Admitting Defeat: I do care – to a degree

This year I’m not buying new clothes, so there’s no need to write about my wardrobe. Wrong, new clothing items are not the only reasons to write anything. Any clothing can be written about at any time.

Mending will replace buying. Wrong, clothes can only be mended so much before they become nothing more than sewn up rags. Some items need to be put to rest.

Running will replace my need to shop. Wrong, running is a healthy habit to keep no matter what. It should not be seen as something that’s easily switched out. It is a lifestyle change for the better. It does not replace anything.

Some of my clothes are so old they aren’t worth even mentioning or writing about. Wrong, it is because they are old and still functional that they demand attention. Be thankful for them.

Earlier this month I deleted nearly the entire backlog of this blog. It’s time to start something new – or so I told myself. Whenever I got bored of a topic or grown out of love of writing on a certain topic, I would delete it. It wasn’t meant to erase those memories or that time, but rather put it aside and focus on something else. I’ve always done this. The writing served its purpose by being put outside of myself. Old journals I wrote in were destroyed. Old blogs were deleted. Everything is ephemeral. The clothing we wear. The words on this screen. This time in lockdown.

Realizing I hadn’t written about the greatest lesson I learned while having this blog kept me from deleting it entirely. It hasn’t finished serving its purpose. The fact that this very blog was most likely the largest culprit to my shopping habits over the past 4 years makes me want to atone and write a little more.

Remember that Yohji Yamamoto phase? Yes, I only own 5 items now and don’t wear half of them. I’ve sold everything else I bought. I spent a lot of money on buying those clothes for most of them to not even last a year in my closet.

Remember how you scoured sites looking for sales on designer clothes because you thought they were better? Yes, I spent a lot of time looking and justifying purchases for the sake of being “different” or thinking I was being true to myself when I didn’t know myself at all. I also thought they were made better when they weren’t. The majority of those clothes didn’t even look that good on me or make me feel good at all.

Remember when you wanted your entire wardrobe to be linen? Yes, my self-righteousness reared its ugly head thinking that linen fabric was the best fabric for everything and anything. I still have the majority of my linen clothes, but know now that there is a time and place for many fabrics – even synthetics.

Remember when you only wanted designer shoes or only ones made from Italian leather? Yes, because I didn’t understand shoes nor my own comfort levels with wearing certain kinds of shoes. Out of the 18 pairs of shoes I have right now, I could do away with 13 of them.

Remember when you were in that cottagecore phase just last spring and thought you could make those frilly clothes work no matter what? Yes, I was delusional in thinking that and not accepting a reality where I’d have to go back into the office or professional/business situations again. Even though I’ve not had those situations yet – they are inevitable.

More time and money was spent clothes shopping from 2017 through 2020 than I care to admit but need to because I showcased it all here. I want to go so far as to say I spent more money on clothes during that time than I have in the past decade of my life total, which might sound like an exaggeration, but it is most likely true. I vaguely remember thinking – I already have a minimal wardrobe that is functional and fine, so why write about it. But for some reason I decided to start a blog and catalog my outfits. I thought I needed to do better for myself and develop a wardrobe that had professional clothes and good casual clothes and special occasion clothes. I lost the plot along the way and went through many phases. While deleting all of those posts, confronted with many ill-fitting outfit posts and awkward poses, I couldn’t help but cringe at myself and note all of the money that is no longer in my account nor shown in my wardrobe.

So is this your next self-righteous phase of trying to make-do with the clothes you have and patting yourself on the back for not buying anything? No, because there are some purchases I need to make. Actually… it was almost the next phase until I realized I need to make those purchases. My OCD was telling me not to give in, but I do really need to because there are items I need – like underwear and socks. Stop feeling bad for buying the necessities! Also, society is moving on in a post-pandemic world. I will have to go out in public more and may need more things as time goes on. I am an all-or-nothing personality so anything in between can feel like failure when really it’s about learning moderation.

Towards the end of March Neela’s post about cataloging her wardrobe made me want to do the same. The catalog I made is more of a snapshot in time and not intended for extended use. It was a reality check for me because when I compared the items in my list to the posts on this blog I realized just how much I had before that I no longer wore. It brought clarity. I could look back and see the various phases I went through. It’s also showing me personal truths.

  • The oldest items in my wardrobe are fast-fashion items. They are clothes that were bought from large chain stores. None of them are designer nor from any sustainable/ responsible/ eco-friendly proclaimed clothing brand.
  • The work horses in my wardrobe are those fast-fashion clothes.
  • A lot of those clothes are 5+ years old if not older.
  • The majority of graphic tees I have were bought from National Park visits. I have 4 Grand Teton tees.

A number was written down, but now it has changed since then. I’ve not bought anything new, but there were clothes I forgot about because I’d not been on business nor conference trips in a year. Those clothes are in another closet and I completely forgot about them. While I am curious about my wear count, I know that if I try to create a catalog for counting those wears I most likely won’t keep up with it. My lazy self knows better. I can barely keep up with the habit trackers I have now and only know how many miles I’ve run because my watch keeps track for me and I can look it up on my phone later. One thing I do know is one of my Grand Teton shirts is MVP of wears because it is my night shirt. If I had to guess I’d say I wear it 340 days out of a year and have worn it as a night shirt for at least 4 years. The shirt itself is 11 years old because I bought it on our first trip there in 2010.

So what have you learned?

There was nothing inherently ever wrong with how I dressed before I started this blog. In an effort to feel “relevant” to other sites I read I ended up spending more money than I should have, justified those ridiculously expensive purchases for the sake of creating my fashion identity, snubbed my nose up at the traditional fast-fashion items that I went back to wearing, should never deem any one fabric better than another, stop buying shoes that don’t fit right or only look good with one item of clothing in my closet, don’t be afraid to buy what is necessary – just be cautious about the rest, and enjoy continuing to read the other blogs/sites but don’t give in to the FOMO.

Lastly, here is a photo of my first dalgona attempt. I’m way late on this pandemic trend. It was good, but now I’ve had way too much coffee and fear for not being able to sleep tonight.

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