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Fashion Flexibility

November 16, 2016 2 Comments


There is much to be said for having a signature style by which one is recognized. One leaves a lasting impression with costuming, intentional or not.  I have spent more money and time in my life shopping for clothing and fashion accessories than I care to calculate.  I think I am above average as a shopper in skill and bargain hunting. This is how I rationalize the obsession with owning too much clothing.  Since discovering the tidy muse my struggle to release and repurpose much of my stuff has become obvious.  I have gradually been thinning out the wardrobe, but have reached a basic truth about what I value.  I like to be able to shape shift.  It is not really disguise, per se, but it is costuming.

I always had at least two careers at the same time.  I taught swimming and fitness and was also an outside sales travel agent.  Outside sales means find your own business and split commission with the house.  I did not dress up and spend the day at the agency answering calls.  I came and went when I made sales.  I often went during the night to run tickets at the travel agency just so I could have the whole place to myself.  This strictly financial agreement came with no dress code, but I did feel the need to change into street clothing rather than show up at the office in a leotard and tights with a warm up suit if I went during office hours.  Sometimes I came in the back door in my swim suit and did a quick change in the bathroom like superman.  I also had two briefcases designated one for fitness and one for travel because we did all kinds of things on paper in those days.  I used a black Swissair briefcase for travel and something southwestern with no travel company logos for the spa.  I often provided travel services to my work colleagues at the spa, but I kept the whole filing system separate in those briefcases. They were looks, they were also personas.  You are what you wear at least as much as you are what you eat.  Costuming is everything.

Now that I never have to work at any office but my own at home I am trying to narrow down the broad range of costuming I have acquired.  The Japanese tidy system demands that I decide why I want to keep my things, and why they make me happy.  This whole process has brought me to an examination of my delight in shape shifting.  I have always loved it.  I had a giant dress up box as a child, and must have been influenced heavily to believe in the value of limitless wardrobe choices.  A look into my closets confirms that I am still under that spell.  I am going to eliminate more and scale down to ONLY the items that give me great joy.  I am in the process of figuring out how to keep my options from up to down, mature to infantile, straight to hippie, athletic to hipster, and work to party.  I do think I still need all that. I just don’t need so many items in each category.  I don’t enjoy having just one signature look.  I like to keep them guessing and myself amused.  How do you dress, gentle reader? Do you dress to impress, for comfort, or for effect? I think I do all three.

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