Friday, 27 June 2014

Blame it on Gemini



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I always say I am not much like a Gemini and can't identify with the supposed attributes.  Not that I believe in the validity of personality traits appearing due to the month when one was born, but lately I have been thinking I might be more like a Gemini than I ever thought.  The symbol of a Gemini is twins and I am very dual-natured about many things.  Clothing is one of them.

For the past few years, essentially in conjunction with some major life changes, I have been exploring my identify and sense of self in many ways and one of the more significant ways has been through how I dress myself.  I enjoy clothing as a form of self expression and dressing as a creative expression.  I love fabrics and some of my wardrobe could be viewed as more of a textile collection.  I love colour, are perhaps I should say I love a certain selection of colours and I really enjoy playing in my closet and making up outfits in the same way I loved dressing my Barbie when I was a little girl.  I also have to admit to a love of shopping.  I love the hunt for something new to me and interesting.  I say new to me because I do a lot of second hand shopping so much of what I buy is not actually new.

And then there's the part of me that is almost completely the opposite.  That is the part of me who instead of being excited to have a closet full of variety and options, feels a bit guilty about what could be called excess, craves a bit of simplicity, admits to a liking for clothes that don't suit her lifestyle, and increasingly finds herself buying black.   What the heck is going on?  I wonder if I have been playing for a long time and am just about ready to stop.

When I look into my closet lately I have the urge to pare down and yet there is nothing I actually wish to get rid of.  I am well aware that I have many items that get little wear.  I have experimented with my style in terms of the type of clothing that both suits my personality and suits my body but I have somewhat ignored lifestyle.  I wanted to alter my wardrobe so that it was no longer the wardrobe of a teacher but in fact what I have created is the teaching wardrobe I always wanted but didn't have when my previous life presented financial restrictions and before the existence of Value Village in my home town, a somewhat controversial* but large and thus very tempting second hand shop.

Skirts are a huge problem.  I love skirts and I have many.  Too many.  I also have dresses, but due to more fit challenges with dresses I tend to prefer skirts. I have, here comes the confession, twenty-five skirts.  When I was teaching I wore skirts all the time.  In fact most of the time.  I did not own twenty-five of them then.  Now I wear a skirt a couple of times a week at best.  I usually wear one if I go out with a friend or if I go for lunch with my parents.  That does not happen once a week so I could be fooling myself about how much I wear them, confusing it with wanting to wear them. 

The reality of my lifestyle is that I am home most of the time, I do some  housework, possibly grocery shopping and I read, write, paint, all of which are basically sitting activities and so I am most comfortable in jeans or in leggings and a tunic/short dress.  I did not even include my smaller number of dresses in that skirt count.  As you can imagine, what is taking up the bulk of my closet is a collection of things I don't wear very often.  But I love them or I love the idea of them.   So one of my Gemini twins says I should part with at least half of them and the other says no no no!  I have set myself a no more buying clothes rule, except for underwear as needed, and I have thought through my options and come up with this list:

1.  Just forget about it and leave everything as it is.

2. Turn all the hangers backwards to track what I wear and get rid of what isn't worn in a month's time. (Do this for each season or at least dividing summer and winter)

3.  Be very very realistic and keep only casual clothes with one dressy outfit per season.

4.  The same as number 3 but two dressy outfits.

5.  Go for an all black wardrobe-consider experimenting with this before getting rid of things.

6.  Throw everything on the bed and be really honest about what I truly wear and only put back the things I have worn recently.

7.  The same as number 6 but don't get rid of the surplus just yet.  Put it in the spare bedroom and see if I miss it.


What would you do if you were me?  I am leaning towards trying number 7 but I can just picture it now.  I will stand in my closet and pull something out and then think, but I'm going to wear this any day now so I'll just leave it here.  Just between you, me and the cat, I suspect I will go with option number one.



* Controversial due to allegations of mistreatment of employees and as well for the fact that it is both a for profit business  and a donation to charity type of shop.  Their prices are also sometimes a little high.

30 comments:

  1. 25 skirts! Wow. I'd love to see your closet.

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    1. Maybe you should come for a visit and take things away from my closet! LOL

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  2. Oh Shawna, twenty five skirts? Pfff! I have thirty one jackets and counting! Hang them on the walls and call them artworks :-) Why do you need to analyse the clothes and not the books? Treat them as a collection of possibilities that makes you happy. I suspect we all carry messages about spendthrift and frivolousness around fashion and buying. Just tell the voices to shut up! You want to enjoy your textile collection! Hugs.XO

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    1. I suspect it really is a textile collection-lol. My mum admitted to me recently that her wardrobe tends to be that too so I come by it honestly. Thanks for the hugs. I know they are the guilt crushing kind, right?
      xoxoxo

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  3. Hey Shawna, Although I really do not like the hunt/shopping for clothes and have a relatively boring wardrobe ~ I would much rather do scrapbook shopping!!! ~ I agree with #1. Tell that Gemini twin to go back to her corner.

    I agree with the 'no shopping' rule ... until you have worn all 25 skirts!!!! Don't be bullied into doing anything that you don't want to. Your wardrobe is not hurting anyone!

    And I am sending you those 'guilt crushing kinda hugs!!!!' from my side of the world to yours!

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    1. Hi Lynn! You have been amazing catching up and responding to my blog posts! That is so sweet of you and I'm glad to see you around again. Blogger is doing odd things and I keep discovering posts I've missed from many of the people I read. So if I comment on yours in a very haphazard way let's blame it on blogger!

      I love shopping for books as well as clothes. That would be my bigger obsession and I can get lost for hours in a book store, especially a second hand one. Art supplies are satisfying to buy but I am usually buying the same things.

      Thanks for those hugs! I feel that guilt just sliding on out the door now. Skulking away to wherever guilt hangs out waiting to attack someone else.
      xoxo

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  4. I have a similar lifestyle, but I'm a hoarder of clothes and I tend to reach towards the crazy styles, which I rarely wear at home :D
    I think it's a good idea to rummage the wardrobe and remove anything you haven't worn in three months at least. I usually do this every season and it helps to get a perspective on the crap and the things I truly appreciate and wear :D
    My mom is a Gemini btw, she's very weird... :D

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    1. I would probably really like your mum!
      I have a pretty good sense of what I wear often and what is languishing in my closet but I think it would be somewhat interesting to make that really clear by doing that reverse the hangers thing. I do find that having options gives me a certain feeling of security and sometimes I look at something I hardly wear and think, but I still really like it.
      Oh well. I suppose I am not the most evil person in the world for having a full closet.
      xoxo

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  5. I always hesitate about getting rid of clothes ... as soon as it's gone I find myself wanting to wear it ... stupid hey. As a result I keep things ... and only feel right about getting rid of it once it's worn out. My mother's "waste not, want not" teachings still coming out in me ;0)
    xx

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    1. I know what you mean, I have sometimes regretted too, though usually what I get rid of is something I am really not comfortable in or is really not flattering. My mum has more than once had the experience of holding onto things for so long and then finally getting rid of them only to have them come back into fashion a few months later. Still, if she is tired of them it doesn't matter if they are currently trendy.

      I thought it was a general rule of the universe: If you hold onto it you will need it but if you get rid of it you will want it the very next day.
      xoxo

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  6. Ha, I have more than 25 skirts- you are in good company (dresses are well over 50!)
    I also find it hard to get rid of anything- I LIKE things, I just like other things too!x

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    1. Okay, I feel less guilty now! I am more able to get rid of clothes than I am of books. If I liked the book I keep it. My stacks and stacks of books make me happy.
      xoxo

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  7. When I found out that Value Village was for profit it really turned me off them. Now I'm more likely to go to Goodwill. I had no idea Value Village was making money off of people's donations before. Kinda sick really. Especially when I'm sure most people are like me, thinking they go to help needly people.

    I don't dare count the number of skirts I own. It would be too shocking.

    I can really see myself in what you've written here, except for the buying black bit. Otherwise sometimes I open my closet doors and just simply find it overwhelming. That is why I like to have the opportunity on the blog to create outfits *before* I actually need them so I don't need to panic when I have an event to go to.

    I am like you in that I work from home. So in reality I could live most of my life in the same crappy pair of PJs and no one would be the wiser. Except where is the fun in that? Also I do make sure to get out often enough to wear some of my clothes. We dance and go to galleries, concerts, bars etc and I would hate to show up in PJs or jeans.

    When I did the trade shows for my business I always needed to be dressed up and look like an artist. I've never really gotten out of that state of mind.

    Now when I go into Anthropologie or to the thrift/vintage stores people recognize me and I like that I leave an impression with the way I dress and I'm not just another nameless faceless person in the crowd. So I guess my very large closet is not only a collection that never seems to be complete, but a way for me to leave my signature wherever I go.


    I say you gotta do what pleases you. If that means keeping it all and adding to the collection...who is that hurting? If that means chucking it all and living the life of someone in mourning wearing all black then so-be-it. Just do as Pharrell sings, "Because I'm happy!"

    How is that for a super long comment? ; )

    bisous
    Suzanne

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    1. Value Village gives a percentage to charity. They either buy things from the CNIB or Canadian Diabetes Association directly or they pretend your donation is something they need to buy from them, even though you've dropped it off directly at the store. We don't have a Goodwill here anymore. There are three Salvation Army stores but their selection isn't great. We have a Too Good to be Threw, which is a non-profit charity for the Womens' Transition Society. It's the best thrift shop in town but Value Village has the largest selection so I still go there.

      LOL-okay clearly you are not voting for the all black option. I think my attraction to black is because it is simple so I'm just asking myself, okay why do you suddenly have this desire for simplicity? What is that telling you? I doubt I could actually give up the other colours I love, but there will be days when I am going to do all black.

      If I had access to and could dress almost entirely from Anthropologie, Etro and Free People, I would definitely have a smaller wardrobe because I couldn't buy as much as I do at the thrift shop. I think the low prices tempt me into buying too much. But then I've also been on a journey of learning and I think it's just time to slow it down now.
      xoxoxox

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  8. If you saw my closet, you would no longer feel guilty. Enjoy your collection. When you really feel it's time to part with some pieces, you'll know it.

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    1. LOL it's all relative, I suppose. I think part of me is curious to know, what are the pieces I love, that I wear all the time, and are really me, and to just see them in isolation from all the other stuff. I can certainly do that without getting rid of anything.
      xoxoxo

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  9. I definitely think you should go with number 7--- because sometimes there are special items worth saving for special occasions.

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    1. Yes, I know what you mean. I don't like shopping for clothing when I have an event coming up and there is pressure to find a dress. That takes the fun out of it and I will usually end up spending money on something I don't love but which will simply do.
      xo

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  10. Shawna, I am with Jazzy Jack. After reading in one blog the number "200 skirts", nothing really surprises me. I realized that wardrobe for some of us IS a collection. I used to collect boxes - there are about 200 in my collection, and I still occasionally buy something that captures my heart. But in the past few months (less than a year), clothes has became my main interest/hobby/passion - so I naturally buy more skirts, dresses, jackets than boxes or dishes... I know that some people do treat their wardrobes much more rationally, and I used to be more rational about my wardrobe as well (especially back in Russia when we simply did not have much money, or everything was a deficit, empty stores in Soviet times, it's not a figure of speech; plus in Russia clothes is very expensive compared to clothes here - it's cheap as dirt here to be honest, only foreigner can probably truly appreciate that...). And back then it wasn't my passion, well, maybe it was a beginning of my passion, but due to some natural restrictions, it never became a collection. But now it is my passion. At least, for now. :)

    I am on a quest to shop my wardrobe more than to shop stores - I think it is reasonable enough. That way, when I get an inspiration to create a certain mood with clothes, I turn to my closet and create from what's in there already. But I do reserve the right to purchase another gorgeous dress when I see it and the price is right for me. :) I also think that it's just fine to get rid of clothes which you don't love. I will do that with mine. So far, I am still introducing myself to my collection. Some things, I learn to appreciate only with time.

    I think it is really as simple as that - your wardrobe is a collection of pretty items which make your heart sing. :)

    Much love to you, dear friend! And always hugses! xxxxxxx

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    1. I can't imagine having 200 skirts! Even at 25 I feel I have some that are duplicates so why bother? But as you say, different things work for different people. I love watching the results of when you shop your own wardrobe. You have made some very interesting points, as you always do. I will not do anything rash-lol but I think it's time to really play with what I have and not just accumulate more. I've done enough accumulating for now.

      Much love and hugs to you too, Sunshine Lady of Blogland!
      xoxoxo

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  11. I recognise the urge to reduce, yet not actually wanting to let anything go! I have Too Many Clothes, but I like them all, and really, as vices go, buying cheap secondhand clothes isn't the worst behaviour in the world. I too love fabric and colour and print, and I enjoy the creative expression of dressing. So... I say if it isn't hurting anyone, you have space and can afford it, what's the problem? PLEASE don't opt for an all black wardrobe though, I think you would rebel against that in the end and regret getting rid of all your beloved colour! xxxx

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    1. I don't think I could actually do an exclusively black wardrobe. You are quite right; I would miss the colours I love. I am just drawn to the simplicity of it sometimes. You are right, it is definitely not the worst thing in the world. I have to remind myself that I deserve to wear nice things even if I am not working outside of the home. There is that evil little voice that says why do you have a working woman's wardrobe when you aren't one? I shall stomp on that nasty critter and grind it under the heel of one of my fabulous pairs of boots!
      xoxoxo

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  12. You keep me thinking about this... You know how you said in your comment to my last post that style is one of my artistic expressions? It really became one. In the beginning of my blog, I don't think it was the goal at all. I just wanted to re-educate myself about current styles, that's all, so I didn't look like an old out of date gal. I made it my goal to learn a new language. Now I can say that I learned a few things, far from stopping - but it is now helping me to create with more freedom. It has become one of creative outlets for me. Now, as a creative person yourself, you KNOW that if you had an urge to paint a watercolor and bought supplies for that reason, you don't bring it back after the one watercolor you painted. Maybe next time you'll have this urge in 5 years - so what? You just keep it in your reserve. Same with clothing. I disagree (for myself) with the rule "if you don't wear it in X number of months - get rid of it". If you don't love it - then sure, what's the point to keep it around. But if you only find yourself wanting to create that "watercolor" once every many months - that is just fine, because that is your inner need, and there is no limits to your inner life. That, of course, if style is a creative field, and not a rational field for you.

    And I wanted to thank you for your wonderful comment yesterday! You made me happy and all warm inside. Love you xxxx

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    1. I'm a teacher; it's my job to provoke thinking. LOL ;-) Though I think perhaps I am better at offering love. A daily dishing out of warm fuzzies was my greatest occupation.

      I think you are right, that there does not need to be an imposed timeline on when one uses/wears/creates with certain clothing items. I am struggling with the guilt of having more than I need, but that is the voice of a practical approach to clothing, and I am veering towards having a creative approach to clothing. I am not as creative as some, and perhaps that is part of the guilt. It's rather like saying, okay I paint something once a month but it's not really very good so I should just stop. It's forgetting about the validity and value of the happiness factor.

      Love and Hugs for you, dear Natasha.
      xoxoxo

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  13. hmmm - as ever you do overthinking :-)
    if you love to dress black day one and day two you go for colors - go. 25 skirts - wear them one after the other, wash them regularly and this number will shrink. faster as you can imagine. or wear them at home while painting. (especially for sitting around i feel more comfortable in skirts. except pencil skirts of cause.)
    what i try to say is - don´t feel the need to restrict yourself in one or the other way. as long as you don´t hurt someone or yourself go and have fun with your clothes!!!!!!
    time will show what works for you. let it go.........
    xxxxxx

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    1. Yes, overthinking is my specialty. It's because I am a complicated person who sometimes wishes to be simple. LOL Also, I am directly related to Hamlet. ;-)
      xoxoxoxoxoxo

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  14. Why don't you put away in a big box anything you don't wear at the moment and kep it in the attic. Just get out what you don't like at the moment. You will go through a lot of phases bu t at one point you will make use again of some of the clothes you don't like right now. It's the travel that matters and there will be a point when everything you own will somehow match and make you happy. I hope this is of some help and not just my experience!

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    1. I don't have an attic but I am doing something similar. Thanks for the suggestion Angie.
      xoxo

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  15. You know what, I've tried the all black wardrobe thing twice in my lifetime and I got so bored of it. I became so thirsty for color and then I ended up regretting the things I got rid of. As I approach 60 I notice that my coloring has faded a lot and so I rarely wear black anymore. I feel swallowed up by it, but I still just love the chicness of it all. I was following a blog called Odyssey Home for about a year. She has beautiful black, grey and white clothing and her photos are beautiful too.

    I hear you about being home a lot. Me too! Some times I go through creative spurts but then there are other times when life is so boring I haven't a clue what to do with myself. Fortunately that doesn't last long. I think it's the isolation sometimes....

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    1. I think your points about the all black are quite valid and I have thought of them too. I suspect I will just enjoy an all black outfit sometimes but not give up on my colour. I would indeed miss it. Sometimes we admire something on someone else but just can't replicate it ourselves for a variety of reasons. I have noticed that with clothing and home decor. There are a variety of styles and looks which I admire but what I can live with and what feels like me wont' include all of them.

      I am fortunate really that I like being home and am essentially an introvert. But I sometimes feel a bit like Rapunzel shut away in the tower-lol. I am limited in terms of physical energy. If I had the stamina to take day drips or weekend trips that's what I would do to counter the isolation, but I can't. At least not for now. I do try to get myself out at least once a week, even if I just go to a cafe to read or write for a couple of hours.

      I like your new profile picture. You have a beautiful smile.
      xoxoxo

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