what not to wear

Posted on June 13th, 2010 at 6:03 pm by @uberblond


me in my current uniform

i was beyond lucky to work at fallon london a few years back. and i was beyonder lucky to get to meet the beyond brilliant Tamsin Davies during my stint in the good old UK. (if you want to get a taste of her brilliance, check out her latest project, Fault Line Living. She won a huge ole grant from a big important British Society and is going to drive a Land Rover across major fault lines and document life there. i’m beyond inspired)

anyway, while at the adage creativity and technology conference the other day, i made a snarky tweet about how we should all just wear black all the time so we can get focusing on making great shit. Tamsin of course picked up on it and thus we’ve been chatting. Her thought and challenge to me? Wear only one outfit for a year to see how it affects the rest of our thinking and life.

it’s funny that that’s the one tweet that Tamsin picked up on because over the last few years I’ve been consciously examining my relationship with what I wear.

I was an H&M junkie for awhile and I would get almost cranky to get my “new clothes fix” on a regular (read weekly, bi-weekly) basis. then I moved to london and had to pack everything up and realized that I had a lot of shit. too much shit. shitty clothes that only lasted a few wears and I realized I had all this shit because I was looking for the little self-esteem bumps that clothes gave (not a proud moment in my life to be honest).

in the end this closet-full of crap was a weight around my neck – a raft of bad decisions and pressure to always mix and match these bad decisions in delightful ways. it because about keeping it superficially interesting instead of being creative or expressive.

Then I read an article at about the same time about how when Tom Ford was working for Gucci he would pick an outfit a season (one season it was a pair of dark jeans, a white t-shirt and a black sweater), have it bought in multiples and just wear that every day so he could focus on the designing. I got really into the idea and started digging around. karl lagerfeld does a similar thing: he has a shape that he repeats over and over and over again and keeps that same shape in two colors (black and white). both of these guys, among other fashion people, have talked about the liberation of a uniform and how it frees their thought process.

I got kinda obsessed with this and it’s been guiding my wardrobe ever since. in the end, I severely cut down my wardrobe and tried to get it to a uniform. I wasn’t able to go all the way to one outfit only (although I tried) because I have this *horrible affliction* of loving to express through clothes. I’ve realized that when it’s at its best, my relationship with clothes and wanting to play with what I wear doesn’t come from the desire to be one trend or be better than someone else – rather when the relationship is right I use clothes as a creative outlet. but unlike in my junkie days, there now is a control to my clothes, an appreciation for craft and a distaste of the rampant consumerism I fell into. I now very readily wear the same thing over and over again without giving it a second thought.

but I’m thinking of taking Tamsin’s challenge on and going even more extreme, even if it’s only for a month. here’s what I’m thinking: five pieces. that’s it. (not including undergarments, shoes, jewelry or workout clothes).

she’s in the UK, I’m here and we’re chattering about this via facebook; I’ll let you know how it goes and keep you updated on this experiment if we indeed take it on.