There’s no such thing as perfection. The Swedes seemingly knew this generations ago and invented a unique word for the idea of “not perfect, but just enough”, otherwise known as “Lagom”. One way to think of this concept was summarized by Niels Eék psychologist, Swede, and co-founder of wellbeing app Remente:
"Instead of asking yourself ‘can I do better?’ or ‘should I try harder?’ ask yourself ‘is this good enough?’ and ‘have I done my best?’
This way, you will be more focused on finding the right balance, instead of simply pushing yourself towards something."
In Lieu of Perfection, Let’s Strive for Lagom 09 This concept of ease and unforced efforts feels appropriate coming from the country that also invented hygge or “the mood of comfort or coziness, wellness or contentment”.
You & Your Wardrobe Are Enough
This concept of “enough” desperately needs to be applied to the fashion industry. In developed nations, there is a bottomless need to consume along with a crippling need for perfection in how we look and dress. To apply a limit or to simply check in with Eék’s set of questions about our clothes could help us feel less anxious to purge and overconsume. We might ask “Do I have enough?”, “Is this item good enough?”
While some people err on the side of excess others err on the side of caution. For those trying to shop sustainably it can be frustrating to realize that there is no faultless brand. For now, we have to buy clothes from companies doing their best for the environment but that aren’t perfectly sustainable. Yvon Chouinard founder of Patagonia admitted that even with sustainable brands at the moment, “Everything we make does some damage”.
By embracing lagom, we embrace our own imperfect approach to dressing ourselves as well as embracing and supporting designers in their efforts to make more ethical clothes.
The Magic of Modal
At 17 my grandmother, gave me a black V-neck Lacoste t-shirt that I’ll call “Super Tee”. Presumably this gift was an effort to pull me out of my grunge phase and look a little more “jazzy and esnazzy” as she would say in her Spanish accent. Unlike many of its contemporaries, 15 years later “Super Tee” fits perfectly, has never faded and is soft and miraculously pill-free.
It finally occurred to me to check the label to learn what the miracle fabric was. I discovered cotton and modal were the winning combo and joy was sparked when I came across a pair of pajamas made of this indestructible fabric shortly thereafter.
If we look to find the right balance as Eék says, we may just end up with “just the right amount”. What constitutes “enough” varies for each person. Some people might own just a few items or their closet might be 10 11 12 overflowing. There might be some vintage & second hand, some fast fashion, some upscale designers and even some sustainable brands mixed in. We might find our old Lacoste tee is still good “enough”. Instead of feeling pressured or obligated to abandon the stores or items we love, our wardrobes will be a mix that fills our specific needs with the right pieces. And that makes me want to cozy up in some modal p.j.’s and a lacoste tee and get hyggey with it.