growing a minimalist wardrobe: silk camisoles.

growing a minimalist wardrobe | silk camisolesIf you read enough about so-called capsule wardrobes, you’ll quickly come across mention of the indispensability of the silk camisole (adorable shorthand: cami). Today’s post will demonstrate that among other things, I do not read enough about capsule wardrobes. (Taking the long way around, etc.)

Let me back up:

Growing up, my mom made me and my sisters wear cotton camisoles underneath our turtlenecks in the wintertime (And tights under our jeans on the coldest days, but that’s a subject to discuss on another day.) I found wearing the camisoles (and tights) to be tantamount to torture. I hated them. They felt bunchy and, as I was prone to saying, “uncunchable.”

Cut to adulthood and can I empathize with my younger self. I’m not a terrific layer-er. Despite the fact that I’m frequently cold, I can be reluctant to putting on more layers. But instead of hating the humble camisole, I’ve come to really love them. A plain cotton camisole is usually thin enough that it won’t bunch, and with enough stretch added to the cotton, it stays neatly put. Sleevelessness cuts down on the all around discomfort, and layered underneath a button-up blouse or sweater, camisoles do, indeed, provide an extra layer of warmth enough to make the winter tenable when you’re not willing to go full-on long underwear. My mom was on to something.

But this winter, I’ve tried something new that’s making me rethink my camisole approach altogether: the silk camisole.

It started by accident. One night, I had worn these pajamas to bed and I woke up in the morning with an intense need for a doughnut. (Unrelated to wearing the pajamas, as far as I can tell.) After pleading with James to walk around the corner and scoop up a coconut-covered little honey for me, it became clear that if I wanted a pre-8 am sugar rush, I’d have to get out of bed and get it myself. 

And so, I did what any responsible adult desperate for a doughnut would do, and quickly threw on presentable-in-public clothes over my pajamas. From the moment I pulled a sweatshirt over my head, I was hooked. Underneath the sweatshirt, the silk tank top felt even better than it had on its own. It was silky and smooth and not the slightest bit uncunchable! Layering suddenly felt good.growing a minimalist wardrobe | silk camisolesI realize this might not be newsworthy for the more sartorially evolved readers—all you capsule wardrobe mavens out there. But it took me experiencing a silk base layer for myself to understand the hoopla. 

A silk camisole sounds so fancy. And what a versatile little thing to wear without anything on top of it at all! But for me, the real secret is the comfort found in layering: there’s nary a bunch to be found when wearing a silk camisole under a sweater. Everything slips and slides around in a warm little cocoon that’s the very opposite of suffocating and confining. 

I’m most hopeful that the silk will hold up fairly well. I’ve found that most of my cotton camisoles get stretched out and sad-looking after a year or two. With a little love and care, I’m thinking silk will stand up a little better. Yes? No? Maybe? Who’s already a silk camisole convert out there?

In case you’re in the market: Here’s a little list of other (non-pajama) silky options should you want in on the silky secret.

+ Brook There has a beautiful black silk chemise that looks like a very lovely start for a silk camisole collection. (Their discount code is applicable site-wide through February 2, ICYMI.) (Made in the USA.)

+ Cuyana has two nice options. The silk camisole is a little bit refined with all those straps—and could definitely pull double-duty as a special top all by its lonesome. The scoop silk tank is more casual, and slightly longer. (Made in the USA.)

+ Eileen Fisher scoop neck silk tanks follow the same classic lines as some of the others in this list; theirs comes with a bluesign certification for chemical, water, and energy usage.

+ Everlane has a number of silky things worth looking at, but the long length of their simple silk tanks look especially promising for winter layering. (Responsibly made in China.)

Other things:

+ If care for silk is a hangup, I’m happy to report I’ve been hand-washing my silk tank on the weekly since mid-December and it’s good as new.

+ If the price tag on silk tanks feels (understandably) steep, a second-hand search from a source like ThredUp might yield some nice results (as well as raiding your grandmother’s closet). 

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