the golden mean
These shoes from Clarks, purchased in 2009, got a lot of wear in 2009 and 2010, before I unconsciously put them in 'cold storage' - I just stopped.
I think I wore them maybe twice last year, but this year, I've been wearing them a good 2-3 times a week, sometimes more. I revel in how comfortable, and solidly made they are. The creamy, pearl-y hue of the leather, soft as butter. An old friend.
It used to bother me to own stuff in perfectly good condition I didn't wear any more. It felt wasteful and made me feel bad buying new things.
But this is different. It's things that I don't wear or even look at for nearly six months, and then without thought, they effortlessly come into regular rotation again. They're good investments that just needed a little "fallow" period.
If you live in a country with essentially one season (as I do), you wear the same things all year round - there are no seasonal changes to force you to switch to a different set of clothes. As a result maybe we lack that feeling of giddy anticipation at seeing a beloved coat or sweater again when the temperatures change. The joy of the new only comes from buying something new. Which is not how I want things.
Perhaps acquiring a number of things, reaching your perfect golden mean, is one way of scratching this itch. Have five pairs of shoes instead of three, and wear three of the pairs regularly while the other two take a break. Then switch over to give two of the regularly-worn pairs a rest and bring out the ones on the shelf. Bonus: your favourite shoes last longer, because they get to rest.
(This probably only works if you pretty much wear a "uniform" every day. Also, take time to check on your shoes and pamper them so that they last - see here for tips.)
So now I don't feel uncomfortable when I "neglect" a pair of well-loved loafers. I know it's not because I've permanently tired of them. They're just lying fallow, waiting for the right moment for their place in the sun again.
What do you think of this theory? What are your "fallow" items?
P.S: Thanks for the warm reception towards the Question Time series, and thanks of course to my wonderful interviewees who made the Q&As come alive with their thoughtful answers. Look out for the next one this Friday.