Questioning minimalist wardrobes and in a fashion rut... again.

Earlier this week I had an epiphany moment.  I am a LAZY creature of comfort and as a result my favourite pieces are falling apart and I need to change this because it does not make me happy.

Get me into a dress which I feel comfortable in, and although it may not be the most flattering of dresses, you will not be able to get me out of it - until it tears!  Yes, that's right, earlier this week I found myself in the ladies loos (rest rooms) at work armed with a roll of packing tape and some scissors fixing my dress which I had worn to death.  This came only weeks after I retired my favourite black silk dress after the tearing under the arms got so bad that I could no longer lift my arms without looking homeless...

One would think that I own only two dresses... and it seems that people do because the moment I wear something different I get asked "Oooh, is that new?" (and it probably is, but then I don't wear it again for ages, since I'm in favour of my dresses).

Recently not a week has gone by that I haven't worn one of the following dresses on at least 2 weekdays (funnily the same dresses which I wore last Winter):

From left to right: Country Road, Adam, Country Road, Country Road.

In the image above, I have included both retired dresses - the Country Road animal print dress dress (any ideas what I could do with the fabric?) and the Country Road black silk dress which incidentally I have managed to replace (thank you eBay).  This replacement will be saved for occasional dressing as the fabric is too delicate to wear on an everyday basis.

I know that it's a good thing that I now literally wear out my clothing (how it should be I think?), but I can't help but feel sad when I do given I have so many other things in my wardrobe which could be rotated around to prevent my favourites from wearing out.

It has made me wonder again how some of the women who follow the "minimalist wardrobe" method of dressing manage it?  Is it possible that they are all Law students with only 9 university contact hours hence most of the time they are just sitting around studying at home or in the library in their James Perse trackie dacks? (For my overseas readers 'trackie dacks' is what we Aussies affectionately call track suit pants).

I don't care how expensive an item is, if you wear it constantly it will fall apart.  Blazers will develop a shine from multiple dry cleanings, cotton breton tops will eventually look manky (especially under the underarms from deodorant) and a delicate silk item will likely develop seam slippage if you wear it normally. That is move around in it typing, carrying files and what not...

I'm sad that my favourites are gone, but the reality is that if you wear things, they wear out.  In actual fact I think that I'm just surprised.  Until recently I never wore anything out.  I would buy a heap of clothing, only wear it once or twice and then forget about it as I bought the next thing.  When I was a younger party animal, you would not catch me dead wearing the same thing in the company of the same friends.  Then Facebook came along and the has-this-been-photographed-on-Facebook test was born before getting dressed to go out.  Haha... those were the days.

My aim for this coming work week is not wear any of the above dresses (granted I can't wear the animal print one anyway as it's torn).  This is my way of injecting some impulse into my life.  Can I do it I wonder?  I might even need to plan my outfits for this week!

18 comments:

  1. Oh I am sorry to hear about your favourite dresses! It's true, most things do get worn out with time and use. I had to give up a favourite papaya cotton dress by See by Chloe recently after wearing it constantly for a few years. It had faded, I felt bad but the wardrobe vacuum saw me pick up two Breton shifts by Muji, which i love and wear often. All part of the fun of building a wardrobe.
    I try to rotate my favourites, mend what I can, and buy multiples when I can afford it. I usually go from wearing dresses one week to trousers and tees another week to jeans and blouses the next week. And if I get bored, a switch in my jewelry or trying a different handbag usually works.

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    1. I think I'm just in a lazy rut - need to snap out of it!

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  2. Oh, and you could try turning the animal print dress into a scarf, it will pop against black!

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    1. Great idea, but I have a feeling I wouldn't wear it. Maybe it's time to let go of the ripped dress :)

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  3. Very rarely do I have anything which wears out and that's because I have too many clothes to rotate. The ones I wear religiously, I do get worried about and I have found myself scouring Ebay before now trying to find duplicate replacements before they give up the ghost. I find the cheaper the clothes, the more I wear them because I am less precious so the cost per wear equation rarely makes a valid argument for me.

    Dresses - I have a love hate relationship with. I know they flatter my body shape more than a pair of jeans but in terms of practicality, the jeans win every time. I love dresses though and I can't stop buying them but consequently I have a lot of dresses which have not had more than 1 or 2 wears out of them.

    And when I was younger, I had a different outfit for every time I went out - but not anymore. I haven't the inclination or the money to buy clothes for a one off anymore so if the dress fits for the occasion - I just wear it.

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    1. I find dresses really very easy to wear to work... I would love to be able to wear jeans though - I'm most comfy in jeans :)

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  4. Ammu's scarf idea is a good one. I like the way the grey country road dress looks too. Once you're conscious of what silhouette and fabrics work feel best on you, it will be easier to find alternatives.

    I like synthetic fabrics in bottoms because they tend to be pretty indestructible and machine washable, especially since I don't sit behind a desk all day. For shoes, I've seen first hand that a cobbler can work miracles. They restored shoes I was worried I may have had to throw out. I have no desire to have a "French" minimalist wardrobe, but I do desire to have a wardrobe that contains pieces that are practical or soul-stirring. And granted there are pieces that I wear more than others. If you pass on wearing your other dresses for whatever reason, they may not be worth keeping. One of my epiphanies was why dig through the things I continually pass on to get to my favorite standbys?

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    1. It's polyester that I have an issue with. Especially the shiny type that gets used for lining. I can deal with it in a skirt, but I can't handle it if it's against my torso. Viscose, I love, because it breathes (although it's not as easy care as poly).

      I've got no desire to have a minimalist wardrobe either, but through sheer laziness of wearing the same thing everyday and seeing the items get more and more worn to the point of falling apart - I'm questioning how it's even possible?

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  5. That's sad that your favourite pieces have fallen to bits. I haven't really had this happen to me, aside from one pair of jeans, and a skirt which started to wear out in the bum (it has taken me close to a year and a half to finally replace it!), so I wish that I could wear my things out like you. I wonder if the French are a bit more precious with their clothing, or just have things with hardier fabrics?

    I have a trench coat from Karen Walker which is made of a really thick and heavy wool flannel. It cost me a lot, but even after having it for... 5 years, it still looks like new. I think this goes to show that some things, even with plenty of wear, still have a lot of life in them, but unfortunately a lot of what is in the shops now, just isn't of adequate quality.

    Either way, I hear what you're saying. When you have such a small wardrobe (15 things) and are wearing it all on a regular basis, without a doubt things are going to wear out. And it's unlikely to be practical, considering if you are that selective, I would imagine it would be a long time before you found an appropriate replacement. Clearly, these types of wardrobes are only meant for those who don't have very labour intensive lifestyles!

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    1. It has taken me days to get around to responding... sorry :)
      Trust me you do not wish for your favourites to wear out! It's quite devastating and I find that for a while there I panic thinking OMG what will I wear now?!(Even though I still have a wardrobe full of other clothes).
      My coats are fine - like you say they are probably comprised from hardier fabrics... it's just the delicate pieces I struggle with. I love a silk dress, but I have resigned myself to the fact that they were not created to be "worn-worn" rather just "worn occasionally".

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  6. That is what happened to me when I wore out a favorite dress.It was burgundy,jersey and I could wear it ANYWHERE.It was painful to let it go because I couldn't find a replacement.

    I still think that there is a way to keep a minimalist wardrobe but I think that one needs to spent more time on the upkeep of one's garments, like letting shoes and clothes air out, conditioning leather and suede items periodically, and hand washing clothes. At the same time, the quality needs to be there, which is something sadly lacking these days. My items that I bought at the beginning of high school that I have not culled over the years are still in great condition, my items that I bought in college have been a hit or miss.

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    1. I have this fab idea that I will hold on to my torn black dress and if I ever make it to Vietnam I will have it made up again in different fabrics and colours :)

      Totally agree with your points about proper maintenance of clothes. I shudder when I see top loaders in peoples' laundries...

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  7. I have had things fall apart, I am "hard" on my clothes for some reason and also tend to wash/clean after one or two wears. Fabrics are just not good quality these days and things aren't made to last. I'm thinking about having a couple of dresses and blazers made. You can choose the fabric, get the cut and style right for your lifestyle, and they will fit perfectly. I know it will be more expensive initially, but probably not in the long run taking into account replacement items and sometimes having to buy things you don't love just to fill a wardrobe gap. HTH.

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    1. Unknown - see my reply to T.A.E above.

      I'm not sure if having newly designed pieces made for me would work for me though. I find that I don't truly know if I like something unless I wear it properly. I have pretty much accepted these days that ebay will always be a part of my life.

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  8. Great post. I'm currently experiencing the same thing, namely my sweaters and cardigan. As they fad fairly quickly after a few washes, they are currently looking tired and worn out.

    I still believe in buying nothing less than 'perfect' items so Im still stuck with them until they can be replaced.

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    1. Strapple, I'm still on the hunt for the perfect cardi... I have the perfect one in my mind and like you I will buy nothing less than the perfect one. Good luck in your search.

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  9. I'm sorry to hear about your favorite dresses. Dresses are just so easy for work and transitioning from the office to evening events. I'm lost without them. It's true clothes wear out- even really great quality clothes. The difference I've seen is that it takes years and years. I have Lanvin, YSL and Alaia dresses that have been going strong for years. I'm meticulous about caring for my items.

    I don't have a desire to have a super small/minimalist wardrobe- it just doesn't work for my lifestyle, but I hate waste and only purchase things that I wear for a long time.

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    1. I know Lindsay. I live in dresses! (Which is quite clear from my post). Although I understand what you are saying regarding quality pieces - Lanvin, YSL, Alaia etc dresses are at least 20 times more expensive than my Country Road dresses (at least that's the case in Australia). My budget doesn't quite stretch so far unless I snag one at 70% off on sale :)

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