Last week I pulled all the clothing out of my drawers and arranged everything neatly and by type of clothing. I pulled out the pieces I no longer wear, the pieces I should no longer wear, and carefully tucked the pieces I still have hope I might wear again into the back of the drawers.
There's nothing I hate more than a drawer full of unwearables.
Yesterday I started on my closet, because I had pulled a handful of items from my drawers that really should have been hanging on hangers, and the cat was having a good time sleeping on them so I decided to get them shook out and hung up before something bad happened to them. These were my "nice" things, after all.
And in the process of sorting through the closet, pulling out more pieces I no longer wear, more pieces I should no longer wear, and putting the hopefuls aside... only they weren't really hopefuls... I am growing a small collection of items I will never wear again, the flower girl and prom dresses of my adult life (the actual flower girl and prom dresses of my youth went to the dress up box for the kids long ago).
At the far end of my closet hangs the navy blazer with the gold double buttons. It was part of my "uniform" when I worked for ORBIS. They gave us a $50 allowance for a blazer and I found a $200 one on clearance for $48 (including tax) at a store full of incredible items I would never have shopped in had I not been searching for that jacket to meet ORBIS uniform requirement.
I loved wearing that blazer. I never felt so professional, so much like a modern woman with a mission, as when wearing that blue blazer over a crisp white blouse. So it hangs in my closet next to the navy formal dress I wore for an ORBIS gala fundraiser. The dress was so stunning, with a back cut low (so daring), that even the employees from our New York office (surely more sophisticated) had pulled me aside for compliments. I adored wearing that dress for one entire gorgeous evening, even with the uncomfortable shoes and the thigh highs that snapped and gave up their duty before the night was over (I actually had to step into a janitorial closet, pull them off, and tuck them in my purse). The last time I wore that dress, I had announced my first pregnancy to the entire family. (I actually wore the dress for a wedding, not the announcement, but I distinctly remember the dawning comprehension that my body was growing and changing and my days for wearing that particular dress were very near an end.)
Next to those items, there's the sexy, sleeveless purple dress I wore once, in Mexico, the only place that's ever seemed appropriate for wearing such a dress, and one of the last outfits my mother made for herself (she had gained "so much" weight on her medications that it is one I can actually wear -- my mother was way on the petite side).
And then there are more mundane items, like the long-sleeved pink T-shirt that came to me second hand the year after middle munchkin was born. It's just a simple t-shirt with a v-neck, sprinkled with pastel flowers, but I look at that shirt and remember having the metabolism of a race horse (breast-feeding) and a commitment to walking 4-5 miles per day. It was the last time in my life when I had all the right curves in all the right places, and the only time in my life I can remember being overly fond of the color pink. It remained there as a hopeful, I suppose, but yesterday I pulled it from the hanger and put it in the pile to give away.
I sorted out all of the spur of the moment purchases that never really fit right or felt right, but I had suffered through because procrastinating when I need something new to wear is one of my greatest talents. The blouse I bought on the way to a good friend's wedding -- blech. The one I grabbed when I went to a convention with summer clothes packed and the weather suddenly turned winter on me -- I even thought "ewww" when I purchased it, but 15 minutes prior to the banquet with snow starting to fall from the sky was no time to be picky. There was the blouse or two that looked good on the hanger, so I purchased without trying on, of course, and at least a dozen other assorted tops that had been passed on... all beautiful and lovely... but simply not "me" enough to ever leave the hangers in my closet.
So I'm pared down again. I'm back to clothing that fits, clothing I feel half-way decent wearing, and the few, but growing, number of sentimental attachments are pushed to the back of the closet where they can hang undisturbed for a while longer.
I've never been a person to be particularly moved by clothing, I have no love of shopping or wandering aimlessly for hours through stores. My tendency is to wear the same few pieces of clothing day after day after day, the clothes that define comfort, and the Jayhawk apparel that tends to be worn until it becomes wholly holey. But on these rare occasions when I find myself sorting what I've accumulated over the years, it's like taking a little walk back in time.
Sometimes it's nice to relive the memories and sentiment attached to things well worn.