Are Three Bikinis two too many?

June 29, 2012 at 9:16 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

So I guess I committed to not buying any new clothes or accessories until the end of the year toooo…hastily.

I have now gone through all my clothes and with a critical eye set aside about half for the upcoming Really Really Free Market. It isn’t about being tired of them it is about fitting properly, age and lifestyle appropriate and making me look awesome while feeling comfortable. Now when my former husband used to say in response to the question about how something made me look “that looks comfortable” I knew it meant it was not making me look my best or even second best. Now comfort and style must go hand in hand.

So the NY skyline tee shirt will become a pillow cover and the green chiffon top is in search of a new home and the French Mary Jane shoes are also in the give away pile…I have done the unthinkable…gasp! I have gone and purchased a new black bikini top, a pair of espadrilles for sailing and a little white linen top for sticky hot summer days…blaspheme for the simplicity minded and minimalist I thought…until it occurred to me that I have come full circle. I am not a frivolous clothes buyer nor do I hoard. I need to own those items which work for me…and sometimes it means you have to get something new when the right item is needed. I did not go into debt for these items nor are they going into a deep closet full of tag bearing items.

I realized an important distinction along the road to simply living…we are all traveling on different roads at different times. I have already willingly gone on spending hiatus and made do with what was at hand or handed down. Nothing wrong with those stages as they are important visits along the road to minimalism and simplicity…by each one’s own definition. I don’t wear some of the outfits I would have even five years ago as now I have nothing to prove to anyone but myself…and I don’t need convincing.

Things I have kept…

1) A photograph of myself and a former coworker in our Hallowe’en costumes…as hookers in animal print strapless and red suede mini-skirt…you get the picture…(not the clothes but I had to include it in the list for interest sake).

2) A Levi men’s leather belt purchased in 1989 I wear with jeans.

3) An ancient pair of Von Dutch patched jeans which literally had there own social calender a few years ago…

4) An argyle Pendleton button up sweater in shades of beige…I have antique brooches which look quite nice on this and it is just the right type of warm on a cool day.

5) Tony llama black tooled calfskin cowboy boots…no explanation needed.

6) An Eileen Fischer Prussian blue silk midi.

7) A Max Mara black wool stretch knee skirt from a friend with my embroidered flowers along the flounce.

8) Long sleeve tee shirts in three colors

9) A thread bare yellow tee which states “Kill Evil with Kindness”… I concur and wear it often.

10) A beautiful reversible blue bikini bought in Aix en Provence by my favorite boyfriend ever…again I think this choice speaks for itself.

So you see I am at a slightly different intersection in the relationship with modern consumer goods and clothes than you may be or even a close friend or family member who travels the road to simplicity and joy. I try to buy made in the USA or Europe but the fact is sometimes the exact item that meets my needs is the one made in a country with less than desirable labor laws. That means good design and corporate ethics weren’t working well together. I bless those who made my purchase and vow to try again to align my ethics with my wallet, with the next item I choose to consume. I have made a conscious choice to meet my need rather than wait or buy a more eco-conscious choice which may or may not have been a better need  fit and what I was specifically searching for.

I try not to waste in all aspects of my life, money, time, efforts, love. Sometimes I get it right and once in a while I don’t. I am aware…in my life. I move through life deliberately and with purpose and intention.

I swim almost daily and sometimes more in the summer so three bikinis is what it will take to make it through summer. One in the car, one in the gym bag and one at home. For you, even one bikini might be too many or if you live in Hawaii three is no where near enough suits!

I have flats and sandals because I have a big dog who makes the idea of even wearing a heel while in his presence a comical thought. I walk often and ride a bike out at the beach so espadrilles and simple woven shoes are a good choice for me and I do love my red Sole Rebels. *Thank YOU Asta!

So, I guess what I’m saying is that we each need to find our place along the path to simply living and carry on the pursuit knowing there is another stage of refinement as we move forward and into joy. It isn’t about getting rid of it all or never buying again but being fully awake when we consume fully in the experience as well as economic and ecological consequences of each choice.

So if you want an giraffe print, black feather trimmed tote for summer drop me a line because it is going to some new fashionista’s home along with the pink suede San Marino Italian made boots bought in France. They are a size 9 narrow if they sound groovy to you : ) They AREImage very groovy but I would break my neck trying to sport those heels with Munchie in tow so they too must find a good home.

I see the process so differently than I did even one year ago. Everything in its time. Some things are too cool to keep stashed in the back of a closet, they deserve life and to be used and appreciated.

The photo is my uncle John with his wife Aunt Flo. I love her dress and brooch in this shot. She recently turned 100 and is alive and well in Florida. She just happened to have taught me to drive on a Friday night when I was eleven on Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles…what was she thinking!? I got to put my foot on the accelerator and steer all while not killing my cousins! but I digress…

So where I am on the path, I have fewer items but more of them are truly purposeful to my life’s enjoyment and forward movement and that is simply living for me…



  1. Asta Lander said,

    I don’t have any bathers at all. Good on you for going through your clothes. I started – got all confused (what do I actually wear?) and stuffed things back into my drawers. I am enjoying the fashion fast. I’m not sure what I like about it. Somehow it is freeing and I get to be more creative, because I have to be.
    My goodness your Aunt Flo is an interesting character. What a looker in her time. I am sure she is still the same inside. I remember my grandmother telling me that she may have looked in her 80s but she felt like me inside (and I was 21 at the time). I wonder how that will feel?
    I salute you my fellow simple liver. It doesn’t matter what that looks like to both of us – we are still on the same path. Asta x (I am so pleased about the soleRebels – I still don’t have a pair that fit me exactly! Go figure.)

  2. Georgina said,

    What a beautifully written piece, Ellen. I will strive to follow the same rules as I purge my closet of items I wore 4 years ago in my “skinny days” and as newer pieces are carefully chosen. The part that also hit home is taking time to not waste our other assets like love, money, effort – so wise and so very true. Thank you for the gentle reminder of our blessings and what it means to live simpler, but purposefully.

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