When I was in Bristol staying with my friend, she was telling me about all the clothing and homewares that she had kept after a massive clear out. Moving from her family home in London to a small bedroom in a Bristol sharehouse had given her an opportunity to refresh. We started talking about how we had both been taught to save for best. Often this meant keeping something nice aside, bringing it out when someone to be impressed was around. I laughed and said recently I had cast aside this notion and started wearing all my good things. And then I caught myself.
I wasn’t telling the truth!
I realised whilst this was something I had changed, living in my flat for a couple of years had seen a few habits sneak in. Packing for my weekend away I had deliberately brought my best pyjamas and slipper socks. There was another set at home that had seen better times. I was still choosing to wear these everyday. There were quite large holes in those slipper socks and they never stayed up. Each night I did an elaborate folding system to keep the socks in place! These new socks, which for some reason I was saving until next winter, were so comfortable and most of all stayed up!
Caught in a saving for best cycle.
Where was this saving for best mentality coming from? When I grew up I was acutely aware that our family didn’t have lots of money. My parents were much younger then my peers and at different earning levels. There were always good outfits to be saved for special occasions, usually with the grandparents!
When I got my first job I bought lots of beautiful candles that I wanted for so long. I was in love with the different canisters, and the colour of liquids as they created rainbows in the sunshine on my walls. They sat patiently on my dressing table waiting to be used. I waited for a special occasion. It was not meant to be. I quickly learnt that candles sitting in a hot, timber house resulted in their perfume leaving quite quickly. Such a shame!
Influenced by advertising.
Having items that are for best or everyday use has also stuck me as a consumption habit that advertising promotes. Outfits for work, outfits for the weekend, outfits for Friday nights out. Getting your winter wardrobe out and putting summer clothing away. This has never been something I have done preferring to have everything on show to choose from each day. My budget has never streached to seperate wardrobes for different seasons!
When I moved into this new flat I was keen to replace the plates and bowls. For the first time I considered purchasing my favourite plates to use everyday. Previously I have loved these but it never made sense to have a good set, alongside an everyday set. This is not uncommon in Australia and my parents have three china sets!
For years their wedding set sat for best in the cupboard alongside the silver cutlery, only coming out for dinner parties and Christmas. We make an effort now to use all the different sets. I bought my favourite plates and limited myself to a set for two. They are expensive and I realised I could have what I wanted if I didn’t go crazy with a set for 6 people. Why do we have to buy sets in such large numbers? Clever advertising!
No more saving for best!
Coming home from Bristol I unpacked those ‘best’ pyjamas and slipper socks and put them on my bed. Digging out the worse for wear ones I threw them away. I’d like to say I reviewed my entire wardrobe and flat due to this reepiphany, but truth is I stuck to the pyjama drawer. A few items went to Australia for rags for my dad’s motorbike and a couple of things went to landfill. I’m casting my eye over by bathroom cabinet next and using up all my expensive creams and samples. No more saving for best! PF. XO