Self-Improvement Through My Wardrobe

Or… Is it weird that a piece of clothing changed my life?

By Kitty

I don’t mean “changed my life” like getting a degree or moving continents changed my life.  More like “made my daily life a heck of a lot easier than I imagined a mere item of clothing ever could.”

If you read my last entry, you might remember I was trying to come up with an apron/dress/carry-all-type-thing I could wear both for mess protection and to look halfway decent if I should be seen in public.

So Practical

Since then, I’ve made myself a few more of them (four in one week!), because I love, LOVE,  LOOOOOVE these things.  I have been wearing them every every hour of every day, except to sleep.  I really do pull them on the moment I roll out of bed in the morning, and I don’t know how I ever got by without them.

If that seems like a somewhat excessive reaction to a piece of glorified workwear, it probably is. 

But for some context: with the pandemic keeping me home (even more than normally for a recluse like me, I mean), we at the Felix and Kitty homestead have been doing a lot of what can only be described as “puttering.”  On any given day, I’m hauling produce, reorganizing literal tons of fabric rolls, fermenting assorted drinkies, sewing face masks for the homeless shelter, weeding, pruning, planting, making jerky and freeze-drying everything from the garden against the day civilization comes to a screeching halt. 

All this has taught me something important about myself which I have always suspected:  I have the attention span of a kitten with ADHD.  I need some outside assistance to keep me on track to make sure that half of the eighteen or so things I’m juggling do not come crashing down around my ears.  Weirdly, it turns out that my new design was exactly what I needed.

Introducing Hana

To be more specific, the Hana cross-back apron dress.  I have no idea what else to call it, because it doesn’t fall neatly into any category of clothing.

This thing is just too good to keep to myself!  I fast-tracked it through pattern-making, size-grading and all that jazz so everybody else could try it as soon as possible,

In addition to being very, very practical, with super-deep, wide pockets that will absorb everything you can throw at them, the Hana is pretty darn cute.  Throwing one over a simple T-shirt and leggings or jeans makes it look like I actually made some kind of effort, and even an actual fashion statement when I pair it with a matching face mask (which I’m now doing every time I go out in public, for reasons I explained here).

In actuality, I’ll probably have been using it as a kitchen cover-up, then dashed straight out for groceries without bothering to change.  I don’t even need to lug a purse, since I can keep all my essentials in those capacious pockets.

The Hana apron dress has an open, lapped back that makes it both super-comfortable and a breeze to fit.  The overlap is generous enough to give you the coverage of a dress.  The crossed straps never slide off the shoulders, even very narrow or sloping shoulders.  The weight of your pocket contents are distributed nicely, so there’s no dig-in anywhere!

This is what it looked like on my trusty mannequin Amelia with a cotton peasant top underneath, and the pockets filled with “only” keys, wallet, phone, an extra face mask, some sunscreen, a couple of tea towels, some sunglasses, a packet of tissues, and a few other small sundries.  This would be a lovely hostess outfit for a summer barbecue, maybe with a casual skirt or skinny jeans.

A note: we actually had to add extra stuff in the pockets so some items would show up in the photo, because everything kept being swallowed up in their depths.  Hence the tea towels, which were used to fill up some of the volume.

Pockets Have Superpowers

Yes, they do.  Bigger pockets have more superpowers, within reason. 

For example, pockets can magically make more time exist, at least if you’re a scatter-brained flibbertigibbet like me, because you are not running back and forth (and back and forth and back and forth) between the edge of a quarter-acre garden and the house at the top of the hill.  I swear I’ve had at least two extra hours a day by loading up everything I could possibly need in one go before I set foot outside.

I’ve stuffed those pockets with ALL of the following at once: pens and plant labels, a trowel, six packets of seeds, a wad of tissues, a roll of paper towel, scissors, a knife, a pair of gloves, a roll of garden wire, wire cutters, my sunglasses case, keys, a notebook, and (I kid thee not) a full-size wine bottle, just to see if I could.

I did not get a photo of all that because Felix was in his shop building giant wood compost bins, and one doesn’t lightly interrupt a man who is tearing into a hunk of wood with power tools.  But here’s Amelia with that bottle and a dozen or so other things in-pocket, most of which you can’t actually see:

The Pockets Hold More Than You Think

Pockets Fix Brainlessness

I also found a cure for my distractability (is that a word?) in the giant pockets of my Hana apron dress. 

For example, I no longer burn our weekly bread, because I can take my trusty (but bulky) kitchen timer with me into the garden, where I usually get lost somewhere between the pea picking and the squash pruning.  I no longer burn myself because my pocket beeps an alarm at me to reapply my sunscreen every two hours. 

I don’t stare blankly into space because I forgot what was next on the to-do list, because I now keep a notebook and pencil in my pocket at all times.  If I think of something that needs to get added to the shopping list, I can do it on the spot.

On the subject of brain maintenance, I’m returning myself to semi-fluency in Spanish and Korean by listening to lectures on my iPad while weeding the lawn (yes, the iPad fits into my Hana’s pockets).  Who knew pockets could lead to multilingualism?

Aprons Are a Safety Feature (in the kitchen, and in the pandemic)

I really do use my Hana as a kitchen apron.  I never realized before just how much safer this makes me when I’m cooking, since I’ve never been able to tolerate the usual halter-style aprons that hang from behind your neck; I’d rather risk hot spatters than the tension headaches they gave me.

Now that I’m living in my apron dress, I don’t end up with mini burn spots on my cleavage.  Or glue or chemical solvents, for that matter, when I’m in the workshop. 

It’s also led to a strange safety feature that’s unique to the time of COVID-19.  After being out in public, the contents of your purse, if you carry one, are inevitably contaminated, mainly by your own hands after you touch the world.  Your wallet, your keys, the plastic packet that encloses your tissues, your used face mask — all of these things are potentially carrying pathogens. 

Luckily, they’re fairly easy to sanitize, but how many of us launder our purses after each outing?  In theory, don’t the outside AND inside of our bags constitute contaminated surfaces too?

I never liked carrying a purse anyway, so now I just deal with it by carrying everything in my pockets and throwing the whole apron dress in the laundry when I come in from the outside.  It can’t hurt, and I don’t have to worry about it.

In Conclusion….

The Hana apron dress is now available.   Try one, and you may (like me) end up living in them forever. 

In the spirit of these strange times, we’re including a free matching face mask in the style of your choice for every Hana you order (and donating another mask to a shelter) until the last day of summer.  That’s September 22, I believe; someone correct me if I’m mistaken.

Until next time, stay safe, sane, and saucy, and wear your masks!

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