Today, whilst perusing the Pinterests, I found a link that led me to this gem of a Tedx Talk. (I was having trouble embedding the video, so I've just linked to its Tedx Talk page.) The speaker's name is Jennifer L. Scott and she wrote a lifestyle book that I now want desperately called Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris.
It's nothing ground-breaking when it comes to ideas regarding simplifying one's wardrobe, but it does touch on some of the philosophical reasons that are similar to why I'm undertaking this project, namely that I want to feel Lovely all the time. I want to feel good in everything I wear. I want to be proud of what I'm wearing, to feel pulled-together, to feel a little bit like a Gap advert for my own life.
It might seem silly, but there's something powerful about feeling good in what you're wearing. The right suit can be like armour, the right dress like an Academy Award, and the right underwear... well, let's just say that nice, matching underwear makes you walk a little taller even in flats. Even nice pyjamas should make you feel good, like you're good enough to take care of yourself even when no one is there to witness it. After all, it's about YOU feeling good, not about appearances. My favourite pyjamas right now are a red and navy plaid flannel pair my grandma gave me at Christmas. They are not fancy. They are cozy. The pants aren't too short. They match. They are lovely because they make me feel cute even when I'm having a no-way-am-I-putting-on-pants type of Sunday. Even though I'm not properly dressed, I don't feel ashamed of what I'm wearing.
(Aside: My grandma gives me a pair of pyjamas for Christmas every year. This is only the second pair in five years that I'll even touch, the other pair are white flannel with pink, red, and purple Hello Kittys all over them; cute, but a little bit twelve. If I get a noteworthy or hilarious pair next year, there will be photos. That's a promise.)
Ms. Scott's overall message is about learning to value quality over quantity, and to eliminate the agony of choice by simply having only what you love in the first place. I could go out and buy three more perfect pairs of pyjamas, but I'm not going to because I honestly don't NEED three more pairs of pyjamas. I am happy with the two pairs I have and if I'm being very honest, I wear only one pair most of the time. (The Hello Kitty pyjama pants are the tiniest bit too short in the leg for me. Very annoying.) Why clutter up my closet when I don't have to?
Her Ten Item Wardrobe is similar to concepts I've posted about before. The Ten refers to core items: blouses, pants, jeans, and skirts. As she mentions, blazers, dresses, and other items are in addition to the ten. My detail oriented mind dislikes this concept because it seems a little deceptive. Unlike the 37-item capsule wardrobe Caroline does over at Un-Fancy which is literally 37 items, including shoes and purses, this wardrobe is not just ten items. I prefer a longer list that includes all the extras. I don't know about you, but the extras are always what pile up for me!
Whatever way you choose to organize them, your core items should be ones you feel excellent in, the ones you wish you could wear every single day. So wear them every single day! Consumer culture has conditioned us to consider repeat-outfits some kind of sin, but it's not a crime to wear the same things over and over. I read somewhere that in the 1940s the average American woman had a grand total of eight outfits. Eight. EIGHT. I don't even want to guess what the average is now, but I'll bet those women in the 1940s spent a lot less time trying to figure out what to wear in the morning.
I have begun to wear only clothes from my basics list plus my 'statement' pieces. (I couldn't do just five; I've got seven right now. I'm going to try to get it down to six for summer.) I have already begun to feel a little bit more liberated. My outfits are simple: lots of black and white and jeans. It's been easy. I've felt good every day this week. And it looks good with my hair, which is bright purple... this week.
Every day this week, I have felt like I was wearing my favourite outfit. That's how we should all feel every day.