It’s been a week since I started my minimalist uniform project; it’s going well, but I’ve made a few tweaks into the plan. First, I decided that having fifty cotton t-shirts to wear around the house defeated the purpose of the project. So, I found a deal on an Icebreaker Men’s Anatomica Short Sleeve Crew T-Shirt on Amazon1. The Anatomica is also made from merino wool, with a little lycra to give it a nice form-fitting stretch. The t-shirt in Monsoon gray color (last year’s edition) was on sale for $38.99, which is $30 cheaper than the Wool & Prince t-shirt. Sold. The Icebreaker now goes with the button-down oxford in my rotation of shirts that I’ll wear on a daily basis.
I’m a size small, but I’ll take the medium, please
As I looked back on old photos of me from high school, college, and my adult years, I realized I wore a lot of clothes that were often one size too big. As I thought about why I would do this for twenty or more years, I concluded that it was to avoid accepting the fact that I had a small frame. I bought shirts in medium or larger to look bigger, but that decision just made it appear that I either (1) liked baggy clothes or (2) had little fashion sense (probably both!). Sadly, as the years went by and pounds added up, those medium shirts and jackets began to fit better.
Now that I’m fitter and trimmer, clothing in size small are back as the right choice for me. Forgive my small concession to vanity when I wear the Icebreaker out in public, but I like the way I look now after the past seven months of constant pull-ups, the push-ups, running and portion control!2 As for the multitude of those cotton t-shirts, I’ve placed most of them, along with my pants, buttoned shirts, polos and quarter-zip shirts into two plastic bins that are squirreled away in the closet. Just a handful of cotton t-shirts were spared and will be used around the house and for sleeping. There’s no reason to wear and soil the uniform while cleaning out the gutters or scrubbing the bathroom and kitchen floors!
The reimagined closet
Here are two photos of my new closet showing the Levi’s and Bluff Works pants hanging alongside the Icebreaker and Wool & Prince shirts. Above the two plastic bins of my former clothes are my cotton dress shirts and my gray suit from Hong Kong. Not shown are my running and cycling outfits, socks, shoes, and underwear. There’s also a pile of clothes from my weekend triage that’s ready to go to Goodwill for donation.
Understanding my body shape and size also helps when choosing pants. For the Bluff Works pants that I purchased last week, I ordered the 29 waist and 28 inseam. That’s not a size that is easy to find off the rack at department stores, and this was another reason why the pants I bought never seemed to fit me right. Usually, the smallest waist they have is a 30 with a 30 inseam. Until I started gaining weight, that was the pant size I typically bought.
For me, a 30 inseam creates multiple breaks where the pants meets my shoes. If Bluff Works sold a 29/29, they would have given me nice single break at the pants and shoes. The 29/28 has no break and looks pretty good. I just need to wear long enough socks so my bare legs don’t show when I sit down.
I haven’t worn the Bluff Works pants long enough to give them a proper review, but first impressions are positive. The 29/28 looks nice on me, and the extra pockets in the left-front and right-back will ease the transition away from wearing the Scottevest pants that I like so much. The outer nylon fabric is definitely more scratchy than cotton, but the added durability and wrinkle-resistance will likely prove to be worth it.
The Wool & Prince shirt has been getting compliments from people. Those who know about the project wonder how long the shirt will last after repeated uses and no laundering. I’m curious too! The shirt is much more wrinkle-resistant compared with a cotton dress shirt, but it’s by no means wrinkle-free. I alternate between tucking in the shirt and leaving it out, and I frequently roll up my sleeves. Slight wrinkles have formed around the waist and elbow areas. I’ll look into steaming it when I take a shower or giving it a quick iron if it gets too wrinkly. I’m having the sleeves shortened by an inch, so it’ll be out of commission for the rest of the week.
I also got my Scottevest Hidden Cargo Pants back having the waist altered down from a 32 to a 30. Though they fit better now, I could have gone down a little farther to a 29 and tightened up the pants legs, which remain a bit baggy.
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2 Fortunately, I have no need for these t-shirts.