In every day life, I put a lot of thought into what I wear out of the house. Ever since having a baby I've become even more hypercritical of my outfits, not wanting people to think "I've given up" or "I was too lazy to do more than throw on a pair of yoga pants." Often I'll change into and out of multiple outfits, even if I'm "just" meeting a girlfriend for lunch. So you can imagine how nervous I was about picking the right wardrobe for Alt.
Wardrobe was a big deal for me at Alt; it shouldn't have been, but it was. But not because of the reasons you're probably assuming. I didn't want to win best dressed; I really didn't. I don't have the budget for it.
Clothes were important to me because I wanted to be comfortable and be "me." Since having Gates last April, I now have a different body shape. Many of my favorite outfits no longer fit. Some are too small, while others are too big. I know? Makes absolutely no sense.
In the days leading up to Alt, I'd pulled outfits and accessories from my wardrobe. Some of the planned outfits, longstanding favorites, had been cleaned but not tried on. Luckily, the afternoon before I got on a plane, when I shouldn't have been focused on clothes, I decided to try everything on. And, boy am I glad I did. Only three of the original outfits fit! I ended up spending much of the Tuesday before Alt tearing up my closet. (The bedroom still hasn't recovered from this whirlwind of indecision and panic.)
Word of advice for anyone looking forward to a big trip. When you start thinking about your clothes, be sure to try them on to see if they work. You'd hate to find out you'd lost a button or a zipper broke when you're away from your sewing station.
Alt veterans recommended putting six outfits together; I planned for nine outfits. (I'm a klutz and I'm a magnet for spilled drinks -- not mine, other people's. Don't believe me? Five minutes into a company holiday party one year, a fellow employee emptied his entire Cosmopolitan down the side of my dress. Luckily I had other clothes, not party clothes, that I could change into. Now, I overpack by at least one outfit.)
I wore eight of the nine outfits, and with the exception of one necklace and three Bakelite bracelets, I wore all of the jewelry I brought. I also decided not to wear two pairs of tights, discovering that no one in their right mind should ever wear control top tights if they want to breathe.
I knew I was going to pay an arm and a leg to get my clothes and shoes out to and back from Salt Lake City. And I did. I paid $120 roundtrip in baggage fees on United, which I budgeted for. For me, this was money well spent. I didn't have to struggle with jeans that after one wearing fail to stay at my waist (the only dimension that the jeans don't fit perfectly) or sweaters that were always riding up and making me self-conscious of my stomach. Instead of thinking about clothes at Alt, I could focus on connections and learning.
One fear of mine would be that I'd either be too cold or too hot to be comfortable. With the exceptions of waiting for the Trax blue line across from Flemming's and the security line at the SLC airport, I was never too cold or too hot.
Now, I didn't venture outside much. In fact, the only three times I left the Grand America Hotel were for lunch and dinner on Wednesday and to go to the Hello Social at West Elm. Why? My only well insulated shoes were my vintage black velvet BF Goodrich boots. My feet stayed warm, but the kitten heels were almost treacherous on the icy sidewalks. (I actually traded my boots for my uninsulated black Pumas on Wednesday night; in hindsight, a very wise thing to do as instead of a taking a cab as we'd planned, we were directed to the Trax line.) I also hated having to figure out what to do with my calf-length down jacket (it didn't drape nicely over the back of my chair).
Are clothes important to you?
Why or why not?
Why or why not?
During Alt, I shared both of my Thursday outfits: simple comfort with a cat tote and a twist of green for the Clue party. Next week, I'll talk about where I sourced the rest of my outfits.
In My Closet is a bi-monthly series, published on the first and third Monday of each month.