This week's prompt for Slow Fashion October is about handmade items, and boy do I have a lot of handmade items to consider! I talked a lot about how terrific handmade items are in last week's post, so check that out if you missed it. Here is the thing, approaching this week's topic, I had mixed feelings. I thought that I was going to sit down and hash out my struggles with my need to make, both on a personal level - I can't not make! - but also on a professional level - it's my job to make! - and the reality of the realization that I currently have enough sweaters to last me an entire lifetime. I absolutely do not need any more sweaters. For the sake of this entry, I'm focussing on sweaters, mainly because I don't want to have to face the sheer volume of accessories I've amassed over the years.
So, the sweaters, I have many and from a slow fashion consideration, I probably have too many. The slow fashion movement leans towards a very minimalist approach to wardrobes, and I can certainly embrace the "less things, better quality" angle with other segments of my wardrobe, but when it comes to my hand knit sweaters, I definitely don't have a "less is more" approach. And, I'm not ready to give up the chase. I love designing them, knitting them and wearing them. Looking at that array of sweaters up at the top of this post brings me so much joy! Some I wear very regularly, some I wear only a couple of times a year, but I love them all and I simply cannot stop making them. So much of the joy I get out of them is in the actual "making" process, though I do get a lot of satisfaction out of wearing them as well. As a participant in Slow Fashion October I feel as though I should be using today's blog post to set goals for how I plan to reduce my makes, but I just don't think that I can.
Other than my sweaters, my wardrobe is really not out of hand. I don't own much that I don't actually wear, which I think is a good test for the validity of ones closet. Here's the thing about minimalist wardrobes, they don't allow for changes in style, or frankly, size. Over the past 4 years I have been pregnant, breastfeeding, back to normal and then pregnant again and am currently still breastfeeding. Needless to say, my size as well as my needs have fluctuated A LOT. For most people, setting out to create a super curated, handmade closet that will last them a lifetime doesn't seem that realistic because what are the chances that you remain the same size for your entire life? Having said that, there are definitely a few very flexible items in my wardrobe that have seen me through years of wear at every different size I've been, but I don't think that I'd like an entire wardrobe made up of just those pieces. Oh, and because we're talking about hand knit sweaters today, cardigans are crazy flexible pieces, so thumbs up for cardigans!
I am a fickle person, I've accepted it. I don't always have my finger on the pulse of fashion but I do enjoy it and I don't think that I could commit to one style of jeans or one silhouette of top for the rest of my life. I like to express myself through clothing styles and that means evolving my style as I age and change. Much of the discussion surrounding handmade wardrobes involves the idea of curating the perfect items of clothing exclusively for you, your body type and your style, which all all wonderful things about handmade, and I totally love all that, but me and my style change from year to year and I don't think that I'd be happy if my wardrobe didn't change along with me.
So, when it comes to handmade, I guess I'm saying that I'm giving myself a pass. The fact that I make so many sweaters means that I don't buy them, does that count for something!? There's also the obvious point that I made last week about the fact that I cherish my handmade items. They are not all workhorse pieces, but they are all special and will not end up in a landfill. I do think that I'll take a critical look at my sweaters this winter and if there are some that I just don't love anymore I've got a sister and a few cousins who might be happy to inherit them. That's possibly one of the best things about handmade items, all the thought and care that goes into making is easily carried though all the way to the end and when the item is no longer serving it's purpose, hopefully the same amount of care and thought will go into the best way to get it out of your closet and into a new, loving home.
Taking a more thoughtful, slow fashion, look at my handmade wardrobe has brought me to another realization that I'm quite happy about, and that is that my personal style, though ever evolving, is pretty timeless. I don't go in for anything too quirky or trendy, so hopefully the sweaters that I choose to design and knit will be wearable for a long time wether that is my ultimate goal or not. But I also want to add that I've come to the conclusion that knitwear is always in style! Looking at my lovely little collage of sweaters above I feel confident saying that they will all stand the test of time, which wasn't something that was necessarily on my mind when I was knitting them, but it's a really nice little bonus!
Do I have too many sweaters? Yes, yes I do. So I guess my takeaway from this week's theme is that nobody is perfect and while I generally abide by the "everything in moderation approach" we are all allowed to break our own rules once in a while and for me, it's knitwear. And candy. I have no self control when it comes to candy. And Chicago mix.