Intention, Expression, and Other Fashion Resolutions
When I first set out to write about fashion here at The Attic, I was struck by a sense of duty to my entire life’s relationship with the subject. I had lists and ideas to share and while I’ve just begun scratching the surface of that mission, I’ve spent most of my time in the almost two years since beginning here working quietly through my relationship with fashion outside of this space. I’ve shared bits here and there, moments of confidence and the rare glimpse of vulnerability, and I realize in this internet-ruled world that it’s not a bad idea to keep some things to oneself. But there’s camaraderie in transparency, and I meant it when I said the thing I love about fashion most is why we do the things we do with it. All of us.
Fashion is powerful and political and joyous, and a resolution of mine this year is to keep talking about all of it, and continuing to embrace my endless love of it. I am grateful for the last year or so of thinking harder about these things, thanks not only to personal growth I’ve cultivated but also by the influences of the world and the feedback of readers here and across social media, whether you’re reaching out for help feeling confident to wear what you want or simply asking what to wear in the stifling weeks of late summer. We can’t change the world if we’re too worried about the discomfort of an outfit, after all. To that end our contact page is always open and I hope you keep using it.
As for myself, thinking about where I’ve arrived in the fashion sphere of my own life I do have a few other resolutions:
Sort it all out. By now I’m sure we’ve all had enough hot takes, cold takes, hot takes on cold takes, and other overzealous reactions to the gospel of Marie Kondo. I am currently on a closet clean-out, but there’s honestly no minimal goal in mind. I will not be asking myself if there is joy; I have already spent the last few years intent on only adding things to that purpose. But I am running quite low on closet space, and find one of the most enjoyable inspirations for creativity to be working within the limitations we’ve already got. Questions to ask: Does this still fit the way I like it to? What can I wear it with other than its usual outfit partners? Should I be wearing it backwards, or tucked in? How can I make this new? The goal is to truly make it my own.
Be realistic. There will be casualties. As someone who has moved several times already in her life, there are Goodwills up and down both US coasts that can attest to how much I’ve given away, and if that becomes the case with any item I will lovingly make my peace with that. Life is too short to hang on to any item of clothing I “may want to wear at some point” or worse, “will definitely fit into when I lose those five pounds.” Neither of those thoughts make me happy, and that space could be taken up by something I don't doubt will. If you can’t bear to part with it, don’t, but if you’re on the fence, my method is to place it in a drawer or box out of sight for the next few months. If I haven't actively sought it out, out it goes.
Think about it. When the time comes, I do hope to be more intentional about the things I do buy. Like I said, I have spent the last few years cultivating a wardrobe I plan to stick to, and so the time now comes to actually stick with it and so this part should be rare. There are difficulties, of course, when approaching sustainability and slow fashion, which I hope to get into this year, but whenever possible I would like to believe I can do better than I have in the past. Those ethics aside, what I truly hope to ruminate is whether or not I need an item because it honestly has a place in my life or because I know deep down that spending money quells my anxiety, and thinking twice about what I should do when that situation strikes.
Take care. I’m glad to say that while I have given in to fast fashion throughout my life I haven’t exactly treated it as such, knowing a part of the problem comes from the constant abandonment of items that last far too long in a landfill. And so this resolution is more about continuing to practice that methodology and do what I can to keep waste low. Easy ways to make a piece last forever: mend it, alter it, wash it by hand. Hang it up when you take it off, don’t just let it fall to the ground or land in a chair, because that’s how beads come loose and sequins get bent. Somebody somewhere did make it after all, and that deserves some respect.
Don’t be afraid to love it. There are delicacies, of course, but nothing should live unloved or unused. Waste comes not only from purchasing, but from purchasing without purpose. If I have set myself the challenge to live with what I have, it’s because I want it to truly live. No more waiting for a party to wear this dress or that skirt, no reason not to lounge in my favorite velvet or silk robe. Who’s to say my dentist doesn't love a party dress at nine in the morning? Wear simple things in unexpected ways. Be as extra as you want. Have some fun. Ignore anyone who doesn't get it. To quote poet Toi Derricotte, “Joy is an act of resistance.”