Tag Archives: Beauty

When Are Clothes “Worn Out”?

I understand that I’m supposed to replace things when they get worn out. But when, exactly, is that? When it is no longer “like new”? When it breaks completely? When I’m no longer comfortable using it?

I’ve been thinking about this relating to clothes lately, since I replaced those shoes. They weren’t totally worn out, but I replaced them anyway because they stopped serving their function for me.

But let’s take a shirt, say, that has stains on it. It still functions as a shirt. It could still be soft and comfortable and a nice style and fit well and be loved. Should the shirt be replaced only if the stain bothers the wearer? Or because it has a certain societal connotations to wear stained clothes? Like, that person is dirty or that person can’t afford new clothes or what a slob that person is.

I guess even then it comes down to whether those connotations bother the wearer or not. Do they give a hoot about what other people think of them? Or are they confident to wear a stained shirt because they know they’re not dirty or broke or a slob? Just that, maybe, they were in the wrong place at the wrong time in a restaurant or something.

In some situations, it may not even be up to the wearer to decide to replace a stained shirt or not. A boss may say, “You can’t wear that here – you need to look presentable”, i.e. more put together, i.e. not like a dirty, poor, slob. Definitely different jobs have different standards. Someone working retail in a fancy purse store would be required to dress very differently than someone who works in the kitchen at a local restaurant.

It may not always be a job that tries to dictate what someone wears, either. It may be a small group of peers, the culture at large, or someone’s own internal beliefs about how they think others are pressuring them, even if no one really is.

Anyway, so what I’m trying to figure out, is when clothes are too worn out for me. I wouldn’t wear a stained shirt to work, but I’m fine wearing them at home. I know I’m not a slob, but I do feel a bit slobby when I wear them. But honestly, my infant could spit up on me at any moment, so why bother dressing nicely? Except, from my experience, dressing nicely can improve mood and self-confidence. Even if no one else sees me.

Okay, I’m going around and around here. Wearing slightly worn clothes is still different from deciding when to get rid of items that are worn out. My sneakers: not totally worn out, but I got rid of them anyway. My sandals: really showing wear now. The bottom soles have been re-glued, the color is faded, the inner soles are worn down, the stitching is frayed, the straps are a bit stretched out. But they are still serving their function as sandals for me.

How can I tell the difference between when something is worn in and loved and comfortable and a staple, distinctive piece for me or when it is worn out and just looks bad? Oh jeez, I just realized that answer is probably different for everybody. So I have to make up my own rules. Or just go with my gut for when it’s time to let go of each item? Whew! So much pressure. Life is so hard!

Just kidding.

Deciding when clothes are too worn is an individual decision based on personal comfort levels, job requirements, style expression, and also budget. For me, it is also a balance between getting the most use out of a purchase (the most bang for my buck, as they say) while also not feeling like I’m wearing dirty rags.

I suppose like many things in life, this decision is a complicated mix of rational thought and gut feeling. Making decisions that way can be scary because what if… x 1,000, but the more I make decisions this way, the better I get at it. So, you know, leveling up at life in general.

Anyway. I guess that’s all I’ve got to ramble on about this subject for now. Stay tuned for a detailed list of my complete capsule wardrobe! (I’m scared it’s going to be even bigger than I think it is…)

The Outfit On Which I Consistently Get The Most Compliments

I’m mentioning this outfit because it is so simple. And simplicity is a pretty big theme on this blog, yeah?

For the outfit, the ratio of effort to compliments is crazy skewed. Like, minimal effort for maximum compliments. And I don’t know if someone else wearing this outfit will get as many compliments as I’ve been getting, but it’s so simple there’s no harm in trying, right? I mean, if you want an easy outfit and the confidence boost of acquaintances’ compliments?

Okay, okay, I’m going to shut up now. I think I’m hyping it up way too much already. Especially since it’s nothing new. (Just do an internet search for it — everyone’s wearing it already.)

It’s jeans and a white t-shirt.

My outfit:

  • jeans – right now I have 2 pairs of maternity jeans — both “jegging” skinny jeans, 1 black and 1 dark wash
  • t-shirt – also maternity right now. I prefer v-necks and usually don’t tuck it in.

Here’s how the outfit is specific to me:

And that’s it. Simple simple. Unoriginal, sure, but also so classic. Timeless. Comfortable and even chic.

Bruce Springsteen, with a red or blue bandana, famously wore this simple outfit. I also think it would work really well with a black t-shirt — and then there is less worry about stains! I think my husband looks so, so good in medium-wash jeans and a fitted black crew-neck t-shirt. I mean, of course all clothes looks best when they fit well.

I love this outfit. It is my current uniform. As the weather gets hotter, I will opt for some cuffed jean shorts. Maybe a floppy hat instead of the scarves.

I love the simplicity. I feel good. And I look good, too. A lovely trifecta. A fabulous new uniform for me!

Simple Makeup

I don’t use makeup to alter my appearance — covering something up or creating something that isn’t there. I use makeup to enhance my appearance. And in the 15 years or so since I started experimenting with makeup, I think I’ve finally found something that works for me.

The key to the eventual success of my experimentation was to stop comparing myself to others. Stop trying to make what worked for others work for me. Stop trying to use makeup how other people were and figure out how I wanted to use it.

Despite what the cosmetics industry would like us to believe, we are all very unique and there is no one product or set of products that work for everyone. There is no wonder product for all — stop believing them when they tell you that it is! There is no makeup “essential” for everyone.

The truth is, just by sheer statistical probability, most products either won’t work for you, shouldn’t be used by you, or you just won’t like them (application, color, etc.). Finding your own “essentials” list might be an ever-changing life-long process. But coming from the viewpoint where you have complete control and final say, I think you will enjoy the process much more than if you are constantly chasing what other people say or do.

I feel so confident and comfortable in where I’ve come with my makeup. It makes me feel good, beautiful, and relaxed — and that feeling can do more good for my appearance than a product ever could.

My makeup:

  • mascara – I have quite light eyelashes so I like to emphasize what I’ve got by making them a bit darker. I use a brown color so it isn’t so bold and thus looks a bit more natural next to my skin tone.
  • eyebrow filler – I also have quite light eyebrows so I like to emphasize what I’ve got by making them a bit darker. To look as natural as possible, I use a light brown powder gel to fill in and accent. (I do not change their shape at all.)
  • lipstick – I like to only have 2 or 3 colors per season to keep decision-fatigue low. I like a subtle color and a slightly more bold or bright color for when I’m feeling flashy. I’ll usually have some sort of lip gloss available, too, just because I seem to receive them as gifts.

And that’s it. No eyeliner — because it looks terrible on me, no foundation — because I don’t like the feeling, no blush — because I could never really figure it out, no lots of products — because I don’t need them or want them. Simple — for me.

We Got A Christmas Tree!

Getting our Christmas Tree was so easy and enjoyable this year.

It was very, very cold so we did leave the children with their grandparents, but they are so young they don’t really care about picking out the tree yet. So it was just me and Andrew. And getting just two to agree can be tough enough!

But it went quite well this year. Andrew usually wants the biggest tree he can squeeze into our living room, but I prefer small trees that I can walk around without knocking into. This is our 4th tree that we got together so we were used to what the other expected and we compromised pretty well. Andrew agreed to a smaller size and I agreed that I couldn’t ask for much smaller than that.

So we got a medium tree with strong branches and a wonderful fragrance. It’s a Fraser fir, I believe. We borrowed my in-laws’ cargo van so tossing it in the back was easier than strapping it to a roof. And since it was small-ish, Andrew was able to carry it in the house and secure it in the stand with barely any help from me at all. Finally a year in which we didn’t need to hack off the top or bottom to fit the star! Or worry about it toppling over from its own weight.

We hung only 2 strings of lights — 1 white and 1 multi-color. Just enough sparkle to illuminate the tree’s natural beauty.

We  hung the ornaments as a family — Andrew and I taking turns helping Wingnut hang or holding Pigpen — while we listened to Christmas music. It was a wonderful evening. The tree is now the statement piece of our living room — right in the center. It’s beautiful and I love it. And keeping it simpler (i.e. smaller) this year, made the whole process easier and, thus, more enjoyable.