Years ago, I was tired of the mental load of rifling through my closet and agonizing what to wear. Different clothes in different sizes and some stuff fit better than others as my weight fluctuates or what time of the month it is. I inevitably end up with “favorite” garments and thus don’t feel as good wearing the “less favorite.”
So what if I just bought multiple identical garments that fit well at all times and I’m always comfortable in. Stuff that’s easy to wash, dry, fold, and put up. When I get sweaty in the summer, just shuck everything and put on clean, dry ones and it’s the same outfit.
And then just buy everything in bulk from Amazon. Averaging it out, I’ve probably spent only about $50 on clothes and shoes per year for the past 5 years. Thus the cost to clothe myself in this fashion is rather negligible.
Back in the 80’s, I’m kinda embarrassed to say I wanted Guess, Esprit, all those name brands. And had a $50/month clothing budget for that, which was a lot back then. A pair of Guess jeans was about $80 and a denim jacket was $120. I found a lot of stuff at TJ Maxx for far less, but still.
And now I only spend about $50 per year on generic stuff from Amazon for all my clothes. I don’t want or need anything else.
The only analogous situations I can think of is wearing medical scrubs or the Steve Jobs style black turtleneck and jeans. Though that’s probably much more expensive than what I’ve bought.
I’ve been doing this “wardrobe hack” since before the pandemic and has been a comfort to me, knowing exactly what I’m going to wear every day, either workdays in the office or days off, without any decisions. When the stacks of little black clothes get low, then it’s time to do laundry. About every week or so.
Sometimes for special occasions I’ll pick out something quite different I find delightful at the time from my burdened closet, when it’s called for and I’m up for that thought process.
So, let me show you how I usually dress myself, if you’re interested.
Top of the head, gotta have a lot of dependable hair ties that don’t snag or twist up in my hair. I don’t know how or why all these hair ties get lost, maybe there’s an alternate universe with millions of hair ties and lost socks. These hair ties are particularly good.
The first core of my effortless wardrobe is the cheap black t-shirt. They all have to be identical and this is the best deal I’ve found.
When I was a kid in the 80’s, everything had shoulder pads. Even T-Shirts. So I’d have to remove them out with a seam ripper. Otherwise the shoulder pads would come down to my upper arms and look ridiculous. As it was, T-Shirts were huge and baggy.
I have to get small T-Shirts since otherwise the sleeve seams fall in the middle of my upper arms. The seams on these T-Shirts fall properly on my shoulders. And then the sleeves fall in the middle of my upper arm and not at my elbow.
The second core is men’s briefs that I wear as shorts. It might be controversial to wear men’s underwear like this as a cisgender woman, but I don’t care cause these are so inexpensive and comfortable. I just wear these as little shorts and ignore the penis portal. Or the fly or whatever that’s called.
The medium size accommodates my hips and they fit so comfortably. The waistband isn’t tight and doesn’t roll.
When I get my period, I wear a menstrual cup (that could really be its own post singing its songs) but sometimes I’ll put on regular white period granny panties to hold a pad underneath these if needed.
I really like just plain black kneesocks. Got some compression kneesocks as an option and wear those sometimes, but those kinda hurt after a long day.
These are my “inside shoes” and I’m on the second pair. The first pair lasted a couple years with constant daily wear. These shoes are great, like what a little elderly woman would wear working in a greasy restaurant cause the soles are non-slip. I haven’t slipped and fallen in these.
Wake up and slide my little feet into them like slippers with no laces or buckles, but they have hard soles and wear secure like “real shoes.”
Whenever there’s a tornado warning, James Spann warns to get in your safe place with hard soled shoes on. Presumably because you’re liable to get tetanus tripping over debris in the trailer park wearing flip flops or house shoes. These would probably be fine.
For outside wear, I have my 6W size lace up New Balance sneakers. I try to keep inside and outside shoes completely separate. My house is dirty enough without tracking stuff in.
When it gets cold, I’ll don a pair of leggings. I have a few more choices in my wardrobe with leggings that I don’t mind too much, but mostly wear these.
I’m not really concerned about “tummy control,” but the huge waistband covers my entire stomach and doesn’t roll.
When I must go out in public right quick like to the bodega or CVS, I keep a ratty muu-muu by the door (not as glorious as Mrs. Roper, mind) to throw on top of all this and an N95 mask cause it’s still COVID.
If I have a doctor or dentist appt, I’ll bother to put on a proper dress. I have 3 of these dresses because I used to wear them to work at the office in the before times and the shift cycle is 2-3 days. So I needed at least 3 of a garment. This dress was about $15 when I bought 3 of them a few years ago. Of course, the deciding factor on this dress was pockets.
If you want to know if a girl is wearing a dress with pockets, simply say, “That’s a cute dress” and she’ll reply, “Thanks, it has pockets!”
I’ve been cheaping out on bras, but these are comfortable, supportive, full coverage, and I can’t tolerate underwires nowadays. Haven’t quite pinned down my exact sizing yet and that fluctuates anyway, but $15 is low risk to try a size that fits pretty close and works well enough.
Storage and Laundry
There’s a little shelf storage unit in my dressing room where I keep sorted, folded stacks of shirts, shorts, and leggings. Bras get hung up on a top post on the unit. Socks are paired and stored on a bottom shelf in the unit.
To dress myself, I simply look to the shelf unit and peel off fresh, clean clothes from the stacks. Especially when I wake up in the morning all sweaty and everything is damp, dry clothes are at the ready.
Washing, drying, folding, and putting up clothes is easy, quick, and thoughtless. Simply return everything to its place on the shelf unit. No messing around with hangers or closet space except for the 3 dresses.
It might seem like a cartoon character or a ghost to wear the same outfit every day. But then I live in a 100+ year old haunted house.
Dressing myself doesn’t feel anxious, it’s comfortable and reliable now. I always know what I’m going to wear every day regardless of season. And don’t have to agonize over looking at a full closet of stuff I hate that doesn’t fit or that drawer of old ill fitting bras which makes me feel bad.
Bulk clothes from Amazon isn’t for everyone, but it works for me as an option for clothes that I feel comfortable in. Not to mention very inexpensive to build a wardrobe from.
I’m neurotypical, or at least I haven’t been formally diagnosed otherwise. But I’ve always had sensory issues with clothing, things being itchy, pinching, constrictive, distracting. Yanking at straps or pulling up rolling waistbands.
I’ve read about autistic children who get fixated on a particular item of clothing and that’s the only thing they can tolerate to wear. The parents have to launder that single item every day, sometimes even needing to sneak it out while the kid is asleep. Why not just have multiples of the same tolerable garments.
Modern consumerist society can be too fixated on “choice” and “options” and “individuality.” And that’s fine if you’re into that, but sometimes that’s for its own sake and isn’t best for a particular person’s needs and requirements.
I’m way past the point of decision fatigue and discomfort for the sake of fashion. And no one sees me nowadays anyway.