Fiona McCade: Lighter wardrobe way to man’s heart

Shoppers at the Selfridges sale on London's Oxford Street. Picture: Getty
Shoppers at the Selfridges sale on London's Oxford Street. Picture: Getty
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AS USUAL during the January sales, there were a handful of dejected men sitting outside the ladies’ changing rooms, waiting for their womenfolk to emerge with whatever bargains they had managed to squeeze into.

Every one of those blokes looked like he would rather wrestle an angry cobra than spend another second in that department store, ticking off the minutes until the curtain swished back and she emerged with a stash of fashion goodies – that he would probably have to carry home.

And so it was that I had a little audience, while I was trying to persuade my husband that I really, really didn’t want to buy anything. No, nothing at all.

Like all canny Celts, and since long before the financial crisis hit, Husband and I have saved our cash for the post-Christmas sales. We don’t quite trust the Black Friday deals – we’d rather wait and see how low the prices can really go. Normally, we buy whatever we think we might need over the coming months, but this year is different, because this year, I don’t want to buy any more clothes.

Yes, it’s official – I have something to wear. As a matter of fact, I have lots of somethings to wear. I neither need nor want to clutter up my life with any more new purchases. This is partly a result of preferring not to spend good money on non-essentials, but also because I’ve been reading some scary statistics about women and their clothes, and I don’t want to be part of that particular pie-chart.

Women have never had so many things to wear. The average Western female now owns 400 per cent more garments than her counterpart of 30 years ago, and this means that she has to find room in her closet for four-and-a-half stone’s worth of new clothes every year.

It makes your head spin, doesn’t it? Four-and-a-half stone is the weight of a schoolchild, or most of Victoria Beckham. That’s one helluva lot of Primark stretchy-tees. It’s incredible that our floors don’t give way under the stress of support-ing our out-of-control fashion habit.

Well, I say “our” fashion habit, but sorry girls, this is where I get off.

I know full well that I can’t hold back the tidal wave of consumerism all by myself, but even though I may only have a teaspoon, I’m going to do my bit to bail this ship out somehow.

Oh, I know it’s difficult. You see something lovely, and it’s just the right colour, and it’s so cheap – and you instantly forget that you already have five things that look almost exactly like that, sitting in your cupboard back home. But no, you persuade yourself, those other five things will suddenly wear out, and then you will need this!

But come on, if you bought well-made, long-lasting items, they wouldn’t wear out so fast, would they?

So, my resolution for 2014 is only to buy good quality clothes that make me look unbelievably and fantastically goddess-like. So, chances are I’ll never buy anything, ever again.

Unfortunately, my husband hadn’t expected me to be so determined – plus, he really wanted me to treat myself. “You’ve got to get something, or else it’s like I haven’t bought you a proper present,” he pleaded.

“Look, why don’t you get this? It’s lovely!” He begged, waving a classic little black dress under my nose.

I’m sure it was absolutely fabulous, sweetie, but buying stuff simply because it’s there and it’s lovely is precisely what I’m trying to avoid.

But Husband wasn’t to be defeated. He gently manoeuvred both me and the dress towards the ladies’ fitting room. And that is how the sad group of men, sitting forlornly by the entrance to the cubicles, ended up watching our particular drama unfold.

I stood my ground. “Listen to me – I don’t want the dress. I don’t want any more clothes. I have enough clothes to last me for years, and I refuse to buy any more until I absolutely need them, okay?”

Husband sighed and acquiesced, but as we turned to go, I noticed that one of waiting blokes was staring at me in pure disbelief. Then he gave me a big smile and said: “Will you marry me?”