Monday, June 18, 2012
The Practical Side Of Style Blogging
I'm participating in Patti's wonderful Visible Monday with this post. I encourage all of you to go check out the great variety of stylish women who join in - one of my favorite ways to find new bloggers adn keep up with 'the classics'.
In the past, while i have so enjoyed being part of Visible Monday, most of my outfits don't make me feel extra visible. Maybe it's my love of neutrals - really, how outrageous can wearing grey or black or beige be? And to just look at this outfit, it's hard to see what would make me stand out all that much.
But this outfit did make me feel pretty out of the norm - because of the context. Mr. E and i were attending a lecture by Derrick Jensen, radical environmentalist activist and writer, in Berkeley. Wearing a jacket, straight skirt, and heels in a sea of fleece, sweatpants, and running shoes is swimming against the style current (even if the heels are vegan). Happily, the audience lived up to it's tolerant ideal and i got no rude comments or even sideways looks. I even spotted one particular lovely straw hat in a light apricot shade, with matching grosgrain ribbon tied in a big bow center front. Beautiful!
I also spotted a man sporting a burgundy/grape velour track suit that, eerily, appeared to have been transported direct from 1973. Truly, this track suit was so pristine and so dated i was forced to wonder how this man happened to posses it at this late date. Had he run across some dead stock disco-era stash? Perhaps he purchased two dozen when they were fresh on the scene, since they fit all of his criteria to perfection and could never go out of style...? Who knows, i didn't have the nerve to ask him. I did manage to retroactively petrify myself, remembering with horror every urge to 'stock up on this great basic' i've ever had!
On the way back to the car, we faced a typical Berkeley summer evening. Stiff-ish wind full of chilly fog. Anticipating this circumstance, i'd taken my black hoody along. I was very happy for it's warmth as, without realizing it, we managed to come out of the building complex in a different way than we had entered. We spent a good twenty minutes hunting for our car until Mr. E realized our mistake.
It's been two years now since i committed to upgrading my wardrobe. I'm thoroughly enjoying my nicer fabrics and fit, the tighter style focus of my closet, the splurged-upon 'frosting' pieces. But i hadn't anticipated the aggravation-reducing aspect of wardrobe planning. On this occasion, it meant having a warm piece that fit my bod, the climate, and my outfit. For most of my life i had significant wardrobe holes, in this type of area as well as in others. Without really thinking it through, i 'blamed' this on lack of money. Money helps, but the real reason was lack of observation,analysis, planning, and follow through.
Putting intellectual and creative energy into thinking through your clothing wants and needs, then committing to bringing these goals into reality is generally considered to be, well, not a serious pursuit. But we all have to get dressed everyday. It's just like eating, or commuting, or exercise. Most people accept as obvious that if you need a car it is critical to perform due diligence in order to protect your future peace of mind, pocketbook, and the reliability of the vehicle. It would be ridiculous to avoid serious research, analysis and follow-through and then expect to realize a good outcome Most people would predict a long line of hassles.
Well, in my experience it's the same thing with any area of daily life. Why many people consider clothing to be exempt from this principle is beyond me. Maybe because they can't separate clothing from 'frivolous fashion'? Over the years i've been tickled to notice that some of the people who seem to be the least interested in style or fashion have very well thought out clothing systems.You'd be surprised the number of nerdy, techy guys who have systems for getting dressed - they know what different types of items they need in order to dress for all their life roles and activities and how many of each items they need in order to accommodate a certain amount of variety in dress and laundry preferences. They also have their shopping schedule and sources nailed.
Now, i doubt many of us could tolerate the strict uniformity of these techies. At the same time,think about the benefits. Knowing that you have enough clothing to get through the work week without scrambling to do a load of wash late Thursday night and not looking at orphans every morning means a much nicer start and end to your day. Having suitable outfits on hand for unexpected events like funerals means you can focus on being with family and friends instead of worrying about finding something to wear and running around shopping. You'll even be more physically comfortable with proper undies, nice socks, and whatever warm and cool clothing you need.
I know that many people get into style blogging in order to find and or hone their personal style. Edited to add: all style blog readers please comment as well! I apologize for my dunderheadedness. And thank you Louise! But today i'm curious to find out if any of you have realized any of these more practical wardrobe improvements since you began to blog?