In the series through Puritan Theologian Richard Baxter's Essay, "Directions for the Holy Spending of Every Day", we are now up to Direction 3. Which is also the Direction that had me completely gut my closet and re-think everything I've ever thought about clothes. True, my tangent isn't exactly (or at all) related to the Holy Spending of Each Day, but let's roll with it...
Direction 3: Resolve, that pride and the fashions of the times shall never tempt you into such a garb of attire, as will make you long in dressing in the morning; but wear such clothing as is soon put on. It is dear-bought 'decency' as they will needs call it, which must cost every day an hour's or a quarter of and hour's time: I had rather go as the wild Indians, than have those morning hours to answer for, as too many ladies and other gallants have.My translation:
Direction 3: Commit to dressing simply, easily, and appropriately and don't be tempted by all the latest "must have" fashions of the season. Wear outfits that are nice, well cared for, and appropriate, but not clothes that cost a small fortune to buy and hardly any occasion to wear. Show discernment, discipline, and thoughtfulness in your wardrobe. Simplify. (And get RID of all the stuff you have in your closet that you hate, is worn out, or doesn't look good anymore.)
As I was writing this, I was thinking about what Baxter meant about dress. Back in the 1600's people spent a crazy amount of time dressing with all the fuss and fanciness of corsets, layers, buttons, and more layers. He was talking about getting dressed in all those layers and how long it would take people to just get ready in the morning.
We, obviously, don't have that problem. Our society has gotten more and more casual, to the point now where it is not unusual at all to see someone in the store in pajama bottoms, or pastors at the pulpit with jeans and a t-shirt. I'm all for casual (to a point-pajamas in public is pushing it), so our struggle isn't going to be in this area.
I'm a a jeans and tee shirt girl and I really do need to get a better wardrobe, but I've got a lot working against me: I'm not a stylist, I'm plus-sized, and really didn't know where to start. So while thinking through this blog post, I was researching wardrobe essentials and came across the idea of a capsule, or minimalist, wardrobe.
The capsule wardrobe is a small number of essential pieces that you can endlessly mix and match for a variety of outfits. My usual plan for buying clothes was wait till I needed something desperately (or until I would feel helpless when I looked at my closet full of clothes I hated) and then run to goodwill or the thrift store, and hope I found something that would be halfway decent, but was still the same variation on my jeans, t-shirt, or sweatshirt frump theme. I ended up with a closet of ill fitting and bad looking clothes that made me sad.
So this weekend I gutted all the stuff that I didn't like, kept the 2 or 3 things that I did, and went on a hunt for something affordable, flattering, and that would fit into the basics of a capsule wardrobe that I could start building. I put all my old clothes into storage in our garage, so if I do need something, I can get it out, but if I don't go back for any of them, I'll donate them all. I started my search started online and I found a great new and very affordable line of plus-sized clothes at Target called Ava and Viv. Cute, inexpensive, and realistic. Not frumpy, not fashion-y. Just right, I think. So I'll add one piece or so every paycheck and see how it goes.
I'm by no means a fashion blogger, and I have next to no sense of style, and for years I haven't really cared much at all (except when a wedding, funeral, or Sunday rolled around). My goal here is to keep things simple, have a purposeful spending plan, and a organized and coordinated wardrobe that will help me dress well, but simply, and quickly. I want to get on with life, enjoy it, and look halfway decent while I'm doing it. I hope that's not an impossible task!