I like my life organised all the time but most specifically before the start of a new year and, for me, that most definitely includes wardrobes. For the first time in quite a few years all of my clothes have to live in just one house, and I had to fit everything back in to one dressing room so this year it was a bit of a big job. I do a wardrobe re-organise every December but this one was different, and not just because of moving clothes between houses, it made me re-assess my approach to fashion … again.
In 2020 I wrote about the day my dissatisfaction with fashion found a voice in My (Fashion) Story and decided I needed to find my fashion joy again. I stopped buying new clothes and dove back into op shops and vintage stores, it was second hand all the way for me! I haven’t bought a new piece of clothing since 2020 (except for one dress specific piece of underwear for an event, and why two handbags were excluded from this rule is a long story)but this year I found that I still haven’t re-discovered the joy I once felt in fashion. I thought I had, but this mammoth task left me feeling both over and under whelmed. Funnily, this feeling of over/under whelm made me want to sneak off to a second-hand store for some quiet contemplative time by myself so it is not hard to see how the size of this job got so big.
I was overwhelmed by the sheer size of the task. I would love to say the pictures tell the whole story but there is a knitwear storage system under the bed, coats stored in a separate wardrobe, and you can’t see all the shoes without me showing you the beloved’s slightly less organised part of the dressing room. I actually love the task of organising and tending to a wardrobe, but this was big and I realised I actually can’t fit much (potentially anything) more in. I was overwhelmed by the finality of that thought, is this it or do I need to let go of something??
I was also overwhelmed by the memories, where each piece came from and where it had been worn. This was a lovely kind of overwhelm, and at moments was a little sad, but it did remind me of how important each piece is, and it is not the piece of clothing or the price or the designer (though with my YSL jacket it is just a little bit about the designer) but the story that it holds that is really the most important thing about it. It was also the number of shoes, bags, jackets, pants, accessories and oddly dresses for someone that doesn’t really wear many dresses, that was overwhelming (not just the task of organising them). They are a very visual representation of my life, they are my story, but they also represent a lot of time and a lot of money.
While being so overwhelmed by the clothes, the memories and all the things these items say about me I did manage to squeeze in some underwhelm as well. I was a bit underwhelmed by my own style! I know that clothes belong on bodies to really sing and tell their stories but all hanging there it all looked a bit boring, too safe.
Why are there so few black pants when I literally crave them and even spend time thinking about the perfect black trouser?
Why is there so little colour? Have I become ridiculously drab?
Is the story these clothes are telling the story I really want them to tell?
Has all that time and money been a waste?
Something I had already been thinking about was not buying anything at all for a while, but this wardrobe reorganise has pushed me over the edge (in so many ways) and that led me back to the overwhelm. Overwhelmed by not buying anything at all. ANYTHING could happen and what if I don’t have the right outfit??? How that scenario could even happen when you own this many things, have a gorgeous studio and the ability to sew I don’t know but I intend to worry about it any way.
So yes, my decision is being driven by there just being too much (very lovely and meaningful) stuff, it is being driven by the need to keep working on my relationship with fashion. So maybe heading back to the clothes I already own and the things I can make myself is the way forward for 2024. I don’t honestly believe I can stay out of a second-hand store for much longer than a year, but this year should give me time to explore my creativity, make a pair of black pants and find some bloody colour.
P.S. I just looked back on My (Fashion) Story and oddly today I am wearing the giant man pants again (they were a lockdown favourite and are unfortunately now a bit worse for wear) and I still own all of the pieces of clothing from that original post. Clothes that mean something really do have a long (literal) shelf-life.