Sunday, February 17, 2013

My Get Well Soon Uniform

Happy Sunday!

I am now starting week 7 of my sabbatical from work.  I must say, it is just what the doctor ordered.  As you know, I was exhausted and feeling ill.  I feel now that I am really starting to get my strength back.  I do not yet feel ready to return to working yet, but I know that I am on the path and that is a wonderful feeling.

My personality is such that I do not have the natural tendency to be still.  I am always racing against some self-imposed, as well as some really imposed, deadline.  The previous 6 weeks have been entirely different.  By body forced me to stop and rest.  How many times did I hear that call but not heed it?  Too many I guess.  Many times, I just sit now and I do nothing.  This morning, I have been sitting and watching ANOTHER blizzard.  6 weeks ago, I would have had work spread all around my computer and spent most of my Sunday off working.  Now I am just enjoying the beauty of the day and writing to you all.  This time off has been a sacred gift and it is only now that I am truly beginning to receive it.  It is trite to say that we must all remind ourselves that life passes by quickly, but indeed it does. So this morning, I am toasting you all with my cup of coffee and sending heartfelt thanks for our daily chats. 

Many of you who follow the Dani BP Mop Philosopher recall her December post about weekday uniforms

Since I have been home, I have been trying to develop my own weekday uniform.  One caveat: I am not so good that I can do my housework in just an apron.  I must do that kind of work in old clothes that I would never take a picture of!

What I have realized is that I am not wearing very many different clothes these days.  I am wearing what feels comfortable and what makes me feel as slim and trim and happy as I can.

My uniform has been a combination of pants/leggings/dresses.  I have not worn one skirt that I can recall.  Hmm that is telling, isn't it?

So here it is, what I am calling my Get Well Soon Uniform:

PANTS:

left to right, Paige Verdugo jeans (at home I typically wear a shirt and short boots.  just saying), JC Grey Minnies, Joe Fresh Boyfriend jeans, Jor Fresh Slim Jeans, black leggings

  
Women Pants Slim Jean

SWEATERS:  left to right: Brora Cardigan, J Crew Black Cashmere Cardigan, Black Merino V Neck, Navy Tippi Cardigan, Heather Gray Tippi Cardigan, J Crew Leopard Tippi

 
Tippi cardigan
 
 
JACKETS: Caramel one in this picture, JC Navy Wool Schoolboy
 
 
 
DRESSES: Nougat London, Alice and Olivia, Monoprix
 
 
Various solid colour tees, solid and print scarves and jewellry to make things pop. 
 
With the odd exception, this has been an almost wholly monochromatic wardrobe for the last six weeks, perhaps even verging on the monastic, considering all of the colour I was wearing early in the fall. 
 
However, every single thing is very comfortable.  It is not dressy as I have not been anywhere dressy.  I have also realized I do not really like fussing with a blouse.  I will if I have to, but a blouse is more than likely going to simply sit in my closet, especially a button up one.  In other words, blouses are just not for me, except for now and then.  The two exceptions to that rule, which I have not been able to wear as they are not in season, are the two linen blouses I bought from Ralph Lauren last summer.  I will definitely be adding a third when it comes to planning summer purchases!
 
The thing is, I have a lot MORE in my closet.  I have moved most of the work things out of the closet - more is going this morning as it is simply too distracting.  And the things I am not reaching for are not being reached for because they are too tight; I already moved those out too!  I just seem to have a lot of things in there.  Maybe not compared to others but certainly compared to what I would like.  I realized that I have been living, without thinking about it, Project 333.  Ah... this is helping me build my spring wardrobe.  I will pick some key existing pieces to go with the 3 big items of the spring - purse, dress, shoes - and build my own small wardrobes - one for work, one for at home/weekends.  Obviously, they will share some key pieces. 
 
So my Get Well Soon Uniform is teaching me a few things about what I like. I have had time to play with my clothes and try many combinations, but I have realized I only want a few very nice things.  It is good to have choice, but too much choice has simply become noise for me at least.  Colour is lovely, but it doesn't have to be COLOUR!  Someone (Kathy?) said earlier this week "moderation in all things."  I say "hear! hear!"
 
My name is WMM.  I am 50 years old.  I love clothes.  And now my wardrobe is about to really reflect me as I am now.
 
'bout time!
 
Stay Safe out there!!
 

48 comments:

  1. Good Morning, lovely WMM! You are in a good place, it sounds. I am a bit older than you are, but also made a big life change this fall, leaving my BIG career wtih 24-7 responsibility for my own consulting bz and volunteer work ( endlessly available in my field). It IS a shock to realize you have time, the most precious entity.

    So you are also paring down and adding only the things that will truly enhance your life now. Simple things work fine around the house. Turtleneck, cashmere sweater and jeans today. I needed new travel things I can manage on my own-- new Briggs and Riley 4 wheel carryon, new Cole Haan black tech tote. Still looking for simple wellmade dress that is long enough.

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    1. Hi Lane,

      I am still in the place where I am not quite ready for that decision, but I imagine I will have choices to make by Spring and I believe I am leaning in the direction that you have gone in. There is a time and place and age for all things, I think and surely I am bright enough to read the signs now that I have slowed dow! I am still in sweats as I just exercised, but I am going to change into something similar after I shower! I think that dresses are hard to find - I have two or three that I love (I forgot a navy Michael Kors ponte knit sleeveless dress i have worn as well in the list above. Above all is comfort! If at the end of the day, I want to tear it off, it has failed the comfort list and has been relegated to the giveaway or consignment. I am finally following Dani's colour story concept - it has only taken following her for 2 years to sink in! I must say, The Wardrobe Wakeup book has been really helpful to me in honing it all!

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  2. So glad you are slowing down a bit and feeling more relaxed, can't believe it's your 7th week now.
    I don't own a single blouse, never have, they are just one of those things that aren't me.
    I have been bored to tears, too much time and not enough different ways to fill it, I need a hobby.

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    1. Time to learn how to knit Tabitha! Look up Alice Starmore's amazing books about the incomparable knitting tradition in the Scottish isles and you will be entranced. (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=starmore)
      Alhough, I believe you should write a book. I love your sense of style and witty prose.

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    2. Knit Yarns - re knitting, I wish, I have no patience whatsoever. Andas to a book , phew I find blogging hard enough. I do like gardening but again as WMM says it's a pursuit of but a few months. I respond well to hard labour, might join a chain gang!

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    3. Tabs - maybe we should travel world by climate, living off pulling weeds...

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    4. Love it, saddle the horses and caravan!

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    5. I wear only one blouse, really a shirt brand - Equipment. Silk men's style shirts that I have in about 4 different neutral shades. I'm totally boring, and proud.

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  3. Or she could write a book about knitting! I am actually looking at hobbies even as we speak. I think men are much better at this than women. It is quite demoralizing at times. My hobbies were cleaning and cooking, my work was work and kids. I did not have a hobby or activity that was for ME, except gardening, which is sadly only a 4 month enterprise around here. So I am looking at old pursuits, like teaching myself to paint or digging our knitting needles again!

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    1. Knitting lowers your blood pressure , engages your creativity, sharpens your mind, and adds to your wardrobe. It is portable and entertaining- although some airlines have rules about knitting needles!There are also a plethora of wonderful books about knitting history which really paint an interesting picture about women's work. If you want a fabulous resource sign up on www.ravelry.com. It is a free, amazing resource for knitters and crocheters, from rank beginners to experts. I feel that you could write a book. If you compiled your wonderful sabbatical posts, probably you already have!

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    2. Knityarns - I am going to make a cup of tea this afternoon and curl right about with ravelry.com! Plus, doing something with hands eliminates ability to put something in my mouth!!! I used to love to knit and really miss it - I will take a picture of my knitting basket and post it later this week!

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    3. I will look forward to seeing it! I am northeastknitter on ravelry leave me a message if you enjoy it!

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    4. My daughter tore her ACL this summer and taught herself to knit while she was recovering from surgery. I finally took my first lesson last Tuesday. I have knit every night and it is a hot mess but I am determined to make at least one hot pad before I give up. Seriously my next lesson is Tuesday and daughter will be going with me.

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  4. You have made really thoughtful changes to your wardrobe, but before you permanently purge, put some of those pieces into storage for a while. I have been mad busy these last few months and keeping grabbing for the tried and true all the time- comfortable, classic, easy, mostly monochrome. The other day I looked in the mirror, and decided I could do so much better, because I was wearing the same things everyday. My easy uniform, partly based on -I don't want to ruin my best clothes when I am working from home (Oh , how I admire you Dani BP!) was comfy but uninspired.I made myself choose a neglected bright cardi and it gave me an unexpected lift. I also realized that if I purchase one pair of well fitting navy pants, I could wear many of the neglected items. You made some gorgeous purchases last year. Even if the time is not right to enjoy them today, you may enjoy them as the season changes. It is nice that you are resting, but by the quantity and quality of your posts it seems as if you are working very hard. Hope you don't get too much snow this time!

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    1. I agree Knityarns! The great thing for me is that consigment doesn't want fall clothing anyhow so I must store them and see how i feel in the fall! I already broke my rule above - I went into the bedroom, but on leggings and boots and a tank and pushed myself to put on my brocade blue blouse, worn out over the waist and unbuttoned quite far down. It actually looks very chic! So I also think I have not been being imaginative with some things and blaming hating wearing them tucked in and buttoned up. We will see, but great advice!!

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    2. Honestly, when I'm at home, I wear the same thing for a week, I really don't care - perhaps I need therapy more than a hobby!

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    3. I a, getting more and more like that - no one seems to notice..

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    4. If one needs therapy for that, they I need to be institutionalized. I even wear the same clothes out of the house sometimes for a week. Just don't care.

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  5. YOU-NIFORM Well, think I need a hobby that makes me leave home/ building, and no possibility of a garden here. Un-Martha says, "help". (Waving, not drowning.)

    WMM, so glad you are unwinding, starting to feel better - and congratulations on the unform, colour story absorption!

    I am with KnitYarns that you should wait until after making the big decisions before getting rid of the "major" items. In the past I have purged investment pieces, like suits and coats, and then rather regretted it as workplace changed.

    I've also been wondering re. peacock jacket, those two polka dot blouses and a few other pieces you've noted if maybe you'd find value in making better friends with your tailor - for things beyond hemming? A great fit can make a huge difference in our feelings about a garment's wearability as well as making us look our best.

    In the meantime, all for making daily (morning) life easy - we curate our refrigerator, our bookshelf, our homes, why not wardrobe? I also think it's good to accept when some things just aren't us. I can do button-downs and simple shells, but anything lacy, frilly, short, shoulder slidey or pleat-tuck-y fussy just does my head in, no matter how pretty or elegant it is.

    Soak up the rest of the LONG weekend! Sunny but brrrr here.

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    1. GREEN GODDESS Happy to join you and Tabs on the Weed Gang - could that be a business plan?

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  6. No - peacock blazer is going for rehab this week. These are more my around the house looks - not for going out per se. I do find that fewer clothes in closet makes me wear them. I like that my day - to - day closet is sparser...

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  7. Excellent post and thanks for the link to that uniform post, I'd forgotten about that and I still envy that large feather duster, boy I could sure use that around here!
    If I don't dress up every day I get quite down and I fall into my anxiety pit, it cheers me up which I need.
    I do not wear blouses either though, I get that, I worry about silk sleeves which my apron doesn't cover. ( Also I don't like fiddly layers, for me it's sweater and skirt or a dress. Silk and velvet dresses are reserved for going out so they don't get wrecked.) I do own a couple of Brora blouses which are gorgeous, I tend to wear them with my Brora skirts instead of a sweater if I'm going out for lunch or something.

    You've really got a colour story figured out for winter: blues, gray, navy, a bit of black and a bit of brown.
    I finished that wardrobe wakeup book and I quite liked it. Her style is not something I wear, she does suggest lots of layering and jeans and LOTS of leather as well. Still, I like her familiar writing style and the women she interviewed. It was interesting.
    I'm happy you are settling into your break. Nothing wrong with sitting and staring out the window, I think the world moves far too fast anyway!
    Have a great afternoon, I'm collapsed on the couch, we had a big ski this morning!

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    1. We have another blizzard am so tired of snow!

      A lot of her style was not me, either, but I did learn some new things for sure!

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  8. Hi WMM! I'm so glad to hear that you are starting to feel more rested, and it sounds as if this sabbatical has been good for you in numerous ways! I think you are really starting to define your personal style, and making excellent headway in culling your wardrobe.

    I agree that it is much more enjoyable to look at a closet filled with fewer, well-made items that you love, then to constantly see one that is overflowing with items that you picked up on a whim, or just because they were on sale. I do agree with KnitYarns and GF about waiting before purging certain items, as I have also gotten rid of things in the past that I later regretted. I do still cull on a regular basis though, and as the years go by find myself much happier with less and less every time I do.

    Enjoy the rest of your day! :)

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    1. Hi FFM, I am a work in progress, but realized I don't need to have so many colours in wardrobe - just creating all of these. 2 item colour stories results in orphans in my experience.

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  9. I have only been following for a few months and amazed and quite happy with the direction this blog has taken. Kudos to you. Self reflection can be a bitch but you are getting through it quite honorably and of course with style.

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    1. BB - you made me laugh out loud (with delight!) at that comment! I do love a good straightforward comment! Well death, turning 50 and exhaustion can lead to a lot of good self-refelection!

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  10. Glad you are feeling better and more rested!
    You really do have a talent with words and i love to read your post everyday and feel like i am sitting in a cafe "chez WMM".
    When i write a post i have a hard time putting my thoughts down and in the end i am happy to have 10 sentences,haha.

    My life has a been a little bit crazy lately with many decicions to make concerning relocating and reading blogs really is a nice distraction!
    Talking about distraction,my husband just came back from the states and brought me some jcrew goodies.

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    1. Oh Ina! I can't wait to see your new goodies! I do plan to visit the JC store on either 5th or Rock Centre when I am in NYC in a couple of weeks. I am looking for the rose tshirt, which I believe will be released this week. I searched "linen" looking for another item this am and saw that you could pre-order the banana tank, so I am hopeful about the rose tshirt!

      My problem is that I need to shutup sometimes. I could write all day long. Not that it is necessarily good writing, I just could write all day long! And I would LOVE to have a coffee with you IRL at Chez WMM - am interested to hear all about the possible relocation!

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  11. Hi WMM, so glad you are feeling better and less stressed out. I think it is great that you are finding your true style and that you can simplify your wardrobe. I am also attracted to monochromatic look and fewer colors. I also realized that I feel my best with simple clean lines and mostly neutrals but I also need some more adventurous items to keep it from being boring. I agree with others, don't purge everything yet. It is tempting to get rid of 80% of what you own but you may quickly come to regret it. If you have multiple closets maybe you can put your favorite 20% in one and cram the rest in other closet(s). Try to use items from your favorites, don't shop for at least 3 months and see what things from the other 80% you miss and what items are missing. I know that when I did project 333 I wanted to be reunited with many things that I thought I can do without. This experiment let me come to peace with the fact that I although I like basic, simple and no fuss I need some prints and some more unusual choices to keep it fun.

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    1. Hi AJC! I forgot you did Project 333! I think I am too much of a magpie to do it IRL, but I can aspire! What I do know is that I really need to only wear and keep what feels fabulous! I am reserving the right to make the final decision in a few months once I see my size and what I am actually doing!

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  12. Wendy, I've been following your blog for such a short time, that I didn't really know you were on a work sabbatical. Do you mind telling me what happened? In any case, so glad you've slowed down and de-stressed some.
    I do knit as well, but only simple things - although large, like blankets. For me it's like meditation. I paint as my work, but I guess it's really a hobby too? I used to be an interior and architectural designer, but gave that up in my 40's. Way too much stress. What's your work? Glad you're figuring out your wardrobe and what's working for you. I can't stand thinking much about what I'm going to wear anymore, everything in my closet is easy and goes with everything else. And yes, comfort is very important to me now too.

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    1. HI Kathy, I was a CEO of a large organization, working 24-7. I had been working a minimum of 70-80 hours per week and was going through some rough spots at work. That was coupled with my Dad passing away in November, which was difficult for me as I had basically had him as the equivalent of a third child for the last 5 years of his life and we were very close. It manifested itself in pure physical exhaustion, pure and simple - no sleeping, no exercise, all the me gone out of me. Dr. felt I needed I break, I agreed and have been off work since early January. The time-off has been a real blessing and this blog, and the folks here, have kept me very grounded as there was 1 thing I decided I would do every day and it was blog. Other than that, I have focused on getting well. In January, I didn't see the light, but I sure see it now and it is quite lovely!

      I used to knit but have not done so in awhile. But I am taking a lot of things up now - it is quite exciting!

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    2. I'm so sorry about the loss of your Dad. I hope this time off has given you the opportunity to grieve as well as heal. I love your blog and have recently deleted about 80% of the blogs I used to read, but you're a keeper - you have a wonderful, friendly voice, and I'm so glad to have found you through Dani.

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    3. Kathy - that is one of the nicest compliments I have ever received. Many thanks! and yes, it has been a wonderful chance to grieve, too. All good stuff out of bad, it turns out!

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    4. I too read your blog and Dani's blog daily. Even though I don't comment, I'm following religiously. I'm usually so tired and spent by the end of my day doing more thing is going to be the end of me. Being a teacher and having two very young boys to wrangle in each day really makes me want to just have quiet time at the end my day. Anyway, I really enjoy reading your blog. I'm always inspired and I get a good long reading on your thoughts. Your personality comes through in each post and it's so nice to read about someone who doesn't take herself or her style so seriously! You are a breath of fresh air! Please keep blogging daily!

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    5. Oh thanks Wendy and PLS do take care of yourself. my post today may help remind you. I am a good mother, but I sometimes wish that I had spared a "ittle" for me at times and you are in the best but most tiring years!

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  13. Hi Wendy,

    I, like Kathy and Blue Booby, have recently found your blog and I really love it. Your personality really comes across, and I like how you write and what you write about. Like you, I could write/chat forever, so it feels quite homey here :)

    I am so glad you're getting some rest and taking the time to watch the snow fall. Though truly, it is time for spring to start peering its timid head out.

    I agree with the others about not divesting yourself of items too quickly. But, on the other hand, part of me thinks - just go for it.

    I hope that you have a nice Sunday evening!

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    1. Thanks Abby! And the snow sure fell - we had two feet and 90/km winds. It was a Little House on the Prairie kind of blizzard! Barry has been out snowblowing for an hour!

      thanks for your kind thoughts - they are great appreciated - I am glad we found you too!

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  14. Glad you are taking a work reprieve, WMM - the stress is just not worth it. My goal this year is to not stress out at work as much and try to make procedures as easy as possible when things get busy. Last year was absolutely horrible work-wise for me, the stress and pressure got to me big-time. I have a feeling this year is going to be just as busy but I want to be equipped to deal with it better.

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    1. LR - you are right - it is the boundaries thing. The job I am on leave from cannot have such boundaries by its very nature, but I would need to learn better to not feel it. We will see!

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  15. It seems like just yesterday, I can't believe it's been seven weeks! What we wear "on our own time" is what we like and feel comfortable wearing. Wish I can remember that when rollouts roll and sales sail and extra percentage off goes off.

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    1. Oh I hear you! Damn those % off and roll out. I have been so good and sticking to budget, but my gosh it is hard!

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  16. I'm so happy that the break has paid off. As Kathy mentioned I found you through Dani and feel it's a privilege to read the posts everyday. I imagine the stress of this past Fall has made you want a change . You're doing such a great job tackling this and heck you even attacked the linen closet. Well done my friend.

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    1. Oh - I thought I might have gotten lost in the linen closet and found Narnia!!! thanks for the lovely comments!

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  17. WMM, sounds like you are on the mend, but more than anything, it sounds like you are finding peace. What a wonderful feeling!
    Thank you for sharing your life so generously. With your daily musings, you are helping me do exactly what you are doing. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you Anthro Blogger - that is really kind!

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Kindness is a virtue...