Slow Fashion October Week 2: Small

Friday, October 9, 2015

I've read so many posts on this week's Slow Fashion October theme (small) that my head is spinning a little.

Slow fashion can be overwhelming. The politics! The zig-zaging implications! Everything I do is not quite enough!

Right now I'm trying to remember this is a process of growing in knowledge and awareness, of developing skills, and investing in the future. A process of learning to ignore the 40% off FINAL SALE ITEMS! ads. (Or at least learning to use them wisely, as one should.)

What I want is this: a few pairs of 100% cotton jeans, a pair or two of silk-lined wool pants, some t-shirts that don't absorb underarm fragrance, a few blouses I can wear for the rest of my life, a dress or three appropriate for all occasions and weather, a couple pairs of shorts, a handful of long-sleeved crew neck shirts, black flats, a pair of booties, a pair of tall boots (leather and, I don't know, wood and steel nails), and also to find my missing 12-year-old bulletproof acrylic cardigan with all the buttons gone. While we're at it, let's also get a whole-house water softener so I can have white shirts (...and shirts other than shades of gray).

It seems so simple. It's a pretty simple list, but for some reason making this a reality is so incredibly complicated. Right now my wardrobe contains quite a bit less than all of this, after a spring overhaul. It seems so straightforward, but have you tried finding 100% cotton jeans anywhere lately (for women--I've bought plenty of Levi's from the men's section)? I know of two companies, all with prices that mean I will wait a bit before buying a pair. I don't mind this! I will save up, but in the meantime, what do I wear? The answer is $30 (on final sale) J.Crew jeans, a shadow of their early 2000s 100% cotton former selves. ("Dear Jenna...") These jeans feel like shadows, so thin, so wispy with their tiny spandex threads. This is how it goes. I buy stop-gap clothing or do without until I find and can pay for what really fits into my life and wardrobe.

Making clothing to fulfil this wishlist also seems pretty simple, except that it's not. It takes skills that I am still developing to figure out which patterns will look good on my frame. It takes knowledge I'm still gathering to know which fabric and color will flatter and fit and work well in each season and with the clothing I already have and hope to have. It takes planning and thought and time. It's a lot of work.

When I see lovely capsule wardrobes, so complete, so whole, I have to remind myself that for me this is a process, a slow, small, one-thing-at-a-time process. The gratification is drawn out. When I see wardrobes in their "simple" completeness on Pinterest, I want it all! With a click of a button! But really, what I want is to enjoy the process, to get enjoyment from building something of value. I've been at this since I was a kid, and I'm still not there, but this is clothing we're talking about. Clothing wears out, needs to be repaired and replaced. I'm remembering this week that a wardrobe is a dynamic thing, if not living and breathing, then at least moving, changing constantly in one way or another, and the whole thing should--and can--be interesting and fun.


  1. It is overwhelming! So far Slow Fashion October has been so inspiring, but also overwhelming. :) And I agree, a good wardrobe takes time.

    1. Yes, so inspiring! I just read your week 2 post. Ginger jeans! I'm looking forward to reading about that adventure. :)


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