Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Cincinnati to Sacramento: A Lifestyle and Wardrobe Shift

When I moved from Cincinnati to Sacramento, I understood that I’d be changing climates. What I didn’t anticipate, was the lifestyle change I’d make and how that would affect my wardrobe.

In Cincinnati, I worked at a desk all day long every day. I walked to and from the bus stop every morning and evening, but was otherwise seated for most of the day. I exercised at lunch, sometimes running outside, but often choosing an indoor fitness class or a session on a machine. Three times a week, I swam indoors, at University of Cincinnati, in its large and very nice aquatic center. My evenings were usually spent inside and mostly sedentary: in rehearsals, at voice lessons, or just chilling at home. The weekends didn’t include much outdoor activity, either. I started each weekend with swim practice and usually followed that with a big lunch and a nap. Sundays might include training for a race or attending an outdoor event, but we were mostly inside all weekend. We visited family, shopped, cooked (there was a lot more cooking in those days!) or binge watched tv shows. The winters I spent in Cincinnati were characterized by cold, dry weather and the summers were hot and humid. Spring and fall, only a few short weeks each, were the most pleasant times to be outside (and to dress for!)

My Sacramento life is vastly different. On a good day, I get a couple of hours at my desk in the morning, but I’m often out the door and into the car early. My territory is varied. I might drive as much as an hour or as little as fifteen minutes to my first customer. Some salons have parking lots, but many do not. I may have to park a few blocks away or even walk from salon to salon downtown. Inside the salon, I rarely sit down and may be on my feet for 45 minutes at a time. I’m in and out of the car and the elements all day. Every weekday morning, I run 4 miles with Jasper from my house to the river and back. I still swim three times a week, but I’m in an outdoor pool (winter too!) When I don’t have swim practice, I’m often outdoors in the evening: rambling at the river, playing at the dog park, tossing the frisbee in the backyard, or puttering on the patio. The weekends start outside. Our Saturday morning tradition is doughnuts and frisbee at the nearby school before I head to swim practice. The rest of the day is fluid, but usually involves another outdoor activity for Jasper. Sunday mornings I leave the house early for a long hike with the dog. A few weekends a month, Beefy and I try to attend a local event, go birdwatching or eat at a new restaurant to better integrate into the area. (Bonus if the activity is dog friendly!) The summers are hot hot hot, with a handful of 100 degree days, and dry. The winters are typically mild and wet (but we’ve been in a drought). Spring and fall aren’t long, but the pleasant weather can be extended by heading to the mountains or beach.

Since moving to Sacramento, I . . .

Purchase more casual attire. After work in Cincinnati, I wore either my pajamas or my office duds (if I wasn’t yet home). In Sacramento, I change into sturdy, casual wear that can be worn to the beach, dog park, or an athletic field. My casual dresses lose the battle with the delta breeze, so I often choose denim shorts, leggings, or stiff skirts. Weekends also require dog-friendly wear. My delicate, non-work-appropriate items languish in my closet. I bought three tees, five pairs of shorts, two denim skirts, and denim overalls in the past few months.

Sturdy casual wear:

Favor comfortable, leather shoes. I’ll never give up my heels, but the uncomfortable ones are being weeded out. Stiff and platform soles are unwalkable. Uppers of man-made materials do not yield or breathe. In Cincinnati, I’d wear flipflops, moccasins, or galoshes to and from the bus stop, but change into my impossible footwear at the office. This is no longer an option. My shoes have to be bearable for at least a few blocks of walking and 30 minutes at a time on my feet. I’ve bought 15 pairs of shoes since I moved here (excluding boots). Ten were leather, four were fabric, and one pair were man-made. Guess which pair got the “boot” after only a few wears?

I purged these shoes (among others), since the move:

Buy more boots. I can no longer pair tights with suede, peep-toe, platform heels in the winter. Such juxtapositions are best saved for indoor only wear. Instead, boots are the best and most comfortable option for days in and out of the weather from November to March. I’ve added nine pairs of boots (or booties or shortie boots) to my collection since moving to Sacramento. Like shoes, I prefer leather or fabric uppers. The single pair of PVC, platform boots I bought from Amazon were quickly replaced with a suede pair from a consignment shop.

Nine pairs of boots is an embarrassment of riches (but pair #3 is gone).

Shun polyester. I’ve never been a big polyester fan, but it is a necessary evil in a wardrobe of quantity over quality and trends over classics. In Cincinnati, I whined if I had to wear the unbreathable stuff in the humid heat, but mostly lounged in air-conditioned buildings. In Sacramento, I’m suffering in the heat with little respite. My car does have air, but by the time it’s recovered from 120 degrees parked in the sun to a more comfortable temp, it’s time to get out and into the triple digits again. I still have a few of my very favorite polyester items to wear when the temps dip below 75, but I’ve mostly culled the poly in favor of silk, linen, cotton, and rayon (yes, man-made, but breathable). I’ve purchased seventy garments in the past two years. Twenty were polyester or PVC and most of those were bought in the first few months of my move. The other fifty items are natural fibers, blends, or rayon.

A few of my Sacramento shopping “mistakes”:

Yeah, that last skirt was cute, but it was simultaneously flimsy and super sweaty.

I've now been in Sacramento for two years. The thrift shop near my house has “benefited” from my wardrobe transition with a constant influx of unwalkable shoes and polyester garments. I’m happy to have transitioned to an outdoor lifestyle and upgraded to practical and quality wardrobe items.


Anonymous said...

Isn't it funny! I've been in Southern California nearly my whole life, and to me, my wardrobe has always gravitated towards natural fibers, and yes, boots. Though I do still buy plastic clothes and shoes, I tend to wear them only as it cools off. I think we've stumbled onto some sort of fashion 'truth' about CA .... :)

Linen and wool are my favorites. I have countless pair of jeans, and many maxi dresses. I prefer sleeveless everything, and layer as it gets cooler. Oh, and lots of flip flops.

I've read that California fashion is more casual than most places in the nation, and I guess its true.

Red said...

Absolutely a fashion truth! Only in places like SF can you wear PVC and synthetics. Linen and wool are my faves too, closely followed by high quality cotton. (It dismays me that stores seem to be pushing more and more polyester! Ugh to that.) CA weather always made vintage a great choice too--so many 40s-60s items are cotton or wool. Sacto made me fall in love with vintage Hawaiian clothing--magnificent cottons they used to use. (And fabulous Kasmira color palettes!)

I grew up in foggy, temperate Berkeley so I'm used to layering, but I also learned the value of linen when I moved to Sacramento--and sandals! My sandal wardrobe exploded lol. I'm not surprised that I don't see you in a lot of linen, though, because tailored/fitted linen wars with the wrinkle factor, and you don't seem too inclined to the Isadora Duncan/flowy bedouin/arty/"lagenlook" style that linen does so well. I've been living in that kind of outfit lately, such a change from the fitted "vintage" look I used to wear...but so comfortable.

I'm glad you are enjoying the outdoor lifestyle here! Certainly the winters must be far easier than in the Midwest. I don't do well in the heat so summer's a toss-up, but when it's wretched here I pop down to Berkeley to walk or hike in the hills. Win-win. You know, it also sounds like having a dog has made you WAY more outdoor-oriented. I think that's wonderful; it's sad when people buy active dogs and then never take them out... Jasper's a lucky boy!:-)

Blues girl said...

Oh noooo!!!! The floral, Nine West peep toes! I love those shoes and they were my size, 7 1/2. I totally would have bought them from you. Sad :(

Kasmira said...

If they were a 7.5, they were a big 7.5. I bought then when I was going through a fat foot phase and once my feet depuffed they were way too big. You would have also found them too roomy (and kind of dirty).

Sheila said...

This is a fascinating insight into your wardrobing. I'd noticed the shift in your style over the last couple of years, and had attributed it more to lifestyle changes (dog!) than to the weather. Thanks for this cool post, Kasmira!

Anonymous said...

You should do a "shop my closet" for your readers next time you purge!!

Kasmira said...

I'll consider a "shop my closet." Mostly, I'd just GIVE it away for postage!

Anonymous said...

Interesting post - thanks for sharing! I love that even though your changing certain things about your wardrobe, you still take the time to make it interesting and totally you're own style!

And even back here in the Midwest, I'm finding boots way more practical than I ever did before.