A New and Loving Home: Cottage Clothes

You know those items of clothing you have hidden in the back of your closet?  The ones squished to the back of your drawers?   The shirts that are a little too short or tight to wear respectably in public?  The yoga or sweat pants that have started to pill from extensive wear because at the end of the day the thought of putting on anything in any way constrictive seems like cruel and unusual punishment?  What about the any number of race or event souvenir shirts – shapeless, huge, stretched out, usually some hideous fluorescent colour with the event sponsors’ names taking up most of the back?  Or those super-comfy capris that you thought were really funky when you bought them because they had the seams on the outside?  Yeah, the ones that because the seams are on the outside, you constantly put on inside out so that you parade around the mall, on the bus, out to dinner with the lovely tag sticking out of the back, flapping in the wind so that not only does the entire world know what size your ass is but that you’re a complete moron for putting them on inside out and going outside the house in them?  You know those pieces of clothing you bought because you thought they embodied the bold and adventurous person you wanted to be and then when it came time to actually wear it, you stood in front of the mirror for forty minutes trying to convince yourself that you were cool enough to pull it off?  Then changed into something else.  And while my partner-in-crime has no problem wearing his hilarious yet irreverent T-shirts out in public (like the one that says “Nobody knows I’m a lesbian”), I can’t bring myself to wear the running shirt that says, “Does this shirt make my butt look fast?”  What about the ones you can’t bear to donate because it was a souvenir, a gift, a special event?  Or the ones that are waaaaay too comfortable to give up?  These super-comfy, sentimental pieces lie captive in a dresser drawer, on the floor of the closet, in a box labelled “Summer” but really should be labelled “Probably Never”.  Waiting for the right time.  Which will never come.  Because they are just, well, not…quite…right.
 
 
But now I have the perfect home for these misfits.  It’s called “The Cottage”.
 
At the cottage, nothing will be perfect.  Everything will be a little grungy, a little sandy.  Everything will have a lingering smell of wood smoke.  And more often than not, there won’t be anyone around to see that they aren’t perfect.  There will not be a single soul to see the tag hanging out the back of those funky pants.  Or the wear and tear on those Gap sweatpants that you put on every day after getting home from work.  Or the way the fabric stretches over certain curves that aren’t exactly the sexy ones.  And the great thing about the cottage is that even if someone is around and does notice, they wouldn’t care. Not in the slightest.  Because they’re wearing a sweatshirt ripped at the neck.  Or a T-shirt with pastel blue flowers on it and a spaghetti sauce stain on the right boob.  Or, on the night that the temperature freakishly drops twenty degrees, they happen to be wearing every piece of clothing they have at the cottage.  
The rules are different at the cottage.  There is no pretense.  No judgement.  People accept you for who you are.  When everyone has to lug water and chop wood and use an outhouse, nobody cares that your jeans are loose and fraying at the bottoms or that your T-shirt has half the words worn off or that the plaid shirt that you throw on over everything is faded and missing a button.
 
At the cottage, those clothes that aren’t good enough for your “real” life, become absolutely perfect. 
 
Here are some of my examples: 
This is not a onesie.  It’s a matching MEC T3 top and bottom.  T3 means it’s the warmest base layer MEC makes.  Which means that if you have to wear these layers underneath other clothing, it’s waaaaaay too cold to be outside.  So I haven’t worn them in a couple of years.  But at a cottage with no heat at night, they become the perfect pyjamas.  I’m also wearing a purple vest that has no zipper because the dog ate it.  And fun Chilean slippers that I can’t have at home because they are too warm and the dog lovingly gnaws on these as well. 
In this picture, I’m wearing Roots sweatpants that I found in a box in my garage (the one that should have been labelled “Probably Never”).  These sweatpants are from my university days.  The sweater is fuzzy from pilling but one of the most comfortable sweaters I have ever owned. (Don’t you love how the heat-conserving curtain in the background isn’t hanging properly?  Perfect.)
Here is a collection of my cottage T-shirts.  The first is a race shirt.  The middle is a rockin’ shirt I got in London, England that has Chrissy Hynde on it.  I did wear it to work once.  In the staff bathroom, looking at my T-shirt in the mirror, I realized that she is wearing a leather jacket with nothing on underneath it.  Awkward.  The third is a lovely shirt that says “Property of KLC (Kanata Leisure Centre).”  ‘Nuff said.  
This top clearly does not fit me properly. I bought it because it was funky.  And on sale.  And I was a little slimmer back then.  But as you can see, it has stripes which don’t exactly flatter my shape, it no longer buttons across my hips and if you zoom in, you’ll notice that it gapes across the bust.  (Which is a little exciting because I have never been very well-endowed.  Until last Christmas when I couldn’t stop eating chocolate.  And drinking.)  It is extremely soft and cozy and I get to wear leggings under it, which allows me to eat more chocolate and drink more wine. 
I wore this shirt in the Spartan Race.  While I have washed it a million times and it no longer smells like horse shit, I still cannot bring myself to wear it in the city.  The capris are the above-mentioned capris with the seams on the outside.  In fact, I was wearing them inside out in this photo.  But I’m at the cottage. So it doesn’t matter.  The sandals are Columbia sandals whose soles started melting on the hot city sidewalks.  They become perfect in the cool shade of the pine trees.

 
This is just a small sampling of the clothing that has recently found new life. 

 

 
And yes, there is always a glass of wine in my hand at the cottage.  
 
What are your favourite cottage clothes? 
 
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