Sunday, October 7, 2012

And my father's bride/ is tearing down the mountainside

First off: the title of this post has nothing to do with anything, except that it's a lyric from a song I'm listening to. So there. And second (and I know I've said this before, but it bears repeating): I'm honored that you, Dear Reader, are interested in this humble blog, because you are obviously a smart, thoughtful, awesomely feminist (not that it's up to me to label you), loving, caring woman (Dudes, if you're out there, comment and you'll get your kudos too;) and judging from your comments (and blogs) possess a killer aesthetic.

I wanted to respond to each of your well-worded, thought-out comments individually, and might still try to do that, because really, they rocked, but time is on short supply around here right now. So for the moment accept my sincerest thank you. (And Missa, you do win the award for the longest comment ever!) 
No. You're a tipi
                                     Skirt-Gift from Amber
                                     Top-Gift from Missa
                                     Vest-Local consignment
                                      Mocs-The Fair

It seems as though my tiny problem is somewhat universal, at least in the circles we're all running online. I can actually hear my husband going "Really? 'I have so many clothes and nothing to wear' is a common problem for women?" in a really sarcastic voice.
One common solution to this problem, is of course, culling, getting rid of things you haven't worn for a period of time you determine, a month, three months, a year. But as some of you pointed out, we've all experienced (well those of us who are vintage nuts anyway) purger's remorse in the past. In the frenzy of getting rid of stuff it is easy to cull pieces you'll later miss, or try to replace in vain.
(My current favorite necklace: a Pennsylvania Dutch Hex Star, with a regular star.)

A far more worrying aspect of the great clothes purge for me though is, that often it leads to purchasing new clothes. Not to replace the ones we freed our wardrobe of, or so we tell ourselves, but to complete and complement our new simpler closet. At least I feel like that would be the case for me.

This would of course be solved by another great over-stuffed closet remedy: the buying fast. The Great American Apparel Diet, or My Year Without Shopping, or something akin to these ideas. I'm always interested in these shopping bans when people do them, but have little doubt about my inability to complete one.
                                         Cardi-local consignment
                                 Top-a gift from Nicole (my very first!)
                         Pin-Northern California Women's Herbal Symposium

There have certainly been times in my life when I've done well with a very small wardrobe and bought nothing. The last two months before I got my visa to come to the US, for instance, I lived with three shirts, one dress, two cardigans, one coat, one scarf and one pair of shoes and bought almost nothing for the fear of overloading my already packed suitcases. It sucked, but I did it.
Barring such extreme circumstances though, I do better with a little self-deception. The way I quit smoking, for instance, was that I told myself that I was going to try to quit, but that I could smoke any time I wanted to. This, I felt, helped draw my focus away from how much I wanted to smoke and how miserable it was not be able to.  It worked.
So in that vain here are the solutions I've been implementing for fixing my wardrobe blues:

1. Shopping in my closet. Sometime I'll be ogling a piece of clothing in an image or a store, only to realize later that I already own something very similar. (This ought to give you some idea of how many clothes I really have.). So when I see something I like, I better damn well look through my own wardrobe first for it.

2. Wearing things I haven't for a while. There are a lot of pieces in my wardrobe that I love, but hardly ever wear. Actually putting them in use, makes me realize why they work or don't work. If they work, I should wear them, if they don't, I should pass them on. This aspect of the rules will involve some clothes culling for sure.

3. I can buy things, but better yet, I can not buy them.  I can buy stuff within the limits of my budget if I really want to, or I can spend the money on something else. Since it's not that much money, I figured the best way to make this a real draw would be if I decided to try to use as much of it as I could on some causes. You know, when there's things you want to support, but feel like you can't because it's not like you have extra money laying around? Now I do! Plus, frankly, there's no better way to curb my spending than knowing that every time I decide to drop twenty bucks on some frocks I'm not giving money to Mother Jones, Peaceful Uprising, or this totally amazing young woman. The guilt alone will keep me on the straight and narrow.

Oh, and one more thing: my clothes have to fit into my wardrobe, chest, shoe-rack, whatever. You'd think this would be a given, but no.
In the past week or so, I've been really trying to follow these ideas, pulling inspiration from a shops and images, but clothes from my own wardrobe. Each of the outfits pictured here has something I've not really worn for a while. All three tops have, for one reason, or another languished in the closet for far too long. Now that I've liberated them, they've each received at least two uses in the last week! The two first outfits are pretty much my current favorites.
                                    Top-Leah Goren on easy
                                      Skirt-gift from Missa
Remember when I said that I was drawn to a more simpler style these days? Yeah, apparently not so much, Miss Mocs, Mis-matched tops, and glittery skirts. Not so much.  Suppose I forgot to mention that I'm also really into not matching things, or even genres of clothing. And that this hair of mine makes everything a little bit grunge. Including this decidedly "That 70s Teacher-y dress", which also conveniently makes me look barefoot and pregnant. Which might be the reason it doesn't get a lot of wear. It all makes sense now.
I'm not pregnant, this is just my natural stance
Dress-Finnish Flea market

This, by the way is my new favorite photo spot. I love the rainbows it makes in the late afternoon light, something we've had unseasonably lot of lately. It's a record dry fall and we most of us feel a little weird about it, but global warming be damned it is nice not to need tights yet.
Rose bud sun light
Oh and fret not. I'm still working on it. Patience. 
Posture problems...
How's your Indian Summer, over-stuffed closet, wacky weather?


  1. milla, your soultions for fixing your wardrobe blues all sound really good. i like your clothing style, it looks to compliment you very well.... i like the moc's.. as you do..i have a pair of the ankle zip up boots like yours that i bought for a mere two dollars at the thrift store and they are my absolute favorite shoes that i have ever owned.. i am pining for a pair of the tall lace up boots, as well. maybe for Christmas... :) the moc's are so absolutely comfortable, huh? :) i enjoy reading your thought provoking posts. yes, i agree with everything that you have said on this post. it is so easy to buy the clothes as it is not too... and yeah, i think it is a way of just expressing ourselves through artistry, as well.. i mismatch alot of my clothes, too. i also have gotten rid of clothes, on a whim, and regretted it later... your style is pretty. your pictures are pretty and you seem to be a real pretty person, too, milla. inside and out.. i enjoy your little blog..... janet

  2. Indian summer: also conspicuously dry.
    Closet: conspicuously under-stuffed. So... that means normal?

    But I do like your guidelines! I have a teeny, tiny closet and nothing's overflowing yet. There have been times when it has, and that's when I start giving things away and listing on Etsy, hah. Sometimes the best solutions are the simplest ones! Although I DO have mad purger's remorse regarding a certain rust, corduroy dress with the pretty bodice and fluttery sleeves. I have NO idea what I was thinking when I let that one go. Ugh.

    You've inspired me! I'd like to write a post about my own fashion thoughts (read: woes)... there's been many an attempt, but I've got to just sit my bum down and get it all out on "paper."

    You, as always, are so freakin' cute. This morning I'm just in flannel, leggings, and a big sweater, but your photos are makin' me itch to put on something prettier!


  3. i beginning to think your closet is like mary poppin's carpet bag! hahaha all these outfits are adorable! so many great details. i love the 70's teacher dress, it's sooo cute. i think your guidelines sound good. and hey, if you're really feeling the need to unload some clothes i'm totally willing to help you out and take them off your hands ;D

  4. Ooh I have that same pair of lace-up moccasin boots, quite literally wear them every day! They make me feel like a native american princess. And in response to your Indian Summer question, it is frighteningly unpredictable. My poor garden is feeling the effects...

  5. Yeah, I'm with Anne, you do have a marvellous carpet-bag of neverending closet goodness. It's pretty cool that you can gain inspiration from wherever and actually find things that make it work from your own rack. I wish you luck with your closet-stunting exercise! I like clothes. But I also love textiles. LOVE. And hoard fabric unashamedly. sometimes i think for me the clothes keeping is also about seeing it all, and feeling all the textures - an extension of my textile collection. oh dear, I have to go now, I sense rather than see that my dog is eating our leftovers. xo

  6. Yay, I love me some Milla outfits! Like balm for my sartorial soul they are :)

    It's fun to see a couple of old gifts from me getting their day in the sun. I feel like I need to do a cull in order to make shopping my own closet more practical, so I'm not wrestling with stuffed shelves and hangers with multiple dresses on them. I'm sure I'd have the same experience in finding that I already have things that I'm just forgetting about too. Sounds like you've come up with some great solutions and the proof is definitely in these adorable outfits! I love them all and am feeling quite inspired :)

  7. I like the 'everything has to fit in your wardrobe' part, I am certainly guilty of that! I tried to do a big clear out last weekend with a quote my mother told me (via William Morris)in mind - Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful - and it really helped the purging. Also the donating the clothes cash to a good cause instead is a great idea.

  8. Agh! I know I need to get rid of some (lots) of clothes:( I have so much clothes. So much. But I just know that if I get rid of something I'll finally get some inspiration and know exactly how to wear it. Or my future children will want something JUST like it and be totally unable to find something. And some things have sentimental value. But I know that I thrift waay too much and I shouldn't keep things that don't flatter my body type or I just don't wear. I love that you "went shopping" in your closet and wore things you hadn't in a long time. I'll have to do that during a rediscover/purge. Thank you for your blog- it's always reminding me to do those things that I have to do but REALLY don't want to! Haha! But also always inspires me with your beautiful pictures and sweetly simple life:)

  9. I have tried making similar rules in the past but it never seems to work out haha...I end up seeing something amazing on Etsy that I just have to have. Good luck sticking to them!

    PS. nice fiance and I have been listening to Bison all week and we just love it!

  10. Hey there Milla :)
    Everytime I visit you wondrous and woodsy blog, I always leave with some sort of inspiration when it comes to what I'd like to wear. Often, this requires a trip to local vintage shops, or not-so-local country fairs, which always leads to some sort of adventure or other, and almost inevitably makes my day. But I think it's even cooler that you remind us to appreciate what we already have, stuffed in the backs of our closets or hibernating under our beds, like that antique buffalo-tooth necklace our great aunt gave us when we were ten, or that beaded dream-catcher bracelet we bought on a school field trip back in the day.
    Thanks for inspiring me to make use of what I already have :) (my wallet thanks you too!)

  11. the rains came. i'm sending warm and dry thoughts island-ward!

  12. i miss you! i hope you had a blast at the fair. realized that today was the day our swap packages were to be sent out. oops, still working on yours here. and all this talk of clothes (ugh, don't get me started...), should i refrain from including any in your package? it isn't too clothing-heavy at all, but don't want to clutter you further :-)
    p.s. long live norma rae!

  13. I love this post (and the last one)! I can absolutely relate. I may just have to go do some closet culling myself soon!

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  15. I started my closet purge the beginning of the month, mostly because I'm sick of hanging up clothes I don't really "love" - simpler is so much easier, but I've got a ways to go.

    I'm going to put your guidelines into use.