We recently talked about climate appropriate wardrobes but what about activity appropriate wardrobes? How do you create a wardrobe that fits all the things you do day to day? How can we make our wardrobes more practical?
Caitlin had this great idea. She suggested we write down our activities for a week or two, then make little charts to see how we spend our time. Being a nerd, I love charts, so I approached the task with gusto.
As you can see, I ended up with a bit more granularity than Caitlin. Perhaps I did not need to write down the time I spend getting dressed and bathing, but whatever. The amazing thing is what a huge chunk of time I spend at work! There’s another large chunk spent around the house, which might mean reading a book, knitting, having dinner, or watching a movie. And the rest is pretty evenly divided between socializing, running errands, and my other favorite hobbies (gardening, running, and cooking/baking).
Here’s what Caitlin says:
“I found that while I spend part of my time at work wearing nicer clothing, most of my time is spent at home (which was a no-brainer since I am a homebody through and through!). My work wardrobe is the same as what I would wear to go out running errands and meeting friends. At home I prefer to wear comfortable, stretchy clothing but I still want to look nice and feel put together.
I used the information I gathered to look more critically at the fabric I’ve been stashing away. Do I really need to sew outfits with fancy fabrics if most of my time is spent at home or running errands? Instead of sewing lots of lovely dresses for rare occasions, maybe I should just make one really beautiful dress.”
I feel similarly to Caitlin. I like wearing comfy things at home, but I also don’t want to look like a slob. This has confirmed my belief that I ought to make more loungewear.
And then there are the specialty activities that you might need specific clothing for. Caitlin says:
“Since I practice yoga regularly and need specific clothing for it, I recently made a simple cropped sweatshirt with some cute contrasting ribbing and a small silk swatch. I made a sweatshirt special by choosing two things I love, silk and color, with one thing I needed, a comfy sweatshirt.”
For me, the activities I need special clothing for are running, swimming, and gardening. And Caitlin’s right, why not make them a little special too?
I think what I’ve learned from this is the following:
- Start with a base wardrobe: This is the wardrobe for normal day-to-day life, including work, socializing, or running errands. We both agreed that we basically wear the same kinds of things for these activities that make up the bulk of our time.
- Add comfortable loungewear: After this, the next most important component is comfy things to wear around the house. I never realized how much time I spend in this type of clothing.
- Sprinkle in some specialty items: If there are activities that require special clothing, collect a small number of these. I go minimalist here. I have enough running clothes to get me through a week of laundry, for example. I have a few shirts and jeans I use just for gardening, because they are cool, sturdy, and keep the sun off. I don’t need more, really.
This is just what I think would work for me (and it sounds like Caitlin too). What do you think about this approach, would it work for you?
I’m also curious about how you guys personalize some of the more mundane items, like the sweatshirt Caitlin made for herself. Do you think it’s worth it to make items like that, or would you rather buy the practical things like workout clothing and focus on the fun stuff?