I was looking for one of my purses in the back of my closet the other day, and to get to it, I had to dig through the pile of Clothes I Have Been Meaning To Iron. I’m embarrassed to say that pile has sat there for about a year. A year! And in that pile I discovered pants I had forgotten I ever owned. Nice pants!
It’s not really that I have a surfeit of clothes, an obscene Paris Hilton style “dressing room” that’s a third bedroom turned into a closet with couches. I don’t. I have a converted linen closet in the upstairs hallway. It ain’t that big. It’s just that I tend to fall into a rut where I wear the same three things all the time.
This is an especially easy trap to fall into in the summer, especially this summer, so ungodly hot that I just picked the very smallest/thinnest/lightest thing to wear and gave up on makeup, accessories, hair dryers. Fashion is not forwarded by a months-long heatwave in which wearing bracelets makes your wrists unbearably sweaty. No.
But it’s temperate now. And the Ironing Pile has moved out of the closet and into (of course) the dining room.
It’s time. Time to start … the outfit project.
The outfit project works like this. Don’t wear the same outfit to work twice, for as long as you can manage it.
That’s “outfit” not “clothes”: obviously, there are some pants / skirts / boots / glasses I’m going to rewear, but it’s the way to combine them that has to be different. I’m not going to lie to you: I’m wearing my new dark wash straight-leg jeans (the mature woman’s skinny jean, I call it) very often, nearly all my non-teaching days. And I’ve got an adorable pair of grey Camper ankle boots in heavy rotation with said jeans. But it’s all different blouses and sweaters and t-shirts and cardigans and shells and necklaces and earrings. Different sunglasses, different purses.
For me, the mental energy I’m (minimally) expending just to not always wear the brown wool pants with the black turtleneck and the orange purse does not, actually feel like the One More Goddamn Thing That’s Gonna Push Me Over The Edge. It feels more like something totally different than worrying about remembering my key to the media cabinet or whether I should bring extra syllabi to class or what happened to the coursepack at the bookstore or whether I sent the right permission form to school with my daughter. It feels a little frivolous and selfish in a good way.
Besides, I was feeling bad that this whole chunk of my wardrobe sat untended and unnoticed on the floor of my closet for an entire year. And it gives me a little lift to feel like, at the minimum, I don’t look like a hobo.
Do you have a version of the outfit project? Would you do it? I’m kinda having fun with it, and it’s nice to focus on something other than My Giant Brain And All The Things It’s Not Quite Managing.