This One's For The Ladies (well more than likely)
Agreed, ok, well the secret is this or I suppose it’s really an admission and probably one of guilt if I dig deep enough – I have too many clothes – pardon? I said I have too many clothes – I’m sorry did I hear that correctly? Ok, ok - I have too many clothes!
There I said it, words I never thought I’d utter ….. excuse me for a moment I feel quite ill and I need to lay down.
Right I am back, now where was I …. Oh yes too many clothes? Well clearly that’s absolute rubbish, a gal can never have too many clothes, diamonds and shoes, I have no idea why I would say such a ridiculous statement.
But let me tell you why I think I might have thought such a crazy thing. I have been travelling back to the UK quite frequently this past 12 months or so and naturally enough I always take the full luggage allowance and even pay for additional pieces if necessary.
A tad selfish taking all that space, in my defense I do tend to have presents for my ankle-biter nephews and niece, whom are no longer ankle-biterish. However I digress, I have been staying for some weeks at a time and during that time I find I am constrained by a finite wardrobe. Even though I pack for every eventuality when travelling to the UK (see Taming Your Tiara Temptation) due to the weather. And herein lies the issue/discovery/realization. Each morning after exercising my sartorial decision is based on a set number of outfits and the weather! That’s it. Yes of course I have different items depending on whether it’s walking the dogs, entertaining said ankle-biters or lunching with girlfriends – but the choice is finite!
And do you know how much easier it is, how less stressful it is!!??!!
I don’t know about you chaps, but I have a wardrobe for every activity, walking the hound, going running, participating in horsey events, going to the office, working from home, lounging in the evening, doing my ablutions (a SoffiaB dressing gown of course, did you really have to ask!?!), going out for lunch with friends, going out to dinner, weekend wear at home, gardening gear, exercise outfits, girl’s night out, going out for drinks, cocktail attire, black tie naturally, a wardrobe for Cape Cod and Suffolk, one for Los Angeles, one for Miami …… I have 4 bikinis that I am waiting to wear because I haven’t travelled to Miami or the islands for a while now and oh yes there’s the skiing wardrobe too. You get the picture, non?
I used to think this showed efficiency and organization, I knew which wardrobe to go to for which activity and I certainly wouldn’t have any difficulty deciding what to wear and I’d always have the “right” clothes for where and when.
But there are a number of difficulties for us mere mortals in this thinking. First of all closets, wardrobes, additional bedrooms, storage boxes. Yes space, this is where long-suffering fiancé comes in. Where to put all these wonderful clothes, he built me a superb walk-in closet that was the nursery, off the master bedroom and it takes about a sixth of my clothes, maybe.
Secondly, packing is a nightmare because making decisions on what to take and what to leave behind – yikes, dreadful! So everything goes, hence all the suitcases. It gives me peace of mind and of course I wear probably twenty percent of what I take.
Except for one instance last Christmas time we were going to a dinner party at dear friend’s house, she always lives in drafty, old houses, that are freezing and her current one was no exception. So instead of packing the new, gorgeous Helmut Lang leather dress I’d bought (on sale I might add) I sensibly packed a lovely soft grey asymmetrical cashmere sweater and satin cargo pants.
Of course when we arrived there were 6 other couples, the furnace had been on all day, the fire was roaring in the grate and I sat and melted the entire evening! What a twit, should have brought the dress and to make matters worse all the other ladies were in dresses too!
My friend, not surprisingly thought it was hilariously funny, but she wasn’t the one smelling like wet sheep or Mongolian goat to be precise. It was a fabulous evening and joking aside you can’t beat cashmere for warmth or breathability, but let me tell you this year, she’s moved to another typical small roomed, low ceilinged English cottage with a wood burning fire in the drawing room. The dress is coming with me and will be worn!!!
Which brings me to my third point. We shouldn’t be consumed by what we wear, although clothes are a passion and a beautiful one, we should think about what it takes to make all these clothes and perhaps adhere to the old adage “less is more”, buy fewer, better made clothes. And whilst my charity of choice gets regular, rather nice donations, that’s really missing the point.
My sister has always been somewhat dismissive of my clothing ardor and seems to be able to have that capsule wardrobe that she mixes and matches really quite well. When leaving for the UK this last trip I called her a few days before and said “what shall I bring?” Meaning what’s the weather doing? She replied “a couple of pairs of trousers, some shirts, a nice dress and a couple of lightweight jackets”. I cackled like a hyena, to me it sounded like packing advice from the Women’s Institute circa 1950s.
However, as I was winging my way over the Atlantic I remembered a navy twill, military style jacket and a khaki, chino fitted jacket with ruffled trim that were at home in the Spring casual wardrobe - both were perfect examples of, yep you guessed it, lightweight jackets.
Here’s a very short, wee thingy put together by Boden which I have to say just asks a few simple questions to help you get to the bottom of your closet and wardrobe.
Look Gorgeous, Feel Fabulous - Sophie