Spring into spring: the seasonal wardrobe transition
We are now officially in spring and never have we needed the blossoms and blooms, warmer temperatures and brighter faces more. May 1st, the official start of spring, was traditionally celebrated by dancing around a Maypole, a custom started by the Romans around 2000 years ago. This was to thank Flora (the goddess, not the butter alternative) for the new vegetation. Now, most of us give praise by a bit of wardrobe transition.
There’s nothing better than greeting spring by discarding the heavy duffle coat of winter, kicking off the heavy boots and putting away the thick socks. It’s a seasonal ritual to savour. Perhaps, those with Kardashian-sized closets don’t have this joy in their lives, but I physically pack my wintery layers into IKEA boxes and retrieve my linen shirts and trousers, sneakers, dresses and cotton jerseys. There is always a small frisson of pleasure, as I envisage the pedicures and summer cocktails ahead.
Every year, I note this isn’t an equitable turn around. I seem to get more wear from my winter clothes than my summer kit. If I were to put numbers on it, I’d say there are four or five warm British months, and six or eight colder ones. The wardrobe transition normally takes a weekend and requires military focus. I try to be rigorous about the process which usually generates around half a dozen bags for the charity shop. When did I last wear this item? Does it still suit my life, body and outlook? If not, goodbye.
Scarves, gloves and hats are packed away. Sweaters are washed, dried, put in freezer bags then stacked in the freezer to kill moth eggs – don’t get me started on moths – and then stored. But British weather being what it is, I always keep a few transitional items to hand. Despite the vagaries of global warming, being lead by the weather is a pretty sensible and prosaic approach; a lot simpler than the fashion industry would have us believe.
The fashion system, which also operates on seasonal lines, seems to occupy some kind of parallel universe. As well as the standard spring/summer and autumn/winter collections that provide the framework for most designer and retail chains, there are holiday and cruise collections; pre-fall, Christmas, etc. etc. Fast fashion is the biggest scoundrel with some labels generating a dizzying 52 micro-seasons a year.
The global pandemic has meant we’ve all been forced to stay at home, not socialise or book holidays. Perhaps we’ve had more time to take a proper look inside our closets, at what we own and can be re-worn. Perhaps, people have reassessed their priorities and decided they should be spending less on clothes. Or perhaps, it’s the lack of public life that’s lead to sales of clothing plummeting by 34% in March. Brands are talking more of slow fashion, timeless pieces and transitional clothing that works across season’s and weather changes. While they sort that out, I’ll be sticking to my usual routine.