WHY we love dressing up, pinning recipes, and decorating.

I've been thinking about this topic this week, and I think I've found (or created my own) science behind it. Sometimes I wonder about the things I love to do and why. I've never been a super dedicated person to any specific hobby (until sewing and blogging, I guess)--I never got super into playing and instrument or training for the Olympics or doing any specific art. I've always been happy to dabble in most things, but really, when I think about what's most important to me and what makes me happiest, it's the most basic, everyday things that I care most about, and want to do my best at.

Why do hobbies (like clothing) matter?

I'm a very practical person about most things, and sometimes I wonder why I care so much about picking out my outfit in the morning, reading my favorite magazines and blogs, and shopping for fabric. On the surface these could seem a little frivolous, right? I don't need cute clothes and fun, pretty colors to sew on in order to be healthy and get work done and love my family (some of the most important things), so as a pragmatist, why do I think so much about them? (I'm sure fantastic articles have been written about the importance of self-expression through outward appearance, why dressing well does not always represent vanity, and how Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs relates to fashion and hobbies. But I don't need to get too deep into it right now, just bear with me.)

Most recently, I guess this post was inspired by a conversation I had with my mom last weekend about a new book she got about "dressing your type." She's mentioned it a couple times, actually, and is really excited that it helped her identify her "type" (a #2), based on her personality, features, build, favorite color family, and other traits. The idea of the book is you can free yourself from frustration picking out your clothes and low self-esteem about how you look by learning which clothes/looks work best on you. Accept who you are and play up your strengths.

So these are great principles, but I realized while I was talking to her that a) I'm not quite ready to learn about my "type" and I'm a little overwhelmed thinking about changing my relationship with my clothes even if for the better, and 2) at this point in my health and knowing-myself journey, I'm more interested in learning my metabolic type (great book--love it) than my clothing type! Clothing, in comparison to learning to make food for myself to support optimal health, seemed a little frivolous and like something I don't have time to think more about.

Clothing, food/health, and home

But then I realized... the two goals have a lot in common. Same with finding the perfect comforter cover and combination of pillows on the bed. They are all important to my happiness, sure. (I've always loved clothes--I was the little kid who would pick out 5 days of outfits and hang them in a special place in my closet; I've never had enough room to store my shoes; and in high school I spent lots of free time shopping or flipping through magazines. And, now I have a blog about how I make my own clothes based on what I see and love! Clothing is fun and expressive. ) And I love decorating my own space and creating a home with physical things and emotional significance. And, recovering from diet and lifestyle choices of my past, I'm finding a lot of power in the real food lifestyle we now practice. But what are the common cores of those interests, and why should I feel good about having them? (It sort of reminds me of the Pinterest paradox--so much of what's on Pinterest is fashion/shopping, food/diets, and home decor. The first two are sometimes contradictory (a cake pin next to a workout pin). Of course there are other themes on Pinterest, too (travel, kids' activities, pets...)... but the apparent conflict between desserts and fitness and fashion isn't necessarily a vain, pointless, wasteful human error. At least not for my reasons! Read on..)

I made a Venn diagram in my head (and in this post) and tried to see the cross-over. As you can see around the circle..

  • Dressing well and creating my home involve visuals and colors and trends... 
  • Dressing myself and nourishing myself have to do with my appearance and communication with others... 
  • Cooking and being comfortable in my home are both related to basic needs and taking care of myself and my family. 


But there's something bigger that all three have in common, I realized.

Everyday


These are all things that I do every day. I think that's a big reason why practical, logical me cares so much about doing my best at these things. It's not like dreaming about a vacation or even learning skills in a particular computer program - these are the things I face every day. (Also, I love my routine and I feel comfort in doing the same thing every day!)

Control/chance to do better


I do other things every day, too, like sleep and drive to work and all. But I don't have much control on variation of sleeping and driving; I either do them or I don't. 100%. Not much choice in doing them better, once I have a routine down that works well for me. But dressing cute, making nourishing food, and enjoying my space? I have almost infinite control over those things, and I'm up to the challenge to do them well. I want to continually improve and get closer and closer to mastery! (As we learned in The Happiness Project, for many people, "happiness" involves an atmosphere of growth!)

DIY


And for me, a creative and crafty person, the control I have over clothing, food, and home offers an opportunity to DIY. (That's right, I brought it back to the DIY message of this blog. Did you think I wouldn't?) With a chance to do things myself comes challenge, fun, creativity, and the potential for an even more perfect/personalized outcome. I don't have to just shop for clothes; I can make my own that fit me perfectly and are the exact combination of styles I want. I can find the perfect macronutrient balance in my diet for my body, and create meals that support me exactly. I can start from scratch and design the home I want! (As you can see on my about page, I like to DIY just about anything!)

-->Passions

So really, after I break it down, I feel pretty good about the things I love. The reasons I love the things I care so much about are also parts of my personality--I love clothes, food, and my home because I love routine, always improving, and being able to turn anything into a DIY. Things I'm passionate about (as passionate as I, a generalist, get) totally make sense!
Photo bNakalan McKay

You may be the same about some of these things, or you may have your own reasons for loving clothing, sewing, home decor, whatever interests we share that make you read this blog.

Have you ever wanted to justify your love for clothes, or all the time you spend on Pinterest? I'd love to hear what conclusions you've come to!

8 comments

  1. I think this hits the nail on the head for me. People who aren't DIY/fashioners don't quite get why people can devote so much time to it. I'm creating/learning/styling/writing every. single. day. I'll probably be linking to this post on my blog soon because it just hits the nail so much on the head. Thanks for writing this.

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  2. Every. Single. Day. At times I've avoided sewing (a hobby I love) because I've felt so conflicted about it. I've wrote about it a little bit on my blog, but you also say it very eloquently.
    here: http://hoopesparkstudios.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/studio-style/
    and here:http://hoopesparkstudios.wordpress.com/2013/09/05/why-diy/

    Claire

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  3. Aaw, thanks, Becky, so glad it spoke to you! Feel free to post about it and expand on it on your blog, will be interested to see! =)

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  4. Thanks for sharing those!! I think sewing and DIYing have a great place in life and culture even in times of plenty --"waste not, want not"--for practical reasons as well as style. Reading your blog/style post now!

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  5. Wonderfully stated. I have even less "need" for clothing now that I am not working in the corporate world. But I love the creative drive that I get to express in clothing, gardening, home dec and cooking. I love texture and colors and flavors and I especially love having the time to try all of them.

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  6. Yep sorry about the commenting. That is a glitch I am working on. Thanks so much for your feedback! Always makes me feel better to hear that no one else notices my insecurities.

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  7. She is very nice. i like her style.

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  8. Very beautiful girl. Thanks much !

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