I remember reading a book that I found at the library of my former abode called What Should I Wear? It was about tailoring one’s wardrobe so as to have things that look good in any occasion, but at the time I felt that they were recommending an awful lot of clothes for a book claiming to simplify one’s closet. It makes more sense to me now: There is a need for some variety amongst casual clothes, dressy clothes, and everything in between, which differs dramatically from my previous attempts to just make casual clothes as dressy as possible. Now, allow me to give voice to my thoughts so I can sort them for myself.
Shirts: I feel like a slob when I wear t-shirts--not to say that there isn’t a time and place for them. I obviously can’t put on a nice silk twinset and go hiking or work compost into soil. But I’ve got all the t-shirts I could possibly need for my purposes--the greatest needs lies with nice short-sleeved shirts. There will be no more summers of shrunken t-shirts in church or the Nasher.The switch to nicer clothing is something I’ve been avoiding for several years now because I believed that if I kept my wardrobe to a casual level it was somehow more simple. Ain’t necessarily so--I still amassed too much clothing and was left scrambling when the situation called for something nicer than what I had. And what the book said seems to be holding true: You can greatly simplify things simply by having a wardrobe the fits well, looks nice, and meets all occasions!
Pants: Like with the shirts, I need cruddy pants for hiking and gardening. If I paired the silk twinset with lovely tweed trousers and stomped up the hill of Balcones Canyonlands NWR, I’d be an idiot. And I’d have a heck of a dry cleaning bill. But for those excursions to, oh I don’t know, the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, I probably need only 3 pairs of pants at most: 1 black pair (of course), 1 lighter pair (for when I’m wearing a black shirt and don’t want to look like a goth), and possibly a wool pair for those nice, cold winters. And they need to be of a quality that I’d want to get them altered as necessary and not just purchase new ones every 6 months.
Skirts: In these days of ready-made clothing, nothing’s worse than being short and fat. If pants fit me in the waist, they’re too baggy in the hips. If they fit in the hips, they’re probably too tight in the waist. If they actually manage to fit in both places, the crotch is down by my knees. There’s nothing I dread more than having to buy pants, so I know deep down that I ought to buy more skirts and wear them with greater frequency. I acquiesce to my fate. I do have one fairly good special occasion skirt--the rest are nice and casual.
Jackets: I’m not talking about cold-weather jackets but rather the “I’m nicely dressed and there’s nothing you can do about it, bozo” jackets. And I just bought the first one of my adult life. I think it’ll do admirably in those instances where I need to look a lot nicer in a jiff.