Friday, August 31, 2018

My Maximalist Wardrobe

Remember about four years ago when everybody started doing capsule wardrobes? I wanted to do that, too. The capsule wardrobe seemed simple and practical. There were photos of people in striped tops with jeans and skirts, and I already owned striped tops and jeans and skirts, so I thought that surely it wouldn't be that hard to do. I'd had to wittle my wardrobe down when we moved to the UK, so surely wittling it down further wouldn't be a big deal.

But then I was busy moving to a whole new country and living for a couple of months without proper furniture and many of our things, and it just wasn't a priority. So it wasn't until about 18 months ago that I decided to give it a go. I sorted everything out, ditched things that I thought I wouldn't wear, and counted what was left. It was still too much, but it was less than I had before, and that was fine. I'd start there.



About six months in, I discovered that I missed wearing some of the things I had sold and given away. There were specific situations in which these things were just the right thing to wear, and now they were gone. I put on other clothes, and I managed, but it wasn't the same. That probably makes me sound like a materialistic, spoiled brat, and in some ways I am indeed a materialistic, spoiled brat. However, my lack of things to wear had more to do with function than fashion. I had sold or given away things that were not within the current season's temperature restrictions, so it wasn't fresh in my mind what I had worn them for. I had also sold or given away dresses with pockets! I repeat: dresses with pockets. If there's one thing that functions well for me, it's a dress with pockets. I should never, ever sell or give away a dress with pockets unless it has some other insurmountable issue.

In my life, I dress for a lot of different scenarios. I dress for indoor activities, outdoor activities, activities where I am standing indoors, or standing outdoors, or sitting on the floor, or sitting on the grass, or sitting where it may be a bit wet. I may be stationary, or I may be moving around quite a lot. I am sometimes needing to wear something that looks more professional or dressed up and sometimes needing function above all else. Dressing for church when I am not teaching Sunday School, and thus sitting on the floor distributing materials to young children, is different than dressing for church when I am not. Dressing for a park meet up when it is sunny and there are benches is different than dressing for a park meet up when it is cold and damp, and I might end up sitting on the ground. Add to that the changing seasons and that I do sometimes like to dress according to my mood, and a capsule wardrobe simply won't work for me.

So I have dresses and leggings and jeans and skirts and tops for all seasons. I have durable fabrics and delicate fabrics and dresses I wear only for very particular special occasions. I have some ugly things that are incredibly functional, and it doesn't matter that they're ugly when I need to wear them. I have more than I need for the moment, but that also means that when something wears out, it's not a big deal, because there is something in my closet that will work. This last bit is one of the most important things when it comes to our budget. I cannot afford to replace things regularly at full price. But I can afford to look through charity shops and sale racks to find things that I know will work with my wardrobe and buy them when they are available.

I'd still love to be able to have a capsule wardrobe, but I think it would require having a different kind of life. The life I am living now is the life I want, and so the capsule wardrobe is just not going to happen. Maybe someday, when my children are grown and the work I do is different (and more predictable) than what I do now, a capsule wardrobe will be possible. But for now, maximalism is what works best, so I'm going to enjoy it. Who wouldn't? All these lovely patterns and colors are mine to wear, whenever I want and need to. That feels pretty wonderful to me. 

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