A Wardrobe Story

They say if you haven’t worn an article of clothing in 12 months you should get rid of it, right?Well what about clothing you haven’t worn in 12 yearsI must have been binging when I bought those many articles of clothing though I don’t remember doing so. Was I sleepwalking as I bought some of these things? What about Exhibit A here, that looked so lovely on the model in the catalog? I put it on and I’m a scoop of caramel swirl ice cream, upended and melting. 

My own kids hint that I look like someone dressed for a play about a homeless rag doll and they may be right. This top is frayed, that one stained, this one I chopped a good ten inches off since my torso is getting shorter by the week as, by degrees, I come to look more and more like my mother.  My shirts, my sweaters, the floaty things we’re all wearing to hide our fat these days, all seem too long as bought. I put them on and I  feel like Bea Arthur back in Maude. So I cut them and sometimes don’t even bother finishing the hems. So when did I stop caring enough to have a more respectable wardrobe, I the schoolgirl who taught herself to sew expressly so she could make her own clothes, hoping to ‘pass’ as someone who could afford the store-bought kind?

I must have piled 40 articles of clothing into the car to bring to Goodwill last night. All are gone now except for a few sentimental items like this one sleep-set which God knows if it still fits. I could try it on but I’m afraid of winning the Kirstie Alley-look-alike contest that’s always going on in my bathroom mirror. Still, it’s so pretty. How can I just let it go?

Then there’s this old friend:

This was given to me for Christmas by my 4th period Junior English class. They asked me to step out of the room and they took up a collection. No one has done such a thing for me ever again –  well not counting that day four months later when these same kids again made me step out of the room. “Another sweater?” I smiled hopefully when they let me back in. “No,” they said. “Actually we just took a vote. We’ve decided we’re not going to write that Light in August paper you assigned last week.”

And you know what? They didn’t write that paper. We had read so many books that year and they had written so many papers. We pushed William Faulkner and his sad old novel out of the boat then and there.

I look at their sweater now, part Maude, part Happy Days, look at ME walkin’ down the street in my feathered-back hair and I sigh.

It has what looks like a bite-mark on one shoulder and the pockets sag badly but tell you what, it’s going back right back in the closet. With me sentiment trumps fashion every time. 

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