“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.” — Walt Whitman
How can one obsess over and relentlessly pursue gear in all forms, at all times, and still talk about minimalism or essentialism or whatever?
Well, dear reader, this isn’t quite the contradiction it might seem.
For me, the focus on gear has been in lock-step with a renewed focus on owning things that bring me joy and that serve many purposes across my passions (running, travel, general outdoor activities). And owning ONLY (OK mostly) things that satisfy all those criterium.
That takes me to the BibRave Pro Summit in Chicago and a realization I had in retrospect on this morning’s run.
Last weekend, we organized a BibRave Pro Summit (podcast episode) around Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago. We knew that a ton of BRPs would be running the race, and we’re always looking for an excuse to bring people together in real life so a Chicago Summit was the natural answer.
Knockaround sunglasses have been an awesome BibRave partner for years, and one of the highlights of the weekend was the “Orange Carpet” event that BibRave hosted at City Winery on Friday night. The BibRave community tends to interact primarily online, and when we do meet up in real life, it tends to be in passing and when decked out in running gear. So the Orange Carpet event was an excuse to dress slightly fancy and have some food and drinks together.
As you can see in the pic above, Knockaround sponsored the event and provided some incredible custom orange shades, plus pairs of their Limited Edition Second Wind Premiums. Second Winds let runners focus on digging deeper and pushing harder, without having to worry about their shades bouncing, slipping, or sliding down (thanks to the embedded, NON-SLIP, rubber nose pads).
Throughout the weekend, I noticed how well the Knockarounds seemed to perfectly compliment everyone’s style – from the most conservative in the group to the most “flair forward” (orange heatsheet as a shawl FTW!). I also got thinking about how versatile style and a pop of color are particularly important for a seemingly confused minimalist/maximalist like myself.
Travel and Versatility
The primary motivator for my reductionism (I’m going to try to use as many alternative terms for “minimalism” as I can in this post) is my travel schedule. I HATE packing and carrying unnecessary items, hence the relentless editing of my travel kit – bags, toiletries, clothes, shoes, accessories – all of it.
With that mania for less comes the need for everything to be multipurpose. Fancy shoes that can’t be worn casually? Nope. Comfy pants that aren’t appropriate outside the house? No dice.
Sunnies are the perfect low-hanging fruit for a lot of travelers to trim down their packing list. Do you have a fancy pair and a pair for running and a casual pair that all tag along on your trips? No – wrong. Just the idea of that many pairs of glasses gives me hives.
Knockarounds are bright and bold shades that work for casual style, running, and even for dressier occasions (you just gotta own that look and flair!). And their price point is low enough that you don’t have to worry a ton about your shades getting beat up in transit or during extended travel.
Simplicity and “Pop!”
In episode 151 of The BibRave Podcast, I talked about my recent experience setting up a capsule wardrobe. For the unenlightened non-reducicists (that’s #4, plus an extra point for making up a word!), a capsule wardrobe is basically cutting down your clothing to ~40 items. That sounds like a low number, but with the right, interchangeable items, it’s actually quite manageable.
What’s nice about the approach I tried, which I learned from Chase Reeves, is that it doesn’t require you to throw away everything outside those 40 items. You just place them in a bag and take them out of circulation. After over a month on ~40 clothing items, I literally don’t even know what’s in that massive bag of my other clothes under the bed. But by taking things out of rotation instead of having to discard them all right away, it lowers the separation anxiety and actually increases the likelihood you’ll start paring back.
One of the potential downsides of a capsule wardrobe is that, because almost everything kind of has to work together, you need fairly neutral, earth-tone heavy clothes. Lots of grays and blacks and dark blues. With that though, you run the risk of dressing like Steve Jobs or some bougie monk who can’t really express him or herself.
The answer to such visual drudgery?
Accessories. Bright, eye-popping accessories.
Like an accent wall but on your face.
If I throw on a pair of bright orange Knockarounds, suddenly my outfit isn’t weighed down by my ever-present black ¼ zip Icebreaker top and gray lululemon travel pants. Just that little pop of color adds a ton of personality to my OOTD, and also allows me to more easily pull off the downscalified capsule wardrobe.
If you want to try a pair of Knockarounds, and you should, you can use code “BIBRAVEKNOCKS3” for 20% off your entire order, limited to one use per person. And just to be clear, they are a BibRave partner but we don’t make any money if you use our code – just trying to get you a discount on some sweet shades.
OK, thanks for indulging another wandering, word-inventing, phaux-philosophical gear post. I clearly think about this kind of stuff too much, but I know I’m not alone, so if you’re reading this and you have thoughts, please share!