This is me in my office, trying to get into more frequent blogging! Hello!
I’m teaching a course on personnel selection and performance appraisal this semester. I’m not that much older than the students and I decided to „duz“* them instead of „siezing“* them. I want them to respect me as a teacher but we do a lot of group projects and engage with the material with a lot of methods, so I want them to feel comfortable with giving feedback, expressing controversial opinions, and engaging in discussions. So „Du“ it is. But it was clear to me that figuring out a dress code for teaching was necessary to differentiate myself from them by dressing more formal. Students in Germany are mostly dressed pretty casually, so thankfully I don’t need to go overboard with a full-on business outfit.
I wore this ensemble today and felt very comfortable. Jeans, sneakers, t-shirt, summer blazer, leather belt, watch and cute earrings. I think this will be a good formula for a teaching outfit. My only change would be more formal shoes.
Do you have outfit formulas for special work situations?
* In German we have two different words for „you“, we say „du“ when we know someone or when it’s an informal relationship, and „Sie“ when we don’t know the person or in a formal relationship. However, it’s not always clear what is appropriate, especially when you and the other person are around the same age, so it’s quite common that people are not sure if it’s okay tu say „du“/if addressing someone with „Sie“ would be weird. I think in Spanish the guidelines as to when to say „tu“ vs „usted“ are a bit clearer than in German, but I might be wrong.
I have been really busy with work projects lately (start of the semester in Germany). But one evening last week I had some time for myself and decided to put my winter wardrobe away to take out my spring clothes. I usually get really excited when I do this, since this means summer is almost there. Additionally, my spring clothes feel almost new from not having been worn for a couple of months. This time however, I felt overwhelmed and a little bored at the same time. Not exactly what I was hoping for. After some contemplation I decided to look at my wardrobe with fresh eyes. I would match each piece with everything that could potentially be worn with it and take a picture. This would give me an idea of outfits that work and maybe give me some new ideas for styling them.
Since this would be a massive undertaking I started with one pair of blue summer pants by Marc O’Polo. I thrifted them in basically new condition- they were still in stores when I bought them, but apparently the buyer realized very quickly that those pants would not work for her and brought them to the second hand shop (thank you!). I’ve bought them in 2016 but unfortunately only started tracking the cost-per-wear of everything I have shortly thereafter so I’m not sure how often I’ve actually worn them. I’d say around 35/40 times… The fabric is very lightweight (100% cotton) and the fit is quite flattering, high-waisted, slightly loose and slightly cropped. I started with these, because I thought that those pants are pretty easy to style and look nice with many of my tops and shoes. I think you might be mainly interested in what I learned from creating the slideshow. But first, some pictures!
Always take a photo! Taking pictures of outfits might give you a different perspective of an outfit or the fit of an item. Somehow things look different in a mirror. My best explanation is that in a photo you are observing yourself with more distance than when you look at yourself in a mirror. According to Construal Level Theory distance makes you switch into a more abstract mindset. A more abstract mindset could mean you are focusing more on the general asthetics of an outfit, how it looks overall. When you look at yourself in a mirror, the more concrete construal level means that smaller details might stick out to you, but the overall look gets a little lost. If it’s important to you that other people think you are well-dressed, considering the „look“ of an outfit in a photo that’s not a mirror selfie could help (as other people view you with more distance).
You can’t make something work that doesn’t work. I really wanted the gray Lanius shirt to work. I was so excited when I got this. Lanius is a sustainable, fair-trade brand and a loose gray longsleeve should work for everybody, right? However, I have never felt quite right wearing it. Still, I had decided that this would work for me and even considered buying the same shirt in a different color. I now feel so stupid admitting this. Looking at the pictures it’s obvious to me that the shirt doesn’t look right. In fact, it makes me look quite dumpy, no matter if it’s untucked and tucked. I also don’t like the way the fabric looks when I tuck the shirt – too wrinkly. A nore fitted longsleeve (like the red Marc O’Polo one) look much better on my body.
Red is my favourite color (for clothes). I kind of knew this, but this experiment manifested it. I love an outfit whenever there is a pop of red.
Shoes make the outfit. While the black Tamaris sneakers are not quite right with these pants they drove the point home that shoes really change the vibe of an outfit. When I look at the first three outfits I’m amazed at how different the same outfit looks with the dressier Weejuns and Marc O’Polo loafers vs the laid-back Tamaris sneakers. After tooking at the pictures I promised myself to consider shoes more carefully when getting dressed.
Experimentation leads to versatility. Just trying out different things gave me so many ideas and made me realize that I haven’t been taking full advantage of my wardrobe. I tend to get into a rut where I wear the same outfits again and again. There’s nothing wrong with that per se, but I know that I get bored if I don’t switch it up. Having this photo library on my phone will be a great reminder to get out of my comfort zone.
Have you ever documented your wardrobe like this? If yes, do you consider it a good use of your time?
Sunday is usally sort of a „catch up and prepare for the week“ day for me (more on that later this week). This means doing laundry, ironing clothes, taking care of my shoes and clothes in general. Ironing a big stash of freshly washed laundry I finally had to face the truth about my favourite pair of pants: they look really shabby.
As you can see in the picture above they are curdoroy pants in a shade of red that leans a tiny bit towards orange. They are from a German brand called Marc O’Polo, that used to be known for their use of natural fabrics and amazing quality. I have this blue skirt my mom bought from them in the 90s and one black dress that I’ve had for 15 years and still wear several times a month! It has gone downhill in the last year or two, and I’m now at the point where I don’t want to buy anything from them as they decided to add polyester to everything (while still advertising with their natural/sustainable image of course). But my red pants are 98% cotton, fit like a glove and made me feel confident in the best way.
I LOVED these pants. Whenever I wore them they added a little spring in my steps. However, a few weeks ago I was confronted with the fact that they were becoming a little threadbare and saggy, but chose to ignore it. After all, I’ve only had these for one and a half years! The truth is I wore them a lot during the 20 months they had a place in my wardrobe – 76 times. While I really hoped they would last me longer, I also don’t want to walk around looking shabby.
Looking at the battered knees of my favourite pants in my living room made me quite sad. As Mari Kondo advises, I wanted to thank them for their service, but not downgrade them to loungewear. I wore them for one last day at home, fully appreciating how comfortable they are and how much I liked wearing them.
I really wish I had known more about how to care for curdoroy properly when I bought these pants. During the last 18 months I learned a lot more about caring for your clothes and I’m confident a new pair of curdoroy pants would last me a little longer.
Always wash them inside out.
Don’t was them too often – this goes for all clothes but curdoroy and denim especially! If you are worried about odour or bacteria, put them in a ziplock bag and put it in the freezer overnight.
Be careful with ironing! Put a thin cloth over the fabric before ironing as the structure is easily damaged. Steaming them is even better.
But I’m still learning and also looking for more advice on curdoroy care! So please tell me how you care for it! Any secrets to making them last longer?