Sunday, November 18, 2012

birthday and my closet

It is my birthday today!  I am turning thirty-and-a-considerable-amount.  I feel too old to have a birthday, if that makes any sense, in that I would rather not turn thirty-and-more and prefer to stay thirty-and-less, even at the expense of having a birthday... I guess it doesn't work that way.

MrH has brought me breakfast in bed, and let me sleep in, which is the first time I have slept in for the past two months or so... I am not going to lie, it felt so good it should have cost money.   I got myself for my birthday a nice black turtleneck sweater from Brunello Cucinelli, who makes the best cashmere sweaters (3 ply, soft, resilient, reasonably thickly woven) other than Loro Piana.

I am a fashionista at heart.  I am not into following trends much, and still wear bell bottomed jeans at times, but I like reading about different luxury brands and designers, and learning about fashion trends along the years, and most of all looking at, touching, and wearing very good quality materials made into very good quality clothes.

When I was young, I had no money for clothes.  Then, I did, and got myself lots of very nice clothes.  And shoes.  And purses.  The problem is that a wardrobe is always in flux, and my issue is that for the past five years or so I have only been attracted to very expensive pieces.  Like, ahem, the last piece that I bought was a Hermes belt.  Not a H belt, too obvious, just a black belt that looks very ordinary, but feels completely divine.  The leather is so soft, and bendy, it feels like a hug rather than a belt.  I am not going to say how much it cost, but suffice it to say I could have bought at least 8 decent leather belts with that money.  However, this belt, a Chanel scarf, a vintage purple wool A line Chanel skirt, a pair of red acid wash skinny jeans (don't know the designer), two white shirts from Thomas Pink, and the above mentioned turtleneck sweater are the only clothes that I bought this whole year.  The total price of all the purchases amounts to about 165 dollars per month, if I divide everything by 12.  Not too bad.  Each piece in itself is extravagantly expensive, but overall I don't think that the average amount spent on clothes is extravagant when calculated monthly.

I was reading a book on the psychology of one's closet (You are what you wear, by Jennifer B something) and at some point in the book, it is mentioned that a French woman "only needs a black cashmere turtleneck (check!), dress pants, jeans, a white collared shirt, a Hermes scarf, a trench, a pair of flat shoes, and a pair of heels.  Cost is immaterial because, even though French women purchase these items from the highest end, they can endure a lifetime".  I don't know about the lifetime part, since one is prone to changing the cut of the pants and jeans at least once every five years, plus in my house we stain things occasionally beyond repair, especially since Emma came on the scene.  But I do understand what she means.

Inspired by this quote (and several others that are harping on the same topic, quality over quantity), I have felt a few times compelled to clean out my closet to the bare bones, and just leave in it one or two pairs of jeans, two pairs of dress pants (thin and thick), three thick skirts, two thin ones, one dress, and two blazers, thick and thin, two white shirts, one pink short sleeve shirt, one white turtleneck, one black turtleneck, one cashmere cardigan and two silk blouses, two belts and two scarves.  And my lululemon pants, sine qua non (in case you're impressed, that's all I can remember from four years of high school Latin).

Those would be my essentials, at this point in time. However, I have some other needs that these essentials would not cover.  Like the need to roll around in the snow with Emma.  I doubt any of the above mentioned pants would cover my legs appropriately.  And the need to go to the playcentre and play with watercolours (ahem, the white or the black very expensive cashmere sweater?).  So I need some clothes with which I don't have to worry about stains and little hands grabbing me.  Also, I need some clothes for reinventing my style once in a while.  Like for layering, perhaps some cotton frocks, or a leather vest, or some leather skirts, or even very casual corduroy pants worn with man's shoes and a white shirt and a manly watch.  And pearls.  I am digressing, but what I mean is that more closet volume allows more colours, like orange and purple,  more patterns, like pinstripe and ecossais, and the presence of the hot pink blazer with bows that I would not be able to wear more than once a month for fear of being remembered as crazy on a regular basis.

So, there it goes.  I will not be culling my closet for volume or diversity in the near future.  As long as I have in my head all the possible combinations, I think volume and diversity are good.  Yes, there are clothes in there that I have not worn in the past two years, but invariably I dig them out and wear them eventually, and when I do they feel like new clothes, without having spent any money.  In addition, it is extremely unlikely that I will NEED something in the next few years, since I seem to have some item of clothing for every possible occasion (except for a nice formal dress, that is until my boobs recede back to their usual size so that I can fit into my pre pregnancy dresses) which allows me to spend the above mentioned extravagant amounts of money on occasional purchases of accessories and cherry-on-top type of designer clothing.

I bet normal people do not spend this much time dissecting their wardrobe.
But normal is overrated anyway.


  1. I've been having a great time lately reoganizing my closet and rediscovering new outfits to wear. I have a similar list: black cashmere turtleneck is on there (mine is 2 ply), as is an Hermes scarf, I am obsessed with finding a Burberry trench that fits me (no go: they tend to be too bulky) a Chanel black quilted bag, a truly great fitted pencil skirt, Tods loafers and a great a-line black dress. A friend gave me that list 10 years ago (she always looked great, so I asked her secret). I've added Hunter boots (the best rain boots ever) and a Burberry umbrella.

    Jealous of your 3 ply Brunello :)