I been holdin' out on you. I've squirreled away a change of style habit, a mini-conceptual breakthrough, and a number of outfits over the last month. Today i start sharing all this with you.
You may not be that excited about all this, as it regards a very casual aspect of style. Throughout my life, my main exercise has been walking. On a weekday i like to walk between half an hour to an hour, just around the neighborhood. On the weekends, out and about with mr. e, we may cover up to eight or ten miles on city streets or hiking in parks. Here i'm concerning myself with the daily constitutional. For decades my habit has been to dress once for the day. I would either walk in that look or, more usually, fudge it a bit to accomodate the walk (shoes, socks, sun protection). More often than not, both looks would suffer as a result.
The obvious solution? Come up with a couple of great-looking walking looks, wear those for walking, then dress for the rest of the day according to what it holds. Alarmingly obvious this solution may be, but it did not occur to me until about a month ago. At times like this i can't help but wonder what other stupid, mindless habits i'm adhering to which are bugging the heck out of me, unawares. Aiee!
Happily, once this idea made it's way up from the archaen abyss, it didn't take me decades to act on it. I began to dress in strictly walking-appropriate outfits first thing in the am, then change into a different look if i felt like it or the day warranted. I snapped a couple of pix of each outfit with the idea of coming up with one or three nice repeaters. These looks were two of the first ones i attempted. They turned out physically comfortable, pulled together, a little boring for my tastes. As usual in these really pared down looks one great accessory makes a big difference.
This is still a work in progress. I haven't managed to nail down 'the one look' and start repeating it. We have had some really cold days, so i got some experience creating toasty ensembles. But we have yet to veer into the hot hot hot weather of true Contra Costa summers. This will throw a spanner in the works, as i've spotted one trend in these looks - i use a little jacket as a 'third layer' to pull things together. In 92F, not so great. But from past travails i know that a structured blouse will make a smashing replacement.
|a perfect structured blouse - i still have the pattern|
I do have some blouses in this category which would work well for this purpose - structured, light colored, short of sleeve. The trouble is i've known for a while that i could use some serious refreshing in this category. The pieces in the best condition are still several years old. Two blouses are old on top of being made of very thin fabric. The Kay Unger blouse is gorgeous, but it is silk and has some staining. Seeing how much use structured blouses could get for 'walking' looks has highlighted the urgency of this need.
The obvious next step is for me to buy some nice fabric and get crackin'! But i'm usually out shopping with mr. e, and he has no taste buds for cotton fabric in lighter, plainer shades. The man is all about frosting, no cake for him! I love him for it, and i love the beautiful, special pieces he has picked out for me over the years. But even when i can see the finished garment in my mind's eye, it's no fun shopping for basics when your companion is so tremendously unimpressed. We share a car, and with the nerve damage in my legs driving to and from Berkeley, picking mr. e up in Walnut Creek, etc. causes a fair amount of pain. Combined with the difficulty i have in picking out fabrics in a limited time frame.......it is just easier to not.
Except when summer rolls around and i kick myself for not getting off of my butt! I tell you, this is one of the areas which really stymies me. I can see real holes, and real ways to fill them, but the amount of energy, time, hassle it will take to make it happen puts me off. It is plainly easier to not do it. The project doesn't feel overwhelming, just like a lot of tedious hassle. The crux of the matter: how much of a stink do i want to make, how much energy to i want to devote bring my ideas to fruition. And in many cases, such as this one, it's not in order to get a hold of some luxury item like my Cascades.I just want to dress in the way i see fit on a day to day basis.
I don't want to get all dressed up to walk in the dust and heat, to swab my deck and clean the tub. I don't want to wear a cocktail dress to a gallery opening on Solano Avenue, or hike in heels and a flirty floral dress. I have done all these things in the past, when i enjoyed them thoroughly. But now, i want more variety. We all know how women in this society are discouraged from making their wants and needs too well known. I am not exempt. In fact, i'm well known as the type of person who irritates beyond measure by her lack of preference - is it too much for a person to come up with a restaurant suggestion on a Saturday night, for heaven's sake?
The truth is that a lot of times i really don't care. Now, i'm finding that i do indeed care about certain things. Not only that, but i have particular ideas about what it is that i want. I've come to the conclusion that my task going forward is to devote the time and guts commensurate to my desires in order to bring them about.
Much style advice restricts itself to practical concerns, with good reason. But i find the stickiest of problems reside in these emotional/psychological areas. Do you struggle with these issues in your own life? In your wardrobe? What have you found is helpful, and have you had any breakthroughs?