If you follow me regularly, you may have noticed that I haven’t been posting as often. There are many reasons for this–I have interviews under way of women who create beautiful things I can’t wait to share, I am about to move (yes…I just did not too long ago, it’s a long story that is at once exciting and somewhat wistful–more on this later) and perhaps even more importantly, the pandemic has made me stop and take note of what I want to share with you, because almost everything these days is uncertain and evolving.
Unlike other sites, I only post when I have something I think is worth sharing. If I have nothing worthy of sharing, I don’t post. Who needs endless, lazy content these days? And what I am trying to wrap my head around, is how, with a pandemic that sadly isn’t going anywhere anytime soon if you live the US (I will not go into that now, but it is absurd and sad and the long-term consequences seem so dire it’s hard to fathom at times), we will want to dress in the near future.
Sure it’s deep summer right now, but that early September “back to school” vibe or as the French call it, La Rentree, is something I have always looked forward to. Now, it all just feels confusing. Unless you live in New York, and even if you do, there will still be a lot of WFH happening, possibly for months.
Who really wants to put on sweats again once it cools down? Or only get half-dressed for endless Zoom meetings? Then again, how much of the clothing sitting in your closet have you recently worn? And what are you dreaming about wearing that you haven’t since this all began?
I’m going to imagine that since you’re reading this, you love getting dressed and feeling good about what you’re wearing. But what is going to make you feel good now? Something simple and timeless? Something colorful that gives you an emotional boost? A hint of something indulgent (say a piece of jewelry) that might be at once have-forever and over-the-top? Or something sentimental, even perhaps a talisman or two?
One thing seems guaranteed–the buy less buy better credo I am constantly harping on about seems more relevant than ever before. Fall is a time when we spend the most money on clothes, mainly because they are substantial and cut from expensive materials (leather knee-high boots vs. sandals, cashmere sweaters vs. cotton shirts). Even if you are lucky enough to be in relatively good place financially right now, wasting money on clothes that will sit in your closet is just that, wasteful.
There are two words that I often use to define how I want many aspects of my life to be, they are small and exquisite. Perhaps a better word choice would be edited and exquisite. What does mean? Whether it’s the handbags and shoes in my closet, or the home I live in–I try to keep the number of things I bring into my life to a minimum, and when I do, I try to make them things I truly want. It takes patience to wait for the right thing. Sometimes I’m good at it, other times I’m not. Sometimes I slip up and feel the need to have what she’s having, even though it’s more her than me. And exquisite in my eyes does not equate with money, it’s something being the purest essence or ideal of what you are searching for. It can be as basic as a gray tee.
I admit I do keep imagining what I will want to wear when I have a chance to travel, which also goes back to my belief that a perfect travel wardrobe is often the best edited version of what you should always wear. Pre-fall clothes are starting to trickle in, but nothing about buying new clothes you can’t wear for months feels urgent or necessary right now. Once I get more settled and give it more thought, I’m going to share my hyper-edited version of what I’ll be wearing this fall. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you’ve been wearing, what you miss wearing, what you can’t imagine wearing again, and what you can’t wait to wear come fall. xx Jennifer
images courtesy Hermes
Perfectly put Jennifer; And I look forward to hearing more since I absolutely love your posts and perspective.
For me, the only thing I can imagine purchasing and wearing this fall are thick, slightly oversized cashmere sweaters. Whether it’s a cardigan or a turtleneck, I want to feel enveloped by something luxurious but not over the top. Especially since I will most likely be playing Kindergarten teacher to my five year old son. Heels are a no-go right now. But I do miss a nicely tailored blazer with a beautiful heel- as well as a destination to wear them!
I love the notion of edited and exquisite. Although I realise we are no longer permitted to talk about “perfection” we should be able to find other words to describe something that is simple and functional and pleasurable. I think the notion of pleasure is absolutely essential.The idea that you want to wear it because it is a pleasure to do so has become even more important now.
Thank you for not going on as if the world hasn’t changed, and in the U.S. will never go back to the same “before”. I’m looking forward to reading your interviews, and of course, anxious to hear about your new move.
Thanks for putting in writing — clearly and concisely — the feelings that have been rambling and swirling through my heart and head, about fashion, yes, but also about yearning for the sense of anticipation that fall usually brings to me. Wishing you the best in this transition. I’ll look forward to reading more when the time is right.
This summer I have eased out of sweatpants-all-the-time to cut-offs (when I’m home) and old faded worn jeans when I leave the house for the farm stand. Anything else seems extravagant for the times. I do spend summers on Long Island near the beach so dress here is casual. When I do get back to my city life in Texas at the end of October I look forward to wearing my usual gear: nicer jeans, long sleeved tees, button-downs, sweaters, boots. The one thing I’m thinking of adding to my wardrobe is a black leather jacket. Looking forward to your interviews and the story of your move!
Jennifer, thank you for making every post count during this strange and unsettling time. I live in Santa Fe, NM. At best, fashion here has always been an oxymoron, yet women here are very stylish.
During the pandemic, while almost everything is closed, I take long, early walks in black leggings and oversized tee shirts. For the rest of the day and night, I rely on my favorite staples – comfortable, oversized pants by Nili Lotan, No.6 summer clogs, Commes des garçons Converse low tops, linen shirts by CP Shades, blue and white striped cotton shirt dresses with white or black James Perse tank tops. My usual jewelry and favorite accessories all feel very excessive and unnecessary. I am trying to rotate my many fun handbags, which I am using very infrequently, and have almost been rendered obsolete.
I recently purchased the black silk skirt by Anine Bing that you were wearing in a one of your closet videos. I love it, but it is hanging with the tags still attached. Also purchased Gizeh Exquisite Birkenstocks in Black, and more Nili Lotan pieces on sale.
It gets cold here, but there is always a lot of sun, so my wardrobe is very much year round. I just change to No.6 boots and add warm sweater layers and scarves. I thank you for your detailed posts and for your candid thoughts about how we can reinvent and focus ourselves during these uncertain times. Good luck with your upcoming move! Hope you will return to Santa Fe…
I still want to look nice, even though not too many people will be seeing me!
I’m still casually dressed though – jeans, blouses and cashmere sweaters for the colder months. I want to be very comfortable in my jeans though and am gravitating towards more relaxed fits.
I’ve definitely found I don’t need many pairs of shoes! Just some high-quality ankle boots, clogs and strappy sandals.
Looking at my wardrobe now, everything seems to be of a different time and place. When I try and dress up a bit, even at home – it all feels irrelevant.
Vancouver reader says
I so agree with KSL on this. Some sites carry on as if nothing has changed but I prefer your thoughtful approach to the times & to fashion. I’m used to working from a home office but once CoVid hit, Vancouver shut down big time & there was no business to be done for a couple of months. Now restrictions have eased up considerably as we don’t have the infection rate of the US & people are being sensible about distancing & wearing masks. That means I am now meeting with clients at a distance & as everyone seems to have moved to casual clothes, anything more seems out of place. Over the years I’ve acquired some good pieces that while casual, are stylish so they’re my uniform. Massimo Alba, Officine Generale & others.
Thank you Jennifer-I appreciate your precision writing and “exquisite / edited” resonates with me. Personally, I am messing with my wardrobe and satisfying the need to be creative. Project One: re-tool a pair of jeans using a pair of green leather pants (tried to upload a photo, but it will not attach). Project two: switch and swap favorite pendants and leather cords and beautiful gold chokers. Maybe some of you can relate, but I am very conflicted with spending money on myself to support small businesses and boutiques when there are so many disparities and people who are seriously suffering.
Dana D says
These comments in response to your post are considerate and thoughtful. It’s a challenge to be a clothes-lover and wise consumer in these moments…
I am truly going to miss getting dressed up each morning to go to my high school classroom. I’ve been dressing up to teach for 31 years and its a big part of who I am as a professional. I am guessing we will be on a distance model for the year…and perhaps beyond?
I have purchased a few things on big sale recently–I only buy things that are either second-hand or made fairly. But even those purchases are not without the accompanying internal conflict, as there is so much need and despair all around. I’m not sad that fast-fashion companies are closing (even as I am sad for their employees), its an unsustainable model that is harmful to us all.
We will be different when this is over. I hope that we will care more for each other and let that show up in how we dress and present ourselves in our communities…
Thanks for letting me write this here, Jennifer 😉