Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What I'm Wearing, After some Closet-Clearing. . .


As I purge my wardrobe of clothes that no longer fit, thanks to recent weight loss, it becomes disconcertingly clear what a surfeit my closet held, despite its small size. It's actually been a relief having such a valid excuse to pare down -- the skirts and pants I'm giving away or consigning are at least two sizes too small now. But I must admit that I am also feeling a bit embarrassed, even ashamed,  as a part of my brain does the cash register calculations. . . .

Why did I own so much that I'm feeling so little regret about clearing out? And why am I now so consistently content wearing some version of the above -- simple cashmere sweater, jeans, comfortable but reasonably chic shoes, a scarf? I change the look by wearing skinny jeans and boots, but the simple sweater and scarf remain . . . and yes, I seem to have too many scarves and they're impervious to weight change. . . .

I suspect that when I wasn't happy about extra weight at my middle, I bought more clothes to camouflage or divert the eye. And when I was too busy for the leisure activities that promise deeper happiness, I substituted the cheap fix of retail therapy. As well, there's no question that for me, the ever-present stimulus of my style-conscious online community ramped up my Wants far beyond my Needs or even my Will Wear Regularly.

Whatever the reasons, I'm chastened by the piles I'm bagging up and finding new homes for, and I'm enjoying the tranquility of simpler choices.

Not to say it's all calm and practical sobriety around here. Occasionally, I do celebrate the choices of a younger, more profligate shopper (one whose presence has not completely been banished, I suspect). This skirt, wildly patterned, arguably impractical though it might be, a size 10 that was already on the large size when I bought it on sale in summer 2008 (and pictured in this post)  -- this skirt has survived the cull. Yes, it's too big (with so much going on with the panelled high waist, the pleating, the generous pockets set into its side seams, I don't believe it's a promising candidate for tailoring). But the fabric is so light (a wonderful brocaded taffeta) that the waist shaping holds it in place without looking too bulky. I'm not sure it's flattering, but I love it, and although I'm preferring less drama in my outfits these days, I thought it deserved an outing. Worn here with a 6-year old Sarah Pacini t-neck and my consignment-find Think shoes.


And I know it shouldn't be a big deal, but we're almost finished January, and I haven't even been tempted to buy a single garment. Although my sister did manage to tweak my interest in some gorgeous, locally made moccasins. . .  For now, I'm very happy to have more going out than coming in.  No big promises or resolutions or commitments to a shopping diet  I am determined, though, to think about what I have and make sure it gets worn. Not just the jeans, I promise. . . .



25 comments:

  1. I have not been tempted to buy anything in January. My closets are too full and I am choosing to let go of clothing that I will never wear again. I think that you have hit the nail on the head. When we feel less attractive, we are seduced by the items that will make us "feel better" for a very short time. I have an excess of scarves and shoes. I am drawn to beautiful print and I would keep your skirt.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope I can remember this for a while and remember how good the letting go feels. . . .sounds as if we're in a similar space shopping-wise. . .

      Delete
  2. Your down sizing has been similar to my recent experience. I have found rebuilding my wardrobe easy....the consignment and local thrift shops had gems these past few weeks. I did splurge on a couple of basics on our Vancouver weekend. Your uniform is what I am wearing most often too! It feels good shedding that extra weight so a few well chosen pieces that fit are certainly not an extravagance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You seem to have been quite disciplined with your wardrobe replacement. I can't claim the same, but I'm really beginning to see what matters to me and I'm trying to clarify that -- your good example helps! ;-)

      Delete
  3. Sigh. Now that I've retired I really do need some new clothes if I am not to appear dressed like a homeless woman. I can't stand to make the effort of my work wardrobe, casual though it was, so I'm slowly acquiring good casual stuff. Slowly, because retirement does not come with a cash flow:).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's interesting (and frustrating) how different the wardrobes are -- I notice it every summer, and I suspect that the first year in retirement will see a big portion of my wardrobe retire right along with me. . .

      Delete
  4. I go through this at least twice a year - not so much the clearing out as the struggling with what is the perfectly sized and composed wardrobe for me. I am settling on outfits much like your new normal for most of my activities, with tailored jackets and (sometimes) tailored trousers for work. There are some beautiful dresses that rarely get worn, but one must be ready in case an event comes up... So much is recognizing what a casual life I actually lead!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, my life is more casual than my wardrobe aspirations, absolutely! And I can easily push it up a notch and still look credible, but I seem to go in cycles when I don't really want to do that. I suspect I'll get bored at some point and want the variety again, but I'm enjoying the simplicity for the moment. I agree with you that there are some garments worth holding in readiness. . .

      Delete
  5. My uniform is very similar these days. A cashmere sweater with black cigarette pants or jeans, jazzed with some scarves and accessories. I pulled them all to the front of my wardrobe and am pretending the bulk doesn't exist that hides behind them. Bad I know. One of these days I'll go through it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No matter the cut, cashmere reads dressy or elegant or chic into my daily casual, I try to hope. And if not, at least it makes for a cuddly-comfortable casual, right darling? ;-)

      Delete
  6. After losing weight, I did re-buy some favorite items in smaller sizes before I'd really put a lot of thought into a more curated wardrobe, and not surprisingly, those were some of the first items to be culled again. I love your simple style, and my own version of it, but there's always that little gremlin that sits on my shoulder and whispers "but you neeeeeed Variety" and I have to learn to brush the little bugger off.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our gremlins should have lunch. . . ;-)

      Delete
  7. The bit that struck me about your post was the stimulus of the online community in terms of pushing Want buttons. I have a very casual life, even including work, and live in a very casual city, but sometimes I just WANT something more glamorous or exciting, especially when I see other people wearing fabulous clothes. Then I never wear whatever I succumbed to. Or I wear it and feel hideously self-conscious. There's a sweet spot for me somewhere between dead boring and attention-seeking but it's elusive - I'm usually at the dead boring end of the spectrum ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're very intuitive and observant -- honestly, I might be guilty of having buried the lead here. . . something more than a bit uncomfortable I don't want to poke at too much . . . .for now. . .

      Delete
  8. I agree with you on every point. I used to admire (and envy) women who can wear long dresses, flowery prints, wide skirts, jacktes and scarves all flowing around them. I've tried it myself again and again, but it's not for me. I don't like the way I look and I dont feel comfotable.
    What it comes down to is very similar to what you describe: jeans, sweaters or cardigans, scarves (not too big) or a necklace. Finally I also found my favourite colour scheme: all shades of blue and grey, with some touches of white, turquoise or purple.
    Getting dressed in the morning has become much easier, as has shopping. Things which do not fit into the pattern don't tempt me any more. Isn't it strange that I had to grow so old in order to find (and accept) a style of my own?
    Shedding ballast always feels nice, not only when clothes are concerned. I also try to do it with books or household implements, and work is best with some music turned on really loud. Today it was Pete Seeger, in memory of that great singer and songwriter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm hoping I can stay with this current contentment, although I know that I go in cycles. I'm so leery of a pattern I see so many bloggers fall into: announcing a purging, a commitment to shopping their wardrobe, living some simply, etc. etc., and then soon the replacement shopping starts and it all starts up again. There must be a wonderful Pete Seeger song to remind me not to go that route. He wasn't a proponent of consumerism, certainly!

      Delete
    2. A song that comes to my mind is "Little Boxes". It's not exactly about shopping, but about taking for granted what one has got. And it is quite funny which I alway find helpful in order not to take myself (and my need for new clothes) too seriously.

      Delete
  9. I too got rid of some beautiful clothes- just last week, several pieces like your skirt, undeniably beautiful but just not worn. My consolation is now someone else can enjoy them. We know how to choose wonderful things, but how much do we actually need?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been gratified to see clothes I wasn't wearing get snapped up by my daughters or leaving the local consignment store for someone else's closet. I think I might just bring the next bag in to a Free Exchange they have on campus for students. To answer your question, less and less. . . .

      Delete
  10. Is it the time of year, or the pending change of seasons, that takes so many of us on a closet safari? Mine has yielded an interesting pile of things that have survived both moving and weight loss and will provide a foundation for the rebuilding that has to happen - soon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's interesting -- I found that the foundation of my wardrobe is probably my jeans, and along with the lingerie, those were the first things I replaced. Neither lingerie nor jeans worked well at two sizes' difference whereas some of my dresses looked better, most sweaters okay. I'll be watching to see how your rebuilding works. . .

      Delete
  11. Your post strikes a chord with me. I've always enjoyed clothes and fashion. During the busy years of child rearing, being in the workforce and house renovating, I was very disciplined with my wardrobe. Later, in my fifties with more disposable income and time, I shopped more and bought some beautiful clothes. Some I love and wear, others I love but aren't quite me and some fall definitely into the mistake category. Although the money spent hurts a bit, I don't regret experimenting. We all need to re assess our style every so often as we change and so does the world around us.
    Recently I've realised I'm more comfortable with a simplified wardrobe and I have a great incentive to return to that. I retired from the paid workforce at the end of last year. At the end of this year, my husband and I plan move to Europe to live for a year. We'll base ourselves in Malta and make short trips to wherever our fancy takes us, instead of having to do the long arduous flight from Australia. I need to edit my wardrobe and do lots of culling. All the clothes for a year will have to fit in one medium case and a carry on.
    Lilibet

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The profile you sketch is similar to my own -- I did, finally, have more disposable income and time to shop and that freedom and, yes, self-indulgence meant some experimentation, some mistake-making. And you're right: I wouldn't have got here without that, and there's no point in prolonged regret. It's lovely to know now, though, that if I had to, I probably could manage for a year in the luggage restrictions you're facing (although winter gear? boots?) What an adventure you have planned! I'm a bit envious, I must admit -- any plans to blog about it? I'd love to follow along . . . ;-)

      Delete
  12. In hot or cold weather I can surely manage to be stylish and comfortable but very cold weather I have little experience of. I'm reluctant to buy winter weights I can't later wear at home. Layers and thermal undies?
    As for blogging, I'm thinking of it, although silly hostile comments like the one left on your hair post are off putting.
    If I do blog I'll let you know, I'd love to have you read it.
    Lilibet

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. With a base in Malta, I don't suppose you'll have to confront seriously cold weather -- layers and thermal undies should do the trick!
      As for the blogging deterrents, comments like that one have been few and far between for me so far, knock on wood, and the joy I've had from having such supportive readers balances that risk superbly. So do think about it and if you do end up blogging, I'll be an eager reader.

      Delete

I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...