Tagged: ladies

Wear It Twice

This I Wear | Wear It Twice

It was with great pride and great ease that I wore a silk floral dress with a beautiful deep-v back to my oldest brother’s wedding this past weekend in Brooklyn. Even though I knew this would be a day where I was photographed and that I’d have these photos for years and years to come, I didn’t shy away from wearing the same dress I’d worn the dress was to my mother’s wedding nearly a year ago (another day of photographs!). I was determined to wear the dress both because it is the most perfect dress for a Fall wedding and after I had already mentally committed to wearing the dress, I learned that it perfectly fit into the color palette. No other dress would do.

For memorable occasions, there exists a temptation to wear something new (or at least “new to you”) every time. Even during the work week, I often calculate when I last wore an outfit to decide if it’s “ok” for me to wear it to the office. An even greater fear of mine has been running into someone you so rarely see only to realize that you’re wearing the same thing they saw you last in months ago (and you wish you could tell them that you have a full closet and you’ve worn lots of outfits since!). I do think there is a very tangible social pressure to not be seen twice in the same memorable outfit.

But my point is screw that. I’m not suggesting we all wear a uniform everyday, but I do believe we are allowed to love pieces so much and resist the ideas of “more” and “new” so well that we embrace being seen in them often.

I recently heard all-around inspiring woman and White Dog Café founder Judy Wicks speaking and was surprised when she unexpectedly diverted from her advice on changing the food industry to tell the audience that we’ve got to change the fashion industry. Part of her advice was that we’ve got to wear things more than once to start changing our expectations of clothing.

I actually first had this thought when I was watching Downton Abbey a few seasons ago and realized that the characters were always wearing the same outfits. My initial reaction was embarrassment on their behalf. Then I felt indignant as if I was being deprived of more beautiful costumes to swoon over. And finally, I realized that it was likely just historically accurate, as all clothing would have been made to order and vast closets of clothes impossibly expensive even for a wealthy family. I wondered why all TV shows weren’t similarly repeating costumes, since we do wear things more than once in real life, even if we always want our clothes to appear new.

In order to change this social stigma, I have this radical idea that celebrities should start wearing the same dress to multiple Red Carpet events. I imagine it to be like Livia Firth’s Green Carpet Challenge but taking it a step further by actually wearing such beautiful responsibly made gowns more than once to show their value.

Recognizing the value of our clothes is an essential part of the solution, yet emotion plays a significant role too. I didn’t wear my dress to two weddings just because I matched the color palette. I wore it a second time because I remembered feeling incredibly beautiful in it, despite having a broken heart at the time on the inside. The dress got me through a difficult experience. It also was such an important celebration – to celebrate my mom’s new marriage – that somehow the dress felt important enough to wear for my brother’s wedding too. It had already proven it could hold up on a big day. Finally, I felt silly hiding such a beautiful dress in my closet when it was meant to be worn!

Wearing the dress for the second time meant I had to let go of worries that people would remember the dress but it also gave me the opportunity to create new memories in it. I know it won’t be the last time I wear it for a very special occasion either.

Join the movement! Tweet @ThisIWear or comment below to tell your story of wearing a memorable outfit twice. Or better yet, tag your photos with #WearItTwice to show your support!

[Dress by No. 6, purchased at a charity sale. Photos were taken before my mom’s wedding in December 2013 – no photos from this weekend’s wedding yet!]

My Closet: The Lone Blue Jeans

This I Wear | The Lone Blue Jeans

I only have one pair of blue jeans that I wear regularly. There were two other pairs I had been clinging to – one very old and worn, the other fairly new but never loved – that I finally pulled out of the drawer and put in my donation pile where they are currently still sitting. (We’ll see if they stay there.) And then there was that pair that came and went.

I wear my blue jeans at least twice a week, except in the summer. And I’ve done so for the two years since I bought them for less than $35 at a charity sale where clothes were donated nearly new from movie wardrobes (thank you sister in the movie industry!). They were a pair of fancy J Brand skinny jeans and fit perfectly even though I had no real or easy way of trying them on before purchase. This pair of jeans and I have been through a lot together since we found each other – the good (our first “couples” photo) and the bad (a very rough Northeastern winter).

The tricky thing about having only one pair of blue jeans, though, is that they own you a bit too much. You’re so overly dependent on them to solve everything for you that if something happens to them, you’d be lost. Clothing should have power but not that much.

And this is the point that is sadly funny to me. I started writing this post last week, only to put on my one lovely pair of blue jeans over the weekend to find a sizable rip in the lower butt area. So this became a story of both learning how to repair ripped jeans on my own, and also a story of needing to expedite a second pair of jeans, so I can make the original pair last longer by alternating wears.

Before this rip, part of me worried that if I got a new pair, would I still love and depend on the existing one quite so much? I don’t want to foolishly give in to “new-ness”.

But after carefully ironing on an adhesive patch and then hand-sewing the ripped area for extra reinforcement (with the help of Youtube videos on “how to repair denim”), I got a good close look at my jeans and those two years of wear are showing from the seams to the color. So I have officially decided that having two pairs of blue jeans is not an extravagance; it’s just a reflection of my lifestyle and how often I wear jeans. I’m not suddenly not a minimalist if I own two pairs of blue jeans. (Thanks Kate Arends for confirming that!)

I may have also been putting off this inevitable moment because my philosophy on shopping for jeans is that you can’t just go shopping, looking for anything and just stumble on the perfect pair of jeans. You have to go jeans shopping and you can’t look at anything else. Seriously. Because buying jeans requires trying on as many as possible to find the right fit because you never know what might be the perfect rise, fade, cut, etc. No distractions from dresses or cute earrings allowed. That kind of shopping almost needs to be scheduled on your calendar. It requires commitment. It also sounds exhausting since my shopping stamina is close to non-existent.

I’m trying to make this an easy decision though, and I’ve been thinking about investing in a pair of Imogene + Willie jeans, made in Nashville and definitely made to last. One of my favorite parts about the company is they have a limited number of cuts and fabrics, so the decision is much more simple than going to a department or denim store with a million styles. Yet at $200+, they are nearly six times more expensive than the pair I wear now.

And while that’s a big difference, I’m probably going to buy a pair for two reasons. First, if you think about $200 for a pair of jeans in terms of cost per wear, it is not an unreasonable amount of money. Secondly, more and more, I feel that buying clothes from responsible and thoughtful companies, especially smaller ones, is as much an investment in their success as it is an investment in my wardrobe. I’m not just paying them for my jeans but I’m thanking them for giving people great jobs, quality jeans, and a role model of how to do business responsibly and with kindness. And it just so happens that I’d get to have a beautiful pair of jeans for expressing my gratitude. It feels like I’m paying it forward and that feels pretty good.

I’ll report back once I’ve found the lucky new pair.

What are your thoughts on denim? How do you shop for jeans? How many pairs do you have? How many pairs of those do you actually wear?

Compression

This I Wear | The White Shirt

Last week, I had a very interesting experience in the form of a reading, which I can’t quite explain. And no, I’m not talking about books. It wasn’t astrology and she’s not a psychic, but it was a really powerful experience, despite the fact that I am, in general, a very skeptical person.

I won’t go into too much detail since I’m not really sure how much of it to take to heart nor do I want you to think I’m one of those people who goes around looking for these sorts of things. But one of my favorite parts of the reading was when she told me that I’m in a period of compression – like a seed that will eventually bloom (what’s not to love?). And because I’m in this time of compressing, it’s the perfect time to shed the things that aren’t working for me anymore – negative thoughts, relationships that have run their course, and things in my closet.

Little did she know that I’m already living quite the minimal life, but it was a great reminder to not hold on too tight to things that aren’t working, but instead to loosen my grip and see where things go.

This week, I’m compressing my computer. It’s been on the fritz for a little while, so after I back it up in just a few more places for safety, it’s getting a fresh start.

Before I head offline and clean up this tech, I thought I’d share a little inspiration along the same topic of compression and the search for simplicity.

One of my favorite things on Pinterest is the search for timeless style (in fact, I have a whole board devoted to it!). I love looking for style inspiration, but I also always ask myself when I see an outfit I love if I think I’d still love it in a year, in two years, etc. It’s good practice for continuing my search for my own style and for improving my own abilities to see past trends and focus on the classics.

And one theme I find myself constantly being drawn to? A great button-down shirt. Whether you roll up the sleeves or tie the ends in a knot, there are endless ways to style a button down. And one in a crispy white will never go out of style.

What wardrobe staples make up timeless style for you?

Photos via Pinterest: one, two, three

My Closet: Shared Earrings + Shared Time

This I Wear | Shared EarringsThree trips later, and I’m back here with you. I thought I could squeeze in a post last week, but reality convinced me otherwise…but not until the last minute.

In truth, I knew I had these three trips for a while: personal, work, then personal again. And because of so many days out of my usual routine, I debated over whether to take the extra vacation day off or to let my visiting mom hang out with my brother while I did “work”. What finally helped me make my decision was a random piece of advice embarrassingly gleaned from a women’s magazine article on self-help books. The advice: if you are having trouble making a decision, use the 10-10-10 rule – if I make this decision, how will I feel 10 minutes from now? 10 months from now? 10 years from now?

Knowing that 10 years from now, I’d be glad I spent the day with my mom made the decision easy. So instead of sitting at my desk, I spent last Thursday at Wave Hill, a beautiful garden I knew she would enjoy. I spent the afternoon with my mom and brother, instagramming way too many photos of stunning flowers (and so many cactus!) and quizzing my mom on her floral knowledge. It was perfect.

While together, she surprised me with a belated Easter gift that had obviously been too precious to mail. It was one pair of tiny diamond earrings of two that she had recently re-made for my sister and me. Two of the diamonds were dubiously and naively bought from a coworker’s brother when my mom was in her early twenties, and the other two were a nearly identical set bought for her a few years later by my dad’s mother while on vacation in Vegas. I’m not sure which set (or whether a mix) of the two original sets I have, which makes them a little more mysterious.

Before my mom came up for a visit, I was thinking of the million things I wanted to do with her while she was here, mostly all the things I needed to ask her advice on in person (How do I repair this pair of pants? How would you arrange this furniture? Can you remind me again how to quilt? And how do I gain closure on a recent heartbreaking experience?). But while all of those were questions to be asked, there’s never enough time to get all of the answers. Time always runs out, and I have siblings I have to share her with.

But just like these earrings that were too priceless to mail, the time spent face to face is truly irreplaceable, especially those rare moments of silence that you just can’t share over the phone. The best time is not always the time spent talking but the time spent sharing the same air, seeing the same surroundings and hearing the same distant sounds.

In fact, like any of the beautiful things that my mom has passed on to me or that we’ve collected together, even in their perceived silence, they are speaking so loudly and clearly to me.

It turns out I’m not the only one wearing something from my mom. The Of A Kind ladies strike again and shared these spot-on stories by Leanne Shapton on women who wear things from their mothers. View it on NYTimes.com.

My Closet: Denim Shirts & Unexpected Love

This I Wear | My Closet: Denim Shirts & Unexpected Love

It’s a classic meet-cute: you’re in a store, you look around and suddenly you lock eyes. The two of you cannot stop looking at each other. You think “should I or shouldn’t it?” You feel butterflies, but you go for it anyway. You make the move, and it’s clear from that day forward: it was love at first sight.

Quick: name all the items in your closet where it was instantaneous love. It’s probably pretty easy. And if you go by my shopping motto (if you don’t absolutely love it, don’t buy it), then most of your closet is made up of those “love at first sight” pieces.

But what about those pieces that you don’t fall in love with immediately? The sneaky ones that you were on the fence about or bought in a pinch, but over time, you realize you are wearing them everyday? But one day, you wake up and realize “I’m in love”, even though you never saw it coming. Don’t we all wish we could predict these unexpected love affairs?

If my shopping motto is “if you don’t love it, don’t buy it”, my Valentine’s Day motto is “everyday should be Valentine’s Day”, which I learned from a particularly insightful friend years ago that has both caused me never to feel inclined to celebrate Valentine’s Day and reminded me to show love everyday.

And every day, I love denim shirts.

When denim shirts first became popular around 2010, I was really skeptical. I thought it was overly hipster. I thought it would never catch on. And I definitely thought I would never wear one. A few years later, I am now the proud of owner of TWO denim shirts and a frequent wearer of (*gasp*) denim on denim. How did I never see this coming, when today, it is practically my uniform?

On the day I bought my first denim shirt in 2010, I was in an H&M with a friend who was in from out of town and her friend. I was having trouble keeping up with their shopping and wandered off on my own. There was no meet-cute, but instead a few skeptical glances exchanged, lots of internal monologue, and finally the reach to grab it of the rack. When I rejoined with my friend in the long line for the fitting room, I was so unsure of my denim shirt idea that I actually remember not wanting her to see what I had picked up. I was totally embarrassed of trying out this trend. So instead, I abandoned her in the fitting room line and bought the shirt WITHOUT TRYING IT ON (this is just not how I operate). The whole scenario was filled with shame, confusion, and impulsivity.

But to everyone’s surprise, including my own (and probably H&M’s), I am still living in that shirt nearly 4 years later, since I still love it and it has lasted against all odds. Truly it has been an unexpected love that shows no signs of slowing down, but instead has constantly reinvented itself.

For all of us searching for love in our closets, I can only say that I have yet to solve the mystery of how to let ourselves grow into styles, to take risks, and to follow our seemingly irrational gut, especially when I believe so strongly in shopping intentionally. Only time will tell if I will be still looking like a Canadian cowboy by the time I close this case.

Share your unexpected loves in the comments below or tweet @ThisIWear.

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