31st December 2019, last day of the year, last day of the decade (calendar differences and overall weirdness deliberately ignored). I guess it's the appropriate time to start writing about fashion. 2020 is the year I become a fashion blogger! Just kidding. I will write a fashion related blog post though but this will probably be my first and last, at least for a few years.
The bulk of my purchases in 2019 were all fashion related. You won't be shocked to know I have a strange relationship with clothes and fashion in general. If I had to describe my style I'd say I'm a "functional minimalist". Let's discuss that.
Clothes and Lifestyle
You can't discuss the topic of clothing without taking lifestyle into consideration. Some fashion choices are dictated by life circumstances that are not under your control. Maybe you live in a very cold or very warm place or maybe you work a job that has a dress code. Those are all aspects you need to factor in when you decide how to dress. I have the luxury of working for myself so there's no dress code I need to follow. As for the weather, we go from +35° in the summer to 0° in the winter and that means my wardrobe needs to accommodate both extremes.
When it comes to lifestyle, 90% of my time is split between my home where I live and work and the outdoors, mostly hiking the mountains or walking the woods around here. In addition to those two things I play basketball (both in the gym and at the park). I attend the occasional work meeting and sometimes I go out for a pizza.
When I started working on my new wardrobe I set up a few goals. I wanted to spend more time outside—especially in the cold season—and I wanted to own fewer items overall. My old wardrobe was already very minimal but I was confident I could do better.
My wardrobe for the new decade
Ok time to dive deep into the new wardrobe. Just to be clear, I'm not writing this as a guide. I'm sharing mostly my thought process so that you can maybe apply some of the same principles and come up with something that works for you. This setup works for me because of my life circumstances so yours will probably look very different even if you follow the same guiding principles. Also, the final product isn't exactly cheap. That's by design. I decided to buy fewer items but spend a bit more for quality products. I buy new clothes every three or four years and some of the clothes I have lasted me for more than ten years. So for me, spending a bit more is not a huge concern since I don't buy clothes very often.
On the skin
For cold weather, I decided to go with wool on the skin. My brand of choice ended up being Devoid. No particular reason why. I looked at a few different brands—Icebreaker, Woolpower and Smartwool—but ultimately decided to go with Devoid. I bought two Expedition Hoodies for the top and one Expedition Long Johns for the bottom. I wear the hoodie every day, 24h a day while I only use the Long Johns under my pants if it's particularly cold or if I plan to spend a long time outside.
As for socks and trunks, I'm still in the process of replacing those. Right now I have a weird mix of Nike and Uniqlo socks and a six or seven Uniqlo trunks. I am planning to get wool socks and wool underwear but for now, I'll just keep using my old ones until they are worn out. I did get a pair of Smartwool socks that are super warm (wearing them right now) and are awesome for when I'm hiking.
For the hot weather, I purchased two Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily Hoodies. A long sleeve for the summer? Am I crazy? Yes and no. A long sleeve with a hoodie might seems an odd choice for a summer garment but these not only are very lightweight and dry super fast but also provide 50+ UPF sun protection. That means I don't need to carry sunscreen protection when I'm hiking in the summer. I can just roll down the sleeves and put the hoodie on. These are also excellent when I need to play basketball. I go the entire summer wearing just those two.
For the past probably ten years I wore almost exclusively grey sweatpants. That streak ended a few months ago when I bought a pair of Patagonia Stonycroft pants. These are now my go-to pants for everything. I went for these because are lightweight enough to be worn when the weather is warm, are "casual" enough to be worn in a more casual situation—for example when I'm at a meeting—and are excellent pants for when I'm hiking. These are hiking pants after all. I have two of these.
For the summer I have three identical pairs of Nike shorts. The thought process was the same. Shorts that are simple and multi-purpose. Plain black, very comfortable, I wear them everywhere to do anything. I can use them to chill at home, to play basketball or to go out at night. I bought them more than three years ago I believe and they're still holding up quite well.
Hot weather doesn't require a top mid-layer but for the other conditions, I bought two Patagonia Performance Better Sweater Fleece Jackets. You're starting to see a theme with the brands here. My thought process was similar to the one I followed for the pants. First, it's a fleece and that means it's warm and lightweight which is what you want when you're hiking. Second, it's grey and the style is very simple and that doesn't look out of place in more casual situations. Finally, it's comfortable and that means I can wear these every day at home.
Using these items means I can go anywhere without the need to change clothes. Right now I'm at home and I'm wearing the same clothes I'd wear if I had to leave the house to go for a hike or to go for a meeting. Which means I don't need to wear extra clothes.
This was the trickiest part to figure out. I wanted to only own one jacket but was almost impossible to find one that was working well in all conditions. I ended up getting two. The first one is a Patagonia Nano Puff. It's not the warmest jacket available out there but it's not very bulky, can fit inside my backpack very easily and can be worn during the midseason. Plus I can combine it with my wool base layer and my fleece and that provides plenty of heat in cold weather. The second item is my Mammut Convey Pro GTX hardshell. It's a GORE-TEX jacket that's both wind and waterproof and since it's all black I can wear it pretty much everywhere without looking out of place. If the weather is very cold I can combine these two and wear the GTX on top of the Nano Puff.
The shoe situation is pretty straightforward. I have a pair of Nike running shoes I wear pretty much every day, a pair of hiking shoes and a pair of boots for when I'm out in the mountains and a pair of basketball shoes. That's pretty much it.
And that's my new wardrobe. Here's a full list of what I currently own just to have a better idea of how many items in total are in there:
- 2x Devold Expedition Hoodie
- 1x Devold Expedition Long Johns
- 2x Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily Hoodie
- 2x Patagonia Stonycroft Pants
- 3x Nike Dry-FIT Fleece Shorts
- 2x Patagonia Better Sweater Fleece
- 1x Patagonia Nano Puff
- 1x Mammut Convey Pro GTX
- 4x Shoes
- Socks and Trunks
Questions? Suggestions? Insults? My email is always open if you want to get in touch. I'm happy to discuss fashion with you. Or anything really.