A week of wardrobe
The topic: evolving our data collection.
This is the first week we explored a different approach on the data collection.
To talk about our lives and to get to know each other also involves addressing aspects of our lives that go beyond the mere activities tracking. There are areas of our personalities that can be expressed also through, for example, a survey of what we own!
So this week we decided to take on an ‘archaeologic' approach where we - just once in the week - would analyze our wardrobes and categorize, and quantify them.
We decided to embrace this approach also because we want to investigate on “where" can you find data, moving away from the chronologic and assidue self reporting.
As a person, I take a compulsive pleasure in tidying and organizing my belongings, even the ones behind closed doors.
My boyfriend makes fun of me because, for example, I can’t leave home if I see that a chair is not adequately pushed it, or if there is clutter (i.e. boyfriend’s belongings) lying on the couch, and even if the objects that are allowed to lie on the table (i.e. my computer and my papers) are not aligned 90 degrees with the table itself.
Outer order brings inner peace! (at least to me :/ :/)
So, at the same time, I just can’t have my wardrobe being not properly organized.
Everything in there is well ordered and color coded, and folded according to my rules.
I thought it was interesting to push this point and visually literally represent it!
I went to my wardrobe with the precise idea to report it the exact way it is laid out, and thus representing my dresses and garments through their exact colors and ‘length’.
While surveying and drawing I realized:
- I own a lot of garments of the same type (the exact same model of sweater for example) but in different colors, so I highlighted it with connection lines on the postcard,
- lots of clothes are striped, so I added a symbol to represent it,
- to my shame, lots of pieces weren’t worn for at least 1 year, and I was pretty sure of it, so I indicated it as well.
- ehm, my boyfriend and I share the wardrobe, so I had to represent his clothes as well. (look for the elements between square brackets, those are his little belongings :/ )
Looking at Stefanie’s card (which is again one of my favorite - oh well - the number of favorites is very much increasing!), I was very curious to see the actual dresses she represented! She categorized her clothes by type: “special occasions - dressier professional attire - casual professional attire" and so on, and she highlighted the clothing rotation with a pattern.
Now I would really love to have a picture of her wardrobe! :)
This week I started to conceive our postcards as very precise entry point to parts of our lives, but entry points that spark curiosity and the desire to know more.
More and more when we got each other’s postcard we now text asking questions, and we often laugh and smile (at least I do) while imagining the “real” aspect of her life she is describing through her data.
Seriously, do I need so many things?
During this week my boyfriend pointed me out to this interesting article that talks about the book: “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo.
As the New York Times writes:
"Ms. Kondo’s decluttering theories are unique, and can be reduced to two basic tenets: Discard everything that does not “spark joy,” after thanking the objects that are getting the heave-ho for their service; and do not buy organizing equipment — your home already has all the storage you need.
Don’t just open up your closet and decide after a cursory glance that everything in it gives you a thrill,” she writes. “You must take each outfit in your hand.”
“Does it spark joy?” would seem to set the bar awfully high for a T-shirt or a pair of jeans, but it turns out to be a more efficacious sorting mechanism than the old saws: Is it out of style? Have you worn it in the last year? Does it still fit?"
Once I had drawn the postcard, I went back to my closet with a throwaway bag.
When I was finished I had 4 bags full of clothes.
Hooray to Dear Data!
This is the week where we decided to try something new in regards to our data-gathering: instead of tracking only things that were happening through the course of the week, we decided we would look at finding ways of surveying other wider aspects of our lives. So, we decided to create a comprehensive survey of the clothing we wear/own.
Instead of organising my clothing by type (dress, top, and so on), I decided to try to organise my clothing in the categories that I organise them into in my mind and by their order in my clothing rotation (how often I wear them, and whether they get downgraded to lower clothing statuses over time).
This week of data-gathering made me properly consider how I categorise my clothing. Firstly, I’ve realised that it’s important that all pieces in my wardrobe be wearable in a variety of situations. Before I went freelance, I dressed to look professional, and wore heels and lovely tea dresses in order to fit in at a publisher employing loads of impeccably-dressed women. However, since I've become freelance I’ve become more relaxed about what I wear, and since my current studiomates are all men I don't feel the need to 'keep up' with them sartorially (sorry, guys).
So since I don’t have a work wardrobe that I need to maintain, I’ve realised that I have selected most of wardrobe on the basis of whether the item of clothing is club-proof or not (not kidding). I like to have clothing that can survive anything from a three-day music festival in mud to a street party to a night out to just sitting on the grass in the park with a picnic, all while looking relatively fresh. In short, I like my clothes versatile. So no dry-cleaning, no crazy sequins or feathers that will fall off, nothing that you have to behave 'properly' in,, just good quality clothes that can handle life in a dirty city and being worn by a rather-clumsy wearer.
And since we’re here, one more confession: I keep most of my clothes jammed unceremoniously into a filing cabinet due to not quite getting around to buying a new wardrobe, oops.
I drew this in thin lines that reminded me of stacks of clothes... I like how Giorgia and I end up turning to similar approaches without realising it! However, while this was a week where I was particularly pleased with my data-gathering, it proved to result in quite a complicated card… it’s hard to differentiate between different categories mainly because I had to re-draw this card a few times to make all of the lines fit onto it. I sometimes feel as though I can’t quite get both the data-gathering and the drawing right: I always end up succeeding in one aspect, while the other aspect doesn’t work out so well.
First thing I noticed: Giorgia really needs to clean out her closet, there’s loads she hasn’t worn for ages! (I think she did after this, though). I do like the colour palette of Giorgia’s clothing: to me, these colours just feel like very ‘Giorgia’ colours, and I say this only having seen Giorgia in person once since we’ve started this project.
Finally, I’m going to have to be honest here and say that I think it’s sort of crazy that she is able to organise most of her clothes by colour group! I really don’t think I could ever, ever do this (both because of my personality, and also because it’s hard to organise clothes when they are stuffed into a filing cabinet). It makes me smile that I can tell so much about Giorgia just from how she organises her clothing and the things around her. I love how these little habits in life that we normally overlook can reveal so much about a person.