top (you had me at £45). We’re going to need pleasures, now more than ever. But endless attacks of the micro-guilts? Those should probably stop cultivating those now that life has given us something very real to worry about. So I might double click on that cat bag. Because surely by getting rid of as much as I have – to paraphrase the late, great womaniser Sir James Goldsmith – I’ve “created a vacancy”?
For more information on how to buy or sell on Cudoni, go to ; see .
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