It is okay not to give two hoots what you wear. It’s okay to have no emotional or intellectual connection with your clothing apart from its utility (or keeping-you-from-being-arrested-ity, or whatever). There is nothing wrong with not caring about your attire.
I do care about mine. That’s okay, too. I find a great deal of gleeful passion in [… I really am going to rhyme, aren’t I? I’m sorry about this …] fashion. I love wearing beautiful things. I love thinking about and refining my own tastes in clothing and accessories, and what looks most pleasing (in my opinion) on my own silhouette, with my own coloring.
I believe that attire is in itself a language. It is a tool for communication and influence. It’s also a medium of creative self-expression. And the more nuanced a grasp we have of this language and the ways it can be used, the more control we have over what we “say” with it. The better we understand the language, the more effective our expression.
This does not mean, in any way, that there is ever any justification for treating someone poorly based on their appearance. It’s great to like what you like, sartorially-speaking. (And otherwise.) To explore and ethically pursue, to shop for and design, what you like. But it’s never okay to hurt or belittle other people because their choices are different from yours, or because they aren’t, or don’t look like, what you like. This is something that bothers me greatly about so much fashion advice and discussion — the notion that to talk about what you like, you have to denigrate what you don’t.
You really don’t.
I’m a list maker. Of course I am.
And I’m losing weight rather steadily at the moment, which is a new, surprising, and mostly lovely experience. However, less lovely-ly, that means that fewer and fewer of my clothes actually fit. So I’m slowly losing the wardrobe I’ve spent my entire adult life assembling. This is not a problem — it’s just happening, I’m dealing with it, so I’m sharing it with you. Some of my things can be taken in, if I get around to it (odds are … less-than-favorable on that) but most of them can’t.
What does this mean for me? More lists, of course! And eventual shopping, hopefully. But first, lists!
I’m wanting to rebuild my wardrobe, little by little. I’m not a minimalist, but I do like the idea of keeping my closet relatively streamlined; for me that means having a (flexible) strategy lined out before leaping in, wallet blazing.
Have you ever read Nina Garcia’s lovely little book The One Hundred? It’s a list of the pieces she sees as essential for a stylish wardrobe. And I wondered, of course, what would be my 100 pieces? Or, in some cases, categories — because there is no chance I’d limit myself to a single hat, for instance. Come on.
I also wondered, returning to the real (well, real-ish) world for a teeny moment, what would be the best allocation of funds for those pieces? Where might it make the most impact to spend a bit (a little bit — Nine West, say, not Louboutin) more, and what pieces could be clearance, second-hand, discount store, etc.? I believe that the most visible, durable, and/or outfit-defining pieces should be the ones on which to splurge. Getting my money’s worth, to me, means personal emotional impact each time I wear a piece, being able to wear it often, and being able to wear it for many years.
So I’ve put together a checklist of the essentials for my wardrobe. I’ve broken it into two sections, SPEND and SAVE, because I’m helpful like that and this seemed like a surprisingly logical place to use the poor, overused 80/20 rule.
So, without further ado, here you are! My list: