M85: Monochromatic Wardrobe

Sometimes in my make-a-(green) plan thinking and planning I need to play - in my imagination. These monochromatic clothes shown here just crack me up. I just have to share. There is a real appeal for me with monochromatic clothing. And I think it is an enjoyable pastime to think about the ultimate wardrobe. What would it be? How to solve any wardrobe dissatisfactions?

A little background . . . When I was a little girl I was envious of the parochial school kids who got to wear a uniform. I thought it would be wonderful to get out of bed and know what to wear. I loved my Camp Fire Girls summer camp because we wore navy blue shorts, pants or jeans and a white blouse (predated the t-shirt age that followed). Loved it.

About 5 years ago I started imagining a wardrobe that would fulfill all my needs. It would be loose, comfortable, flattering, good (non-synthetic) fabric and monochromatic. See, I learned more than 25 years ago that buying all black meant I could wear any garment with any other. I loved that freedom. I could also dye the whole lot to give it that deep color again.

I also had fun imagining I should dress as my own priest. Indeed, my clothes could be my vestments as I was high priestess unto myself. I collected images in a file from the internet.

Instead, I splurged and spent about $200 in January of 2005 with a whole new wardrobe of another type. There was this great sale at Target. (Aside: I now wouldn’t dream of shopping at Target, but I wasn’t aware of practices of retail stores at that time). I bought 6 sets of sweat pants with matching t-shirt and socks. I had 2 each of navy blue, black and gray. I even bought a tank top in each color with the bra built into it.

I swear to you readers that I wore these clothes every single day for two years. I dressed up twice to accompany my son to his girl friend’s family home for holidays (shudder). I also would dress in my former corporate outfits for dinner at my son’s restaurant, my few stints as a volunteer at the County Fair’s Straw House Build and a couple of other events. Aside from these occasions these black/gray/blue work clothes were my only wardrobe. I honestly thought my son should enter me in “What Not to Wear” on television.

Last year I dug out other casual thrift store clothes picked up over the years and wore these day in and day out. This was a minor attempt to appear more presentable. Yet, one navy blue set of the original sweat togs found its way back into my everyday life. This probably because all of those clothes were paint covered from my ’05 trailer remodel. This last Christmas my son begged me to get some clothes without paint. I just can’t seem to give a damn. Maybe another year. Besides, I have got piles of things that serve as garments.

Monochromatic wardrobe images


Chile said...

Oh, the green picture is just ... um ... not lovely. ;-)

I should probably get some new (used) clothes that don't have stains. But, I just can't seem to give a damn either.

daharja said...

Hi - You said you would never shop at target because of the practices of retail stores.

Why? I'm asking because I don't know. Is it because of everything being made in sweatshops in China (and elsewhere), or is there some other reason I don't know about?

These days I try to only buy clothes made locally, or secondhand. The only exception to this is underwear - I just can't seem to come at secondhand undies! Hmmm - I think I need to learn to make them!

But why the retail store boycott?

katecontinued said...

Wonderful question, daharja. I realized as I was writing that I was making an assumption that readers knew the answer to your question.

For me the first was Target responding to a letter I sent protesting their pharmacists' refusal in filling a 'morning after' pill prescription. Their support of this refusal was the first trigger to my personal Target boycott.

But, the general practice of banning unions and paying unlivable wages is the reason I won't shop at the big box stores.

"People ask what the difference between Wal-Mart and Target is," said UFCW organizer Bernie Hesse. "Nothing, except that Wal-Mart is six times bigger. The wages start at $7.25 to $7.50 an hour [at Target]. They'll say that's a competitive wage, but they can't say it's a living wage. We know a lot of their managers are telling people, 'If we find out you're involved in organizing a union you'll get fired.'"

That was taken from a really comprehensive article in AlterNet. It also includes using the slave labor of developing nations as you indicated. I recommend it for a complete explanation for my own boycott of the big box retail stores - and Corporate America in general.

Thanks again for the question.

katecontinued said...

BTW, I forgot to re-state that in following No Impact Man's challenge, my intent this year was to buy nothing new. That would preclude buying new clothing.

I did make exceptions this year for some purchases towards a 90% reduction life by buying my toilet sink, my manual washing machine and a solar oven.

daharja said...

Hi Katecontinued - thanks for the answer. Things are a bit different in my country, and retail store employees get paid a reasonable wage. Not great, but liveable - I've had friends work in places like Target so I know. But of course the whole 'made in Chinese slave factories and most of it is crap that you'll only use a few weeks/months before it heads to landfill' thing is a truism about most of what they sell, no matter where on the planet you live.

These days, I pretty much avoid anything new if at all possible. Our budget is tremendously happy as a result :-) And when we do buy new, I try to make sure I know where it was manufactured, and that it was made locally.

katecontinued said...

daharja, would you mind saying in what country you live? I am glad the scales are tipped in your favor (as far as retail jobs). It does countries (communities, etc.) so much good when the capital does boost things - the liveability level as it were.

Also, like you I think just consuming less - especially new items made from and by new resources is a real key.

In the US we used to have tariff protections in foreign trade (just as we had unions to protect workers) to protect companies from being under priced by foreign lower wages and costs. I don't know if this is yet another Myth America to unfairly limit competition or not.

I am learning and un-learning all the time.

I do know this. Now multinationals are free to exploit workers, resources, governments and competition all over the world. As you said, to make and sell cheap crap.