Thursday, January 27, 2011

Express Checkout Experiment, 2011

This spring, there is a new wrinkle in my "dressing": I am teaching only two days weekly.

Which means that there should be no excuse for me to look very good on those two days! I will have the choice of my clothes for the admittedly 8-hour teaching/meeting days ahead; I also plan to bike in everyday, so this will give me practice in dressing for the bike as well.

Two days of formal clothes: no jeans allowed, despite the "studio" nature of my courses. Shoes or boots to scarves and jewelry.

But that leaves two new days when I will be either running errands or home, working the scholar mode. Which means I must mindfully dress myself every morning despite being home writing on the laptop or researching my book or the two articles I am stringing along. It is a huge temptation to stay in pajamas or ultra-casual flannel bottoms or sweatpants and a t-shirt, fuzzy socks (no shoes in the house), and a light pashmina tossed over my shoulders. After all, no one will see me at home and errands are just quickies, right?

Not so.

First, I do plan to stop by my department at least once on a day without classes to work the phones and meet students in scheduled advising meetings or casual hallway encounters. Sort of keep my presence alive.

Second, the libraries will be a great source of journals, newspapers, and various other sources for my research, and stopping by always leads to, well, conversations, lunches, etc.

Third, not dressing--beyond flannel items--simply discourages focus for work. I am still "working," even if not among colleagues. I have set goals (dates for completion, for example) and need to realize them. Thinking professionally is being professional... and who knows who will come to the door, or be out at the grocery store or tailor, or call.

But as I move toward even more culling of my wardrobe, this change may affect me more fully in that area of thinking than I imagine. Right now, I can see that since October I have given away or thrown away a full one-third of my clothing. Closets have space, where before they were too tightly packed. Shelves and drawers have shorter, more focused piles. I am still holdng on to things, and need to make three trips--one to Goodwill (a last one about clothing!), one to the consignment store, and one to the vintage store--before I can really say I am taking a break from de-cluttering my closet further.

So the experiment continues, with my own knowledge that I'll really be wearing the dressier parts of my current list less. And maybe with more pleasure, after all.

Mostly, this spring will enable me to assess where I am and what I need (and don't need) to keep.

Tally for this week: Monday & Wednesday, teaching -- dressed toes to head; Tuesday, errands and yoga -- unfortunately, went everywhere in yoga gear. Thursday, meetings on campus and errands -- plan to dress up.

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