My current pile of clothes
My updated clothing list:
1) Underwear - 5 I still go commando most days. This includes the one wool pair (which has a patch, ha), 1 cotton, 2 synthetic, and 2 Thinx(no more pads in the trash for me, I use these on 'light days' and a Diva cup on heavy days).
2) Bra - 6 This hasn't changed. Includes 1 thin wool sports bra, 1 thin synthetic sports bra, 2 synthetic traditional thick sports bras and 2 Victoria secret bras I rarely wear. I plan to drop one of the VS bras since I haven't worn it in months.
3) Tops - 10 3 tank tops one wool and two synthetic, 2 t-shirts (1 wool and 1 cotton), 4 long sleeve shirts (1 wool, 2 cotton and one synthetic), 2 sweaters (1 cotton, 1 wool)
4) bottoms - 9 Includes 2 wool tights, synthetic lightweight pants, black cotton tights, jeans, 2 wool shorts, and 5 skirts (4 synthetic, 1 cotton), 1 synthetic pajama shorts
5) Socks - 7 All wool in various weights
6) Dress - 1 I had to replace the dress I had, now I have a silk dress instead of synthetic
7) Outerwear - 4 Includes a down coat, down pants, a rain coat and waterproof pants
8) Scarves - 2 I have 1 purple synthetic and 1 grey wool
Even though I feel like I have too many skirts and didn't really need that silk dress, my overall total has dropped by 5 items!
What I bought:
I had to replace a flannel shirt, it had been patched and torn multiple times. It took a while to meet my criteria but I found it in Minnesota! I love Duluth. They are the home of Duluth packs(which I have an awesome all natural pack from) and Duluth Trading Co. (which does clothes mainly). I got a new flannel shirt while there that I love, it is 100% cotton, cute style and even has gussets in the back so I can move easily(this was the weak point on the old shirt, because my 'guns' are getting too big, lol). It's a great brand for durable womens clothing, a rarity to find. Duluth Flannel Shirt link
I made several changes to my bottoms. I got rid of the 5.11 pants, despite being durable they were a little too snug and I found that I rarely wore them. I wanted to have a pair of black tights for 'town' days and went on a search for 100% cotton tights. There are a ton of tights on Amazon and I found my way to HUE. They are made in the USA and I found one that is 95% cotton with 5% spandex. A win for me, no sweatshops to worry about and mostly a natural fiber. As far as I can tell the corporation is not evil. HUE leggings link
Now the really tricky replacement was finding a good pair of jeans. It's surprisingly hard to find jeans that are just cotton. My old pair were really more jeggings than jeans. I decided on a pair of jeans from Boulder Denim. I came across these guys at Rocktoberfest in the Red river gorge. We just happened to be there the weekend of the festival. It was great to hang out with a bunch of other climbers, and check out the vendors cool gear. Anyway, Boulder Denim is a new brand out of Canada. The jeans are ethically made in Canada so at least they have that going for them. I don't have them yet (in the mail) and I don't remember the exact numbers but they are mostly cotton with some spandex. They are a stretchy jean that you can rock climb in, a big plus to me. They also have a lifetime guarantee on manufacturing flaws. As Matthew pointed out to me long lasting helps offset plastic. Boulder denim jean link
I also found a 5.5 ounce rain coat at Rocktoberfest. It is made by OR who has an infinity guarantee on their products. At the event they did a silent auction so I got this coat for $75, half the retail price and the full cost went to supporting the climbing area we were climbing at that week. So I donated $75, and got a jacket I wanted. I was looking for a wind shirt to replace my heavy rain coat for backpacking, happy to see the technology has gotten so good I can use this lightweight raincoat. I've yet to test it so we'll see how that goes. If all goes well, I'll drop off my other (heavy but high quality) rain coat with my parents this winter to have for future use.
The flannel shirt was $54 and the jeans were $116 (retail is $148 but I got a discount, woot!), so not cheap, but when you only have a few items and you find that perfect thing... I don't feel bad spending the money. At the end of the year, I'm still spending less than when I used to go to Marshalls weekly and buy whatever 'cheap and cute' thing I found. I also still use the thrift store. I needed a new t-shirt and sweater which I found at two different Goodwills. They are 100% cotton and can't beat the price of $5 per item.
I almost forgot to mention I now own a pair of pajama shorts. I got them for those special occasions when I can't sleep naked. This came in handy almost immediately when we were sleeping in Matthew's brother, Dan's, living room. They were $3 at Goodwill and still had the original sales tag on them.
Matthew, who apparently has had too many conversations with women about bras, thought I aught to explain how I use my bras. Primarily I wear the two thin ones. They are the most comfortable for me, no underwire and I don't need a lot of support, and they dry faster after intense activity. The one VS bra I wear is only to town. The traditional sports bras I mainly use if the other two are dirty.
Odds and ends:
My colors have changed some. Now I have a bright blue sweater, a bright red t-shirt and my flannel shirt is a plaid blue/red. I still can mix and match most things since the majority of what I have are neutral (black and gray). I'm still perfectly happy living simply, it's so easy to decide what to wear in the morning.
I haven't noted the joys of patching clothes! Obviously depending on your work situation this is not an option but for us patches are in! As I mentioned I got rid of a few wool items that were full of holes and patches. Before retiring them I either patched them with an older hole ridden wool shirt or darned them with some wool thread I salvaged from a pair of damaged wool gloves. They were finally sent off to Patagonia (love this brand!) to recycle into new wool clothing, they have a wool recycling program that I'm excited about, here's where to send your old wool!. (UPDATE 12/13/2017: Patagonia ONLY takes there own brand of wool to recycle. Big BOO but hey it's something) As a brand they are doing great work making ethical clothes. The day I wrote this my down coat got damaged on the left sleeve while I was starting a fire. I should have learned this lesson already, but I was only thinking about getting warm. Anyway, it was something I could patch and did using ripstop tape I had from the first hole.
damaged down coat sleeve
unflattering ripstop fix! Doesn't look good but it is on the inside of the sleeve, so luckily not very noticeable.
On a side note I've learned that natural fibers are far safer than any plastic material. It doesn't burn nearly as quickly. I try to tend the fire wearing only wool, even when the flames lick against the material is doesn't go up easily like my down coat did. In fact, Matthew tested this theory Here
This section is for anyone interested in what I wear for different situations. I thought a nice way to do it would be a photo shoot with my most common outfits. There are obviously variations but here's a sampling...
warm weather hiking - synthetic lightweight long sleeve shirt, synthetic skirt
Cold weather hiking - wool t-shirt, thick wool sweater, lightweight raincoat, wool tights
I love these pants for climbing, they are lightweight and protect my legs from scraps. I wear a variety of tank tops and the long sleeve shirt is mainly to cover from being in the sun while belaying or to keep on if it's cool or I'm chimney climbing.
Flannel, tank, tights
Ok, that's all folks! If there is anything else you'd like to know I'm happy to share. Cheers, thanks for reading.