10 June 2016

Do it for yourself

It is this time of the year, when April begins and all of a sudden, we are in June. As I'm off for some weeks of hectic work, I thought I might leave a word here before I go to E3. After my note on toxic cosmetics, I decided to think a bit more about what place little material luxuries of life have in my version of simplicity.

One of the main myths about simplicity is that it leads to an ascetic and boring life as we move away from all the fun of buying new things and enjoying little material pleasures now and then. I guess my writing about how I stopped wearing make-up might not help.

So I figured I might present how I approach these little, more superficial pleasures of life. Because no, I am not wearing white linen every day, nor did I shave my head or sell off all my electronics.

It isn't the what, it is the why

In my version of simplicity, no object and no activity or interest are "banned". The what isn't the problem. Make-up never was my thing so I dropped it, but it doesn't mean you have to do the same. I still paint my nails for example, and there are other areas I enjoy playing with, like jewellery or scarves (I have a whole towel holder full of scarves).

I guess my point is, simplicity is not about demonizing any activity, it is about asking yourself why you are donig it. Going shopping isn't the problem, but why are you buying this item right now? Wearing make-up isn't the problem, but why are you doing it? Is it because you enjoy testing new colors and styles, for your own pleasure, or is it to meet a certain standard of society or hide what you think is ugly about your face?

Do it for yourself

When it comes to topics like body care or looks, my vision now is to do it for myself. That's why I no longer wear uncomfortable shoes or clothes, no matter how much taller and leaner they make me look. Because looking taller and leaner isn't for myself, it is to meet some external standard. I do treat myself occasionally with soft wool or luxurious silk, because it makes me feel good and the touch on the skin is incredible. That's for myself.

I was watching an episode of the series Miss Fisher's murder mysteries the other day. She's a detective in Australia in the 1920s, and that particular episode was about a murder in a beauty salon where miss Fisher orders her clothes. The character is always very elegant, sophisticated and feminine. But she does it for herself, not to please anyone else. As her maid tries to find a piece of clothing that suits her, and gets depressed because her love interest doesn't notice her new suit, miss Fisher tells her: you don't get dressed for any man. You do it for yourself, for the touch of the silk on your skin, for the way you feel when you're wearing this.

That's exactly how I came to think about my own approach to style, but also everything else: home decorations, a good book, a soft leather wallet... Any item should be bought and used for yourself, because it satisfies you, first and foremost.

That's not to say simplicity is being selfish. On the contrary, once you feel better about yourself, you have more time and energy to turn to others, buy them stuff why not, but also be there for them, be an attentive listener and much more. However, I don't think we should feel guilty to indulge once in a while. As long as we do it for ourselves, and not to meet external expectations which will never be satisfied.

Image: unrelated picture of my own terrasse's first flowers, late April. Yes, I'm late :)


  1. Great post! I don't think I have ever dressed for anyone else except myself apart from my teenage years (everyone wore Levi's so obviously I had to own a pair too). I think mostly because we didn't have a lot of money when I was growing up so we needed to make smart choices when going shopping. But also because my family and friends aren't focused on material things. Nobody cared when I bought a pair of Isabel Marant boots, they had never heard of the brand. The only comment I got was: these seem to be very well made and should last you a long time. I'm not sure what I'm trying to say here, haha. I guess that I'm happy that I don't feel any pressure from the 'outside world' to look a certain way and that simplicity has always been a part of my life to a certain extent without me even noticing it.

    1. Thanks for your input, you are very licky to have been brought up in a family that wasn't focused on material things :) I think it's the best kind of simplicity, when you apply it to your life without even noticing :)

  2. Wonderful post. I find many of your posts really resonate with me, thank you so much for sharing your journey.

    I also love to paint my nails... I even like to paint my toenails in winter, because it makes me so happy to see them. But, I very rarely wear make-up, as I find it more of a chore.

    1. I'm happy if my little contribution can help :)
      I feel the same as you about make-up, and painting nails are a bit of a guilty pleasure (although I don't really feel guilty about it. A small indulgence perhaps?) Thanks for your kind word :)

  3. very interesting article,,
    and I like this post