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Photo of the top and zipper pocket on a black Patagonia R1 zip up fleece hoodie on a wooden hanger

The Weariness of Dressing

I’ve felt a tension in my wardrobe for sometime–between how I think I should dress to feel good and how I actually dress to feel comfortable. My ideal closet would have 30 garments in it, including t-shirts, tops, pants, dresses, sweaters, sweatshirts, jackets, hiking and climbing clothes. And, in this ideal, dream closet of 30 garments, I can grab literally anything and wear it together and feel good, put together, and ready to do whatever it is I do everyday. 

And what do I do every day? I work remotely from home, which means I dress comfortably wearing, as I call them, “daytime pjs.” This is usually black Vuori Daily Wideleg pants, a t-shirt, and some sort of sweatshirt or sweater (as of late it’s been this one by Deso Supply). I climb at the gym, I walk Tepals and she boops her dirt/mud/snow covered nose on my pant leg, I meet up with friends. 

To resolve the tension in my wardrobe between what is and what I think I want, I seek inspiration on Instagram, Pinterest, blogs, google et large, from fellow sewists and slow fashion folk and brands. I’m looking to see how people remain warm and comfortable and look put together. I’m looking to see how sewists style memades with sweatpants or for hiking. I’m looking to see how to layer a shirt and sweater which are not cropped with a cropped jacket. I’m looking for some way to simplify what inherently feels overly complicated.

,,

I'm looking for some way to simplify what inherently feels overly complicated.

Instead, what I often find is people dressing to go get coffee with friends and I think “I can’t climb/walk Tepals/garden/work from home dressed like that?!” Why? Because I hate non-elastic waistband pants now “after” the pandemic, non-black pants show Tepal boops, wide leg pants are impossible to bike in and also let the cold air bite at my ankles … so it goes. And so, my fall and winter wardrobe is flannel and fleece and a lot of sweatpants and athleisure pants. And on the rare occasion I do need to dress to go meet friends for coffee … I’m still probably wearing flannel and fleece.

Earth tones, or more specifically all my favorite hues of brown to wear.

Looking to the internet for inspiration to resolve this tension in my wardrobe, to rekindle joy in the act of getting dressed instead of the weariness I feel, doesn’t quiet work. So, I look at what I already have, and feel overwhelm at the ‘how much of it’ there is. Where I once found joy and inspiration buying new garments that will surely fix all my dressing woes, I now pause and think, “will I be warm enough playing outside with Tepals wearing that or will I have to change first?” 

Part of the answer for me is to keep looking at what I already have and keep seeing/feeling/knowing that its enough. I’ll never be a minimalist despite its obvious appeal and promise of less is more. I’ve always found myself drawn to a bit of everything and it is one of the ways I learn and interact with the world (being interdisciplinary). Knowing I have enough, pausing to think about if I already have clothing that will fit this need before buying/making are ways I practice less is more in a way that fits my life. 

This doesn’t mean I don’t buy, or sew for that matter, anything new. I do. I typically buy 1-3 pieces a season to fill some gap I feel in my wardrobe that is actually non existent. And, that is okay as I do outgrow, both in fit and style, some of my clothes. While I wish that was part of the process of whittling down my closet to only 30 pieces that I truly love and wear all the time… I can accept that sometimes what brings me joy ebbs and flows in an imperfect, messy, more is more way.

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