Friday, 28 October 2011

A Second Lesson

Another lesson that I have learned through this year's October Dress Project is that my tendency is to define 'needs' too loosely.

I have included below a list that I had been composing in the six months leading up to this October (I missed last year's Project so it wasn't really very fresh in my mind). This list was/is an attempt to limit the amount of frivolous money I spend on clothes by trying to carefully delineate EXACTLY what I was looking for in a wardrobe, down to the colours and styles of the items I felt were necessities. I edited this list carefully, pruning and tweaking as I felt the need, and felt pretty happy with the final product that you see below.*

In fact, I'm still pretty happy with it, but I look at it in a different way now than I did before the October Dress Project 2011. I've used this list when shopping, and kept a tally of the things I still 'need'. This is the thing, though-- looking at it now, after a month of wearing the same thing every day, it seems pretty extravagant.

I'm not sure it actually is. After all, I want to be able to be gracefully and appropriately dressed for whatever occasions my life brings up, and it is often true during the ODP that one doesn't feel quite appropriately dressed, don't you think? But I'm going to be more careful, after this month, to refer to the items on this list as things I need. A little mantra of, "One dress for weekdays and one for Sunday" will be skipping through my head to remind me to be careful how I define necessity.

1 winter formal dress, knee-length, blue, fitted so it can be layered and warm enough that it needn’t be
1 summer formal dress, knee-length, shell pink, light enough for dancing in
1 grey formal cardigan in a tone that will match both summer and winter dresses
1 pr. black formal heels, simple and elegant
1 vintage silver clutch to hold a few essentials

1 black winterweight dress, knee-length with fitted sleeves for layering
1 red winterweight dress, knee-length with fitted sleeves for layering
1 white summerweight dress, light and airy, knee-length.
1 yellow summerweight dress, light and airy, knee-length
1 transitional shirtdress, knee-length, blue-and-white striped
1 transitional tunic, navy, good for layering

2 winterweight flannel button shirts
2 winterweight jersey long-sleeve shirts, black and forest green
2 winterweight blouses, white and forest green (silk is nicest)
4 cardigans/pullover sweaters in a range of colours
2 summerweight cotton t-shirts, white and navy
2 summerweight sleeveless tops, shell pink and blue
2 summerweight short-sleeve blouses, white and red, (silk is nicest)

1 pr. black leggings
2 prs. shorts, one camel and one jean
2 prs. Levi's straight-leg jeans, dark wash
2 knee-length skirts, high-waisted, navy and red

1 pr. snow boots, shearling-lined for warmth
1 pr. brown leather dress boots, riding style
1 pr. black leather jazz shoes
1 pr. leather sandals
1 pr. suede moccasins
1 pr. hiking/work boots
1 pr. slippers (fur-lined for winter)

1 watch, ladylike and old-fashioned
1 leather belt, basketweave
1 mid-size leather purse for everyday use
1 small leather clutch, large enough for wallet, keys, phone, and sunglasses
1 canvas tote for beach, etc.
1 canvas duffel bag for overnight trips
1 pr. tortoiseshell sunglasses, vintage shape
1 swimsuit, navy or forest green, vintage-style one-piece
3 necklaces (1 statement, 1 pearl, 1 silver cross)
1 green silk scarf

1 goosedown parka, forest green or navy
1 black wool peacoat, suitable for formal occasions
1 raincoat/trench
1 black leather jacket
1 autumn coat, shearling-lined
1 wool hat
1 pr. wool mittens
1 pr. leather gloves
1 wool scarf
1 fur stole

*I didn't include the underclothing portions of the list, as I felt that would be kind of awkward in the public domain like this, but it is that thorough of a list. I also have a smaller maternity list in the works.

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