Monday, May 27, 2019

Impatience with minimalism...or is it just the books?

In the midst of other things I should have been doing, two minimalism books  I'd had on hold popped up on my online library reader. I read them both in one evening. That's all the time I had; but that's all it took.

It might be that I've followed this topic too long for there to be any surprises. Or it might be the current trend toward books that sound like they were lifted from a blog. Decluttering at the Speed of Life was one pleasant exception; Goodbye Things was another. But most of what's being written now is a repeat of what has already been said. The short version: a) don't try to dress, cook, and decorate like you're on camera, or for an image of the outgrown past or the uncertain future; b) think harder about what you acquire and what you keep, no matter what the source, so that c) you can focus on who you are and what you have right now. That doesn't rule out personal treasures, history and nostalgia: it makes room for the elements you've chosen (even a velvet Elvis) by eliminating other forgettable or forgotten things. It doesn't rule out three pairs of scissors in the house, if you use three pairs of scissors; or ten turtleneck sweaters, if turtleneck sweaters are your thing. (But maybe you give away all the crewnecks you never wear.)  If you love and use your George Foreman grill, then keep it without shame. But if it's collecting dust, donate it.

A useful word I've picked up lately from Joshua Becker is "optimalism." (I think that's the way he spelled it.) Minimal implies less, restriction, doing without, dull. Optimal points in another direction: choosing well, and then being grateful and satisfied with those choices.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Intentional Thrifter: Toothpaste and Pearls

I posted my summer clothes earlier, but I've made a couple of small additions, plus I thrifted a pair of not-running-shoes which were on the top of my wish list. They're in very good shape, and seem (so far) to fit and not rub in the wrong places.
I also found a toothpaste-green tank top, shown alone and with a plaid shirt I already had.
I found a scarf that combines denim blue, teal, red, grey, and a few other colours. Any scarf maker who thinks blue and teal work together is okay by me.
And, finally, a jersey tank dress which looks like nothing at all in the photo, and which you might pass by on the hanger too. Which just proves...something. It was brand new with tags, in a light grey colour called "matte pearl," and it will probably get worn a lot this summer.
Two ways I might wear it:
So, sometimes when you think you're done--it's still worth keeping your eyes open.

Thursday, May 02, 2019

How green is green? (Product Review of Duffield Design)

Treehouse readers know a couple of things about me and my clothes-buying habits. First, I'm usually a thrifter, although I have gone out of my way, once or twice, to buy new dresses from Canadian makers promoting sustainability and made-right-here. But not often. Even my favourite purple dress from Miik was an accidental find at the Salvation Army.

The other thing you might remember is that I've been looking for a decent solid-coloured t-shirt-style dress for a very long time. One problem has been that they tend to be designed without much shape, and I would rather not spend a hundred-dollars-plus on a potato sack, no matter how low its carbon footprint. And the cheaper ones either don't last well, or haven't been popular, at least if you go by the low numbers that turn up at the thrift store. I've been searching almost weekly for over a year, and the closest I came was this long black dress. And that turned out to be, well, too black. I prefer something more cheerful.

Recently I was looking at the Spring/Summer collection on the website of Duffield Design, a small company that uses "green" fabrics and has its sewing done in Canada. I had liked a couple of their pieces last winter, although I didn't need them badly enough to buy anything. Most of their tops and dresses this season were in colours I didn't gravitate to (black, nude), but one dress stood out on the page: the Sphinx Tie Dress in Seafoam. I thought about it for awhile; had a few more tries at finding something comparable secondhand; and finally ordered one.

I'm glad I did. It's a dress I can wear for summer happenings, but it's not too fancy to wear for everyday things. (Maybe not dragging boxes at the thrift store, but other than that.)  The hip sash can be tied in front or behind, and it can even be worn tunic-length.The fabric (Bamboo-Cotton-Spandex Stretch French Terry) and the construction seem to be excellent. The fit, always a wild card when you order online, was fine, not a potato sack. (I got a Small.)

The hardest part of trying to post a review has been getting a picture of this quite intensely green dress that doesn't show up looking more teal or turquoise (my photo at the beginning reads a bit too blue). The photo below is the closest I was able to persuade the camera to come.
Think somewhere between the cactus and the handle of the teapot for a better take on "green."
Here's the dress with my "#AOCM2019 scarf":
And with another current favourite scarf:
So if you're thinking green (even if it's black or nude), and want to shop Canadian, check out Duffield Design.