In my recent wardrobe planning posts (Winter 2017 and Summer 2016) I mentioned my need for a Signature Wardrobe Errand Outfit, and Jane reached to ask what that is. Thanks for your email Jane.
I try to limit my errands to one day a week, mainly because I work from home and need to prevent non-income-generating work from taking over all my available time. That being the case, when I do go out, I take care of as much as I can. That means I (or you) could end up going to several different places for different tasks:
- Attend medical appointments.
- Take the dogs to their medical appointments.
- Get the car serviced.
- Shop for items as varied as clothes, groceries, 44 lb (20 kg) bags of dog food, office supplies, or plants and hardware.
- Personal care appointments like the hairdresser, beautician, and masseuse.
- Social events like coffees, lunches and shows.
- Educational events like talks, seminars, or to visit the library, a museum or a gallery.
And these tasks involve a range of movements: drive, walk, jog/run pathetically, sit, cross and recross legs, stand, fidget, bend, crouch, lift, reach, carry, restrain a dog (or both), eat, drink, and in some cases disrobe.
Ideally, you would have an errand outfit for summer and another for winter. However, if the majority of your errands are indoor tasks, and you are driving rather than taking public transport you could use the same clothes with the addition of warmer layers.
In the early twentieth century, there was a nice and easy separation between your “house” clothes and your “street” clothes. At that time, your access to things like medical care, bank loans, and store credit relied on your reputation, and your reputation indirectly relied on your appearance. When you left your home, you put on your “good” clothes so that when “they” saw you, they came to the conclusion that you were not a beggar (or tinker), had money to spend and were worthy of attention.
My lifestyle is similar to those women – I am at home more often than out, so I built a small collection of street clothes in the styles and fiery colours I prefer.
Your errand outfit (street clothes) should offer a level of respect for the people you interact with (e.g., medical practitioners), and command a level of respect from people you deal with (e.g., your car mechanic).
My street wardrobe includes dresses, skirts, jeans, tunics, and cardigans. On a more social day, I will wear a dress or skirt, and a more practical day the jeans.
Your errand outfit can be whatever you like to wear, feel comfortable in, and believe has the respect factor.
Always good supportive ones. For an active day, maybe a sports bra.
Practical shoes with jeans, and pretty sandals or ballet flats with the dresses and skirts.
I am hoping to include more of the pumps I wore to my office job this winter.
You’ll need the right hats and layers for your season.
If you need to keep your hands free, consider a small cross-body bag for just the essentials (phone, wallet, keys and glasses).
Jewellery is always good for some polish (though I haven’t got back into the jewellery habit since the transplant) and of course your activity tracker.
Usually, the minimum of make-up, tidy hair, and perfume. Maybe a little more hair and face effort for social or appointment days.
Your errand outfit may be similar to your Work From Home outfit, or it might be more like your Clothes Shopping or Fair outfit. It may even be your go-to street outfit that does all three, or perhaps variations in several colours or patterns according to your mood.