General

Different/Same/Different

It has been an eventful few months. Since my last post, the US has both flung wide the “post”-pandemic gates, then walked them back a bit again (here and here). It’s all, frankly, exhausting. After hunkering down and holding tight for over a year, the weight of balancing my desire for more (vaccinated) freedom fought with my primal need to keep my young (unvaccinated) children safe from the virus that is still around (see second here). And of course, I live in the state that is/was (depending on when you read this, if you do at all) the US epicenter of the Delta surge.

Honestly, it was a gift in its own right. I have been taking better stock of my own mental health and self-care needs, and while I can’t exactly say I’m nailing those right now, I am doing a better job of centering myself and my needs, so that I have a deeper well from which to parent, partner, and thrive. I assume the thriving part will come, but so far, things do feel easier and lighter, after feeling positively Sysiphean, so I’ll take it. In short, and without much detail, I was able to spend a little more time, in person, with friends (which may or may not continue to be much of an option, see second here again), I’ve been prioritizing a relatively-early bedtime (far easier now that the dog is sleeping overnight and past 7AM), I’ve been talking to people I need to talk to, and making sure my brain chemistry is a little better balanced. I still have moments where I feel stuck or anxious, but some of that is situational, understandable, and acceptable, as long as I still feel mostly in control of my own stuff.

Wardrobe-wise, I have stuck with the changes I was making earlier this year pretty well. I did do a lot of shopping in June and July (mostly secondhand, but also a bit of big box for the sake of my budget and the need for several replacement basics). I have also been updating items in my wardrobe with the help of bleach, tea bags, and some boiled plant matter (so far, just avocado skins, which makes a pretty blush dye). I recently updated my working wardrobe inventory, and I’m running somewhere around 115 items, exclusive of underwear/lingerie, socks and hosiery, lounge and PJ, athletic, swim, and accessories (hats, scarves, belts, jewelry, bags). It does include, tops, bottoms, shoes, and jackets. For the non-counted items, those exist in discrete spaces and as long as they fit comfortably, I’m not interested in tracking them. This also does not count everything in purgatory, which for my current wardrobe’s purposes means bold hues, bright tints, and muted tones. This means I’m dressing in shades, consistent with a particular wardrobe/energy theory, and what I like about it most is that everything works with everything else by default. For more about tints/tones/shades/hues, see here. At this juncture, the 115 items includes trial items (mostly secondhand, but a few of the basics) that I can already tell won’t make the cut, and other items I’ve amended to become shaded (through bleaching, staining, or dyeing). But the 115 items does include items for all four seasons.

Wardrobe breakdown (percents rounded to nearest whole and won’t quite equal 100):

Bottoms 19/115 (17%)
Tops 32/115 (28%)
Third Pieces 17/115 (15%)
Dresses/Jumpers 10/115 (9%)
Coats 9/115 (8%)
Shoes 25/115 (22%)

For the above list, “third” means things I’d generally wear OVER something else, e.g., a sweater or cardigan. My thought on this is that the general percentages make pretty good sense and feel balanced. I have roughly 2:1 tops vs. bottoms, a nice variety of toppers for cooler weather or to change things up, and a nice selection of coats, ranging from my warmest down parka to a couple of wool coats for dressy or work occasions, to some cool-weather jackets, a few warm-weather or fashion items, a rain jacket and windbreaker, and a statement suede moto jacket. I do think it’s a bit “basics” heavy and could be culled a bit, but I’d like to figure out where rather organically, rather than pushing to get to 100 — especially since I may be altering/editing other items to make them work as I pull things that are the wrong fit or fabrication (color is pretty well sorted at this point). If I were to land on 100 (which, as you may recall, I like because it offers 20 distinct items per season plus 20 items that are reasonless or special), and retained the rough percentages, it would work out to:

Bottoms at 15% = 15 (-4)
Tops at 30% = 30 (-2)
Third Pieces at 15% = 15 (-2)
Dresses/Jumpers at 10% = 10 (no change)
Coats at 10% = 10 (+1)
Shoes at 20% = 20 (-5)

As I mentioned above, I am not counting things in purgatory unless they rotate back in. Most of these things are black or gray or navy and a few white things, and don’t fit with my shade palette right now. Some I can likely part with sooner rather that later, but some I’d like to alter or keep in case I decide to use black in the future (and I need to keep a couple of black things on hand for concerts and music performances, because they constitute my uniform for these events). I also have one suit for lawyering that is a black and white weave (reads as dark gray) for interviews and I don’t intend to part with or change that, because that, too, is a form of required uniform.

So maybe I’ll get there, and maybe I won’t. The trick is, mostly, with the shoes. There are a few things I have because I am attached to them for sentimental reasons. Loafer mules I’ve had for almost 25 years. The Ugg boots my husband bought me. Sandals I bought in the UK in 2003. And then there are other items I wear infrequently, but which I’d rather have invested in and hold for their next use then replace each time I need them — riding boots. Statement heels. Dressy heels. Work heels. Etc.

I think my take-away is solidly in the land of “enoughism” rather than “minimalism”. To that end, my decluttering efforts have stalled, which is both to embrace a period of evaluation, rather than action (I’m not good at stopping action, even when I see the value therein), and because the sheer effort required to manage safe(r) social re-entry is using up my available bandwidth. Whatever I have left would rather reorganize my closet or go thrifting than dive back into the deep storage in the basement.

And so that’s where we are. Oh, and I cut 10″ off my hair at the end of June.

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