Lets face it… Overall, 2020 was a shit year. I have to admit, though, that it also taught me a lot.
I learned that i have more self-discipline than i thought i had… I just don’t always take advantage of it.
I learned that i had allowed my life to become inundated with activity, and that there is beauty and peace in periods of inactivity.
I learned that too much of our lives, of my life, has become caught up in “show.” Giving up most social media has allowed me to let go of the need to post and present things to impress others.
I have become acutely aware, as i succumbed to the online-shopping devil, of how much i waste and how much waste i create.
I spend a lot of my clothed-for-work life uncomfortable.
I’m ready to make some changes.
You all know that i started a while back transitioning my house to a more environmental friendly one. I have given up as much plastic as was easily conceivable. I have switched to more sustainable / reusable/ renewable options for cleaning body and home. Not wanting to create more waste by the transition, i have continued to use the things i have until they are gone or wear out. This has been difficult for me, as i am normally one who gets an idea in their head and then immediately jumps in like it’s a polar plunge. Knowing what i need to do and having to wait to do it has taught me a level of patience that i’ve never had before. I would say that it is a good lesson, but painful… A bit like buying your first home and then realizing you won’t actually own it for 20 or 30 years.
So as i stared into my closet and drawers at all the clothing i own, so much of which i rarely wear, it was time for a reckoning.
I’ve never been one to buy an article of clothing simply because it is “in style.” Firstly, there are few fashion trends that i have ever fallen in love with, and secondly, even fewer of them are anything meant for a body like mine. (I will never understand why fashion is made to fit 20-somethings. We 50-somethings are the ones with the bit of extra money… Why not make them to fit us???) Also worth noting that i DESPISE clothing shopping because i have such a difficult time finding things that fit. When i do find something that works, i generally buy it in a bunch of colors so i won’t have to shop again for a while. What this means, in a nutshell, is that i have a disjointed wardrobe of things that are very similar, but still don’t always go together, and often “fit” but aren’t necessarily flattering.
Add to this that my body, as a combination of landmark age and pandemic sloth, has changed shape over the course of the last year. Much of my clothing no longer fits properly. And with the relaxing of in-person meetings and in-office hours, i have discovered that most of it isn’t particularly comfortable either. I don’t mind being uncomfortable for a couple hours to meet the queen or slow-dance with Liam Neeson or whatever, but i don’t want to spend every waking moment that way.
On the flip side, it would be terribly wasteful just to toss it all and start over. And although donation is the easy answer, there are landfills full of clothing that has been donated and never used. Since a lot of my current wardrobe contains polyester and other manmade fibers, it isn’t going to decompose, it is just going to create more environmental burden. I have been able to find direct homes for a lot of it, giving specific pieces to people who will actually use and enjoy them. The items that fit, i will wear them, repurpose them, or do what i can to mitigate making more trash.
The gaps created by this have inspired me to make a pact with myself: In the coming year, of what items i replace, at least 50% will be handmade by me of sustainable or recycled materials. The remainder, as much as i can, will be either sustainable or upcycled. The consequences of this are more than just material. There are some items that, by nature and definition, are not any of these things. There is no Greta Thurnburg approved wonderbra, so, i will be forced to accept more of myself on the way.
One of my forever-style icons is Dame Judi Dench. Even at (I assume) stressful red carpent events, she always looks both elegant and comfy. Her beauty shines though without having to strap herself into a cinched or boned straight jacket. That is what i want for this part of my life. I want to feel beautiful AND comfortable. I’ve no one left to impress but myself, and i’ve decided that i’m a worthy person to impress. So, to that end, i have invested in patterns drafted by small businesses and available on PDF. Note: While i CAN sew, i am not a master seamstress, so the patterns are all Japanese aesthetic / simple / hygge and altered to fit my middle-aged shape. (A shout out to all the fantastic people who have made youtube tutorials on making your own dress form and how to do full bust adjustments!) I have stocked up on natural and sustainable fabrics in colors that make me happy, are color-analyst approved, and all work together. And i am working on developing a style that is all my own.
I am starting a new category for these posts, and i will be sharing links to shops and tutorials that have been helpful. Feel free to follow along and join in as you can! The more the merrier! Lets share the joy, shall we?