So last week I went to get lunch with my dad in Alpharetta. He's been getting serious about downsizing in the last year, even having me help him list his giant armoire entertainment center on Craigslist recently.
He still lives in my childhood home, so every time I visit him, I find myself taking a thing home with me, something small, a thing here, a thing there. Things I find myself attracted to in a way that feels different than the way you did when you were a kid.
In the fall I pilfered some more of her my mom's clothes.
Before the holidays it was some of the china I took, so now R and I eat off of a set of actually matching plates (and while I took service for eight home with me, the china cabinet at my dad's house is still chock full...)
This past week I took these floral tapestry pillows. For the last probably fifteen years they've languished on the decommissioned upstairs living room sofa set, tucked away — a relic of its heyday in my mom's family room decor circa 1997, before it was replaced it with the all brown and gold scheme of later years.
After over a decade of forgetting these pillows were even a thing that was still around, I rediscovered them with joy. They look amazing in our home and have inspired me to repaint the kitchen for the fifth time, haha sorry R. Having them around our home makes me feel a connection to my mom. I think about how she must have felt and what she saw when she chose them for her own house — what she responded to in them that I respond to as well, that I respond to in new ways.
Her art really was her home. Her home was her art. I feel we are a lot alike, often in ways I never expected. Maybe some day I'll come around to her 00s Tuscan Villa aesthetic too — lol — but not holding my breath.
I'm finding myself really attracted to the floral tapestry look lately in fashion as well and I know it's partly because the fashion machine is churning this trend over again — seeing it makes me like it makes me want it. But while the pillows above were free and existed in my family already, I am trying to be careful about the desire to add the look to my wardrobe. It can't possibly be a long-lasting trend, right?
I'm also of the belief, however, that we should do things for their own personal merit and not because it is or isn't trendy. It's just hard to discern sometimes which is which. If it's trendy and you'd love it anyway, seize the moment. But if it's a passing affection, try and get to the bottom of that and decide if you can be satisfied to admire from afar.
Below are some floral tapestry-inspired shoes I've been eyeing lately.
In my internal dialog over whether I should get some shoes or a jacket with this pattern, I'm trying to ask myself whether it's really a thing I'll wear for years or just for this year. I've really enjoyed culling my wardrobe down to neutrals and basics. My love of a nude shoe is well-documented so there's hesitation to veer wildly off that path. And maybe having the floral pillows at home will satisfy my penchant for the look.
But maybe a fun shoe would be good to add some zazz to an otherwise neutral outfit. Leah wrote recently about how to keep personality in a wardrobe when it feels like everyone in the slow fashion community gravitates towards the same basics and colors. Maybe a fun shoe really would be good to have on hand! It certainly wouldn't get ALL the wear but I think that's OK.
I feel like striving towards minimalism can still be done with the occasional wild garment. Your whole closet doesn't have to be basic. What's great about basics is they are easy to mix and match with everything. But there's a balance to be had where you've got mostly basics but a few stand-out show pieces. What's great about this scenario is that the show pieces can go with everything because the wardrobe is so neutral, so there's not anxiety over only being able to wear it with one other thing.
In a wardrobe full of show pieces, it becomes a lot harder to wear everything. That one crazy sweater only goes with one particular pair of pants. The fun shirt can only be worn with the matching skirt. That kind of thing. This is the problem I see with a lot of folks who have tons of clothing but "nothing to wear."
My wardrobe is in a place right now where I'm pretty confident about the color palette and there's a lot of combinations of garments to be made. Not every silhouette is going to go with everything, but for the most part I've been able to maximize interchangeability by being careful about the fabrics, colors, and cuts I add to the mix.
So I'm leaving the possibility open for some crazy floral. If I'm still attracted to it when I see the right item, I'll feel OK going for it. But it has to be the right thing. There are a few sort-of options available right now but I'm not into sort-ofs. It has to be the right pattern but also the right style.
This is perhaps the most important rule to remember when you are trying to lead a more minimalist lifestyle. There's no room for things that only half satisfy the want or need. So hold out for the thing that really gets you.
I could probably file the second half of this post under "Things I Didn't Buy" because I didn't buy any of the items I'm musing about here and I probably won't. Always remember the thing you think you want is just a thing. And there will always be other things. Who knows, 20 years from now you might even find new inspiration in a thing you already had.