Category: How to

Merino Wool Capsule Wardrobe


Long ago, I wished to put my hand into my closet (or in this case) a drawer and pull out any item of clothing, have it fit me perfectly, and be able to easily care for it on a daily basis…meaning, I’d rotatingly wear more than 80 percent of my clothing all of the time.

Where did I get my inspiration? Well, when I was in my early 20s, I saw a slim, young African-American woman exiting the movie theater on a summer’s day wearing what appeared to be a grey wool skirt and top. She even had what looked like a feather in her hair. The idea of “wool” remained in my head until I could find more of a sustainable (and cruelty-free/recycled) method to procure it…

In more recent research, I learned that the old sages used to meditate on sheepskin, as the wool helped with Earth’s electromagnetic currents. Design-wise, I looked to Einstein (he owned only a number of the same suits to become more decision-making-free), Sai Baba (he wore the same orange dress with three gold buttons), Steve Jobs (same Issey Miyake mock turtle necks day after day) and Hubert Givenchy (Audrey Hepburn classics), Bonnie Cashin (simplicity), and Mother Nature, not to mention, a little Ghandi (minimalist with purpose).

The result would be that I’d have more time to write, arrange, rehearse, and perform affirmative music and have leisure time to meditate, do yoga, take walks, travel, cook, illustrate, and run a side business and charitable foundation, help take care of the household, and maintain a healthy relationship with someone I was compatible. (And even handsew him a couple of merino wool t-shirts…less laundry and easier nature travel!)

I hope to inspire you to to find clothing that best fits you and that you take the time to take care of yourself (in my case, exercise is lifting 30lb dumbbells with safe/correct form every other day, daily morning yoga, hiking in nature or in city streets, and eating a sugar-free whole foods plant-based vegan diet.)

The above selection is mostly hand-sewn, and created from recycled merino wool, and due to merino wool’s properties, it’s long-lasting, bacteria-free, fungus-free, mold-free, parasite-free, sweaterpill-free and it can be quickly hand-washed and dried in the shade in less than a day. Long ago, swimsuits were created from merino wool, so you can even soak the wool, go on a long hike and still stay cool in summer weather. If the wool is a darker color, it will appear dry.

To design and sew, I take the best shapes and attributes of store-bought clothing (or just sew of that which intuitively comes to mind), place that clothing under the wool fabric, and cut. I use regular needles and 100 percent cotton thread. Since wool fabric edges tend to curl, hemming is delightfully optional.

To sew, I do not use pins, instead I draw a line for seam allowance (about a quarter-inch) and another line for where the the fabric edge will be. On the seam allowance line, I use a straight basting stitch, all the way across. When this is finished, I try the garment on. If it fits, I cut the other line (the new fabric edge) then I go on to sew a narrow blanket stitch all the way across. And then a narrower straight stitch onto of the basting stitch (the blanket stitch and the last straight stitch can be done in any order). In the end, you will have a 3-layered stitch.

Do I have more clothing than this? I have a Patagonia jacket, and I just ordered some Havaiaanas. I also have a pair of lightweight running shoes and a pair of gladiator-style flats…and of course I own three pairs of my own hoop earrings (sizes petite to medium, and on different occasions, I wear all three on hikes and to bed) and three rings. Sometimes, I’m offered more clothing and so maybe the above drawing is subject to change.

My wardrobe type isn’t for everyone, but it did take me time to figure out how to purchase clothing my size (I’m 5 ft tall, less than 95lbs) — kids clothing — figure out my favorite simple style for women’s clothing (meaning that I did purchase other store-bought clothing), and hack the men’s used merino wool selection for fabric.

The upside of this is that the wool is biodegradable, and any remnants is safe for the Earth and/or used to fill my hand-sewn merino wool pillows/cushions. It’s sustainable, requires less water, electricity, human energy and time, and my small carbon footprint leaves more room for others on the planet.

Like my music, my ideas are Divinely inspired…and I hope it inspires you to look inward on a regular basis, realize there’s only one of you…to take good care of, and are guided towards Nature’ elegant simplicity.

Venmo: @helen-marien

PayPal: piarei@piarei.com

7 Steps To Spinal (and Overall) Health and Alignment While Walking:

1) Breathe by expanding and contracting the ribcage, keeping the shoulders down.

For those who already in alignment, the beach and beach sand is a great place to practice these techniques…

2) In movement, in concerns with the spine, make it a habit to bend the body from the waist (not from L2, L3, L4, etc…)

3) Of course, use your thigh muscles to take the weight while lifting anything anything heavier than a wallet (this means bending and straightening the knees).

4) While walking, ideally keep your hips, knees, and ankles in alignment. This means one could draw a straight line from the middle of your ankles to the middle of your knee cap and to the middle of your thighs…the line is tortion-free. (If it is not — upon availability– you may consult with me to stay surgery-free, in any case, seek help for yourself…)

5) As you walk, press the middle of the heel on the ground and then roll foot forward with most of the weight landing on the big toe.

6) As you walk, keep yourself upright by breathing from the ribcage…expanding and contracting the intercostal muscles. Doing the latter will automatically “upright” the spine and body. (You can further “upright” yourself by bringing your feet together and “exaggerating” your hip swing while walking.)

7) Swing your arms, alternate feet stepping all the while. Your hands should be facing the body for proper joint movement and balance. You can improve your balance while you walk by alternating one eye open…practice walking by doing all the above steps and keeping one eye open at a time. (Your peripheral vision is used to look across the horizon and at the same time looking down at the ground in front of your feet). You may even cue yourself by saying, “Heel, big toe; Heel, big toe; Breathe from ribcage” repeatedly as you walk.

For more cognitive ideas for staying present with your body and mind/healing, you can purchase my mini-booklet “B.O.S.S.Y. Control of the Hara.”

This Helenbobelen is singer/songwriter that knows herself so well that she’s also a movement specialist and goldsmith. As a certified fitness consultant for over twenty years she’s helped many people (and herself) be/become surgery-free and turn back the clock. She’s Kriya Yoga-initiated and has taught music and movement at community centers, museums, gyms, private gyms, and spiritual centers around the world. Helen is a whole-foods pegan, not to mention a drug-free tee-totaler, who thinks dancing should be legalized.

If you feel if any of her expertise has positively helped you, you can donate payment to her Paypal account: piarei@piarei.com.

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Disclaimer for Helenbobelen.com Blog:

Of course, if you’re less-than-healthy, you should seek medical attention from a qualified doctor. Eastern-based wellness/meditation/movement or weight training may or may not be accepted by Western medicine as a means of diagnosis or treatment, but can be a helpful adjunct to medical care. You should, however, have a physical examination before embarking on any new exercise program.

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From now until Valentine’s Day, for every Helenbobelen.com purchase, a pair of Sterling Silver Thinnest And Strongest Thin Hoop Earrings in Dainty will be donated to a charity benefitting children, animals, or the environment.

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