Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Laughter and the green fleece.

I am conscious when I look in the mirror or at photographs of myself, that there is a sort of madness in my eyes. It isn't surprising, there's a lot of it in my family, and I try to limit the problems it can create by padding about softly and mingling in society as little as possible. I dislike conflict or other forms of personally directed attention, and where I see signs of it brewing I sink into the margins, lying low like a flatfish just as our Hebe said I should.

I wear quiet colours, most of the time — greys and blues, the colour of shadows and in-between times.

I like this colour palette I saw online — very pleasing; it was called The Druid's Tea Party, and I liked that too.

Several of those are in my wardrobe, also dark blue and deep red. I like the colour palette of this painting Hebe made —

The colours of the landscape, of the moor and the forest and the seashore.

But sometimes another consideration intervenes. About a year ago, when I had a deep emotional shock, I applied colour for healing, surrounding myself with all the strength of the rainbow, the jewel colours of India. They comforted and restored me. And then, I buy most of my clothes second-hand on eBay, or at the tail-end of the sales when prices are reduced right down. So there often is little choice, and if the cut and fit and fabric are right, the colour may not be.

When my children (I have five daughters) were small, they wore party dresses almost the whole of the time. That was because you can get dresses second-hand easily, whereas practical trousers and sweaters tend to get worn out by their first occupant. In the same way, it is easy to buy clothes in hot pink, safety orange, lime green and winter white, and of course you can always get black. But soft greys and muted blues and greens (in the right cut, fit and fabric) present a greater challenge.

So it came about that I bought two second-hand Lands End fleeces on eBay at a very low price; in a fuchsia pink and a strong shade of green.

These two fleeces were a bit big for me, but looked okay over a full skirt. 

However, I went to a church meeting one evening with my husband. I didn't really look at him as we left the house. It was very cold, and we were both wrapped up warm in fleeces and gilets and cosy winter trousers.

Only when we arrived at the meeting and were greeted by gales of laughter and cries of "Oh, bless!" and comments to the effect that we were dressed the same, did I look at him properly, and register that he also was wearing a fleece in a strong shade of green (he wears it most of the time), teamed with navy blue cord trousers and a black gilet (I had on a pair of navy fleece trousers and a dark blue gilet).

I was so startled and taken aback by being suddenly noticed (I rarely am) and by finding myself the centre of attention, that as soon as I returned home I put both that and the strong pink fleece out for donation. I really can't be doing with that level of visibility.

In the morning, having spent a while in my pyjamas, thinking about the weather and wondering what clothes to put on . . . remembering the cries of "Oh, bless!"  . . . accepting that I have no idea what my husband is wearing . . . and don't want to spend time checking, I just think, "What the hey". . . and put on whatever I was wearing yesterday. 

I'm better off without that green fleece, and a lot less visible.


greta said...

thanks for the first-thing-in-the-morning laugh! oh, heavens, the expressions on your face were a delight. not for one minute do i think that your eyes look 'mad'. instead, i've always thought that you have a very calm and compassionate face, warm and likeable. so there. as for the colours, those are my favourites also - very quiet earth tones that help us blend into the background. those colours also feel comforting and safe, reflecting the natural environment. my wardrobe is composed of mostly soft blues and greys as those seem like 'winter' colours. the house colours are more in the muted greens, browns and linen tones. it's quite peaceful. i've been watching marie kondo on Netflix and am making it a practise to greet my house each morning and give it a blessing each night. it's been interesting to see that so much of what she advises isn't simply about organising our 'stuff'. it's about treating what we have with love and respect. did you say thank-you to the rejected fleeces before you let them go?

Suzan said...

I think it is sweet that you were both wearing similar clothing. I know you would have found the attention. very uncomfortable. I wear a mountain of black and I don't know why. I make simple skirts and buy t shirts to wear. They are almost always black. I bought an olive green tee and promptly spilt oil on it.

God bless.

Bean said...

Ha Ha, that made me chuckle. Sad you tossed the green fleece, I thought it very becoming on you.

I like slip on shoes, and have a few pairs made by the same company, leaving for work one dark morning, I stuck my foot into the shoe cupboard and into a shoe, and did the same with the other foot. I was at work for several hours before I noticed that I had two different shoes on, then felt very self-conscious for the rest of the day.

Have a good day.


Pen Wilcock said...

Greta — No — I didn't think to say "thank you" to those fleeces; I'm grateful for the reminder. I'll say it quietly in my heart in a minute while I'm getting the laundry in. Focus hard on figuring out how to send me photos of your beautiful hoe and clothes — they sound so lovely!

Suzan — ooh, that's so interesting! A perfect example of a Freudian slip!

Bean — I would have had to go straight home and change those shoes.


Lynda said...

Grey is my colour, and black and other very muted colours. I also find I am more comfortable in solid colour clothing rather than patterned.

I'm gradually narrowing down my wardrobe. I have my summer and winter Duckfeet (Danish boots and sandals) and just recently was able to purchase my leather backpack, so now I don't even look at shoes or bags! I think in the past my problem was buying what I didn't really love (because it was cheap or available) rather than waiting to be able to get what I really wanted.

Hopefully I'm learning, although I still succumb occasionally to op shop finds :)

Oh...and I love the grey cardigan you are wearing in the first photo (even though I can't see much of it!) xx

Sandra Ann said...

I'm glad you have kept your fringe! I love the druid's tea party and chuckled at the inadvertent matchy outfit faux pas. My poor mum had a similar problem on her wedding day, her going away outfit was exactly the same as the MIL's dress!!

Pen Wilcock said...

Hi Lynda — Yes, I way prefer sold colour over patterned. I've tried to train myself to adopt patterned clothes because they don't show stains so much, but I haven't had much success. The other women in my house do the same as you and get high quality items they love and keep forever. They specially like Toast (ethical, well made, natural fabrics, good design), but I am inclined to become dissatisfied with my actual face and body and then blame the clothes — also I put on and take off weight very easily, and when clothes don't fit me any more it's really upsetting if I paid a lot. What I d mainly is look out for brands I like (my grey cardigan is Orvis cashmere) on eBay.
I love your Duckfeet — I've seen them on your blog. They're delightful. My Vivobarefoots are a similar foot shape. I wonder if you leader backpack is heavy at all? I have a fake leather one to be more lightweight, but it's starting to disintegrate where the zip catches. I use it for all my grocery shopping.

Hi San — Oh, no your mum must have been upset! I find a fringe quite helpful because it's just there, keeping the hair our of my eyes even when it's windy.

Rebecca said...

I'm pretty content with black and grey. It makes choices easier, I don't know if it makes me as anonymous as I wish to be, but I'm hopeful! 😄 Only occasionally do I Branch out into other colors; and then I end up not wearing them much anyway. They're priproba keeping company with your fleece items somewhere...

Pen Wilcock said...

Yes, that happens to me — I have a cheerful moment with colour, but always end up retreating into greys and blues.

Pen Wilcock said...

Greta — if you're still dropping by — I just looked back over these comments, and would like to make clear that "your beautiful hoe" of which I would love to see photos, was in fact a typo, not a garden implement nor yet a prostitute. I meant, your home. Tsk.

Lynda said...

Hi Pen, no...the leather back pack is not overly heavy because it's not a large one. More a combination back pack, shoulder bag, hand bag, because I just wanted one bag for all occasions. I have a 'proper' medium sized Black Wolf back pack ($2 at the op shop) which I use when I need something a bit more serious. I like to have my hands free when walking, shopping, etc, but I have my reusable parachute fabric bags which I always carry with me (super light and take up no space at all when empty) and I use those to 'balance' my shopping in each hand to walk home. xx

Pen Wilcock said...

Thank you for that explanation! Bags and shoes are an integral part of simple living, and I always like to know all about how people strategise this aspect of their lives. I find very pleasing the picture in my mind of you in your Duckfeets setting out to the store with your leather pack on your back and your parachute shoppers folded up neatly inside. This is the kind of sensible and thought-through living that brings me joy!

BLD in MT said...

You always make me smile, Pen. You and your mad eyes and crazy ideas! I just love it.

Somewhat related: Matt and I each got a new winter coat this Christmas from my dad and they'r nearly identical, just being slightly different shades of blue. The coat is well made and very warm, but I feel like we stick out obviously, like a sore thumb, because we're all Matchy-Match in our blue coats. I don't like how conspicuous it makes me feel. Sigh.

Pen Wilcock said...

Oh no — and because it is a gift you can't just quietly lose it! Darn!