This post is extremely long and probably not worth your time. To make matters even more boring, I haven’t had the time to take proper photographs. Consider yourself warned.
The items with a * in the front were purchased second-hand.
Long Sleeve t-shirts:
* Merino wool turtleneck – navy
Cuyana cotton crewneck – black
Theory merino wool crewneck – gray
Zara striped cotton top – gray & black
Everlane silk shirt – black (worn out)
Everlane silk sleeveless shirt – black Zara silk shirt – army green
*Theory pinstripe silk shirt – navy & white
*Frank & Eileen poplin shirt – taupe ( worn out ) *Frank & Eileen poplin shirt – gray ( worn out )
*R13 black denim
*Black pants by J Brand
Nili Lotan – khaki (worn out)
Short Sleeve t-shirts:
Steven Alan wool tshirt – gray.
Everlane cashmere – gray
*Everlane swing jacket
AllSaints drapey wool jacket – black.
APC polka dot button up – navy ( lil tight )
“There is an answer?” said Fook with breathless excitement.
“Yes,” said Deep Thought. “Life, the Universe, and Everything. There is an answer. But, I’ll have to think about it.”
Fook glanced impatiently at his watch.
“How long?” he said.
“Seven and a half million years,” said Deep Thought.
[Seven and a half million years later…. Fook and Lunkwill are long gone, but their descendents continue what they started]
“All right,” said Deep Thought. “The Answer to the Great Question…”
“Of Life, the Universe and Everything…” said Deep Thought.
“Is…” said Deep Thought, and paused.
“Forty-two,” said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm.
– Douglas Adams, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
Follow Up : Ideal Closet
In the current climate, it’s often equated to owning least minimum possible. Or a state where there is no desire to shop. Or a point where style stops evolving and you can use the contents forever ! Well, I don’t believe in forever. I run from those ‘how to be stylish’ or ’10 basics to wear forever’ sort of lists. I don’t want a closet full of classics or basics or essentials. To me, its a state of being very happy with what you own and having something to wear for every situation life throws at me. A state of equilibrium. If life disturbs this state, I will try to reach it again.
Why this catalog ?
Not to boast about what I own or put out another number for the internet to see. I am a list maker. Its always helped me stay on track. Next Goal : Use it. Not get prematurely bored of it. Make it last. Now that I have published this list, there is a lesser chance of my selling an item away to replace it with something more current. Because I have been cataloging my purchases on this blog for the last few years, I am more careful with what I buy and have been making fewer mistakes. Lists are GOOD ! I highly recommend making one if you are actively building a closet or feeling a deficit in spite of having a lot of clothing.
My Timeline : Rome wasn’t built in a day
I read the book ‘Lessons from Madame Chic’ in March of 2013. It had a big impact on me and it was the start of seeing every purchase as curating a coherent closet. The first thing I did was to wean off Zara which put me at a big loss. I didn’t know where to shop. Things I liked were very expensive. It felt hopeless. I was grossed out by the idea of second hand shopping for clothes. But eventually gave into it because I had no other choice. All these years, I have been buying one piece a month on an average( cataloged on the blog). Some things wear out, some things last, some pieces I sold, this is eventually what I have.
Nothing clothing wise. I don’t own skirts or trousers. But don’t need them. I would like a striped top but given how picky I am, I can’t find any on the market that meets my requirements. Every striped top I see is in very high contrast which I understand is the reason behind the specifications of the classic mariniere. I am not looking to be rescued when I fall into the sea. It’s frustrating to only see stripes with this amount of visibility.
How I shop :
Mostly second hand. If I purchased whatever I currently own in store, I would be able to afford exactly 1/3rd of what I currently have and a 14 piece closet won’t work for me. All of my Equipment silk shirting was found at 58$-ish mark on an average. My dresses are in the 100$ average mark. Considering that they have a lining, fabricated in silk/wool and the make, I thought I got what I paid for. They were purchased over a span of three years which spread out the cost but it’s still a splurge. Cuyana tshirts exist on poshmark and eBay at the 20$ mark. I buy new items of clothing sometimes because … its love at first sight. It happens very rarely and is a true luxury.
I think I buy the best quality I can afford and take care of what I own.
Size up ! Puts less stress on the seams, accumulates fewer body oils and sweat stains, and is weight gain insurance. The fabric should skim and drape on the body instead of sitting on it.
Train the mind to like worn in clothes. Wanting impeccable clothing and discarding items after they show some wear is a luxury few can afford. Pick fabrics that age well.
Tough fabrics like denim, chambray, oxford cotton, leather, … help. 32mm silk is a class of its own and can age beautifully.
If wearing silk, change out of it as soon as you get home. Don’t go to bed wearing street clothes. Wear an apron when cooking or doing house hold chores.
Hang clothes inside out after wear to air them out. I dont wash them after every wear. I sometimes spray them with a vodka refresher to keep them fresh between washes. I have spot cleaned my silk shirting because I dont necessarily enjoy handwashing garments unless I absolutely have to.
Wash in delicate cycle with a natural detergent. I line dry my clothes and most of my clothing has never seen the inside of a dryer.
What happened to all of my fast fashion clothes ?
A few, I donated in my first round of decluttering I did 2 years ago. The rest, I wore out. I was in a long distance relationship. I had my clothes at home and would live out of a suitcase in my grad school apartment. I would hang 15 items in my closet and wear those for 2 months. When something wears out, I would replace it with another item from my storage. In a year, most of my Zara clothes had dissipated.
Going Out clothes :
I went to Vegas 12 times in the last few years. We would do a Friday girls night out at the night clubs. I went to a party school and it’s easy to get carried away about needing going out dresses. I had some very anti-chic dresses that got worn very little. Most of them went to my old roommates. Now, I accessorize my blue dresses instead. Day to night dressing and the concept of chic rewired my brain. Appreciating simplicity in clothing changed my needs.
Silk ! Its an exquisite and majestic fabric. I feel dressed up wearing a silk shirt at day time. Adding a nice pair of earrings with a red lip is all I need to transition into night time. I can walk into a room full of cocktail dresses and feel good about what I am wearing ( Tried and tested formulae ).
Personal style is how I simplified :
I can’t emphasize how important this has been. Back in the day, I wore everything. Jumpsuits, rompers, skirts, trousers, peasant blouses, tent tops, fitted dresses, … you name it, I wore it. I also wore every damn silhouette. Which only meant that every kind of clothing item was a source of temptation and desire. To build a closet with it all, wasn’t feasible. The solution to this problem is a very noble one – develop a signature style. At that point, I was sad about a blue dress wearing out. It was what got the most use in a closet full of things. My body weight was fluctuating. Boyfriend shirting was the most practical. In the winters, wearing a sweater over a long sleeve t-shirt is the way I survive. So there it is. My list : blue dresses, boyfriend shirts and long sleeve t-shirts. This is what I have been buying. They can look boring but the following help :
- Classics with a twist.
- Subtle details.
- Classics with accessories.
- A silhouette that becomes a signature look. Boring/not boring doesn’t apply to you anymore.
- Simpler the item, more the quality of the fabric matters.
- Exquisite simplicity over eclectic tastes.
- Personal style over fashion.
- A realization that I dress for myself. My daily pursuits are done for my own joy.
- “I am here to see. Not to be seen.” I used to say this to myself when I go hiking. I say this to myself every day now. Clothes aren’t an end in itself. Remember the bigger pictures and larger pursuits.
- Pursue your “wild woman”, whatever that phrase may mean to you. Individual idiosyncracies are good.
What next ?
I scribble on the internet. Everything I write is from my own point of view and should not be attempted at home without discretion. This is no advice to strangers on how to build a closet. (There are professionals who make a living doing that.) What next ? Life goes on. I am sticking to my “there is no fast fashion, just accelerated consumption” theory as a standard for myself. I am not decluttering stuff I bought last year and buying new stuff this year to replace it. I am making this inventory public to be accountable. I will continue to catalog my purchases as they come in and do a yearly round up. I have invested in my closet. I want to reap the rewards. Hopefully, my future outfit photos will show every item listed in here by the end of the year.
Anyone there ? Did you survive the post ? It felt like I was writing a conclusive blog post before I quit. Did you ever catalog your closet – privately or publicly? List making – helpful or fodder for the neurotics?