Consumption, Finding Abundance

Finding Abundance : Summer Clothing

The temperatures have skyrocketed and I felt like I had nothing to wear…

When I started the Finding Abundance mini series, I thought that I would make one, maybe two postings about clothing; day-to-day clothing, and dress clothes.

WRONG. 

As I began to pull out all of my clothes, I realised that even though I’ve been paring down over the last two years, and even though I’ve instituted a shopping moratorium, I still have so many pieces of clothing. It’s truly outrageous!!! I think the idea of clothing scarcity came from the convenience factor of the faux-capsule wardrobe that I had developed. The clothes that were the easiest to access and that went well together, my de-facto capsule, were the only clothes that I thought about.

I made a list of all the clothing that is sufficiently light for summer wear, and I had including shoes!) 32 items. Essentially a capsule wardrobe, but not necessarily cohesive…

The list includes :

7 Skirts
10 Tops
8 Dresses
2 Pairs of shorts
2 Sweaters/shrugs
3 Paris of shoes

Once I had the list of items, I worked on outfit combinations. Surely, surely, 32 items was more than enough to organise a two week work/play outfit rotation.

At the end, I had 32 outfit combinations of items that made sense together. If I truly didn’t care about how things looked together, I could have had more outfits, but… I’m trying to adult over here.

To rotate through these 32 combinations at work, I will need to use 5 of the 7 skirts. Of the remaining two, one is a suit skirt, a little too warm, and the other is a skirt exclusively worn at parties (read : SHORT!) Of the dresses, I will regularly wear 5/8, as the remaining three are dressy and usually only worn to brunch, weddings, dinners, etc. All of my tops are appropriate for work, and I can wear several of the tops over one of the dresses to give me 6 extra outfits.

My shoe situation is a little less versatile. My three paris of summer shoes are a pair of pink suede espadrilles (I will not be judged!), my Trotter’s, and my very ragged, very ripped Stan Smiths. I don’t usually wear the heels to work with my skirts, because the skirts are an OK length when worn with flat shoes, but with heels…. Not so much.

That leaves two very tired, very hard working pairs of shoes left. My Stan Smiths are ripped and the Trotter’s are about to lose one of their soles. I aim to glue everything back together this week, but whether or not these shoes will make it through the summer is another story. If the Stan Smiths give out any further, I won’t be able to wear them at work. The Trotters will likely hold on a bit longer, but if they give out then I will truly be out of work shoes.

I could rotate my black t-strap heels in but they are 4 years old and the elastic in the strap is getting a bit ragged. I want to preserve them for as long as possible because they are truly my best event shoes, so I may need to break my shopping moratorium to buy another pair of work-appropriate shoes. I do have a pair of black pumps, but I bought them at the end of a long day of walking and they honestly don’t fit well in the morning. I may try to use them as event shoes, as I’ve been wearing them out to dinner with moderate success/moderate blisters.

I have a couple of insights from this summer convenience capsule.

First, I own SO MANY SKIRTS! SO MANY! And two pair of work inappropriate shorts, but zero pants. Zero. This isn’t a problem necessarily, but having a bare leg out during the summer prompted my second observation : should I do anything with my leg hair?

I bristle (ha!) at the patriarchal expectation that women exist in a realm of unnatural hairlessness, but at the same time, I still get my legs waxed about once a month. When I haven’t been to the salon in a few weeks I try to notice when I feel self-conscious about my leg hairs. Even if I am uninterested in removing my leg hair to fit a societal expectation, I am less confident about rocking an inch of leg hair the workplace.

When it comes to wearing skirts at work over the summer, I may try and get my legs waxed every two weeks. I would rather live in a world where women are not expected to be hairless, but at the moment I’m unwilling to stand out, to be the longest leg hair in the bunch, as it were.

My third observation is in favour of pants : what am I going to do about summer chafing? I don’t have a clever answer for that; I’ve had various powders recommended to me over the years, but I’m not interested in buying anything (especially considering that none of the recommendations have worked!) I may try wearing a tiny pair of exercise shorts underneath my skirts, but I may just deal with the fraught relationship between my thighs and the summer heat.

Finally, in the interest of avoiding boredom or a feeling of scarcity around all of this clothing, I’m going to work on varying the accessories that I wear every day. I typically wear the same necklace, earrings, and ring every day because they’re important to me. When I inventoried my jewellery last weekend, I realised that I have so many pieces that are important to me and that I want to wear.

As I was finishing this post, I realised that I’m essentially doing Project 333, but I don’t feel the need to follow it terribly strictly given that I’m not working on paring down my wardrobe, I’m working on feeling good with what I’ve already got!

 

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