I’m dressed.

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Hangers, lots of them.

“So, I’m telling you don’t worry about your life, what you’re going to eat or drink next, about your latest aches and pains, about what you will wear. Is a meal the most important thing in your life? Is what you wear more important than the body you put it on?”  Jesus in Matthew 6:25

No, I thought. What I wear has become much less an issue since moving to the deep freeze (Wisconsin). The desire to look a certain way when seen, doesn’t know what to do with itself when I’m hardly ever seen anywhere. When I’m seen, I’m pretty much always wearing my coat.

I often go to Walmart but you know I’m not going to worry about looking good there. I’d rather blend in.

Even at church, where my childhood habit of wearing my Sunday best ought to kick in, I’m more often in my flannel shirt uniform. People who walk or drive long distances to get somewhere in freezing weather have to think about dressing to prevent hypothermia if their car breaks down or if there’s a stiff wind. I’m trying to remember the last time I saw a woman in a dress.

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It’s a nice closet, and much better than squeezing into the one in our bedroom, with the husband’s things.

My clothes were a major part of what I packed to move up here. There were boxes of winter things, some of which had not seen much action in thirty years of Florida weather. I decided the large double closet in the garage was the most logical place for my things – it’s handy, right outside the kitchen door and only a few steps from our bedroom. I had to buy hangers, lots of them. Most everything fits there. It’s a little weird, but not a problem if I plan ahead.

But now that winter is here, and we’re keeping the garage at a lower temperature, I’m opting not to go out there as often. I have found that I can wear the same clothes for days at a time if I’m careful. My big accomplishment this week is going five days in the same pair of jeans. In a previous life this would have been wrong on several levels, but not here, not now. Don’t judge. Seattle daughter would be happy to know that her blue sweater gift is on it’s fourth day too.

Did you know that washing clothing unnecessarily is creating a cloth fiber plague in our water and air? It’s true. I read it on the internet. Even fish caught in the ocean have cloth fibers in their flesh, and we eat that. Yuk. So I’m not washing my clothes either. Well, not as often. If I can’t see the dirt, they’re not dirty. Try it. Saves on detergent too.

That whole section in Matthew 6 says a lot about clothes and worry and I’m taking it to heart. I’m just sayin’ – there’s no sense in running after things that God has already given me plenty of.

Is unfashion a word? Did I make that up?

On Clothes

I have an opinion on almost everything. Not that it matters…

Clothes do not “make the man” as some like to think. You have to know who you are before you put them on or you are in trouble. This I have learned from experience.

Down here in the sauna of the United States, I change clothes, a lot. It would be exhausting and take up way too much time to have to worry about looking good in what I wear. I settle for acceptable in a modest and functional way.

I accept the fact that clothing is fickle. It can look pleasing from one angle and totally embarrassing from another. It can fit well on one wearing and then not fit at all after one of us changes sizes. It can look soooo good in the picture, on someone else, and then be a completely different garment on me. I don’t know how it happens but it does.

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I won’t say what I was planning to do in this outfit, but you see what I mean?

I was looking this morning for something to wear while riding my bike outside. I wanted sun exposure and to be cool temperature-wise so my choice of knit shorts and tank top was a practical one. I put my helmet on and looked in the mirror. There I was, just like in countless pictures of myself biking, hiking, kayaking, whatever – looking decidedly awkward, gangly and a bit on the nerdy side. A real fashion plate. I regret that this is the case, but as I said, I’m not letting clothes define me. Function and protection are some major strong points of clothing, and shoes also, which is why I have almost completely given up on high heeled shoes. They are health hazards in so many ways. I’ve seen those models on the runways, nearly killing themselves…

I’m not against looking good. I even give that a shot from time to time, and it’s a lot of fun when it happens. However, I’ve also learned that the illusion of looking good is a real thing. For instance, having a great time dancing at a friend’s wedding only lasts until I see pictures of said evening and me in my finery. Who is that woman?

It’s been interesting to see how my clothing philosophy rubs off on my daughters. Pretty much not at all. There are occasions when they ask me what I think about what they are planning to wear but I’m always way too confused to tell them, and they end up wearing what they want to anyway. My opinion has a very poor track record. I think that they both would admit to clothes presenting them with some degree of a problem in their life (Why do I have so many? Where do I store them all? Why is my dry cleaning bill so high? Etc…) and that is where my bottom line comes in. Clothing should not be making life any more difficult than it already is.

Clothes should not be a problem, unless, of course, you don’t have any. That’s a problem, but it’s solved fairly easily. Do you know that there is a glut of clothing in the world? Do you realize that most of the stuff we donate to Goodwill ends up in the landfill? It’s alarming, really. But if you have clothing, don’t stress out over it. Wear it, take care of it and keep it clean. Smile and be kind no matter what you’re wearing and hope that’s what people remember most about you. And you will occasionally look good – it happens to all of us. Just sayin’…

Side note: Does anyone want a nearly new pair of Lands End board shorts, size 16W, in black? I found them last night when we were walking along the street. I think they blew off someone’s boat. It’s really easy to find clothing around here.

A Day in which I Wore a Dress

I have a closet full of clothes.  Some of them I wear almost every week. Some of them I haven’t worn for a long time but I have memories of them as favorites, or I have memories of how much I paid for them that keep me from giving them away.  Since I am engaged in the long term project of downsizing, today I decided to wear a dress and make a decision. Does it go or does it stay?

This has been a good day to wear a dress because I intended to stay inside and write.  A dress is good for writing.  There isn’t a lot else to be done in a dress, comfortably.  I often wonder how our pioneer ancestors walked across the country in dresses, not to speak of all the things they usually wore under their dresses to complicate things. I know some of them probably put on a pair of pants if they could find some to fit, but I’m also thinking that pants might not have been all that great back then either.

So, in my dress, which I bought at a garage sale a couple years ago, I sat and wrote all morning.  The writing was productive and the dress kept me from getting distracted and going outside. But I gradually got the “knowing” feeling. The dress was not “me”. I took it off and put it in the box to go to Goodwill. It was a useful exercise in paring down.

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If I had fewer clothes I would have fewer decisions and wouldn’t that be nice?

Fashionable Me

the lucky ones that get to go to a new home (where someone will wear them)
the lucky ones that get to go to a new home (where someone will wear them)

Home improvements have temporarily deprived me of a closet. All my clothes are stacked on chairs in the room that’s become my bedroom. It’s the perfect time to implement the “tidying up” principle and get rid of clothing that doesn’t make me happy (read about that here). Today I am picking up each piece and asking myself if it goes or stays. There’s something very revealing about the process. As I listen to my self talk, I hear this person who has trouble letting go…

  • this one fits, I wonder if I can get that stain out, keep
  • that one was just what I needed (that one time three years ago), keep
  • hate this color, but wow, no stains, have to keep it.
  • where has this been? how come I’m not wearing this! Wear tomorrow, keep
  • this always makes me so hot, but what if I move north, better keep
  • this one never shrinks or shows dirt, keeper for sure (never wear it)
  • I paid for this one new, can’t give it away yet (never wear it)
  • my daughter gave me this (sob), fits her so nice (not me) keep
  • nice blouse (not for me) maybe mom would wear it, keep
  • cute but what was I thinking, I’m not 20 anymore, maybe daughter would wear, keep
  • this might go under something (couldn’t ever wear by itself), keep
  • love this one (nearly broke arm getting out of it 😦 ) keep
  • I look so good in this one, can stitch up the hole, maybe, keep
  • I love the way this one feels (one day a year in Florida…), keep
  • my favorite color, except for the stain, keep and wear for dirty work
  • this seemed like a great idea when I was in Cambodia, might go again, keep
  • I know there must have been a reason I bought this, keep

Funny thing, the happiness factor hardly ever enters my mind when it comes to clothing. It’s so much more about serviceability and protection and staying on comfortably. Not that I don’t appreciate a little color and style on occasion, just sayin’…

So what does your closet look like? Have you tidied up lately?