Saturday, November 19, 2022

Clothing blindness

Recently I plucked a book off the shelf I hadn't read in a long time: "30 Days to a Simpler Life" by Connie Cox and Cris Evatt.

Re-reading this book was amusing simply because it's so dated. Published in 1998, it touches on the marvels of a newfangled form of communication called "email" and other trendy technology.

The book goes through all the usual simplicity advice popular in the 1990s, including a great deal of guidance on how to handle one's packed wardrobe and cleaning out one's overstuffed clothes closet and otherwise minimizing one's overflowing clothing options. Once the surplus is weeded out (we are advised), then the pared-down closet can be organized efficiently into categories such as skirts, shirts, slacks, blouses, scarves, belts, accessories, shoes, handbags, and other so-called necessities.

I found this advice both hilarious and unnecessary for a very simple reason: I have clothing blindness.

What do I mean by clothing blindness? It means I am utterly indifferent to fashion. It is invisible to me. I literally never notice what someone is wearing. Clothes bore me to the nth degree. It's been that way for as long as I can remember.

My wardrobe consists of the following:

• Black T-shirts

• Gray sweat pants

• White socks

• Thrift-store sneakers

• One pair of sandals

• One skirt/blouse combo for church (worn both summer and winter)

• A couple pairs of shorts

• One each of necessary winter wear (sweater/gloves/heavy coat/scarf/boots/etc.)

And that's it. I have a few more clothes, but they were packed away during the move and I haven't seen them in two years, so I may as well not own them.

I wear the same thing day after day. I have "day" clothes (for dirty work) and nearly identical "evening clothes" for after I've showered. I wear my clothes, literally, until they're rags (I wash them, of course), at which point I toss them in the burn barrel and move onto another identical set of T-shirts and sweatpants. Isn't it great?

To my way of thinking, that's the ideal thing about living the home-based rural lifestyle we do: I never have to think about clothes. I don't have to impress anyone. I don't have to dress for an office environment. I can utterly indulge in my innate clothing blindness.

As for what others wear ... well, I suppose I'd notice if you were wearing something outlandishly inappropriate, but outside of that I wouldn't pay any attention. If you were to tell me "Quick! Close your eyes and describe what I'm wearing," I couldn't do it. My husband is sitting behind me at his computer at this moment, and unless I turn around and specifically look, I couldn't tell you what he's wearing. His clothes are always worn by the man I love, so who cares what they look like? (Ironically, he can easily tell you what I'm wearing: a black T-shirt, gray sweatpants, and thrift-store sneakers. Easy peasy.)

Clothing blindness. It's a real thing.


  1. Back in the late 80s and 90s when I was working in the corporate world I spent way too much time, energy, and money on how I looked, including clothes. It became so tiring. I had come upon an article about some famous clothing designer (his name escapes me, and he passed away many years ago), who at the time had a “uniform” for himself. It was khaki pants with a blue Oxford cloth button down shirt. He supposedly wore that everyday to work. I decided to adopt his idea. Instead of expensive suits, blouses, shoes, cosmetics, etc., from Sak’s Fifth Avenue, I wore a preppy looking khaki skirt with some kind of cotton top, knee socks, and tassel loafers. Co-workers were aghast at my rebellion of the office’s much more formal dress code. I knew this was going to be the beginning of my exodus out of the corporate world. I did indeed leave the company and became a “country bumpkin” with a wardrobe similar to yours, Patrice, and could not have been more relieved. Thank you for writing about what so many of us think, but sometimes feel out of place voicing to others. This is especially true of your November, 18, 2022 article for WND, titled, “I Live the Life Feminists Hate.”

  2. That’s the reason I loved wearing uniforms at work. I never had to think about what I was going to wear. We had a certain color for each day of the week.

  3. Patrice, especially since I now work remotely on a regular basis, clothing is very much more casual: jeans and a t-shirt from the activities I have done over the years, or flannel shirts in the now Winter months. I have my "work" clothes which I will keep against the rare event I have to go to a more business like function, but if I can at all help it, I am never going back.

  4. I am the same way when it comes to what others are wearing. My husband usually gets into the worship service before I do. I never know what color shirt to look for even though we had just spent over an hour sitting next to each other in Sunday School class.

  5. In the winter I wear blacks pants and in the summer grey pants. I buy my winter shirts when tshirts are sold. In the winter, I put a sweater over them. If it is still cold for me, I wear a red or black cape like thing, knit. When I lost my house, I lost all my clothes. I bought three outfits that were sort of interchangeable and wore those for three years if I want something a little more than what I wear day and night. Pants and tshirts get demoted to work clothes as they are worn out. I wear sandals year round so no need for socks or boots. I do have gloves and scarves for the winter. Sometimes, I miss the old clothes. I do miss sewing every stitch I wore, even panties and bras. But, I like my clothes now for the most part.

  6. Jeans are my going to town attire. Otherwise, it's the Grey sweatpants routine.

  7. I can relate to this. I do have some cashmere and other wool sweaters though - all bought for $5/each at Goodwill - because I wear them doing farm chores and gardening. When they get more holes than I am willing to repair, or they unravel too far, I replace them. But everyone here can pretty much assume if I disappear, I'll have been wearing a mens' brown or gray wool sweater, and yellow leather work gloves. And pants. LOL. I'm not totally blind to clothes - I do notice fancy/difficult knitting or crochet stitches in other people's sweaters and shawls and scarves and hats - I just don't care to wear anything that isn't comfortable and sturdy.

  8. Yep, this is definitely my style since I've retired. First career was a police officer wearing a uniform every day. Second career I was expected to wear business casual, which I treated as a uniform because I despised it....

  9. Law enforcement was also my career. In my part time retirement job, I wear fishing shirts, jeans and tennis shoes. When I'm off and tending the ranch, it's Tshirts and jeans. Much more comfortable living and I'm loving it.

  10. I'm a yes and no on this subject. Clothing is important to me. I want clothing that is suitable for outdoor wear and will perform well. I prefer darker and earth tones. Wool is OK but I prefer poly type fabrics and fleece. I am not interested in fashion as it applies to looking good in public or the latest styles but I am interested in the durable livable clothing that I can depend on in all weather and environments but not look totally out of place in an urban setting.

  11. You remind me of me! I have always hated clothes shopping, and so I do SIMPLE, when it comes to dressing. Isn't it Great?!! :) Linn