Unhurried Wardrobe: A Year In

A year ago I began writing and planning for my Unhurried Wardrobe.I thought that anniversary a good excuse to check in with my progress.


The Wardrobe As It Stands

To be honest, the current state of my closet is a bit dismal.  I’m working with 14 functioning garments at the moment.  Very few of them are well suited to daily winter wear.  It is sub-optimal to be sure.

Since my last closet inventory, my one pair of jeans and my single long sleeve shirt have both landed in my mending pile with rather demanding holes.  Despite all of my best intentions, they are still there after weeks of me swearing to get them first thing tomorrow morning.  Somehow, instead of spending the time to repair them, I’m managing to make do without them.  This is neither a rational nor an advisable choice. 

On the plus side, I did abscond with a neglected sweater from my husband’s closet.  Almost immediately I managed to shrink it.  I followed that up with a rather rushed, and therefore, botched foray into altering it.  In other circumstances it probably would be relegated to lounge wear.  It probably should be now.  But, as things currently stand, it is a key foundational piece in my current wardrobe.

There are a few glimmers of hope languishing on my studio shelves at least.  I mentioned in my 2018 making post a certain Maya top and pair of Forsyth trousers that are so very close to being completed.  A month after writing that, they are still exactly that same very close state.

I think the most emblematic example of where my closet stands is the fact that I’m currently working with just one pair of pants.  A pair of cropped pants, to be exact.  During the coldest days of our Warsaw winter.  I don’t know if I should view the knee length, striped socks that I’ve been wearing under them as a fashion travesty or a triumph in ingenuity.


Lessons I’m Learning

Of course, the numerating and accounting is the easy part.  What’s going on in my closet is mostly incidental.  I’m far more interested in what’s happening in my heart as I struggle with the process of creating an Unhurried Wardrobe.  In that spirit, I’ll share a few lessons I’ve learned in this first year.

Unhurried Means Slow

I understood from the beginning that this was no weekend project.  Still.  Settling into the pace of it has been a process.  It has required slowing down, certainly.  But it is also a process of learning to stay with it.  Creating an Unhurried Wardrobe is not only a matter of sewing and pressing.  It is a test of commitment.  Each piece has nuances to work through.  In the making of each article there are moments where it’s easier to put it aside for a time.  Sticking with it is difficult.  It is time consuming.  It is entirely worth it.

I Will Not Love Everything I Make

I can have a perfect vision of what I'm trying to create.  I can have that vision firmly affixed as I choose fabric and a pattern.  And it can fall completely flat on its face.  The strength of my vision is not sufficient to magic itself into being.  Practicalities and a whole host of details mean that sometimes I will be entirely disappointed with what I create.  Not because I did something wrong.  Not because I skipped a step.  Simply because my vision and the reality I create are sometimes not even on the same continent.  This, too is part of the process.

Making Is Not Everything

A hole in my wardrobe is only a hole in my wardrobe.  That may seem as obvious as the day is long, but I had to physically remind myself of this.  Because there is a sneaky sense of striving that creeps in among all the creating.  It whispers the lie that maybe, if I make a new shirt it will fill a hole in my heart.  Or maybe, if I finish that dress it might quiet my insecurities.  You see, of course, how ludicrous that is.  But, in the midst of the flurry things can get quite muddied.  It’s only as I’ve stepped back that I realize all the disproportionate hopes I was pouring into each article of clothing.

But Making Is Something

But, here’s the thing.  The making of these things is not an inert activity.  Sure, I can get it all wrong.  I can rush.  I can make the wrong things because I saw someone else make them.  I can value the productivity over process.  But if I stop; if I slow myself down; if I honor my own truth, then something transformative begins to happen.  The making can’t heal the holes in my heart, but it can begin to change me.  That, in turn, sends me on a journey to become the type of person who can heal all those other holes.

This Process Fills Me with Gratitude

As ridiculous as my current closet situation is, I’m happy to be right where I am.  Sure, I’d love to have all the projects that I dream about completed already.  And, yes, getting dressed is a rather boring affair at the moment.  But, ultimately, I’m still happy to be along on this ride.  I’m grateful for constraints that force me to take my time.  I’m grateful for the privilege being intentional about what I bring into my closet and put on my body.  I’m grateful for all that this is teaching me about who I am and how I want to move through the world.  Those are things that no trip to the mall ever supplied.