leggings are a hard working part of my simple wardrobe. i have 2 pairs of black leggings, and i wear them for pajamas, workout wear and everyday wear. for comfort, there is just nothing better. yesterday, i noticed a hole at the seam of one pair. i plan to repair them, but i also know that i will need to replace them at some point. today i saw this pair at whole foods- on sale- and i scooped them up. thought i'd share this amazing find!
we love pact for their unders and socks. these leggings are the first thing i've bought for myself though. look at that sticker!! it is such a beautiful sight!! yippee!!! as we are starting to think about warmer weather wardrobes, it's good to have a few places to look for pieces we might need. pact is a good one, and we'll share some more of our favorites in the weeks to come!
i have a little switch out planned for my simple cold weather wardrobe, and it involves some handmade items. the first is this little sweater tee that i plan to layer over tops and possibly my dress. i really like the shape and proportions for layering. i think it will be a nice switch and feel a little bit more spring-like. i know that i could have picked a much more exciting color, but this will match everything...and i like this pale color. it is simple and basic to knit, but produces a modern shape.
i'm thinking that switching out just a few pieces now will make things feel fresh…like switching out a dark flannel shirt for a lighter top. i'm starting to plan my warm weather wardrobe too…more handmade to come!
julia: a long walk to water by linda sue park: this book is based on a true story about a boy who lived in sudan where two different tribes fought each other. salva, started out as a happy ten year old who helped his big family herd cattle, after school. one day in the middle of school, there was lots of shouting and gunshots outside. his people were being invaded by the opposite tribe. lost, frightened, and unable to find his family, he walked with a group of people toward kenya, to a refugee camp. many sad things happen on the trip. years went by with salva traveling and staying in different refugee camps. finally, he was given the opportunity to get out of sudan and into america to live with a new family that would care for him. salva has a dream he wants to fulfill. it is exciting to see if he will be able to accomplish it.
jane: a conversation julia and i had about this book sticks in my mind. julia told me that the main character had only one outfit for all the years he lived in refugee camps in africa. when he was going to come to america, he was given a few more clothes for the cold weather he would encounter. he was shocked that he was supposed to wear so many pieces at once: not only the shirt and shorts he was used to, but also shoes and socks, long sleeved shirt and coat. he was told that when he arrived in america, he would be given more clothes (a few more pants and shirts, i'm guessing). he wondered why he would need to wear all of those clothes at once. it makes me smile to think of the picture he must have imagined. he'd be wearing something like 4 shirts, 2 pairs of pants, 5 pairs of socks, shoes, and a coat all at once. at the same time, i am intrigued by this idea of a totally different perspective from mine. this boy/man had lived just fine with his one pair of shorts and t-shirt. he was not going to become smarter or better when he had more clothing. he was just going to be more accepted in a different culture. it may be easier to function with 2 shirts and 2 pairs of pants, so that you can wear something while washing one set...and we may need a few layering pieces for surviving the climate. i just find it so interesting to think about the fact that our perspective of needing so many pieces of clothing and having nothing to wear as we gaze into our stocked closets…this perspective is foreign to so many…and the perspective that one outfit is plenty is foreign to us. i don't want to just swallow the perspective my culture hands me. i want to think for myself. this boy from sudan has so many things to teach me! i want to learn to see differently.
a good lie is also about this topic and is quite good.
what are you reading?
julia + jane
there are many ways of coming to the point of wanting to simplify one's clutter or packed schedule. many who tell the stories of their simplifying journeys come from a place of drowning in all the "more". we, as americans and westerners, are some of the wealthiest humans in the world. the fact that we have more than one outfit, heat, clean, running water, and mattresses attest to this fact. even knowing this, i sometimes felt that i was in a place of "less" and needed to find peace there. all of this comes from comparing myself to those around me, and i acknowledge how ridiculous it all is. the thing is, i imagine most of us have felt something like this at some point.
my husband and i lived in apartments well past the age when many of our peers were buying homes. we shared a car for many years, until friends gave us the beast of a car they felt too ugly for their 16 year-old son to drive and park in their driveway (yes, they told us that). :) my sister laughed hard when she saw my husband drive up in it (yes, it did look that funny). we had furniture that we took from the free pile of donations left at the seminary where we lived, and found other pieces by the side of the road.
…and yet, i can say that i loved that car. one had been enough. we managed and were probably closer for it, but that ugly beast gave me a new level of freedom. we just laughed harder than our friends about it…and enjoyed its benefits! :) i enjoyed finding a ratty bookshelf or stinky, tiny couch (another day, i found a little, dirty, white slipcover that pretty well fit it…also on the side of the road). i could either see gross junk or blessing! perspective is an amazing thing!
i learned to recognize that what we had was blessing, but i kept letting that perspective get clouded. when i visited my friends' newly built, beautifully decorated homes and rode in their new SUV's, i'd come back to my apartment and feel want for more... even though i knew i had plenty!
somewhere along the line, i finally kicked that feeling for the most part (it still creeps up on me from time to time). i'll tell you what helped: a total shift in perspective. i really got into rachel ashwell's shabby chic (it helped that i lived close to her amazing shop and the rose bowl flea market). she wrote about not filling your home with anything that you don't love…be willing to live without first. this made me feel like my sparse home was what i was choosing. chippy, used things i could find and afford at yard sales and the flea market were what i wanted. i was most attracted to the more minimal of her decorated settings. a single smooshy couch along with an amazing beachy candle and a warm rug looked like total achievable bliss to me!
later i fell in love with the tiny house movement and reading about how people were paring down their belongings to the necessities. we began to think about being willing to move overseas, and i embraced purging and the chance to experience life with less. God was (and is) at work in me.
now i want to show those around me how happy we are with our two craigslist cars (thank God for both of them!!), our not so big, older home (i actually wanted a smaller, older house, but couldn't find one in time), our craigslist furniture (again- thank God for those finds/gifts), and my simple wardrobe. it's all in the perspective, because now i don't feel like this is what we are stuck with…all we can afford (even though it is). i know that this is what we chose…what we want!
wishing you the courage and fortitude to find perspective that brings you peace,
thought it might be fun to take a look at julia's wardrobe today. a simple wardrobe works well for julia, because she has a pretty clear idea of what she likes: comfy dresses and leggings. layers, like sweaters, are a good thing for these colder months. they help julia customize her comfort with fluctuating temperatures and also add variety. she has the four layers above and one more sweater pictured in this post. the two sweatshirts above can also be worn as tops with skirts.
julia has eight dresses. some have short sleeves to layer now and also to wear on their own when it warms up a bit.
i love these skirts! they can be sewn with a half yard of fabric and fit for years…plus there are pockets! julia has a few of them, but i have to put some away for warmer weather (just to keep the numbers down). the switches keep things fresh. she picked out this great fabric a couple years ago, and we love seeing it again each autumn! one more skirt is shown along with her tee in the post mentioned above. here is a list of julia's current simple wardrobe items for colder weather:
-8 comfy dresses
(for the future: 6 is probably a good number for dresses and 4 is plenty for top layers. i really thought that 2 of the dresses and one sweater would be too small by now, so that's how we ended up with extras.)
here's what julia has to say about her simple wardrobe:
julia: i love all of my clothes, because they are really comfy and cute. i think i have more than enough clothes, because i always have a lot outfits to choose from. By mixing them up, there are even more choices to choose from.
a few more notes:
-choose patterns that are sublte enough to keep from getting tired of them and to enhance mixing
-think through all activities for practicality- all of these clothes are actually good for schoolwork, cello practice, taking walks, raking leaves, going to church, hanging out with friends, going out to dinner, reading in bed, etc.
-think in terms of things that can span the seasons for added wearability and value
-think of things that can grow with them a bit- the dresses are not too fitted and will look cute as tunics with leggings as they get shorter
-choose pieces to go with lots of other pieces, if not every piece
-i don't buy single use items. julia has plenty of choices here of pretty things to wear for christmas or a recital. i understand this might be different in each situation, like if normal wear is sweatsuits or jeans. but even then, maybe a skirt is all that is required to mix with a top and sweater already in the wardrobe.
-make an agreement in advance that both of you have to agree on an item in order for it to come home with you from a shopping trip
-if there are frequent disagreements about clothing, talk about clothes at other times than when you are going shopping or have an opinion about an outfit. talk, talk, talk…and explain your logic and reasoning behind values. find ways to explain your thoughts that makes sense to your son or daughter or mother. :)
p.s. i don't force my girls to have simple (minimal) wardrobes. i understand that these years are ones in which they are especially searching for and asserting their identities. playing with clothing is a fun way to experiment, and i wouldn't want to take that away from them. we do talk a lot about lots of thing... especially values, identity, ways of thinking about material possessions, and our responsibility to consume thoughtfully and with concern for others and our planet. we talk together, all of us having a voice. and we listen to each other. i think julia naturally tends toward wanting a bit less. imagine if i overloaded her with stuff that she felt she had to wear and show appreciation for (um, i think i may have done that in the past. girls' clothes are so cute!). it would be ridiculous. i know that every family is different and just want to present how we approach clothing. we are so happy with what we have. it is much less than some, and it is so much more than others. we are grateful.
jane + julia
here is another simple, very low waste, and super healthy meal (the only waste comes from the little bit of plastic wrap the parmesan was wrapped in-all the rest is bulk). it was so tasty that i was still thinking about it the next day. lucky for me and julia, there were leftovers. the spices made it! i channeled Hassan's dad in The Hundred-Foot Journey and "spooned them in". (we loved this movie!) probably could have even added more of the spices. :) i had to record this, so i wouldn't forget it…and maybe you'd like to try it too?
lentil rice sweet potato bowl
one large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 cup rice
1 cup lentils
3 1/2 c. water
kale-4-5 leaves de-ribbed and sliced
cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, pepper flakes, salt-about a 1/2 spoonful each
mix sweet potato with a bit of olive oil and bake at 425 F until browning- around 30 min. at the same time put rice, lentils to boil with the water in covered pot and then simmer…should be done around the same time as the sweet potatoes…add kale to covered pot for last 3 min. or so…mix spices in with kale, lentils and rice…top with sweet potatoes, parmesan and pecans. ours served 4 + some leftover.
enjoy! and if your lucky, you'll have some leftovers too. :)
julia: there is a thin blanket of snow covering the ground. it's very sparkly, and powdery. i love to see all of the animal tracks, and have seen bunny tracks out the window. the snow outside is a very pretty sight from inside, where it is cozy.
we love clothing and our simple wardrobes, but ultimately it's not about the clothes we wear. it's about the lives we live while wearing the clothes.
on a journey toward zero-waste, simplicity, + compassion :: daring to choose fair one choice at a time