We’ve had glorious early spring weather this past week here in the Ottawa area. And we are very, very grateful. And excited. Well, I’m excited. Hubby wasn’t all that keen about his ski yesterday. He set off early before the temperature rose above zero. And still he had to pick his way around slush and even a couple of grassy, muddy spots on the trail. It always amazes me how when the snow starts to go, it doesn’t dally. So while Hubby is grumbling and wiping mud off his ski boots, I’ve been gleefully unzipping garment bags and removing my spring jackets and coats from storage.
On Thursday morning I opened the back door, tea cup in hand, and stepped out onto our back step in my slippers. Only last week the biting wind blew, and the river lay buried under deep snow. But, on Thursday morning the sun shone. I could see up the river to open water where geese sailed about or sat on the ice and squawked. The breeze was warm. I sipped my tea and just breathed. Then I went inside to refill my cup, and headed out to the deck. I sat in a warm patch on the bench where the sun had melted the snow. And I drank my tea on the deck in my slippers and robe for the first time this year.
Later, I made myself ready for an outing. This is what I wore. My Theory reversible windbreaker, grey camo on one side and black on the other. This jacket is seven years old and looks like new. I love it even more now that my hair is white. I wore the jacket with my black H&M hoodie, a light-blue Zella long-sleeve tee from Nordstrom, my black cotton draw-string cargo pants bought at Green Tree Eco Fashion, now sadly closed, and my Stuart Weitzman ankle boots. As a concession to the fact that it is still very early spring, I wore my ski underwear under my light cotton pants.
I like this outfit. Super casual. Still pulled together. And suitable for hopping muddy puddles, or wading through slush as long as it’s not too deep.
What a glorious day it was to be out and about. I returned books to the library, picked up a DVD we’d ordered, and strolled around the village, ending up at Watson’s Mill. Below is the view up river from the dam beside the mill. The water is lying in puddles on the ice which means this will soon be open water. The cog-wheel and chains are for opening and closing the sluice gates on the dam. You know, there’s something about old machinery that I love.
At home I often take pictures of the abandoned bits of old tractors, the rusted tines of a hay rake, or the hood of an ancient truck almost buried in the long grass. Found art. On one trip home, in 2017 I think, I took photos of the old sawmill. Now derelict, it has fallen in on itself. That mill was old even in 1945, when a farmer from upriver gave it to my step-father the summer he came home from the war. He disassembled it, lugged it home, and reassembled it. He was still cutting logs and sawing up boards with it when I left home for the second time to move back to Ottawa in 1984.
After I took my photos that day, in Marie Kondo-style, I thanked the old mill for its decades of service. I guess that’s why the sight of that cog-wheel on the dam at Watson’s Mill made me feel slightly nostalgic.
My boots were muddy by the time I arrived back home on Thursday. But my Theory spring jacket had had a good outing. After lunch, I dug around in the hall closet to survey my collection of spring jackets and coats. I have a navy, hooded anorak from Moncler, a black raincoat from Michael Kors, and my Theory windbreaker. I’ve been thinking of adding to my spring coat collection. I thought about it last year too. I’d like a classic trench coat. Longer than my Moncler coat, falling at or below the knee. I already have a navy coat and a black one, so my colour choices are limited. That soft blue plaid coat from Club Monaco, below, caught my eye. As well as the cream cotton-twill trench from H&M. I may make a foray downtown to do some window shopping next week. We’ll see.
Since the weather warmed up, I’ve been considering turning my closet. At least partially. Moving my heavier winter clothes into storage and getting out a few spring things. But since we will not be seeing anymore double-digit, above-zero temperatures for at least another week, I will wait. It’s much too early for that spring ritual anyway.
So, yeah, I’ve been thinking lately about closet-turning. And about the value of our clothes. Not only because it’s almost spring, but also because I listened to Alyson Walsh chat with Orsola De Castro on an episode of That’s Not My Age podcast recently. You can find it here. As it says in the notes for the podcast, Orsola De Castro is a “fashion revolutionary. Her first book Loved Clothes Last (How the Joy of Rewearing and Repairing Your Clothes Can Be a Revolutionary Act) has just been published by Penguin.”
De Castro says that we should love our clothes, and value them more. She encourages people to buy quality garments, pieces that we really love, and which we’ve chosen with care. And then to take good care of them. She says that we should all know how to mend our clothes, at least be able to sew on a button or repair a dropped hem.
I’ve always chosen my clothes carefully, mindful of quality, buying what I love, and hoping to be able to wear them for years. And now I’m thinking that maybe turning my closet twice a year makes me value my clothes more. I am always happy to see my fall sweaters or my spring jackets when I bring them back out after having been stored for half a year. Absence does make the heart grow fonder.
And I’ve been thinking that maybe closet-turning should be more Marie-Kondo-esque in nature. Maybe I should express my gratitude to my clothes, not just when I say good-bye to them forever, but when I say “see you next year.” I should maybe say thank-you to each of my favourite fall and winter sweaters and jackets, as I fold them neatly away, and zip up the storage bags. And maybe I should say “welcome back” to each of my spring pieces. “I’m happy to see you again striped tee shirt. Remember that time last summer when you and I and those cropped jeans and my old linen blazer went for lunch to the Ashton Pub?”
As I said, it will be a few weeks before the closet-turning ritual takes place. In the meantime, I am grateful to see my spring jackets and coats again. And this spring I am going to introduce them to some of my winter sweaters. After all, they don’t really know each other, spending opposite seasons in storage, or in my closet, as they do.
On second thought, I’d better not get carried away with this personification of my clothes. I mean, we’re all a bit batty from the never-ending pandemic. And if Hubby hears me talking to my clothes, he might really start to worry.
So, muddy boots, and spring jackets are making me happy this week. How about you my friends? Any heralds of spring out your way? What spring garments are you welcoming back into your closet this week?
P.S. Clothing links (and one book link) in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking my link, I will earn a commission.