Spring Wardrobe Direction: All Out For Joy

It’s highly ironic that I’m writing this post on spring wardrobe planning today, because as I look out my window, it’s snowing out. Everything is covered in white — it looks more like December than mid-March!

But actually, this throwback weather makes thinking of spring clothes even more pleasurable — there’s nothing my eyes are soaking up more eagerly at the moment than clean, fresh, pretty colors and looser, lighter lines and shapes.

Spring fashion, though, is often more of a fantasy than a real actual practice — mostly because in my area of the country, spring only seems to last so long until summer arrives quickly, and even then, it sputters: one day is bright and brisk, the next is winter-like and gloomy.

So spring wardrobes are a challenge logistically. And I’ll be honest — I tend not to think in terms of ‘investment’ for spring and especially summer fashion. Everything is too ephemeral and temperamental about the season, so I tend to prioritize secondhand, cheaper items over things that will last multiple seasons and years, with the exception of jeans, perhaps.

Spring also for me is the most loosey-goosey when it comes to personal style. It’s taken me awhile to accept my eclectic nature in terms of fashion: I’ve run the gamut from French tomboy basics, post punk elegance, athleisure, gamine librarian chic and some expression of the bohemian/Goth/grunge spectrum. It’s easier to feel cohesive as an eclectic (eclecticist?) in the fall, though, than it is during the spring, especially when you skew towards the darker and serious end of things as I often do.

So rather than overthink my personal spring fashion ‘statement’ — which never turns out all that well, anyway — all I can do is follow my instincts and feelings. Which, in a way, has been hard for me in the past few years. Dealing with post-partum depression, sometimes I find myself second-guessing myself: what are my ‘real’ feelings versus the feelings my depression is creating in me? Am I really angry or dissatisfied, or is this just me being depressed?

I was always someone who trusted myself in terms of instincts and self-knowledge — I knew what I thought and felt and I trusted myself to make good decisions. And even if they didn’t work out, they also didn’t erode at my my self-confidence, self-trust, and self-reliance. Now I just don’t know anything at times, and well..it’s depressing.

And quite paralyzing, because I sometimes even the smallest decision can stymie me in self-doubt. Say, for instance, I have only one hour to myself in the afternoon: should I work out? I know I should, but would it be better to run errands and have an entire upcoming Saturday afternoon to myself? But…that would mean three days without a real cardio workout…so what would make me happier? I know that sounds easy to think through, but imagine if that was in your head ALL DAY.

That, my friends, is the noise of anxiety building, especially when something doesn’t go right…which, being life, something won’t! And then I find myself overreacting to even the slightest of hiccups — and hating myself after for being so unreasonable, unbalanced and overwrought. When it gets to this point, I try to remember to be gentle with myself. But really, I just want to disappear from the face of the earth for awhile.

Sometimes even something so simple and pleasurable as clothing gets caught up in this little headstorm of anxiety. Sometimes the rhetorics of well-meaning virtues trip me up, and I wonder if something is truly flattering, if something is too trendy, too young, too ephemeral, too silly, too too too too…or not sustainable, not long-lasting enough, not not not. And then it makes me sad, because clothes was one area that was entirely mine and for my self-expression and enjoyment, and now it’s just confetti in the shitstorm that is my anxiety.

I know I’m getting kind down here, especially for a supposedly ‘light’ fashion blog. But when it comes to clothes, at least I can repair that area of life more easily. It did help during fall to tap into my other fashion selves — a more bohemian one, I suppose — and not get caught in the trap of safe, bland ‘tastefulness’ that is easy to fall into when you blog about fashion. Clothes aren’t only for function and chic and status and aspiration; they’re self-expression, art, emotion, comfort and even soul ballast.

So for spring, I want to take things a little further. All I’m looking for out of spring fashion is just…does this make me happy? Or, as Marie Kondo would say, “spark joy”? Since spring is so all over the place for me stylistically, I want to throw dictums of tastefulness and cohesion out the window. I want color and playfulness, comfort and ease.

The imperative towards instinct and emotion was in full effect as I made my first official spring purchase. I admit, part of me did the whole second-guessing thing and asked, “Do I REALLY need another blouse/shirt dealie?” (Because it’s very easy for me just to keep buying lovely, quirky, elegant blouses…there are so many of them!)

But then I saw the floral print, which manages to be simple but thoughtful, and the swishy shape. When I tried it on, I felt both myself as I am now, but also a shimmer of the person I wish I could be more often: bright, simple, carefree. But really, what sold me on it was when I held it in my hands and it made me smile. It really did make my heart go zing. In a mind crowded with treacherous thoughts and a heart that doesn’t quite trust itself to feel, a little zing is everything. A little zing is a good place to start.

Happy springtime, everyone.

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