Guardarrr #12: Looking for a uniform

Esta es la versión inglesa de mi boletín, puedes encontrar el mismo texto en castellano aquí.


I keep thinking about the uniforms. Last week I had the audacity to say that I could not live with a strict uniform, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it because the subject of uniforms is so complex and fascinating.

The key of what I wrote last week is “strict” because, if we look at it in a broader sense, almost all of us have a uniform, be it a silhouette, a color scheme, or some specific garments. Yes, maybe they change over time, but at any given moment there usually is a clear trend.

Self-imposed uniforms is a strong current in the world of minimalist wardrobes, well suited for individuals who are not inclined to expend their mental energy on sartorial decisions. You will have seen articles dedicated to Steve Jobs’ turtlenecks, Mark Zuckerberg’s sweatshirts and Barack Obama’s navy suits. And men’s suits in general remain such a uniform that no one analyzes them as such. They are too ubiquitous.

And this is the type of uniform that does not interest me for my own wardrobe, although I observe them with great anthropological interest, even more so when it is as radical as proposing a single jumpsuit for all occasions.

Because, even if a single jumpsuit sounds like an incredibly restrictive proposal, chances are that the contents of your wardrobe are quite homogeneous. Sometimes – with great sadness – I wonder whether the century of the supposed super-individuality has brought an even more homogeneous dress than in other times… And I don’t know. It is impossible to measure it, and it does not matter, really.

It is clear, though, that almost all wardrobes oscillate around what’s “normal” among our peers. And without changing much either. So much so that you can often observe people dressing in the same way they did in their youth, the uniform of their generation. And from this perspective, it does not matter so much if ours are the decades of the athleisure boom, the dictatorship of the skinny jeans and the great transition towards sneakers for any occasion.

And now, since the jumpsuit people offer free patterns for all possible bodies, I might just make one in the loudest print available.

(For the other conceptual approaches to minimalist wardrobes, I’ve already described of the most common strategies  here.)

I have reread The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning (2017) by Margareta Magnusson and I do recommend it, especially for those who are looking for inspiration discard stuff in a less ritualistic way than Marie Kondo proposes. The book is a tender example of grandmotherly writing: it contains memoirs, recipes, conflicting advice, and lots of love.

It would be so easy: 5 medidas sencillas que los supermercados pueden implantar ya para reducir el plástico

An in-depth review of menstrual underwear: Mi experiencia con las bragas menstruales

I have already recommended Kassia St Clair’s book The Golden Thread: How Fabric Changed History (2018), but there is a special place now in my heart to one of the stories she recounts, that of a classical Chinese poem written by Su Hui in the 4th century, to her husband, after losing him first to exile and then to another woman, originally shuttle-woven on brocade: Star Gauge

Online shopping changed, and we barely noticed: “Users are programmatically encountering must-have products on their feeds without even searching for them through sponsored posts, ads, or algorithmic suggestions.”

+ I learnt a new word that makes a lot of sense this week: familect, as in Why We Speak More Weirdly at Home and The Familect of Culture Study

And that’s it for this week! I hope that you enjoyed reading and would be very happy to hear from you, regarding uniforms or anything else… in the comments below, via Facebook or Instagram, or via e-mail at luize.ratniece [a] gmail .com

Guardarrr is a weekly bilingual newsletter dedicated to sustainability and mindfulness in fashion. It is written by Luīze Ratniece, a sociologist and textile activist based in Barcelona. Guardarrr is both a tool for reflection and a crowdfunding channel for the wardrobe tracking app that Luīze is building. If you read this newsletter and value it, please consider going to the paid version to fund this project for a monthly equivalent of a coffee + pastry. Each subscription warms my heart immensely and helps going on, thank you so much for being here with me!

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