Saturday, October 2, 2010

My Uniform

It is no secret that I'm not that in to fashion.  I'm not completely oblivious to what's hip and I don't want to walk around looking like an idiot, but mostly, I like to be comfortable.  Of course there are days when I would love to rip out a page in J. Crew and modge podge it to my body before heading out the door, but ultimately, it isn't what I choose to spend my time or money on.  Given the choice between a trip to the mall or a walk to the park, I'm going to the park!

When it comes to clothing, I usually like to find what's comfortable and stick with it.  I've joked around with people before that I wish had four different uniforms.  One each for the four seasons. 

In addition to my general lack of interest in clothing and the seeking of, I'm chronically cheap (no shame here), and I try not to over consume.  In fact, any act of commerce I engage in is fraught with questions of conscience.  "Should I really be spending money on this?  Who made it and what kind of social/environmental consequences are attached to it?  Do I need it or just want it?  Will it last?  What if I get it home and then don't like it?  Does it match enough stuff in my closet to be justified?" on and on ad nauseum.  Quick tip, do not go shopping with won't have any fun. 

Rob and I have frequent conversations about simplifying our life.  I'm always amazed by how much "stuff" we have even though we don't go out and seek a lot of "stuff".  Where does all this "stuff" come from?

Our Netflix queue certainly isn't helping take our mind off matters of the environment/consumption/social issues either.  I'm pretty sure the last eight movies our sweet mail lady has delivered (while consuming gas!) have all been members of the documentary club: five of the six discs in the Ken Burns National Parks series (missed them when they aired on PBS), The Cove, Paper Clips, 180 South, Babies and yet to come are Tapped, War Dance and some other about the Alaskan Wild.  It isn't enough to just think about it, you have to change your behavior.  Sometimes I am overwhelmed when thinking about all the things I should do to change my behavior. 

I was thinking about some things that I use frequently.  Below are some mainstay items outside of my work attire.  The purse was a Backwoods purchase from about five years ago, the fleece a Christmas present from Rob seven years ago, and my Chaco sandals another Backwoods purchase from around six years ago.  All three items are barley showing any wear and could be around for several more years.  The fleece has accompanied me on every outdoor trip Rob and I've ever been on and it has always kept me warm.  Sure, it would be nice to have something new and shiny, but this would be giving in to the perceived obsolescence of the items.  Something the marketing pros want me to do frequently.

If I could have a uniform, these would definitely make the cut.  They are comfortable, utilitarian and sturdy.  Sure, I won't be scoring many cool points or be photographed on the red carpet, but I can feel good about getting the most out of something before adding it to the landfill.  Need some inspiration?  Watch the "Story of Stuff".  


  1. I hear ya, sister! The pressure to consume is intense and usually gets worse the closer we get to Christmas. I wish there was a way to tune it out for ourselves and our kids. I think that's one of the main reasons we've been so hesitant about letting Gray watch TV. So many commercials geared toward kids, making it seem impossible for them be content with what they have.

  2. I've always been familiar with the term "planned obsolescence." PERCEIVED is much more interesting thought... don't even have to design things that wear out. Just let people THINK they've worn out. Very important concept.