I have a friend who won’t stop talking about his new Dyson vacuum cleaner. “It runs so smoothly, Megan!” he enthuses. “Look at that ball joint. This thing turns on a dime!“ “I don’t even need to put it in a broom closet, it’s so sleek!” He speaks in reverent, hushed tones, usually reserved for a Monet painting or $1,000 bottle of wine.
While I may tease my friend for his unbridled cleaning product passion, I certainly share his appreciation for that elusive balance of a thing looking good and working well. This balance especially excites me when it comes to clothes. There’s nothing better than finding a shirt, suit, shoes or more that fits perfectly and makes you feel great.
As Shawn Reed of accessories company form-function-form put it, “Something within us loves, even needs, beautiful things in our lives.” Emphasizing the importance of an item being both useful and pleasurable to own, he continued, “There is an inter-relatedness between the aesthetic perception of a thing and its use. Neither is primary, both feed off of and inform the other.”
I believe we’d all be better off if we applied this attitude to our closet. For the most part, our clothes serve little purpose beyond protection – are you covered from the elements? Then your outfit has done its job. But clothes are so much more than just function – they help us tell the world about ourselves without having to say a word. So why not wear things that make you feel good? Like the softest undershirt on the market. Shoes that take on a beautiful patina as they age. A parka in the brightest color of the rainbow to make you forget you have to wear it in sub-zero winter weather.
Your clothes should do more than just keep you from getting thrown in jail for indecent exposure. They should express something about your personality to the world. They should make you throw your shoulders back, puff your chest out and stand a little taller. They should make you – ideally – feel more like you when you wear them. Can you say that about the contents of your closet? If not, it might be time to go shopping.