What does your closet look like right now?

This has been a heck of a week in the big world. My cats keep giving me that “I’d like to talk to the manager” look when I open the door in the morning and they see that it’s dark and cold or pouring rain. And I feel that too — but about Everything.

I have a lot of Big Feelings right now (waves vaguely at the whole world) and I started to write about that for this post. But then, in the spirit of alternatives to doomscrolling that Nicole wrote about earlier this week, I deleted it and I’m just going to talk about… yoga pants.

Sam posted on FB the other day that she had done the seasonal “swapout” of her clothes, and that this year, she’s putting most of her gym clothes and party clothes away for the winter, not expecting to use them.

I don’t swap out my clothes — and neither does Susan, who said, It’s so interesting, you people who swap out clothes. My clothes are just all there staring at me all year forever in greater or lesser degrees of organization.

But clothing swap aside, I was really curious about why Sam saw gym clothes as a thing to put away — since I *live* in gym clothes right now. She clarified that she wears a lot of bike shorts but mostly wears tops she can throw a jacket over for zoom, and needs long pants for forays inside and outside of the house.

That’s not me — I wear a particular kind of lululemon yoga capri about 80% of the time right now. I favour the kind that make you feel naked, which assists in my gradual decline into a feral life of no underwear, no makeup and increasingly random hair colours. As winter gets nearer, I’ll keep a pair of sweatpants nearby to throw on over my capris if I have to go out for gummy bears or fresh air.

This photo of my pile of laundry pretty much captures my life right now. That’s almost all workout clothes, all of which require Special Handling. (Delicate wash, hang dry). And even though I own roughly a dozen pairs of my favoured Fast and Free pants and Long Line Energy bras, I need to do a load of these more than once a week.

Turns out, when most of your life is in the house, lulu capris work for running, spinning (outside and in my house with my new bowflex), cycling, yoga-ing, alexing and zooming. And cleaning the house, and shopping, and lying around wondering if it’s time to start a jigsaw puzzle yet. I often wear two or three different capris a day, depending on how I’ve timed my workouts and outside time and zooms.

Blue fluevogs in the church for my uncle’s funeral; those are my sister’s boots. She was in my bubble ;-).

I do have several closets full of non-workout clothes. Work clothes, fancy clothes, happy scarves, coats, jeans. A long row of beautiful fluevogs, that I now think of as “hard shoes.” The foot equivalent of pants with a belt. Looking at them now, I’m reminded of something my sister said after returning back to Ottawa after traveling in Africa and Asia for 9 months: “Why the hell does a person need so many COATS?”

That’s how I feel right now. Why do I have so many clothes? Shoes? COATS? In October 2020, most of my clothes are merely notional, and their careful piles have been gradually softened and squished by Emmylou’s habit of burrowing into them as a daytime nest.

I went to a family funeral last week, and I wore a pair of my beloved fluevogs. It felt… weird. I’m not sure I could go back to doing that on a regular basis. It seems… unnecessary now. And not so comfortable. And I sure do need some comfort.

I’m not going out and buying special pandemic-work-at-home clothes, or pre-raphaelite nap dresses, like some sort of tubercular victorian ghost. But I am buying a lot of masks (my current joy is these soft hemp ones from United by Blue). My main criteria right now seems to be “is this soft? will this constrict me in any way?” If the answer is yes, I won’t buy it. I need everything I put on my body to foster ease and a sense of comfort.

I ordered more capris while I was writing this, all oohing and ahing over a new camo pattern — only infinitesimally different from my other two camo patterns. And I had to stop myself from ordering more masks.

What about you? What will you be leaving in your “winter closet,” literal or metaphorical? How has your relationship to what you wear changed?

Fieldpoppy is Cate Creede, who is in Toronto preparing for a winter with an increasingly well-stocked home gym. Her new weekly day for the blog is Thursday.

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