Do you think about your clothes in terms of "shelf life"? Have you ever allowed yourself to buy something more expensive than you normally would, using the "cost per wear" model?
I used to keep myself at a certain price point, buying in excess as long as it was below that number. Back in 2015, when Marie Kondo first hit the scene, I definitely went through my closet (there's a video somewhere) and was utterly shocked to see how much I owned that I had worn once, maybe twice. I promptly let go of it and years later, had a heart attack about a few pieces, which served me right. It was a necessary spark of realization that I needed to know what I really had, what I truly loved and what I really wanted in my closet. You'd be surprised by I still own that I bought in my early twenties (I'm 39 for reference) and still wear on the regular. Heck, the newest No Waste collection is inspired by two of my favorite items in my closet, both owned for over 18 years!
As I started to conceive this brand, I began to search for other brands doing something similar to what I thought I wanted to do. Finding gems like State the Label, Elizabeth Suzann and Ace and Jig - seeing what they were charging for these slower made, limited runs or made to order pieces, made me realize that I needed to have a new relationship with what I was willing to spend on my clothes in order to truly value what it is that I wanted to wear and create.
Beyond that, it changed me in a way that I wasn't expecting. I had a youth that was rocked by a move and went from being carefree and unphased to suddenly feeling forced to examine my every move, every word, every decision, all in the name of not wanting to be teased. You can't understand the psychology of a situation at age 10 but waking up in your late 30s wondering "WTF am I doing?" definitely sends you into a spiral of self-evaluation. At that time, muumuus had been a part of my dichotomy for over 10 years but, I realized, it was almost like decorating a Christmas Tree. At my roots, I was 100% that free spirit but, I was still putting on a show and it was exhausting. Funny enough, as I started to make more thoughtful decisions about what I wanted to wear (and how much I was going to spend) I found myself completely re-evaluating my approach to everyone and everything. As someone who "shopped" for a living for 10 years, I can think of a million other things I’d rather do than shop for clothes. Can they please just appear as needed?
When I boiled it down, I realized I just want to be comfortable. That's it! Whatever version of me wants to appear (usually no makeup, hair gets washed when I feel like it and I will absolutely wear the same thing 3-4 days in a row if I please), the greatest lesson I learned is this isn't about anyone but me.
When you start putting that foot down, people feel it. You can see them examining you, wondering what you're doing differently. For any residual insecurities lying beneath the surface, this moment can be so painful. Not many of us are used to that level of attention. The gift is in the unique opportunity to relax into your body and transmit a feeling of ease right in the direction of this curious person.
Let me tell you, when you stop giving AF there is so much more room for other things in your life. Sure, I still freak out over my growing canvas of varicose and spider veins (I'M ONLY 39!) and yes, I 100% have a bunion on my left foot bc i had surgery on the right and still have one more to go (the recovery was horrific) so hi, full admission, I think the world is staring at and making fun of my feet (this is definitely left over from my middle school days where kids actually did make a point to audible make fun of my feet - so there).
Point being, once you give yourself permission to not give AF, it's kind of amazing what you'll give yourself permission to try. Or not try. Do you put botox in your forehead or let the wrinkles stay? Do you dye your hair something reminiscent of a beautiful sunset or let the grey take over?
You're in the driver’s seat and the freedom you feel is incomparable with anything else in life. I definitely do my best to encompass that freedom with every design and fabric choice for each muumuu, caftan and housecoat. And if you're curious and in the LA area, come see me this weekend at Unique Markets and I'll love to chat about how we can find that freedom hiding under your muumuu.