handmade wardrobe: slow fashion october 2018 week 3 recap
we’re past the halfway point now for slow fashion october, with just one recap left to go after this one. i hope you’ve been enjoying the conversations! if you’re working knitting into your slow fashion practice, consider joining us for the #bekindkal - it’s running until december 15 and there are prizes for participation! ok, time to move on with this week’s discussion topics.
do you, broadly speaking, have what you need for various situations (work/exercise/travel/going out/etc) and seasons? going out/fancier clothes are probably my main gap at the moment. i do have a couple of dresses that can fit in here, so maybe i just need to make some new knit accessories to freshen them up and a fresh pair of tights that don’t have runs in them (and sew some nicer underwear sets to go underneath). most of my wardrobe has been curated to easily transfer between hikes, teaching, farm visits, coffee dates in the city, all my normal experiences. and since my travel usually revolves around those same activities, i’m pretty solid there. my exercise clothes are primarily from my physical theatre days, and honestly these days don’t get a lot of use because i can’t afford a yoga membership (and also haven’t found a good space in my city where the politics around yoga are actively being addressed - i’m super uncomfortable practicing with people who think that an event called “namaslay” could ever be a good idea). so they’re ready for use, and in the meantime don’t really have gaps except maybe some extra pairs of ski socks.
seasons are their own beast - i live in a city that annually experiences temperature ranges of 80-90 degrees celsius. my wardrobe is entirely built around the ability to layer items. when it’s super hot, probably i’d like some extra crop tops/bralettes to go along with my skirts, but really i just don’t want clothes at that point period. winter is the most frustrating - i have legwarmers on my to-knit list, need to mend my mukluks so they have a thicker sole and are waterproofed again, probably need a thicker hat, and need to invest in locally made moccasins for my house so i don’t get chilled from the floorboards. i feel like winter is the season where there’s always something major missing from my wardrobe, probably just because i’m always cold and -40 makes it harder for me to function (literally, my joints get super stiff).
do you have too much of one sort of thing and not enough of another? not really, i addressed most of those gaps with sewing through the summer. earlier in the year i had a lot of dresses but not many tops, so my pants were generally just sitting in my closet. my week’s worth of ogdens solved that issue.
how many outfits can you make out of what’s in your closet that will work for your day-to-day right now? if i’m doing laundry, a month’s worth. without laundry and duplicates, 10-14 days before i start to feel like i’m not reaching for items that feel like “me.” as a maker and queer femme whose identity and expression of self strongly centres around my wardrobe, just having a physical number of items in my wardrobe doesn’t equate to that same number of outfits that i’m comfortable wearing on a regular basis. i have a week’s worth of plaid shirts that don’t normally get worn, for example, but when they do get pulled out, nothing else feels right.
what’s missing that would allow you to make more combinations from your current clothes? a pair of pants that would go with a large number of your tops, or a top that would connect your cardigans/jackets with your bottoms? a sweater to help your dresses span more seasons? is there something you love but don’t wear simply because you don’t have the right ___ to go with it? would that item also make other garments more useful? i used to have a pair of skinny black jeans that my roommate at the time gave to me after she was done with them, and i loved them. eventually they wore out, and i’ve had that gap in my wardrobe ever since. i think sewing a pair of gingers in black denim would close that gap, which is more of an emotional gap than an actual major gap. and maybe knitting a slightly drapier cardigan. i don’t need anything new, but i enjoy sewing new items and stretching my skills in that area, and photoshoots for my designs help provide context for that. in that arena, i’d like to add more prints to my wardrobe so that i can practice matching prints, and i’d like to work with different fabrics to practice different finishing techniques, so lighter fabrics with more transparency are on my to-sew list (a lace harriet should help with this, and maybe some silk pjs). also maybe sewing a waterproof kelly anorak out of oilskin for trips to wetter climates.
did your mood board or any garments you unearthed give you ideas about new ways to combine your clothes? it’s been a little while since i wore vests, so that might get started again now that true layering weather has kicked in. i’m pretty comfortable with my current daily style, so i don’t feel like the gaps are ones to be solved by different combinations. i solve that issue pretty easily by having a palette that easily allows combinations and always having layers on anyway.
are any of your “maybes" near-misses that could by dyed/altered/refashioned to fill those holes? i have a few longer (3/4) sleeve shirts that rarely get worn because of my body’s inability to regulate temperature properly. they’re also sort of plain, so depending on the bottoms i pair them with sometimes they feel too normal. every once in a while i think about doing some embroidery on them to spruce them up a bit. maybe i’ll do that at some point.
do you have accessories you can use to change things up? accessories are definitely not the issue, i have knitwear up the wazoo. especially shawls. although i suppose that’s also the space where i feel like i’ve never quite made the perfect item. most of my first-layer knits (not the winter ones that are worn for both necessity and aesthetics around my main winter parka) don’t get worn that frequently, maybe because i’m always pushing myself on to the next big thing?
do you maintain a running inventory of some sort to keep you on track as you add over time? i try to do this, but usually i start using a system and then fall off the bandwagon and don’t pick it back up. honestly the best method of keeping track is seeing my laundry on the drying rack and identifying what’s always in rotation. and then tracking those moments when i’m feeling like something is missing, and whether that’s because the item exists already and is just in the laundry or if it’s a day where nothing quite fits. i’m actually super curious about whether straight/cis people experience similar dysphoria from their wardrobe in the same or similar way that queers do. clothing that accurately reflects your gender identity and desired presentation, and fits your body in the way you want it to, especially when your gender is fluid, becomes a lot more than just “oh, i don’t feel like wearing that shirt today.” and your ability to dress how you want without facing violence is often directly related to how easily you pass as cis (full cis privilege over here, which complicates my personal experience because then my non-binary identity is erased by others, but i don’t face the violence others do for wearing lipstick and skirts, although i am sexually harassed sometimes for those choices - let’s just say my resting bitch face and razor glare got honed really well when i lived in london, and my rings and footwear choices serve more purposes than just aesthetic). it took a really long time for me to feel comfortable identifying and dressing as femme, and my level of comfort in my physical clothes is often directly related to my mental health and comfort within my own skin.
…that was a bit of a tangent. but i think it’s a good indication of why my politics these days centre so much around the slow fashion and fibreshed movements. my style is never devoid of political thoughts. join me next week for probably another tangent and the final recap for this year’s check-in!