I’m currently dressing out of a suitcase I packed in the middle of December – with the vague idea (but no desire to closely examine the thought) that I’d be living out of it for longer than my originally projected 10 weeks.
So the question I keep coming back to as I plan my summery wardrobe infusion is: why am I sick of all the clothes in my wardrobe?!
Is it the clothes themselves?
I ended up with approximately a 50/50 handmade/store bought clothing split in my carry-on suitcase sized capsule wardrobe.
So about 50 percent of the clothes in this current wardrobe were made by me, for me, as part of the self-made wardrobe project. And the other 50 percent were either from before my year of self-made wardrobe-ing or passed along from friends since the end of that year.
Which means, there’s nothing in this wardrobe I hate or dislike or that makes me feel uncomfortable or anything like that.
In fact – I adore all these clothes. And lets be honest, if I didn’t love them, they probably wouldn’t be with me.
Is it a lack of possible combinations of clothing?
One of the most important components of any capsule wardrobe is versatility of each piece within the capsule wardrobe itself.
Meaning, how many pieces of clothing does a single garment “go with?” Not “in theory” – the land of “yea, sure, I’d totally wear this top with all those skirts” – but in reality – the land of “yea, sure, I could wear this top with that skirt and this other skirt, but I’m sure as hell not going to.”
Paring anything with just about anything else is theoretically possible – but that doesn’t mean we’d all wear it.
So with a capsule wardrobe, because you have a limited number of pieces, you want to maximize the versatility of each piece & compatibility of pieces with many other pieces. The more garments one pieces is compatible with, the more looks you can put together.
Therefore it’s quite possible to have a wardrobe where you love all the pieces individually, and still have “nothing to wear.”
There might be some of this going on – but I don’t think we can attribute all of my wardrobe sickness to this. I have a pretty standard uniform. Black tank top. Skirt or Jeans. Over-shirt, sweater or sweatshirt.
This uniform has been thoroughly documented, and I have (more or less) accepted it.
Am I getting garment fatigue?
Even when I have a teeny tiny wardrobe, I still find myself going through “clothing phases.” I’ll fall in love with a particular skirt, or over-shirt, and wear it every other day for awhile. Then I’ll turn my attention on to a different piece. And so the cycle continues.
There probably some of this going on. I’m finding myself reaching for the same maxi dress, and the same shirt over and over again. (And also wishing I had a second one of each.) This whole only having one of a certain type of garment is kind of screwing me over wardrobe-wise.
I packed the dress thinking I’d pull it out once or twice – and would definitely want it during the summer in NYC – but I never thought it would become my go to.
And the shirt – I totally tossed into my suitcase because it was at the bottom of a draw, and I had already sealed the wardrobe box I was packing up.
So a significant part of my wardrobe infusion is aimed at taking some of the focus off of these two particular pieces.
Is there anything I haven’t worn?
And do I actually have a 20 piece wardrobe?
If I made any mistakes packing my carry-on suitcase sized capsule wardrobe it was packing too many dresses.
I packed 3.
And contrary to what I just answered to the above question – I don’t really wear dresses.
Out of the dresses I packed, I’ve regularly worn 1 out of 3.
I figured out quite early on in the self-made wardrobe project that dresses were not really my thing. But I packed them anyway because dresses often feel more versatile (dress them up, down, sideways) than a skirt + top.
I know I can dress a skirt + top up, down or sideways.
And yet, I still felt the need to pack a dress (and then another) “just in case.”
So while I have with me 20 pieces of clothing – 2 of those pieces are dresses that I don’t regularly wear, 2 of those pieces are are coats, and 2 of those pieces are what I’m currently reaching for every other day.
This leaves a rotation of 14 pieces – 2 of which are sweaters that are a little too warm for this weather.
So really, once you take away the coats, the written off dresses, the it’s-too-warm-for sweaters, and add back in the 2 pieces of clothing I’m reaching for every other day – I actually have a 14 piece wardrobe.
Which is far smaller than a 20 piece one.
I think it comes down to a lack of new clothing.
The last pieces I introduced into my wardrobe were a couple pairs of new jeans – which were replacing a couple pairs of worn out & done in jeans. So they didn’t really add to my wardrobe, they more maintained.
The last pieces I introduced into my wardrobe before those jeans were, a navy sweatshirt (that I have with me), and a black over-shirt (the one I keep reaching for). And if I’m remembering correctly, I introduced those back in the fall, around October or November – we’re now a third of the way through May…
So I think a large part of my wardrobe “over-it-ness” comes down to a lack of new.
With the year-long self-made wardrobe project, I may have ended up with only about 10 more pieces of clothing than I currently have – but I was continually introducing pieces into my wardrobe throughout the year.
And as I truly discovered during that project – one single piece of well chosen clothing can make you see your entire wardrobe in a new light.
When a new piece of clothing is well chosen and slots seamlessly into your existing wardrobe – it can open up possibilities that you couldn’t have envisioned when you bought (or made) the piece. It can open up possibilities that have nothing to do with the new piece of clothing itself.
It’s as if the sparkly newness rubs off on all your other clothing and re-makes them all fresh & shiny.
I want new shiny clothing!
And this desire is, I think, the driving impetus behind my summer wardrobe infusion.
I want to see all my beloved clothing through that shiny & new wardrobe filter.
So now, If you’ll pardon me, I’m going to go make some new clothes.
Each Wednesday, I take stock of the projects I’m working on, and where my brain is at.
There are some weeks when I come here to write my mid-week brain dump, I wake up with words on my tongue and a phone overflowing with photos.
While other weeks, I wake up positive that nothing has happened since last Wednesday, nothing new made, nothing new observed, or thought – but I come here only to find that this isn’t the case at all.
This morning was one of the latter mornings.
I woke up forgetting about: the pair of jeans I mended on Saturday, finishing up photographing the Shawl Geometry swatches(!), the first day of Me Made May, a couple late night knitting sessions & a finished sweater sleeve(!!), and printing off & taping out the Anna Dress pattern for my summer wardrobe infusion.
This morning I woke up having forgotten about all those things. Plus all the things that I didn’t photograph – moving, starting to create the schematics for the Shawl Geometry Books Update, writing a couple bonus articles for the Shawl Geometry Books Update, regular client work, having something of a social life, etc. etc.
Not to mention that May is the month for Me-Made-May – which every year I mean to pledge & participate in, and every year I never quite get around to it. And this year it is also the month for Mend It May, and #makermay over on Instagram.
So much making this month, and we’re only on the morning of the 4th day.
On mornings that I wake up with no words on my tongue, no recollection of any photos taken, or anything made – I wonder why I write this each week.
Then I come here and find myself with a plethora of things, and wonder how I could ever forget everything that has happened these past seven days.
And I remember, that I write this each week, to stop in and say hi, to find out what I have to say. I’ve had something to say every Wednesday morning for almost two years. This week probably isn’t the week of nothing.
And then I find myself promising to remember this pattern – promising to remember that I always have something to say – forgetting that forgetting this is the very next step.
Each Wednesday, I take stock of the projects I’m working on, and where my brain is at.
Normally, this wouldn’t be such an endeavor. I’d block them on my bed, and it would probably take two or three round to get all the swatches wet blocked, but then that would be that.
However, I’m currently subletting and rather than sticking a whole bunch of pins into a mattress that is not mine – I’m blocking on a cork-board.
This has the added benefit of being able to block swatches overnight (the main drawback of blocking on a mattress is not being able to leave it overnight), but the downside is that I can only block a handful of swatches at a time. So, the whole process is taking a while. Le sigh.
So, I’ve been distracting myself by planning an infusion of summery clothing into my wardrobe.
But of course, when I was packing up the clothing I wasn’t taking on my trip with me, I didn’t really think this far ahead. I was more concerned about maximizing space efficiency over ease of unpacking. So everything is packed in vacuum seal bags, and nothing is packed by season.
So rather than going on a clothes hunting mission in my storage unit, which could very possibly be fruitless and just might end in tears – I’m planning an easy and breezy handmade summer wardrobe infusion.
And I’m sitting here wondering, when (for me) did making clothing by hand become the path of least resistance?!
Also! I scored the jackpot on recycled pattern paper – old theatrical lighting plots. Because of course, all my patterns are also in an unknown box in my storage unit…
Oh and! I am not forgetting about my laceweight sweater – it is sitting right next to me on my desk and getting a couple rounds added at a time. Luckily I’m working on the sleeves – so the rounds are short, and a couple rounds at a time for the past couple weeks, has resulted in getting about halfway down the second sleeve!