Streamlining For The Summer


Trying on my mom’s old cropped Gap sailor pants, for better or for worse.

It’s recently dawned on me that I genuinely don’t like or feel comfortable in most of my wardrobe (#crisis, as the kids say), so I’m forcing myself to start off the summer with some serious simplifying. That means no second-guessing the items I haven’t worn in a year (or, in many cases, more), or trying to justify them with an absurd logic as described in my piece for Man Repeller. I want to really let go of ALL the excess sartorial junk that I own, something that I’ve only ever done in small doses.

The amount to which I’ve sentimentalized holding on to these items over the years does more bad than good—causing the simple act of getting dressed to be more chaotic and overwhelming than necessary. I want to keep and invest in only those pieces that I can and will wear for a long time, in innumerable ways. I don’t want to hold on to anything that results in an identity crisis–that irritating feeling of “why on earth am I wearing this?”

I’m getting rid of the leather jacket I never wear, but have held onto because I’ve been made to believe it’s a “necessity.” While that may be true for some people, it isn’t for me—so, out it goes. Ditto the Marant-inspired sneaker wedges I wore maybe twice, the too colorful tops that I’ll clearly never wear, the tight skirts that I always regret putting on, etc. I want to make less is more less a nice idea and more of my actual lifestyle.

In line with this, I’m simply craving change—more so than usual. I am what you might callbored with myself, my habits, etc. I heard a quote recently (where, I unfortunately can’t remember) claiming that depression stems from a person being utterly sick of themself. While that obviously simplifies what’s a hugely complex issue, I also don’t think the sentiment is inaccurate.

When I am at my most moody—even if it manifests itself as anger directed outward—the feeling usually stems from issues I’m having with me, myself, and I. Depending on the day, this might be feeling unproductive and lazy, uninspired and uncreative, lost and confused, cluttered and overwhelmed, etc. It is not other people who send me into my darkest moments, but simply myself. As self-help jargon will tell you, realizing that is half the battle, but it’s that second part—what you do after you reevaluate—that is harder to define and put into place.

This is not to say I believe that getting rid of a few closet items will transform my entire way of life and attitude—that’s really just a piece of the puzzle, a tangible manifestation of what I want to do on the inside. I’m a big believer that constantly forcing yourself to be uncomfortable, even if it’s as frivolous as throwing out something you think you can’t let go of, results in really good things. I want to alter things a lot more significant than the ratio of clothes worn to not worn, but how can I expect to take on huge challenges when even some of the most minute ones still scare me?

So I’m going to start with the basics, to get the ball rolling on the larger overhaul. Get rid of the literal junk first (no what ifs allowed this time around), I say, before you can really tackle all that is vague and entrenched (my warped eating habits and body image, for instance). It’s about cleaning your slate, your associations, the things you fall back on, so that when you’re dealing with the larger issues, you’re less likely to retreat to what’s familiar—on the surface at least, that which is familiar will no longer even be there. I think we all know we can change if we want to—it’s the doing what needs to be done to ensure those changes that we love to deny.

And a few other ideal-world MUSTS for the summer:

1. Try not to go a day without seeing friends or family. 2. Be kinder to yourself—stay nourished, indulge, and exercise positively (i.e. to maintain your mood and an awareness of your body, rather than to simply diminish yourself). 3. Get rid of something (or lots of something) every day until you only have what you really want and need. You don’t need all the clothes, all the books, all the magazine backissues. SIMPLIFY. 4. Explore the city, don’t let it pass you by simply because it feels like old news. 5. Be bolder about getting to know new people and making connections. Don’t be your shy eight-year-old self avoiding everyone at a birthday party; do not listen to Drake’s mantra of no new friends. 6. Start writing that screenplay, it only gets more daunting the longer you avoid it. 7. More nature, 24/7. Hike ‘til you drop, allergies be damned; outdoor flea markets over indoor shopping; long (leisurely) walks daily. 8. You care about the people in your life a potentially-freakish amount, but they don’t always know it—make sure they know it. 9. Picnics, ‘nough said.

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