Life

Cleaning out my Closet: What I Realized

“Ugh. Can’t believe I thought that was cute.”

In no time at all, I had a laundry basket burgeoning with out-dated and unwise clothing from years past.  The paring down of my closet feels good, like a new haircut. Most of the items were in my way each day as I perused for something to wear anyway. Funny how de-owning can feel just as rewarding as shopping. In the process, I learned several things about myself as I reflected on years past and the clothing I wore.

I was once vastly more tailored than I am now. I’m one of those people at work that lives half my week in strategically dressed up yoga pants as though they were real pants. I want to wear tailored trousers, but god, yoga pants just feel so good. In high school and throughout college, I competed in debate. All those tailored blouses, pencil skirts, smart trousers, and refined suits are in that basket. ( Part of me wonders if my future self winds up in muumuus and slippers at Wal-mart.)

I wore a lot of costumes. This realization was a bit weird for me, so I’m still unsure how I feel about it. I found a couple pearl-snapped western shirts, a brown pointy-collared satin suit, a black beaded satin shirt reminiscent of India, a mandarin-inspired red and black silk blouse, and a below-the-knee -length green broomstick skirt that strongly resembles a hula skirt. I found a black lace over ivory tank that looks like it should be lingerie, a pair of stretchy black pants that when worn seem like leather pants, and an inexplicably awful  yellow skirt with watermelons and teal flowers on it trimmed in ribbon. I’m going to chalk all of this up to being a theatre teacher and having a flair for the dramatic.  (So maybe I’ll have on a cape with that muumuu.)

I’m all about texture. The bulk of what is in my basket is rayon and other unnatural fibers. What I’ve decided to keep is mostly cotton (or cottony-feel) pieces.  This translates into wisdom for future shopping. If it’s an unnatural fiber, I’ll probably not wear it often. If it’s soft and natural, I’ll probably never part with it. This is probably why many of my tailored pieces are in there – so much of what I wore as a debater was stiff and made of synthetics. (It’s a good thing muumuus are widely available in cotton.)

Maybe all of this means that I’m confident my clothes don’t make me who I am, that I’m comfortable with just being comfortable.  I don’t think it means I’m not as ambitious as I once was, just that what I love requires less pomp than it used to. Possibly, it’s my love for fitness that encourages a wardrobe filled with yoga pants, sneakers, hoodies, and t-shirts, but maybe that’s just an excuse. I think, as a whole, I care a lot less about what other people wear and a whole lot more about who they are.  I’m sure that if some were to see my array of work clothes and how it intermingles with my workout clothes, they’d think I was either a coach or a couch-potato.  They would be wrong, of course, but I’m sure just as many would say, “god, yoga pants just feel so good, don’t they?”

When was the last time you took a journey through your wardrobe, deciding what no longer makes the cut? If someone were to look at your pile of cast-offs and your closet full of keeps, what would they discern? And is it true?

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