Thursday, July 2, 2015

I Want All the Things--Or why I Struggle with Minimalism Part 1

Okay, it's not really true, I don't want all the things. In fact, the list of things I don't want is probably longer than the list of things I do want most days. 

I don't want a flat screen television. I have an 27 inch television that is probably 15 years old and works fine. I will use this one till it breaks.

I don't want a dishwasher most days. I don't mind doing my dishes by hand. I find it rather soothing. 

I don't want a diamond ring or necklace. Like cars, they lose half their value once you take them out of the store. 

What I do want most days though are books, records, clothes, shoes, and purses.

I first started blogging as a fashion blogger years ago, because I love to get dressed.  I love putting together outfits in my head and then actually wearing them out places. I did not love having pictures taking of me though and photo editing is not something I have any skills in.

I love my clothes. I mean I really love clothes. I have a large collection of vintage dresses.   Some of which I have had for years and years, that parting with would break me. I have at least 30 skirts. I have 8 vintage beaded sweaters. I don't even know how many coats and jackets I have, but probably more than the average woman.

I collect vintage handbags and have a hard time turning a good one down. I have about 30 of them at the moment. 

And, shoes. Well, don't get me started on shoes. I have quite a few pairs of shoes. Though when it is time for them to leave my closet I usually can let them go. Well, all except one pair that holds sentimental value because once I fell in love in them while walking through Iowa early winter snow and when I see them under my skirts in their box, I smile, because that was a magical day. How could I ever throw out those shoes? Why would I even want too?

I have a few friends who are participating in Courtney Carver's Project33 movement and love it and find that only having 33 items of clothing at one time makes their lives simpler. I tried to do this. And by try, I mean, I went into my huge walk-in closet (which is the number one reason I rented the apartment I did) and tried to find the 33 items on her list and I just couldn't do it. I did get rid of a lot of clothes in the process though. Things that weren't the right color or were too big for me or needed a repair beyond my skill set. But, I couldn't take the final step. I need choice and a lot of it. I think part of this is because who I am at work is not always who I want to be on a Friday night while I'm having a beer with my friends. 

One of Carver's suggestions for her Project33 list to only have one tank top! One! Who can live that way? I can't. In her post of 33 helpful hints to help you slim down your closet, she suggests that you get rid of anything with shoulder pads, but shoulder pad are what help a great blazer keep it's shape. Maybe she doesn't know that? Maybe I'll write and tell her. 

But, I do worry about the effects of my choices on the environment and how my clothing is made. The retail 'fast fashion' movement may be good for business, but the havoc this practice does in other areas is out of control.  This is why I buy 90% of my clothing and shoes used. As I am writing this, I'm wearing a beautiful pair of Anne Klein slacks that I bought for $.49. 

What you wear and how you wear it is your choice. I think the reason why so many women struggle with their closets is most clothes are not actually made to fit the bodies most of us live in (this is especially true of clothing made by fast fashion outlets). So we buy things that don't make sense. We buy things because they are trendy or because they're on sale.  So, I have a five suggestions of my own that have work for me that I will share with you-

1. Stop looking at sizes. Just stop. If you like something and think it may look good on you, go to the dressing room and try it on. 

2. Don't buy new clothes. When I say I only buy 10% of my clothes new, I mean that. I do buy jeans new because I have long legs and it is very hard to find jeans long enough for my legs used. Besides jeans, I buy my underwear and bras (if I could find used bras in 32DD, I would buy them) and socks new. Everything else, I buy used. This includes the cloths I work out it. I buy about 50% of my shoes used too. 

3. Avoid large patterns. These types of things are hard to match with other items, hence the reason why you're standing around in your closet confused about what to wear. 

4. Avoid anything that is advertising for a company. You are not a billboard. You are a human and Old Navy is not paying you to wear their shirt, you're paying them. 

5. If you wear an outfit once and don't feel great in it. Don't wear it again, but you can think of other ways to pair that cute blouse up with a different skirt. If you wear an item you think you love three times, but yet it doesn't quite feel right still, give it to someone else. Preferably someone you can burrow it from later if you want.