Since it’s a working from home in pajama pants kind of day here, I thought you might like an excerpt from this month’s chapter of the book.
This month I asked & answered 5 questions to get clarity around exactly what I want from my wardrobe, came up with a whole bunch of clarity, and a “shopping” list.
One of the questions I asked was “where do you want to wear you wardrobe” and “where do you need to wear your wardrobe.”
And since I’m writing this in my pajamas from my couch I thought these two pages were quite appropriate for today.
It’s a bit on long side so grab a cup of coffee, settle in, and without further ado, pages 14-15 (of 41), from Chapter 1 of The Self-Made Wardrobe Book:
Where do you want to wear your wardrobe?
Where do you actually need to wear your wardrobe?
Where do you spend your time? And how does it affect what you wear?
Do you spend most of your day in an office? Or at home? Who do you primarily interact with? Co-workers? Family? Your cat? Other freelancers at the coffee shop? What are the standards (spoken or unspoken) of the places you spend your time in?
There may be some overlap between this answer and the answer to “what do you need from your wardrobe,” and that’s ok. It just means that the aspects that overlap are important parts of your wardrobe.
Where do you need to go (and presumably wear clothes to)?
What do you need to wear to work?
Do you have any hobbies that kind of require a certain type of garment? Working out? Hiking?
Ballroom dancing? Aerial gymnastics? Do you do a lot of stuff around the house or apartment? Do you need clothes you could rip up flooring in? Or garden in?
Do you need clothes that could get splattered in mud or paint?
Do you have kids? I don’t know much about kids, but I know they’re messy. Or pets? Having a black cat and a white wardrobe, or a white dog and a black wardrobe takes some pretty fancy lint- brush work.
None of the questions I’m asking are meant to exclude nice things from your wardrobe, but rather, to encourage you to plan ahead, so you’re less likely to ruin your favorite dress.
Where do you want to be going?
If you had an entire day, no commitments, no scheduled events, nothing you had to do, but you could do anything. Where would you end up going? Coffee shop? Bar? Library? Restaurant? Park? Shopping? Wandering? Exploring? Hanging out with friends? At home in your pjs? The city? The country? The ocean? A lake? What would you want to wear that day, to each of those places?
My answer for these questions has a lot of overlap with my answers for “what do I need to wear” and will overlap again with my answers for “what do I want to wear,” but maybe yours don’t. There’s a reason it’s called personal style.
I need a wardrobe that can easily transition between all sorts of places.
A wardrobe that can stand up to hours of walking, and hours of sitting, and hours of standing, all of which take different tolls on your body, and all of which are uncomfortable after a certain point. I need my wardrobe to go from downtown to midtown to uptown, from film sets and theaters to shops, offices, workshops, studios, and everywhere in between.
I live in New York City, which means I need my wardrobe to pass the NYC once over without looking like a tourist or a total slob, but living in NYC also means that I would have to wear something pretty crazy before people really started staring.
All this combines to mean I need a versatile wardrobe that can get dressed up or down. A wardrobe that always looks artsy but not crazy, put-together but not boring. I guess that’s one of the tricky things about my chosen life: I need a wardrobe that can do everything, and do it all well.
It’s totally ok if your wardrobe wants and needs are different from mine. I don’t think my wardrobe wants and needs are all that typical.
When you think about where you need and want to wear your wardrobe, also think about your community. I have a whole chapter planned about fitting in, identity, community and how those aspects of our lives influence what we wear. But the short version…
You don’t need to feel the desire to “keep up with the Joneses” to feel the desire to fit into your social group. Connecting to people you feel connected to is not a bad thing, and clothing is one way we connect to other people, it’s one of the ways we say “these are our people.”
It’s true that we shouldn’t judge people by what they’re wearing, we should give people the benefit of the doubt, and surrounding ourselves with a wide range of people and opinions probably makes us better individuals. But it’s also true that we judge people by what they wear. There’s a reason the fashion industry is a multi-billion dollar industry.
What we wear matters because we judge other people by what they wear, and we judge ourselves by what we wear. Clothing is one of the ways we fit in with the people around us, and we wear similar clothing the people we feel connected to.
You could be the most open-minded-ass liberal, and you could think you’re way above all this shit, but you still judge people by what they wear. If a chick in a pastel sweater set and no tattoos walked into your Williamsburg or Lower East Side coffee shop or bar you would judge her in an instant. So don’t even try to get up on your high horse.
Fitting in is a very basic desire, and fitting in with people you feel connected to is nothing to be ashamed of. We’re social creatures so fitting in isn’t a bad thing.
Just as long as you don’t loose yourself trying to fit in somewhere that doesn’t work for you.
Where do you spend your time?
And how does it affect what you wear?