Have you ever noticed how you sometimes buy (or make) the same garment again and again? One man I know has something like 45 white shirts. My husband has about 12 pairs of Church’s brogues. I used to have quite a collection of grey long-sleeved T-shirts and jumpers.
When something works for you, you like wearing it. I feel nice in a grey T. So when shopping, consciously or unconsciously, I buy what I like. Items I know will suit me and will go with my wardrobe. The problem, of course, is that I really don’t need another grey T. And, if I am honest I look just as good, maybe even better in white, red, pink, bright blue, turquoise, emerald, purple, or even a pattern. But a grey T is safe, quiet, easy. But lady, just how many grey Ts do you need? I had about 15, but now (post Kondo) pruned them down to five – one long-sleeved, one short-sleeved, a cashmere tank, jumper and cardigan.
Now something funny happened when I showed my daughter the silk dress I have just finished.
EXHIBIT ONE Hand painted silk dress
This item has been painted by me and I have used a fairly rare pattern in a unique way. I will not walk into a room and find someone else in the same dress. There is nothing like it on the planet. It is something (as they used to say on Monty Python) “completely different”. It’s nothing like a grey T shirt, is it?
Esme started laughing. “It’s just like the one in your portrait, isn’t it?” She ran and fetched a portrait Baltimore artist Erin Fitzpatrick did of me back in the summer of 2010.
EXHIBIT TWO Joules sleeveless cotton summer dress
I really liked this dress. It had pink and yellow flowers on a turquoise background and was great in hot weather. I found the waist a bit high and the colours were somewhat warm for my complexion.
Now EXHIBIT THREE – Sleeveless summer dress from Wallis
I got married to Nick in 2002. Look at what I am wearing. This was a slightly tacky dress in polyester, from the sale at Wallis. I think it was £55 reduced to £25. I made the veil myself from a cheap joke tiara and a piece of pink nylon netting. It was only lined to knee, and I didn’t like the elasticated neckline. But of course I loved the print which included the colours I adore – pinks, turquoise, reds, blues. I felt nice in this dress but I don’t think I ever found an occasion to wear it again.
I have to ask myself why I chose the colour scheme for the new silk dress? I didn’t plan it out at all consciously beyond deciding on flowers. I wanted something that would somehow go with my 2015 SWAP so I determined to use fuschia, jade, white and charcoal. I had planned to use fuchsia and jade for the flowers and then dye the fabric with dark grey dye. I had the dark grey dye ready. But when I was doing the flowers I reached for the blue silk paint. And I sort of tried it as a background. It wasn’t turquoise that I chose – it really looked like blue. It is blue really, but I seem to have created – entirely unconsciously – the same colour scheme I already loved. Three sleeveless floral dresses with the same colour scheme.
Have you bought or made the same dress many times, and sometimes by accident?