handmade wardrobe: slow fashion october 2018 week 2 recap

look look, i made a coat!

it’s time for the week 2 recap of slow fashion october! the actions and prompts this week were focused on going through our actual closets and taking stock of what’s in them (but just looking for now, not removing anything), which is definitely an interesting process for me. i am categorically not a minimalist (and actually have some pretty strong feelings about that whole concept, which are largely conveniently articulated in this article), and while i appreciate clearing out old items every once in a while to move on through clothing swaps or to some of the local shelter stores, i generally have a hard time letting go of any physical items. i attribute and attach a lot of emotional energy into items, and live amongst a series of nests that i generally don’t want other people to touch. like, i once had a meltdown when my girlfriend at the time tried to help me reorganize my room and i went slightly catatonic - literally - for a few hours. which extends to my clothes! whee! in all reality, the logistics of living in a climate that has extreme seasons and an annual shift of 80-90 degrees celsius within any 12-month period also requires having a broader range of layers to play with. and my queer identity is largely articulated through my clothes, and my business is literally fibre, so i honestly have no interest in curating a “capsule wardrobe.” but i do like having mini capsules and a closet that’s easy to coordinate for work and travel and play, so let’s get started with seeing how well that’s being accomplished currently!

what is the oldest or the most treasured thing in your closet? i haven’t actually been able to find them since i moved into my new house, but my mum gave me her thigh-high wool legwarmers a while ago and they’re my favourite winter layer. i’m still unpacking and trying to find them, and desperately hoping they didn’t end up in some box my ex took when we split. dude, if you’re reading this (or someone who communicates with him), i’d like them back please.

what is the item you wear the most? why? definitely my 10-year-old pashmina. i don’t even know why it’s become my most consistent item, but in the past decade, you can find photos from any year and i’m probably wearing it. my high school choir teacher actually bought it from a street vendor in new york city when we went for an arts trip for $5 and she gave it to me as a gift while we were there. i fucking love it.

are there any "investment pieces"? how did that work out? actually most of my clothing from the past 4 years or so would be investment pieces. i typically buy nicer fabric to sew with (because i know i’ll be happier with $100 worth of linen than $30 worth of polyester aka plastic). i’m very fortunate to be in a position to choose to prioritize higher quality clothing, although to be completely honest, i’m shocked every time i go to large stores these days because there’s not actually a huge gap anymore between higher quality independently made clothes and fast fashion. most of my clothes that are regularly worn these days are either a minimum of 8 years old, made by me, or made by people i know personally. the one area i tend to not invest is in undies, because i’ve found very little difference between cheap black lace and midrange black lace, so unless i know the labour practices of the company i’m purchasing from, i don’t pay extra money because it’s not going to the people doing the actual work anyway. and i can’t afford those luxury brands. so my next solution is sourcing deadstock lace and making my own!

does anything still have the tags on it? why? i think the only item that would semi-qualify here is that fancy dress i mentioned in my last post. but the tag is long gone.

how much is handmade, hand-me-down or has some other personal meaning? basically everything except my yoga clothes, and those are all very well worn at this point (haven’t bought anything new in that arena for at least 5 years and what i do have was manufactured in canada using higher quality fabrics so they still work great). oh, and my base layers (undies and tights, which i’m starting to finally get around to replacing with handmade options).

how does what’s in your closet align with the mood board you made about how you would actually like to dress? in what ways are they the same/different? i actually made a mood board for seamwork’s design your wardrobe first challenge earlier this year, and i’m happy to say that my wardrobe has really shifted over the summer to reflect how i want to dress. my style is a little less polished than some of the outfits on the mood board, and honestly some of those “slouchy” pants would look ridiculous on my hips, but overall i’m happy. also, i have more tattoos generally, although there are always more to add. the next step is adding in more polished black lace.

how do the colors align with the color palette you made? i don’t believe in adding colours that i wouldn’t reach for immediately, so my palette at this point is very established which makes me happy, because it makes laundry a hell of a lot easier.

how do the clothes align with your lifestyle and climate? pretty well. climate change is making our extreme weather even more extreme, so the couple of -40 days from years ago are now lasting for two weeks at a time while +42 with the humidex is rearing its ugly head in the summer. adding my ogden tanks and gypsum skirts this summer made the humidity a lot easier to live with (the gypsum is the perfect length, although i might add some more crop tops for next summer), and they’re proving easy to layer so far with the cold and snow starting to appear. the trickiest part is having layers that my body, which sucks at regulating temperature at the best of times, can stay comfortable in. i’m hoping my aspen mitts work as well as i think they will this winter, and if need be i have my mum’s leather gauntlets as back-up. winter usually sees me in an average of 4-5 upper body layers, plus 3 shawls/cowls around my neck and fur around my face. curating a wardrobe of multiples definitely helps with travel because it takes some guesswork out of things. i’ll let you know how it goes when i head to the maritimes in december though. that’ll be a good test of everything.

what percentage of your closet feels like YOU? of the items i wear on a regular basis, i’d say 90%. of my overall closet, probably 50%. but on some days, those other items are the only things that feel accurate, so it’s important to keep some transitional items around. i don’t wear plaid often, but some days i just want a racerback tank with a plaid button-up and old jeans on my body.