Here’s something I did last night: spent three hours looking for spurs and collar tips on the Internet.
Even though I’ve always been particular about how I’ve dressed myself, it wasn’t until college that I started to obsess about accessorizing. Part of it is a growing appreciation for craftsmanship, and part of it is that the aesthete in me gets deep pleasure from tiny details like pearl buttons and selvedge stitching. Also, it’s very satisfying to walk out the door in the morning and know that you’re happy with every last element of your outfit, from your underthings to your jewelry to your shoes.
Also, I am totally a collector. I have twelve bolo ties (and counting,) ranging from a simple black zipper to a bedazzled pink stone that looks like part of a Dolly Parton costume. I own six wide-brimmed felt hats. My closet floor is a sea of ankle boots in different heights, textures, and colors. I have a very specific vision of how I want to look, and I acquire according to that vision. Right now, I want to look like the girl from True Grit grew up and started wearing All Saints and Rick Owens.
Of course, once I’ve achieved the basics of this vision, I start to refine it. And that’s what finds me awake at one o’clock in the morning, reading the shipping policies on tack shop websites.
Thomas’ post about becoming who you want through clothing had a much deeper and poignant purpose, but I completely related to the sentiment. Building yourself visually, constructing yourself through clothing–it prepares you to enter the world as your best self. Or at least the best of the self you want yourself to be.
And yes, sometimes people tell me I’m being crazy when I talk about having a vision of what I want to look like. But I’m a writer, and I work best through stories, and I have a narrative for my wardrobe. And honestly, it makes it easier to decide if I really want to buy something, because I can think, “Does this fit my vision?” So often, it doesn’t. Problem solved.