February 2021: Get Out of a Rut Project day 1

Being stuck in a rut right now is hardly surprising, considering that we’re coming up on a year of pandemic isolation. And January made it worse; as someone with seasonal affective disorder, I find January in Seattle, with short days compounded by long stretches of gray rainy weather, to be a major challenge to my capacity to be more than basically functional. I’ve spent a lot more of the past month in pajamas than I care to confess. But I decided at the end of January that I needed to try and kickstart myself into something more than that. Wardrobe stuff is an easy starting point for that. Hence, the start of the Get Out of a Rut project for the month of February.

The basic concept is that I promise to put together a full outfit–including shoes, jewelry, and makeup–each weekday of the month (weekends optional) and post photos to social media. The intent is to keep me accountable for doing it and inspire me to not spend every day in my pajamas. The skills needed to plan and assemble outfits help get my executive function operating steadily, and putting it all together helps my sense of creativity and aesthetic pleasure.

I did this in August last year, when I was hitting six-month fatigue from isolation, and it helped. I didn’t do it consistently in the intervening months because I got busier with work than intended, and the advent of winter and SAD sent my function into a nosedive. But the days are getting longer, there’s some glimmers of hope for mitigating the disaster in the U.S., and I simply got tired of my own schlumpiness. The previous version was done just on Twitter; I decided to do blog posts to go with it this time so I can talk about the details and maybe get in the habit of posting regularly (another thing that has vanished in the nightmare of the past year).

A note about my wardrobe philosophies: I keep things for a long time. Yes, I do buy fast fashion–and then I take good care of it and hold on to it. If I like something and it still fits, I’ll keep it until it starts to fall apart. I also buy a lot of stuff second-hand, through thrift stores and eBay, partly because it can be difficult to find styles I like in my size in retail stores, and partly because I’m cheap and I love the thrill of the hunt. I also buy a fair amount of vintage, limited edition, and indie designers, especially in jewelry. Thus, it’s not all that likely you’ll see things in my outfits that are currently available. But you can see where I shop and get an idea of what inspires me in assembling an outfit. I will link to some of the indie businesses in the text details.

All that tiresome expository introduction over with, here is the outfit for day 1.

Lace mockneck top: Metrostyle
Glen plaid waistcoat: Torrid
Bias seamed wool skirt: J. Peterman
Lace textured socks: Sock Dreams
Shoes: Fluevog Mini Momo
Necklace: BellaLili
Earrings: Art of Adornment
Makeup: all Aromaleigh except lips, which are Wet ‘n’ Wild
Hair (because I know someone will ask): one pack of Splat Lusty Lavender, one pack of Splat Purple Desire, 1/3 bottle of Arctic Fox Purple Rain

I got the inspiration for this outfit years ago, amusingly enough from BelaLili’s old website. She used to photograph her necklaces on a dress form dressed in a frilly high-necked blouse and a glen plaid waistcoat, and I found it to be a charming look. But it took me literally a decade to find a suitable waistcoat; I got this one on eBay a couple of months ago. So when I decided to do this project again, I decided this would be the first outfit.

To be honest, this outfit didn’t work entirely the way I intended. The waistcoat is both shorter and cut lower than I realized, and the first two tops I tried weren’t right with the cut of the waistcoat. BUT I put it all together and I took photos and I’m posting them despite my personal nitpicks, which right now is a success. I’ll go with it.

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