William Morris’ Philosophy and the (Clothes) Closet—Part 1

It’s no secret that many people live with closets overflowing with The Okays and The Some Days, those clothes that are “okay” or that we will wear again “some day”.  The denizens of OkayLand include the shirt that is just not quite the right shade (“but the price was so good”) or the sweater that is serviceable and nothing more (“but I spent money on it and hate to get rid of it”).  Over in Some Day City we find the dress in which we looked drop dead fabulous—in 1983.  We spot the pants that made us feel great fifteen pounds ago.  In other words, these are the clothes that are in good condition but no longer inspire us or invite us to feel good.  We wear these Okays and feel frumpish or nondescript, yet wear them we do.  And while we no longer wear the Some Days, we pray for one of two outcomes—a weight loss (“now these fit again!”) or a fashion boomerang (“now these are in style again!”).  We are crowding valuable closet real estate with…what, exactly?


Now, suppose that every time you open your closet, you see clothes that you love.  Not “like”, not even “like a lot”, but LOVE.  A selection of sartorial choices that fills you with confidence, with radiance, with joy.  THIS is my closet philosophy (and more on this in one of my next posts).

Dress on Door

Okay, maybe I have an advantage—I have very little closet and dresser space.  Yes, I did say that was an advantage!  I’ve thought about this for some time (quite a long time, actually), namely that too-large closets are obstacles to the development of a personal style.  After all, when you have room for everything, then you don’t do the work of deciding.  Deciding is not easy.  But deciding allows you the practice you need for discernment, that refinement of your personal aesthetic.  And without developing that discernment muscle (“does this color work with me?”; “do these shoes express me or a fashion magazine”), one never moves up to the major leagues of A Personal Style, instead remaining in the Double-A or possibly Triple-A minors of mere fashion.


So, I ask you, what if, when you opened your closet, you saw only things you know to be beautiful?  Beautiful on you and beautiful for you.  Doesn’t that sound wonderful?