Thursday, October 12th, 2017
Talk about a reflective year. It’s one thing to think about your clothes every couple days when you’re writing a blog post, but it’s another thing entirely to track and reflect on your wardrobe every day. I’m a numbers person, so watching the cost per wear and total tallies change over time was right up my ally, but the act of tracking everything I wore forced me to look at my actual behaviours rather than an idealized mental version of myself.
For example, I live in jeans. Three years ago I thought this was a problem, so I tried to force myself to experiment with other clothes. While I’m glad I moved out of my comfort zone, jeans are a cornerstone component of my work and my lifestyle.
On the other end of the spectrum: I hate stiff, restrictive shirts and coats. I love the look, and I admire that some people pull it off beautifully, but dear god I hate wearing them. It doesn’t look good on me! The size disparity between my bust and shoulders makes finding shirts that fit well problematic. Also, if it needs ironing, it isn’t getting worn. Full stop.
Also, I have a toddler to get ready in the morning. Shaving is not happening every day. If I’m wearing a skirt its either happening on a weekend, or a Monday. *shrug*
Spending more on jeans, shoes, and coats is a good idea for me! Quality jeans that fit well and don’t deteriorate after being washed a few times will absolutely see heavy use. Shoes that fit well, and last once they’re broken in, are worth their weight in gold for my hyper sensitive feet. Likewise, after years of trying to make cheap outerwear work, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no substitute for a quality coat. I was reminded of that today when I walked out to my car in the miserable wind and didn’t feel a thing on my upper body.
After that little justification for spending more – it only holds true if you don’t have too many of them! Sure, I’ll spend $300 on a pair of jeans, but I can count all of the pairs I own on one hand. I have a lot of coats too, and some of them are only used in one season (heavy duty parka anyone?), but none of them are fashion pieces. They are multi-year coats. Some of them will be multi-decade coats.
Can I justify spending a ton of money on shirts? Not really. Shirts don’t hold up to the same level of wear and tear as jeans or outwear, so they have to be replaced after fewer wears. Likewise, since I own more shirts than bottoms, they get worn less overall. I’ve spent a little more on some of my sweaters, but other than that I have a hard time justifying expensive shirts.
This is probably evident to most of you, but I really don’t accessorize. I cannot justify spending money on accessories, because I don’t wear them! I have one really nice purse that I love, but I shouldn’t go out buy more expensive bags without a long term plan. That should actually go without saying. Even if I did wear bags daily, given the price point of the bags that draw my eye, I shouldn’t buy anything if I don’t see myself using it a decade from now. That means no fussy materials or anything that needs to be treated delicately. Durability matters. I hate fussing.
This post is getting long, so I’ll finish off with this last point. The act of buying something doesn’t mean I’ll wear it. Style doesn’t evolve through the purchasing of clothes, it evolves through the act of getting dressed, styling yourself and experimenting with what you have at your disposal. I made some expensive mistakes. At the same time, now I have a more realistic idea of what I wear and how I wear it. I’m curious to see how much it will evolve this year.
What have you learned about personal style?