As a creative person, I cycle through phases of “productivity” (in the traditional sense), where I’m generating lots of output, and phases that are more dormant (to the outsider), where I like to spend my time wandering, observing, reading, listening, and processing various inputs. Lately, I’ve been enmeshed in the latter space, as evidenced by my silence here. But instead of seeing this time as a depressed (or lazy) state, I recognize it’s a much needed slow-down for my personal wellbeing and creative restoration.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my use of this blog. This all started as a simple, somewhat-novel project I had conjured up to catalogue and write about each item of clothing I own. From there, it evolved into something more: a diary where I confessed my wardrobe anxieties, a place to stash bits of creative writing for safekeeping, an imaginary fashion publication – the kind I would want to subscribe to. This site, though small and unremarkable, has been an extension of my wandering mind that loves to think about style and clothes. A playpen where I could develop ideas and try to articulate them using images and words.
At times I was very active in this space, my brain filled to the brim with ideas and insights that I felt compelled to turn into posts (I still have pages and pages of unused notes from those energetic bouts). Other times, I struggled with lack of inspiration, lack of time, and this odd pressure to make really polished, punchy content that was edited and formatted to perfection. In some ways, I fantasized about this blog serving as a portfolio that would perhaps catapult me into the world of fashion journalism someday (a girl can dream).
I would love to keep writing about my personal style and wardrobe journey here – that much I’m sure. But I feel that my use of this blog, along with how I structure my writing, is due for a refresh. I’m not sure what the new approach looks like, yet; I’m happy to let it be emergent rather than prescriptive. As I’m writing, I’m wondering if this whole explanative piece is even necessary, but as with everything else I’ve shared on the Internet, I think I need this for cathartic release.
I’ve always been fascinated by long-term artistic projects, some examples being those “photo-a-day” compilations on YouTube and the British docuseries 7 Up (and so forth), which follow the same cast of people over decades of their lives. Similarly, I enjoy when content creators like A Small Wardrobe publish periodic wardrobe tours over a stretch of time. In this particular example, Patricia’s videos form a series of snapshots of what her wardrobe looked like at various points in time, going back to 2017. When viewed together, they form something akin to a wardrobe fossil record, perfect for a “style anthropologist” like me to study.
With my initial cataloguing project, an idea that I still think has merit, I didn’t fully consider the function of time. I made the assumption that my wardrobe was going to be static for a while, which turned out to be very much not the case. That wishful thinking came out of my desire at the time to surrender my soul to minimalism and atone for my past fast fashion sins. Now that I’m much more comfortable allowing my wardrobe to evolve and expand beyond an impressively sparse number (while still reducing harm to people/environments), I think I need to place a moratorium on the cataloguing portion of this blog, or at least rethink my methodology. For one, the numbering is misleading, as it doesn’t really correspond to a headcount of pieces in my closet. Many items I’ve written about are no longer with me; there’ve also been items removed without mention and more new acquisitions than I originally planned for. All to say, this perfectly completed inventory I had in mind was always a moving target. Furthermore, I found it hard to write thoughtful entries about every single piece, especially ones that were newer to me or really basic – there’s only so much I can say about my multiple grey sweaters. This conundrum actually began to influence my shopping habits, as I inadvertently sought out more interesting pieces for blog fodder.
Although this dogmatic, piece-by-piece approach did lead to some good insights about my closet and style, I feel like I missed out on capturing a more holistic sense of my wardrobe evolution since 2019, which would have been nice to look back on. I don’t know if I will abandon this project entirely, but for now, it won’t be the focus of my writing. I can see myself continuing to spotlight certain items, as well as capturing more of the typologies or themes within my closet. Essentially, I want to shift from logging items to recording my own style trends and patterns. And maybe a yearly snapshot of what my wardrobe looks like (yearbook style) to peruse down the road.
If you’ve been a long-time reader, you’ll probably have noticed that my style approach and philosophy has changed quite a lot. While personal growth and evolution is a very natural part of life, especially for a younger person like myself, I’ve felt hesitant to share some of my new ideas on this blog, for fear that they may contradict with what I’ve written in the past. I know it’s weird – why do I feel this need to portray a consistent image of myself as an anonymous writer of an obscure blog? Somehow, I do.
Context is everything, but on a blog – much like scrolling through an Instagram or Twitter feed – the sense of content rooted in time can be lost. I picture the disjointed experience of someone who’s newly discovered my site glossing through three years of iterative personal writings in minutes, and seeing all the starts that never finished, the rules that were broken, the goals and promises never kept. Sometimes I intentionally try to bridge those chasms in thinking through context-setting-type posts (much like this, actually), explaining where I’ve been and what’s changed, but that can get tiresome. I feel like I have to reference an older version of myself, instead of just leading with the voice I have today.
I need to remember that this blog (I prefer “journal”) is an experimental space for myself, first and foremost, not a product. I need to remember that the stakes are low and that I don’t need to be beholden to anything. In order to keep doing this, I need to prioritize and protect the enjoyment I get from writing in this forum; the best I can do is hope that it is equally enjoyable for others to read.
I’ve said this before, but starting this blog has really reignited my passion for writing. It’s also taken clothing and style from something I felt guilty dedicating brain space to to a lens for meaningful analysis. As part of the “long term game”, I acknowledge that I do have ambitions of creating some kind of publication or more formal written piece that will perhaps consist of fragments from this blog. To get there, however, I need to first figure out what contributions I want to make to the dialogue. For now, I wish to use this site as a space for process, where I focus on writing for pleasure. Where I explore ideas and trails of inspiration without being married to conventions about how I write, when I write, and what I write about.