So, it’s fairly obvious from my Instagram feed that we jetted town last week, a spur-of-the-moment adventure that didn’t involve scheduled work for either of us, which basically never happens. I don’t know, maybe Ken and I are growing up? Maybe we’re growing wise and gray and the next step is another minivan or maybe crossword puzzles? I mean, here it was mid-February and we’d found ourselves rummaging through the house to gather a random assortment of travel-sized deodorant and might-be-spoiled-when-we-return cauliflower and clean socks, throwing it all into the back of the van just in time to get the heck out of dodge before the great Midwestern blizzard arrived.
The trek was a success (sunshine, I miss thee), yet it did require bending my own Wardrobe 25 rules a bit, for comfort’s sake. Mock turtlenecks and snow boots simply won’t do in 70 degree weather, will it?
Funnily enough, I pulled just four summer items from storage and mixed them into my current winter wardrobe, and poof, packing was finished. Perhaps minimalism begets minimalism. Perhaps this Wardrobe 25 experiment is sinking in for me.
Anyway, we’re home now and the lower-than-low temps are back with a vengeance and I’m writing this by the fire to thaw my toes while a pot of chili bubbles on the stove one room over. Want to see this week’s winter-friendly line-up of outfits? Much obliged:
And OK, here’s the deal with these posts, this Wardrobe 25 thing. My hope is not that these photos, these outfits, these clothes will set a standard; some unspoken expectation for a uniform that begs homogeneity or a heightened bar. Instead, I know this, from where I sit:
Less, for me, has become a path to so much more. It has become a path to less laundering, less purchasing, less numbing, less managing. It has become a path to more, and when I talk about how I rid my closet of 80% of its excess, I’m often asked how that is possible, especially for those with a love for personal style or wardrobe creativity. What does it look like? How does it work?
And so, these are just a few examples of more, from less. It’s a case for maximizing; for making the most with what we have so we can free the excess; rid the extra. It’s a statement, a simple song that declares, there is enough.
I often wonder if this new minimalism trend could have possibly taken root if our generation had lived through the Great Depression. Last week, I chatted with a family friend who lived in a household where everything was saved, collected, re-purposed, stockpiled. It was a time of not enough. It was a time of without. And now that there is enough, that there is too much, she feels frozen with fear, one rash decision or market crash or curveball away from without.
Ashes to ashes.
My own mother was/is an excellent purger. She’s ruthless in the sense that she is on a continuous quest to eliminate clutter that has no place in her home, or life. I learned from her. I learned the golden rule of organization: Everything has a place; everything in its place.
Dust to dust.
I suppose what I’m getting at is that I don’t think any of this matters. The amount of things we keep, the amount of dry goods we store, the amount of shoes that line our entryway bench. We all peer at life from different perspectives and we all have natural tendencies to collect baggage as we move through life – some out of fear, others out of habit.
Less has been freeing for me, in a lot of ways. Mostly it’s kept me from spending precious time on the meaningless: shopping, amassing, stuffing.
But also, it’s something else. It’s a practice of intention, of choice. Of deciding that I have enough, and of carving out white space and fiercely protecting it from little black dresses.
I like to think I’ve learned. I like to think that – next time I have a free Saturday afternoon – I won’t hightail it to Target to pick up hot dogs and wind up with three throw pillows and a new shade of nail polish.
But I know that’s not true. I know I am flawed, and selfish, and that there is an undercurrent of greed and desire running right alongside my heartbeat.
And so, my hope is that these posts will be reminders, for me mostly, that boundaries offer creative leaps. Less can amount to more. Fewer can be better. And that restrictions, and restraints, and small bouts of self-control can awaken quite a bit of unseen beauty; unrealized simplicity.
Ashes to ashes.
Dust to dust.