What do you do when you’re trying to distract yourself? I do one thing: think about outfits. I can tie the practice to higher purpose — thinking about outfits as a metaphor for thinking about WHO I AM, ya di ya di ya, but the plain fact remains: I am thinking about outfits. Sometimes it requires that I scroll through pages and pages of products on e-commerce sites to cull inspiration. Sometimes I take a deep dive into a completely unrelated magazine or newspaper article or a passage from a book so as to free my mind temporarily until there I land again: mentally preparing an outfit.
These outfits never hold up — I rarely actually end up wearing them. I make them hoping it’ll save me time later but inevitably, I end up in jeans and a turtleneck. Which, btw, doesn’t actually save me more time: I put on the jeans, I put on the turtleneck, and then I stand in front of my closet and ask, “How do I make this look more interesting?”
And this is where I’m met by an intersection, because on the one hand, my asking how to make it more interesting indicates that I want for more (emotionally speaking), which means what I have is not enough. But on the other, I consistently retreat to this uniform and am inclined to honor what this means — a pretty seismic shift in how I think about clothing. Where I once used them to explore who I am, now I just want to wear what will reliably feel like “me.” This, however, does not preclude me from wanting the flexibility to experiment. In that way, the uniform is actually a framework. Or a template! Whole wheat bread? Yeah, bread. That is baked to foster the switching in and out of different variables. But what are these variables?
Ah, this is the question that keeps me standing in front of my closet asking, “How do I make this look more interesting?” Because, you know, bread is always great — but it’s the stuff you put on the bread that keeps it interesting, and keeps you coming back for it. So I’m thinking: If I feel this way, it is possible that others do too, and if others feel this way, but similarly haven’t figured out how to make their good clothes feel more interesting, maybe I can figure it out for us.
So far all I have are the accouterments — almond butter or avocado or sweet potato and a soft boiled egg on bread, but on clothes, they’re accessories. This opinion is no doubt biased, particularly given the buffet we just launched but, and here’s the eureka moment, this is also precisely why we launched it.
If the pervasive success of a company like Everlane — built on delivering great quality basics — is an indication of anything, it is of a shift in the way we receive our closets. Discovering your baseline uniform is a worthwhile pursuit because it answers the loftiest questions (who am I?) and puts to rest the exhausting spiral of choices that flicker like sparks of a million unbaked answers and then — only then! — are you afforded defined parameters that enable what is, in my opinion, the best kind of power: freedom to create in a controlled environment.
You get to ask yourself, what if I put avocado and almond butter on my bread?
Why can’t I wear a gold necklace and compliment it with a strand of pony beads?
Then a tropical print brocade dopp-kit (the Carry Bradshaw — get it?) can say: I’m not always practical, even though my rain boots suggest otherwise. And that hand/wrist contraption is like a window into my proclivity for provoking curiosity.
Whatever, it doesn’t matter what the stuff says — what matters is that you know you can say it.