It feels like spring this weekend and we’re coming out of hibernation. We have been quietly working away on a couple of things and have done very well with the saving and loosing weight targets. I now have significantly more money and less husband than a few months ago – good result!

We still have the ‘pedal to the metal’ on the Trademe purging of unwanted belongings but the Trademe pile is very much smaller now and it definitely feels like we’re on the downhill run all around. I have a countdown app on my phone that tells me I have 22 days left until I hand my notice in, 89 days until I finish work, 115 days until we leave NZ, and 16 weekends left to get it all organised … not that I’m counting or anything!

We have started to mull over what we should take clothing-wise. It’s actually quite difficult. Our requirements must be met by a very limited capsule wardrobe that we can carry in ‘self-supported bicycle travel’ (I learnt that term on YouTube, which is my latest ‘go to’ place for information). As I see it, this wardrobe needs to work for an amazingly diverse number of situations – it needs to work on a campsite and in a smart hotel, on a bicycle and strolling around the stylish areas of Paris or Milan, whipping up a brew on the side of a cycle path and sipping Pinot Noir in a posh restaurant, (potentially) working in an office or classroom and dog walking on a house-sitting gig, and be comfortable in temperatures ranging from sub-zero to 30+ degrees. I have found zero YouTube videos that are of any help at all. Videos about what to wear for cycle touring mainly feature Lycra and chamois butter … ewww yuk! Videos about what to wear for backpacking mainly feature hardy (or stupid) nubile young individuals who live in short shorts, skimpy tops and jandals, irrespective of their environment … which is not happening on so many levels! And there are a large amount of videos discussing holiday wear, what to wear after a ‘certain age’ and what to wear if you’re fat, thin, short or tall … but nothing really hits the spot.

The other problems are that:

  • New Zealand’s limited clothing choice means that what ever you’re looking for isn’t available in NZ,
  • the global trend of throw away clothes means that everything that is available is made of tissue paper and won’t last more than a couple of visits through the washing machine (let alone a year of sustained use),
  • clothing sizes everywhere have grown to match the expanding waistlines of the population … everyone wants to be a size 10! Unfortunately, the people that actually are a size 10, aren’t any longer.

This generally results in returning from shopping trips empty handed due to everything being ‘too crappy’, ‘too big’ and/or ‘just plain boring’.

I could of course join the trend for wearing ‘adventure’ clothing or ‘sports wear’ in every situation. Personally, I’ve never found a trip to the supermarket that adventurous or strenuous and certainly not requiring of wicking fabrics and high performance technology! Now granted, you can probably get away with this type of outfit and actually look quite cool if you’re young and built like an athlete, but needless to say, I don’t tick any of those boxes.

SOLUTION – I have started to sew a few things instead. Strangely enough, sewing patterns have retained the original sizing so I am a size 10 in a sewing pattern but have shrunk to a size 6 in the retail environment through no fault of my own. I may soon disappear altogether at this rate! Making my own clothes has the added benefit of allowing me to make sure of sufficient cycling leg room. Does anyone else try on clothes in changing rooms while high-stepping like a dressage pony to make sure it is bike-worthy? Sewing my own clothes is enabling me to incorporate secret pockets for valuables. I’m not very diligent at wearing a money belt as they are just so ugly, uncomfortable and lumpy under clothes. Secret pockets in my skirt linings are just so much more romantic.

Whilst watching these Youtube videos I have discovered a very disturbing fact … all the videos say that your capsule wardrobe MUST be built of ‘neutrals’. Most just contain black, white and beige. Oh, how terribly boring! I have decided that I simply can’t spend a whole year in black, white and beige without suffering serious depressive episodes. I recently read a quote from a very stylish mature lady who believes that wearing beige will kill you … I tend to agree. So I have officially re-categorised red as a neutral! It will go very nicely with my other neutrals – green and blue … also recently recategorised for the purpose of achieving a capsule wardrobe that I like and which conforms to the advise of all eminent fashionistas.

The husband is champing at the bit to buy some clothes for the trip but can’t at the moment because his size is still a moving target. We have set his shopping date as ‘the January sales’ as he reckons he should be sufficiently ‘scrawny’ by then. So far he has only been able to buy a hat and some boots but desperately wants to buy some new threads to go in the middle. He now looks quite ‘deflated’ in his old clothes … but a lot more ‘Jason Bourne‘ overall!

Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. Would love to talk!
    This is a subject dear to my heart. I am a cyclist ,’maker’ & researcher of cycling clothing.


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