Oh children, we've lost another of the greats: Christopher Lee. His passing is sad and yet he achieved the age of 93, certainly nothing at which to sneeze. Please do "google" him to learn about his life and by all means, listen to some of his heavy metal Christmas songs. Oh yes children, Sir Christopher Lee sang metal! Christmas! songs!
A couple of weeks ago I (re)connected with a first cousin on Facebook who has done a lot of leg work on our mothers' side of the family history (cousin Beth's mother and mine were sisters). Have you heard about the DNA test that Ancestry.com offers? It's something I had wanted to accomplish but $99 is not pocket change (for me). Luckily cousin Beth has already submitted a sample and received results. Joyously, I discovered that we have some Irish and Scottish blood flowing in our veins. I cannot adequately describe to you how utterly happy this makes me. I have never revealed to anyone what I'm about to type, however I have yearned to be Celtic ever since I discovered the culture in my youth. I've been drawn to all things Irish and Scottish ever since I can remember--maybe the ancestry is why? Here's my breakdown:
I am 99% European (which does not surprise me) and <1% Asian Central (this DID surprise me). Asia Central is defined as Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, etc.
My 99% European category falls as such:
Great Britain 60% (defined here as England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland)
Europe West 6%
Finland/NW Russia 3%
Iberian Peninsula <1%
The results from the DNA test are terribly interesting and I highly recommend saving up your pesos to have it done.
I've taken to wearing my hair in a segmented ponytail...like, every day. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, and a gentle segmented ponytail seems to be less stressful for my hair than twisted up & secured with a clip (which gives me a slight headache by day's end). Still, it's a bit boring, isn't it. Honestly, for about a month now I've been thinking of getting a chop. I even tried twice to make an appointment last week; called the salon (where my scissor lady works) with no luck. Nobody answered the first time and the second time I was told to call back later because nobody was there. (Um, then who answered the phone???) Then this week, knowing my scissor lady is only available on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, I called Wednesday morning around 10:30, thinking surely...but again, nobody answered. It's like the universe wants me to keep my long hair. Or that salon has shite customer service. *sigh* I have an alternative, should I really want to cut off my length. My good friend Laura has recommended her scissor lady to me, and I trust her judgement. But it means breaking in someone new which brings a slight sense of dread upon me. I know--it's only hair. Maybe I'll give my scissor lady one last chance.
The capsule wardrobe movement continues to gain momentum.
Fast fashion deserves criticism. And our culture’s obsession with ever-changing fashion trends is an artificial pursuit manufactured by those who benefit from it.
The capsule wardrobe movement is far from mainstream. But, elevated in the social consciousness by some high-profile personalities, more and more people are applying minimalist principles to their fashion.
Many people outside the movement remain skeptical. They wonder why anybody would intentionally choose to wear the same outfit every day—especially when financial resources are not in question.
Evaluating my personal experience with a minimal wardrobe and studying recent profiles in various publications, I have created this list of reasons.
If you have ever wondered why some successful people choose to wear the same outfit everyday, or better yet, if you are considering adopting a more streamlined wardrobe yourself, here are 8 convincing reasons:
1. Fewer decisions. Decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision making. For people who make significant decisions every day, the removal of even one—choosing clothes in the morning—leaves them with more mental space and better productivity throughout the day.
This forms the basis for President Barack Obama’s limited fashion options, “You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.” Mark Zuckerberg cites similar rationale. One less frivolous decision in the morning leads to better decisions on things that really matter.
2. Less time wasted. We have no idea how much of a burden our possessions have become until we begin to remove them. But when we do, we immediately discover a new life of freedom and opportunity. It was almost five years ago that I first experimented with Project 333—a personal challenge of wearing only 33 articles of clothing for a period of 3 months. The project is simple, life-changing, and wildly beneficial. I quickly discovered one of the greatest benefits of limiting my wardrobe: the gift of time. Getting ready in the morning became easier, quicker, and more efficient.
3. Less stress. Matilda Kahl, an art director in New York cites both decision fatigue and less time getting ready as her reason for wearing the same outfit everyday. But she adds another: less stress—specifically, less stress during the day over the decision she originally made in the morning. “Is this too formal? Is that too out there? Is this dress too short? Almost always, I’d choose something to wear I regretted as soon as I hit the subway platform.” But now, in her trademark silk white shirt and black trousers, she has one less source of anxiety during the day.
4. Less wasted energy. Christopher Nolan has created several of the most critically and commercially successful films of the early 21st century. But, according to New York Times Magazine, he decided long ago it was “a waste of energy to choose anew what to wear each day.” Now, he settles instead for a dark, narrow-lapeled jacket over a blue dress shirt with black trousers over sensible shoes to wear each day.
Christopher offers an important distinction when he refers to “wasted energy.” Not only do large wardrobes require more decision-making, they also require more maintenance, more organization, and more shufflng around. Additionally, while a capsule wardrobe may not result in less laundry, it does result in both easier laundry and storage.
5. Feeling put together. Denaye Barahona is a young mother in Dallas, TX. This spring, she exchanged her full, disorganized closet for a minimal wardrobe of versatile pieces she loves to wear. She summarizes the difference like this, “Pre-capsule, my wardrobe was like the Cheesecake Factory menu. It went on for days and was overwhelming. Most of my options didn’t fit right, didn’t look right, or I just plain didn’t like. On the other hand, my capsule wardrobe is like a fine-dining restaurant. I have fewer choices but I can be sure all of the choices will be amazing. Not only do I look better, I feel better.”
Easy, verstatile, and always put together. This is the promise and opportunty of a capsule wardrobe—and just one more reason the movement continues to grow.
6. Iconic. Alice Gregory is a writer living in New York City. Last year, her piece for J. Crew magazine brought a new word into my reasoning for wearing a uniform. She called it “Iconic. A cheap and easy way to feel famous.” She continues, “A uniform can be a way of performing maturity or, less charitably, impersonating it. A uniform insinuates the sort of sober priorities that ossify with age, as well as a deliberate past of editing and improving.”
Alice points out that wearing the same outfit everyday is a way of asserting your status as a protagonist. “This is the reason why characters in picture books never change their clothes: Children—like adults, if they’d only admit it—crave continuity. Adopting the habit of wearing a uniform is not unstylish—this is a classification that no longer applies.”
7. Less expense. Our closets are full of clothes and shoes purchased, but rarely worn. The average American family spends $1,700 on clothes annually. Which may not seem like a lot—until you consider that most clothing purchases are not based on need at all. In 1930, the average American woman owned nine outfits. Today, that figure is 30—one for every day of the month.
Living with a capsule wardrobe or adopting an iconic uniform removes most of the waste and expense from trial-and-error clothing purchases—not to mention all the time wasted shopping for items only to return later.
8. More peace. Last month, Drew Barrymore wrote an article for Refinery 29 highlighting her new stage of life and relationship with clothes. “For starters, I’m almost 40, and the 20s clothes don’t make sense anymore. And, after two babies, the 30s clothes don’t fit anymore. I am at a clothing crossroads, and it’s a painful one at times.” To counter these feelings, Drew put herself on a closet diet limiting her wardrobe and only buying items thoughtfully. Months later, her closet is “sane and happy.” Getting dressed is no longer a battle. And her fashion sense is “now calmer and more peaceful.”
We are a society drowning in our possessions. People are looking for freedom and rescue. They are searching for new solutions. No wonder the capsule wardrobe movement continues to grow.
Those who adopt minimalist principles in their wardrobe choices are discovering more productivity, less stress, less distraction, less expense, and more peace.
Maybe it is time you gave it a try.