Life By Kristen

Go, and embrace your liberty. And see what wonderful things come of it. – Little Women

Archive for the tag “clothing”

Clothes Addict

HI. My name is Kristen and I’ve got a bit of a clothes issue.

I’m in the thick of the no spend challenge and I clearly needed to do this by the anxiety ( or excitement?) I feel by seeing so many of my favorite retailers with 50% off sales for summer clearance items. It’s tough to close the window, delete the email, etc. And the fact that I just said that means I clearly have a consumption/clothes shopping/buying things just because they’re on sale issue.  Online shopping is the BEST ( and the worst) invention ever.

Part of it is that I love clothes/fashion.  In fact, a good portion of my job deals with a world-class clothing collection so maybe that’s feeding my addiction a bit too. I can’t tell you how many times ( and how many dollars) over the years that I used shopping as my way to fight boredom, purchasing endless items ‘just because’- Target, TJ Maxx/Marshalls, and Kohl’s are my drugs of choice. Either they were inexpensive or I just wanted something new instead of actually having a need for it. And of course, I can’t tell you many things I’ve sold on ebay, brought to the consignment shop, or given to friends that STILL HAVE TAGS ON IT. So frustrating and obviously a lesson I can’t quite learn.

The other part is  discipline. Part of me thinks, “Well, I went to the store to buy underwear that I desperately needed, and since I’m here, I might as well see what’s on clearance.” And then I make rules with myself– nothing over $20, for example. But it’s a slippery slope and then I find myself buying another dress for work or a wedding in the future ( that I probably already have 3 options for). For the longest time, I worried about repeating outfits, even going so far as making a list of what I wore to big work events so I wouldn’t repeat ( what did I think I was The Queen?). Seriously, people don’t care or notice most of the time if you wore the same black dress twice in one year.

I’ve thought SO MANY times about trying to be more minimal with wardrobe and have considered Project 333 so many times. And while I’m trying to be VERY conscious of what I buy now and bring into the house ( one in, one out policy definitely in effect), somehow I can’t get myself to look through my 20 something tank tops and make the cut. This season I am trying to get a handle on what I’m wearing and what I’m not by hanging clothes on the hanger facing towards me; once I wear it, the item of clothing on the hanger goes back on facing inward. This way I can see what I am and am not wearing- I’m trying when I get dressed to look for the outward facing hangers more too. When I change my clothes over in the fall, the goal is to donate the unworn clothes to a deserving person or charity. Keyword there is GOAL.

I’m noticing already the things I don’t wear or that I have categories of clothes that have only one or two purposes, which is definitely a sign of my previous frivolous shopping habits. I don’t go out enough anymore to justify cute, sparkly tops for Saturday nights, for example. I try to buy work clothes that are multi-season or casual tops that I can dress up on the weekends. Needless to say, I’m working on this clothes thing because I much rather live with no debt than with another cowlneck top.

Cleaning Out The Closet

In my quest to simplify and to build confidence, I’ve been going through and weeding out a lot of my closet. I’m trying to keep the minimal closet idea in mind though I will admit it’s been really tough. I want to have clothes in my closet that I actually wear, look great on me, and make me feel good.

Last night I did laundry and as I was folding, an Old Navy top that I’ve had for at least three years came out of the laundry basket into my hand at just the right angle that the light caught it, revealing that the fabric was pretty much worn through and super thin from so much wear. I thought about putting it right back on its hanger as it’s a top I’ve worn both to work and out on the weekends, and is also one of those that is slimming even on the worst days.

Knowing all this, I put it in the donation bag I started in the bottom of my closet. Yes, I love that top, but I’m about to wear it to threads. I probably should have actually trashed it as I don’t imagine it has a whole lot of resale thrift value. As I was putting away the rest of the laundry, I noticed I had ten long sleeve tee shirts. Now, some of these tees have been relegated to the hanging around the house pile because of stains or being a bit snug from weight gain and over drying. But that excuse doesn’t fly anymore. There is no need for two black long sleeve tee s, nor do I need long sleeve tees that are just for being lazy around the house, but not for going out in public. Off to the donation pile at least four of them went.

Then a weird thing happened as I was getting ready for bed. I started to feel this weird pull towards two of the tops I threw in, even though I know I haven’t worn them in months, and don’t recall if I did last year or not. I felt guilty for putting them in the donation pile- what if I lose weight and they look better on me? What if I need a dusty pink colored long sleeve tee in the future? Maybe I should keep them and try selling them?

The answer to all of these things is of course- if I needed or wanted or wore it, then it wouldn’t be in the pile. Holding onto something for a potential thing that could happen in the future is what has led me to having so many random pieces of clothing in the first place. This is the habit I’m trying to break and so I ignored what felt like the sound of the crying clothes from the closet and went to bed. This morning I didn’t even give it a second thought.

This weekend, I’m going to work my way through the closet, hopefully in the same systematic way. I’m also going to ‘make outfits’ so I can figure out what to do with those random skirts or sweaters I just don’t know how to make work. And if nothing works for them, off they go!

Related to this, is my wedding gown and various wedding day accessories. After my divorce, I was hell bent on selling everything related to that day, but I have changed my tune. I chose each item because I loved them and felt and looked great in them. They get to stay because they are about me, not about the marriage or my ex husband  This goes for my wedding gown. I’m trying to think of ways to re purpose it– since it was a formal ballgown I have a lot of material and beading to work with, so I’m brainstorming creative things to do that express and celebrate who I am now. Selling the dress would be giving up the dreams, hopes, and ideas of love I had– and even those things have changed drastically from the day I wore the gown, I want that dress to somehow now serve as a reminder of standing up for myself and choosing a life of loving myself instead.

If anyone has any ideas or inspiration for re purposing a wedding gown, I’d love to hear them!

Yes, I Really Spent Time Thinking about Sweatpants

The other day on some blog or another I saw this quote by Karl Lagerfeld: “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life so you bought some sweatpants.”

How utterly ridiculous.

To be fair, the quote was from a few years ago when the velour tracksuit trend seemed to take the world by storm (again I might add, since it was big in the 80s & 90s with exercise chic). And of course to Lagerfeld, couture designer at Chanel & ‘tastemaker,’ the trend of going outside of your own house wearing sweatpants or pajamas would be ghastly–though depending on what your pajamas look like, I may agree ( we’ve all seen at least a few people wearing some inappropriate pajama bottoms and even slippers in public). But by and large, sweatpants, yoga pants, comfies, whatever you call them- are in my opinion, sometimes the best part of the day.

I did a somewhat informal poll of friends and coworkers about the wearing of comfies. I was curious how many people, on a weeknight after work, go from their work clothes right to pajamas/comfies- or if there was a population of folks who opted to change from business attire to casual clothing like jeans, upon returning home from work. I ask not just because of this quote, but also because I am actually curious about such things. For me, whether or not I go right from dress pants and heels to comfies or jeans is obviously dependent on a number of factors: plans for evening, weather/temperature, amount of junk food I have consumed during 2:30pm work slump, etc. But by and large- no matter the season- I am out of my work attire and right into my elastic/drawstring pants of choice ( flowy dresses for me in warmer months).

I don’t see this giving into sweatpants at 5:30pm as giving up on life or losing control. I actually like to think of it more as knowing myself well enough and doing what I want. I have spent a good deal of time with the tough work of self-discovery and I know that after a long day at work, there is nothing that will make me more relaxed and rested than a night reading or watching a movie in a comfortable place wearing comfortable clothes. If I was going out with friends, doing night time errands, or even working on freelance writing projects, I very well might change into jeans or something that makes me less inclined to curl up on the couch. I generally don’t wear sweatpants out other than to run errands, but that’s mostly because I have maybe two pairs of comfies/warmups/yoga pants that are worthy of view by the public. Wearing sweatpants isn’t about giving up or being a sloth, it’s about comfort in one’s skin and life. And I think that that is the ultimate in control in one’s life. Take that Mr. Lagerfeld!

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