Saturday, February 22, 2014

Signs You May be Happy in Uniform: A Quiz Eccentrique

Reader Vildy left another of her thought-provoking comments on my last post: "I remember when you had been making a point of never wearing the same exact outfit twice - so this has been a real reversal for you."  It's true, starting around age 16 or 17 i developed the habit of not repeating. Not entirely sure why (ha! of course i probably have some detailed explanation elsewhere on the blog, just can't recall at the moment), but maybe something to do with nerves over my small, neutral based closet getting too boring.  In any event, i have been exploring the idea of repeats the last year or so, mostly because i have certain looks that i enjoy exponentially more than others. Ergo, why not wear the most bestest ones the most or all the time.

new denim jacket from American Eagle - in other words, the mall

But getting to the quiz portion of the post. While i've developed a habit of a 'no repeats' approach to dressing, in all honesty it's wildly at variance with the rest of my life. Here's the quiz:

Do you eat the same breakfast every day, down to brand and specific type of apple, for years on end?

Do you take walks along the same route to the extent you've walked certain routes over one thousand times, still enjoying it immensely?

Do you consistently order the same items at restaurants, to the point where family and friends literally create scenes as they are so bored with you? (hmmm, pry doesn't help that it still takes me ages to decide on what to order.....)

Do you still check in with your favorite online forum daily even though the administrator deleted your account (at your own request) over five years ago? (Hi RigInters - lunarose here :)

Do you still have potted plants from twenty five years ago, in their original pots?

Are your favorite shoes over two (four, five, twelve.....) years old?

Do you consistently drive the exact same route to errands, work, standing appointments, etc.?

Do friends, family, roommates complain about the one CD you listen to over and over and over and's not like you're trying to be irritating, but seriously what is better than Pirate's Choice?

Would you send your DH off to work with the same exact lunch, every work day, for fourteen months in a row - not out of some passive aggressive torture scenario, but because hey why mess with perfection?

No scoring system here. I'll leave the reader to draw her own conclusions.

In other news, I was rocking my signature look last Tuesday, at John Muir ER. I've not felt well since a respiratory bug around Christmas, and started feeling really bad the end of January. Mostly evil fatigue (drag out of bed at 7:30am, crawl back in at 9am) but some chest/arm pain made me suspect a recurrence of clot and pulmonary embolism....angel ma drove me out to the ER, turns out i'm 'profoundly anemic' (feh, i'd prefer shallow in this instance). Cause of the anemia is still undiagnosed, so test-o-rama in my future. In the meantime, iron pills provide significant relief .

Doc "B" also admired my new Johnny F's - Adriane Lois. Incredibly sturdy and comfy walking shoes.

I've written about my next point before, and here it comes again. It's times like this when all the wardrobe planning, style identifying, challenges, checklists, shopping trips, sewing and etc. becomes so worth it.  I really hate feeling uncomfortable in my clothes (physically as well as aesthetically). While i truly appreciate medical technology and deeply admire so many medical people i've been fortunate enough to work with over the years, I also hate with a passion having to interact with the medical industry. Simply because of all the painful experiences i've had over the decades.

I suspect for many of you, otherwise why would you be reading here, it's the same. Clothes make a difference for you. And during a really nasty, stressful situation it's a true comfort and touchstone to be clothed how you like, looking true to yourself.  This concept ended up being illustrated in a uniquely wacky way during my time in the ER. I had a great, professional, thorough, communicative Doctor "B" assigned to me. After a couple of hours in the ER, he popped in the (thankfully private) room and piped up, "I'd like to do a rectal exam!" "aaiieeeeee!" 

So we got it sorted, i turned on my side and he set to exposing the area of interest. I don't like my legwear sticking to my skirts, so i make and wear half slips - generally of silk crepe de chine with 2" wide lace trim and a small elastic in a casing at the waist. The one i wore last Tuesday was powder blue with royal blue lace trim. I'd stripped down to the waist, donned the gown, but still wore my leggings, socks, shoes, and half slip. I hear the Doc say, "hmm, this is interesting....." then, in a truly delighted tone of voice, "Oh! A little skirt!" I explained it was a slip, and before i knew it the exam had come to an end.

the little skirt

The Doc's remark stuck with me, as it's the kind of thing that's extremely difficult to say in those circumstances without sounding condescending or pervy. But he managed it, with an ease that conveyed he appreciated seeing something fun and individual about me as a person. During a situation where one participant pretty much wants to pretend it's not happening, it's risky to emphasize that you're actually two real live people involved in this (well, ma was there too, so - but i think she was pretending to look at her crossword puzzle).  At the same time, if you can pull it off or if it just happens spontaneously as a result of how you view the people in your care, it's an enormous relief. I'm a person, and the people who're helping me with this crappy situation think i'm a person too. yay!

I apologize if that's waaaaaay TMI. However, this blog resides in a corner of the fashion web where people harbor much interest in the philosophy, sociology, theory and such of clothing and i feel this little anecdote fits right in. Let me know what you think, and feel free to contribute more questions and your answers to our "Uniforms - Right for You?" quiz!


  1. Glad you're hot on the trail of this medical mystery and hoping you're well on the way to mending without having to resort to more than common iron pills! Man, those docs are young when they've not seen a half slip! Doesn't anyone watch old movies anymore? :D I love slips, myself.

    I find I think a lot about my food preferences (compare/contrast) and my clothes preferences. I generally want to eat the same thing in perpetuity. And feel crabby if I've run out. I used to bake elaborate desserts until I realized that I just want the chocolate now. Sometimes I'll want something else because I've been reading about it and see it pictured. Why do I read prolonged discussions about the best way to prepare.... (the Guardian is wonderful for this). Sometimes I get a craving for a certain color and it feels just like hunger. Only I probably would not crave it if I hadn't just been reading about and viewing it. "Desire comes in at the eyes."

    I go through the elaborate clothing "recipes" because I can't find my signature look. And I tend to do it more by elimination than by deciding what I want. Why have I accumulated shirts and I never want to wear them except as loose structured short sleeved or sleeveless garments in the humid summer? Read in Imogen's blog about some people advised to choose shirts that pooled when dropped on the floor and would fall back against the body. Yes! Got rid of all my cold weather structured shirts that had a mind of their own.

    I most admire my mother who had two housedresses that she made herself and two going out dresses - religious services, visiting. Two identical pair of shoes (the ones that didn't hurt her feet) in two colorways. One handbag. No accessories. One outerwear jacket.

    It struck me with your little quiz that most of my answers had to do with avoiding deciding. The only problem with a minimal or uniform-driven wardrobe is that the deciding must come beforehand. In a restaurant, I am usually miserable because after I've finally made up my mind, I usually don't like what I got and I "knew" I should have ordered what someone else did instead. When I do, it works. Only it doesn't work at all in regard to clothing.

  2. Hi Vildy! oh for goodness' sake, i'd forgotten about your mom! That's discipline!

    hmm. i was reading a thread at YLF recently which dealth with some of the same issues. It's here:

    of course Angie gives some excellent advice, at the core of which is that any project like this is going to involve deep examination of the self. So these things can be much more vexing, and harder to tease out, than one would think, especially considering how shallow society at large thinks that clothing is. I was also struck by the 'two poles': there's what we really really do not like, and what we love. What we want to avoid, and what we move towards.

    I'm very fortunate, in that while i have so many clothes i hate, i also have a few that i just adore beyond reason. So it's very easy for me to see where i want to go, and to know when i'm there. The OP in the YLF thread is not in that situation, she seems not to have a clear idea of where she'd like to be - even as an inspiration.

    I wonder if part of it is that certain people just like a fair bit of variety? So they like the simplicity and ease of a uniform, but would just get too bored? Maybe if you have half a dozen 'signature' looks you could have the balance between ease and variety. Or there's always the outfit route, a long and noble tradition :)

    I love your blouse moment. Nothing beats those 'aha!'s! And they can really simplify your life, too. I should read Imogen more than i do, she is just bursting with great info!!! I can't think of much more to say, and me brain is feeling fuzzy....thank you for the well wishes, i appreciate it! You and yours stay well too :) Have fun! steph

  3. I am sorry to hear about your anemia, that sucks! The only thing that I repeat is breakfast coffee, oatmeal with almond and 1tlb of brown sugar. I think that wearing a different outfit helps me remember what I did and when I did it. Variety in my outfits makes me feel like I actually have an interesting life. However with that said when I do find a good combo I will repeat it. I do have stars in my closet and they do come out to play. I used to save certain clothes for "good" but that day never came so no more everything is in play.

  4. Thank you Ms. Morgan for stopping by!

    Hi Adrienne! I love your manifesto. " I think that wearing a different outfit helps me remember what I did and when I did it." I think so! I do have a couple of 'for good' pieces, but no more than 3 pieces at once. The rule is a piece comes in as 'for good' and after a year, it's up for everyday.

    I have no idea how or why i came up with this rule. It's just always been this way.........(cue spooky music) !!!! Have fun, steph

  5. Fun quiz! I said yes to six of those questions. Definitely a uniform person here. At first, when I read Vildy's response about avoiding decisions, it resonated a bit. Then I realized that for me it's not quite that, only similar. I prefer to make a decision once (even if it involves a testing process to find the right thing, combination, proportion, etc) and then stick with it for a long time, revisiting it only when necessary.