It's a colourful affair

I’ll stop wearing black when they make a darker color
– Wednesday Addams

Since puberty, I have had a largely black wardrobe (not the cupboard itself but the content). It’s safe and makes deciding what to wear easy. Finding a specific item can be a challenge though, one from which the neatness of my wardrobe suffered most. My wardrobe has also never been hugely extensive—although I am also pretty sure Jasper would state otherwise if asked—mainly because I wore a uniform for many years, and you simply don’t need as many clothes when you wear work clothing five to six days a week.

I remember when I got my first office job that I quickly realised I had to go shopping and was in shock of how much clothing I felt I needed to own when working in an office five days a week! This again all changed when I got a job with a sort of uniform again and I worked the rest from home, i.e. in sweats. My wardrobe diminished as I threw stuff out that was old and nothing was purchased to replace it because I didn’t really need to look representable. Then I got an office job again. It was like a weird vicious cycle, with the clothes I bought for in the office being worn at home until far beyond a recognisable state.

Then there were the few. The few items that are special and never seem to wear out. Almost like your favourite sneakers that you tell yourself still look fine, while you are walking on your socks because the soles have completely worn away. If you don’t recognise this, you have never done your Converse proud—or owned a pair.

Living in a camper means living without a huge wall-to-wall IKEA wardrobe, so things had to change. We decided that as we would have only a few items of clothing they would have to meet some standards. We wanted them to last the entire trip, which definitely rules out shopping at some of the well-known shops; I wanted them to be as sustainable as possible, and Jasper likes his to be practical (quick drying, warm, lots of pockets for lens caps and batteries). This meant that we soon found our way to the outdoor brands.

Shopping for Jasper was easy. Outdoor brands are perfect for him and he even spent a fair amount of money on items he believed worth it—a huge difference to the guy who used to think that spending more than 20 euros on a pair of jeans is a waste of money. Shopping for me was more of a challenge. For one, outdoor brands seem to assume that all women who spend their time hiking and climbing and wandering and roaming are skinny. They seem to also have completely failed to understand that women might also like pockets, useful pockets. I get that not all women want to walk around in cargo trousers, but if you are going to slap a pocket onto the side of a pair of trousers, then at least put the effort into making the pocket useful, or make the normal side pockets more than a tip of a finger in depth.

We found a couple of brands that meet all our requirements and were happy to spend a bit more than usual as we do not expect to be purchasing much while on the road. There was still one little issue though. Outdoor clothing is largely the most colourful clothing out there. Jasper, who also tends to wear predominantly black and blue suddenly found himself owning a bright-blue down jacket that requires sunglasses to look at, but it was on sale from €230 for €80 so totally worth it! (Sadly, it didn’t last more than twenty wears before ripping, and the manufacturer doesn’t seem terribly concerned, so they are off our list).

Women’s clothing is mainly pink, bright pink or fluorescent pink. Some are bright blue, bright yellow, bright red. Other brands try to switch it up and make their items light pink, baby blue or soft green. What a nightmare! I was now down to two or three brands that seemed to understand my wishes. Nevertheless, two or three brands make decisions easy again and for some items, I decided to bite the bullet and buy the colourful item, especially if it was on sale.

In Sweden we have noticed that people fully embrace the fluorescent and bright coloured outdoor clothing, and either the country has a lot of people who are looking to join some version of ‘yellow vests’ or they take safety very seriously here. When parked in the woods we would giggle about the various mountain bikers wearing fluorescent clothing adorned by a yellow safety vest.

Last week, we were in the woods walking the dogs with a friend who lives in Sweden. On this walk, we passed a gun range and got onto the topic of Swedish hunting culture. During this discussion, he mentioned in passing that when he walked his dogs in the woods early in the morning, he made sure to wear something that stands out because if you blend in too well, there is always the chance of a hunting accident. I looked down at my otherwise perfect petrol blue jacket with its oh so intently ugly fluorescent yellow zippers on the chest…hmm.

I’ll dive straight in so you know what’s going on and where we are currently at. If you want to get to know us better or simply want more of a backstory, click here.

Since puberty, I have had a largely black wardrobe (not the cupboard itself but the content). It’s safe and makes deciding what to wear easy. Finding a specific item can be a challenge though, one from which the neatness of my wardrobe suffered most. My wardrobe has also never been hugely extensive—although I am also pretty sure Jasper would state otherwise if asked—mainly because I wore a uniform for many years, and you simply don’t need as many clothes when you wear work clothing five to six days a week.

I remember when I got my first office job that I quickly realised I had to go shopping and was in shock of how much clothing I felt I needed to own when working in an office five days a week! This again all changed when I got a job with a sort of uniform again and I worked the rest from home, i.e. in sweats. My wardrobe diminished as I threw stuff out that was old and nothing was purchased to replace it because I didn’t really need to look representable. Then I got an office job again. It was like a weird vicious cycle, with the clothes I bought for in the office being worn at home until far beyond a recognisable state.

Then there were the few. The few items that are special and never seem to wear out. Almost like your favourite sneakers that you tell yourself still look fine, while you are walking on your socks because the soles have completely worn away. If you don’t recognise this, you have never done your Converse proud—or owned a pair.

Living in a camper means living without a huge wall-to-wall IKEA wardrobe, so things had to change. We decided that as we would have only a few items of clothing they would have to meet some standards. We wanted them to last the entire trip, which definitely rules out shopping at some of the well-known shops; I wanted them to be as sustainable as possible, and Jasper likes his to be practical (quick drying, warm, lots of pockets for lens caps and batteries). This meant that we soon found our way to the outdoor brands.

Shopping for Jasper was easy. Outdoor brands are perfect for him and he even spent a fair amount of money on items he believed worth it—a huge difference to the guy who used to think that spending more than 20 euros on a pair of jeans is a waste of money. Shopping for me was more of a challenge. For one, outdoor brands seem to assume that all women who spend their time hiking and climbing and wandering and roaming are skinny. They seem to also have completely failed to understand that women might also like pockets, useful pockets. I get that not all women want to walk around in cargo trousers, but if you are going to slap a pocket onto the side of a pair of trousers, then at least put the effort into making the pocket useful, or make the normal side pockets more than a tip of a finger in depth.

We found a couple of brands that meet all our requirements and were happy to spend a bit more than usual as we do not expect to be purchasing much while on the road. There was still one little issue though. Outdoor clothing is largely the most colourful clothing out there. Jasper, who also tends to wear predominantly black and blue suddenly found himself owning a bright-blue down jacket that requires sunglasses to look at, but it was on sale from €230 for €80 so totally worth it! (Sadly, it didn’t last more than twenty wears before ripping, and the manufacturer doesn’t seem terribly concerned, so they are off our list).

Women’s clothing is mainly pink, bright pink or fluorescent pink. Some are bright blue, bright yellow, bright red. Other brands try to switch it up and make their items light pink, baby blue or soft green. What a nightmare! I was now down to two or three brands that seemed to understand my wishes. Nevertheless, two or three brands make decisions easy again and for some items, I decided to bite the bullet and buy the colourful item, especially if it was on sale.

In Sweden we have noticed that people fully embrace the fluorescent and bright coloured outdoor clothing, and either the country has a lot of people who are looking to join some version of ‘yellow vests’ or they take safety very seriously here. When parked in the woods we would giggle about the various mountain bikers wearing fluorescent clothing adorned by a yellow safety vest.

Last week, we were in the woods walking the dogs with a friend who lives in Sweden. On this walk, we passed a gun range and got onto the topic of Swedish hunting culture. During this discussion, he mentioned in passing that when he walked his dogs in the woods early in the morning, he made sure to wear something that stands out because if you blend in too well, there is always the chance of a hunting accident. I looked down at my otherwise perfect petrol blue jacket with its oh so intently ugly fluorescent yellow zippers on the chest…hmm.

3 Comments

  1. Anita

    Het feest der herkenning! Drama om een fatsoenlijk passende broek te vinden, vaak wordt het een herenmodel waar ik zelf een stuk elastiek in zet om soort van taille te maken 😂.
    Die veilge gele hesjes die je toch ergens moet hebben liggen zijn in de bossen dan toch wel prettig, zie het positlief, heb je ze niet alleen maar verplicht bij je 😉. Veel veilige wandelingen gewenst!

    Reply
  2. Hans Beune

    Rips and ducktape are a match made in heaven, that blue coat will last the trip becoming less and less blue xxx

    Reply
    • Anne

      Oooh, a nice and silvery grey…:P

      Reply

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