One of the things we do together on this blog is analyze outfits. As a forever-student of fashion I’m fascinated by how fashion feeds us, soothes us, brings excitement and vitality to us. Clothing items put together in outfits are little miracle workers. They can make us feel confident even while we’re lacking confidence. They can lift our spirits when we’re feeling low. They can demonstrate our happiness and enthusiasm about life when we’re feeling happy and enthusiastic. There’s hardly a more wonderful tool in our toolbox for life than choosing which clothes to wear on our backs.
So here’s an outfit I’m curious about. It’s an outfit I wore for days in a row during the Wine Country fires while we were evacuated from our Sonoma home and staying with friends in Mill Valley. The psychology of that outfit has me pondering. I’m still trying to sort it out and I think your experiences in life will help me do that.
Back in the house and doing laundry
When we got back into our home after several days of being away, I was happy to be doing laundry. I washed two core pieces of that outfit I wore for days in a row: a pair of distressed jeans and a man’s T-shirt in a similar color.
With our fashion analyzing hat on, here’s what you need to know about these two pieces.
I’ve had the KUT from the Cloth distressed jeans for many months. They have that look like they’ve gone through the washer a thousand times. They’re a boyfriend cut so they have a relaxed fit.
The other piece is a cotton V-neck T-shirt that I spotted near the checkout line one day at TJ Maxx. I loved the loose fit of this T-shirt but mostly I LOVED the color, kind of a gray-blue. It struck me as so calming. The loose-but-not-baggy fit made it perfect for a writing day at home outfit. And if I wanted to head out to do my usual run of Staples, Starbucks, and seeing Phil, my acupuncturist on a Friday afternoon, I could add a cute scarf and a fun jacket to it and be chic enough.
That day back home when I was laundering these two pieces, I had a feeling of thankfulness. Those two unsuspecting, humble clothing pieces were the most comfortable, soothing items to me at a time when I was on pins and needles day and night.
I need to mention one other piece that I wore during that time and that’s a shawl-collared cashmere cardigan that was also a TJ Maxx purchase some years ago. There’s a picture of me (above) wearing it with plaids and checks and a bling necklace. I call it my grandpa sweater because it’s so darn cozy and old-fashioned looking. It was chilly in the mornings and evenings in Mill Valley where we were staying and that soft gray sweater melted into the other pieces for a trifecta of comfort.
What do these three pieces have in common?
So what have I observed about that trifecta-of-comfort outfit that I wore in public in broad daylight in Mill Valley, a outfit that would never leave the house like that if I were in Sonoma?
The three pieces are:
Basically monochromatic, only the slightest of changes in hue between them
Plain; really low on texture
I was wearing lipstick most days but no makeup and no accessories.
If that outfit was food it would be mashed potatoes, white bread, or Tapioca pudding from a college cafeteria.
You know me; I love having fun with fashion. My Instagram feed is full of pictures of me doing just that. But what I needed now from my clothes was solace, an absence of stimulation, and a way to block input. I was maxed out and couldn’t let more in. My pretty, sparkly, fun clothes were of no use to me now.
So here’s the thing I love: That plain outfit gave me exactly what I needed! And I’m so grateful!
Getting back to normal
I’m back to wearing clothes again like normal. I can handle wearing sparkles, mixed prints, multiple accessories, and rich colors. If you saw me somewhere, you’d recognize me for sure. I’m out there having fun with stripes.
Or seeing how many ways I can bring the color merlot into an outfit.
Or pondering new ways to wear my mushroom colored Calleen Cordero bag now that I’ve made it easier to find things in it.
The fashion wheels are turning again.
I need your help please
So here’s how you can bring your wisdom and experience to this post. In general I’m thinking about how clothes give us what we need but sometimes in unexpected ways. Are there times when you need an outfit that will disappear on purpose? Are there times in your life when you just don’t have the energy to think about clothes? Maybe it’s when you need to cocoon or recover from something? When do you need outfits like that and what do they look like? What do they have in common with the outfit I wore for days in a row?
I can’t wait to hear your fashion musings and words of wisdom!