Thursday, June 08, 2017

She's an outfit repeater, and why "again" is a good thing

No apologies for wearing the same thing again. When something's a favourite, a hard-wearing, perennial best choice, why run to change it?

If you shop at the same stores or eat at the same pizza place regularly, you become known. If you make great butter tarts, the people at church will want you to bring some to every potluck. If you have a favourite hymn or Scripture or poem that gets you through, each time you use it makes it richer, not staler.

It doesn't mean there's no room in life for new ideas.
Even favourites have to start someplace. But we probably don't need as much "choice" as we think we have. Quotation marks there, because finding good basic things these days is little short of miraculous. And that gives even more power to the idea of keeping something you like, and wearing or using it a lot. Sometimes you even find a new use for it, like the shelves I posted about which have filled multiple needs over the past twenty years, and now hold Mr. Fixit's stereo components. Or the baskets I have scattered around the apartment, some from yard sales, some that were gifts. Or the chest we use as a coffee table, which used to hold "old baby stuff" (for lack of a better description), but now hides all our board and card games. Those home things are all repeaters for us, but we like them and want to keep using them.

Keeping a short rein on clothes isn't just an attempt not to have a "wicked" overstuffed closet, as Anne Ortlund called it (and "wicked," forty years ago, was not a compliment). It's not only about the environment or workplace justice or keeping out of debt. There's something in there for us, too. There's a reason Anne mentioned setting clothes limits in Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman, which is a book mostly focused on spiritual goals and keeping your life on track: it's good for us, not as in eating liver is good (and that's debatable), but as something that can bring more peace and less frustration. In the same way that children focus better when there are fewer toys, it is a good thing to allow ourselves to become less scattered.

And that's why it's okay to repeat repeat repeat repeat.

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