Sunday, May 20, 2012

Of Being a Simplicista

My Dooney & Bourke All Weather Bag : a simplicista's score. Bought under $100 on sale, daily usage for the last 4 years, complements most of my looks, excellent quality.

I was a fashionista pilling up trends without considering if they truly reflected my inner self. Since everybody was wearing a certain trend, I had to follow it, to be trendy, to fit in.  Consequently, I was wearing only 30% of my wardrobe on a daily basis, leaving now-untrendy stuff behind and hesitating to wear things that didn’t fit my lifestyle well. My closet was overflowing with clothes. The economic conjuncture of the preceding years turned me into a recessionista: a girl with an urge for fashion in search of good bargains to continue feeding her shopping desires.  I said desires and not needs, because most of us, fashion-obsessed people, do not actually need more clothes...Being a recessionista made me a smarter shopper. I start asking myself questions before buying anything new. “Will this fit my current wardrobe? Will I wear this piece more than once? How would this item complement my closet?”

This shopping attrition became voluntary even though my wallet was loosening up its belt. I didn’t want to serve consumerism anymore. I was happy to spend less on clothes and more on activities, travels and my house and a sense of freedom came with decluttering my closet and having less but better coordinated clothes.  I became what I would call a “simplicista”. 

I prefer that term to minimalist because I am far from being one. Minimalists are people who intentionally possess very little. They apply this philosophy not only to their closet, but to all the aspects of their life. Their whole closet would fit in a suitcase, which is obviously not my case. I think in the fashion world the term minimalist has been denaturalized often meaning wearing simple outfits à la Jil Sander. However, is someone who wears simple outfits but possesses 200 pairs of shoes truly a minimalist? I doubt it, but the ambiguity of this term is not the topic of this post. 

A simplicista locates herself at the middle of the spectrum of fashionology between the fashionista and the true minimalist. She possesses less, but not at the extent of the later. Her purchases are well-thought out; quality, uniqueness and necessity being her main criteria.  Mainly made of basics, her wardrobe is rather simple, but she might spice it up with statement pieces, that might be trendy but always true to her style and her inner self. She has a very good idea who she is and she wants her wardrobe to emulate that despite what is “in” and “out”. Her simplicity is the reflection of her sophistication.

I think I enjoy more fashion this way because it forces me to see the lower layers of it. Materials, construction, place of production, scarcity, the origin and the history of the trends and the brands became more important. However, I must admit that it is not always easy resisting trends, especially when blogs and the media are constantly sending you subliminal messages through repetitive exposures to the same item worn by celebrities and bloggers and seen on the streets.  You end up saying that Isabel Marant’s Willows are “not that bad”, although you hated them when you first saw them and you know that you won't wear them a lot if you bought them, but you still secretly desire them...

Being a simplicista is not always easy: attrition, voluntary or not, is always a war.

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