Every few years I get the urge to go through my closet and get rid of stuff. You can read about the last time I made such a purge here. Here is how I decreased the surplus population of my clothes. My goal is always to get rid of:
1. The ugly stuff.
2. The stuff that will never ever fit again.
3. The stuff that makes me feel uncomfortable, unconfident, and ugly.
I have had surprisingly a lot of stuff in each of these categories.
I filled three giant trash bags with jeans that are too tight, ruffled blouses that are hideous, pleated slacks that look shiny, and that sort of thing. All kinds of ugly.
I proudly announced to my daughter my feat: I got rid of all my ugly clothes!
What about that brown vest? She asked.
That. Brown. Vest?
Oh that. I guess I didn’t get rid of ALL my ugly clothes. That brown vest might be ugly, but it makes me happy, warm, and comfortable. In fact, I wore it on my last zoo outing with my youngest.
I think you look pretty in that ugly, brown vest, she said.
Confidence is wearing a $14 dress from Costco…and rocking it.
And accessorizing with $1 shell necklaces. And old tights. (Tights that you snagged when you hoisted them up and you’re hoping that the hole doesn’t show in the meeting. P.S. Why do they make tights so short, forcing you to hoist them up in the first place??)
And adding your go-to cardigan–black, of course–and comfortable square dance shoes. I wrote about those here.
I don’t have an amazing wardrobe or sense of style.
I don’t really need either one, what with my personality, confidence, and sense of humor. Ha!
I love socks. Probably because my feet are usually cold.
When my children were little, I bought them the cutest socks. As an infant, my oldest had a pair with rattles built in and he’d bicycle kick his feet, with the biggest grin. I had read that black-and-white patterns make infants’ brains develop better, so of course they had their patterned socks. My daughter had adorable watermelon socks and ladybug socks. My youngest son had tie-dye socks I bought in Berkeley. I probably paid more for that “artisan” pair of socks than a whole pack of running socks for me!
I have a pair of yellow, smiley face socks that make me happy when I’m down. My daughter has polka-dot mushroom socks, unicorn-and-rainbow socks, and sloth socks. Sloth socks? I think they are supposed to make you feel relaxed. 🙂
Then of course there are the very expensive athletic socks the guys wear these days. The socks that hit mid calf. I’m not sure what’s up with that style, but I’ll go with it. I mean, I remember being in middle school when no one wore socks. They were so uncool. You wore your Vans or Keds or Sperry Topsiders with no socks. Puberty + sweaty, unsocked feet = very stinky shoes.
My youngest son, who is now eleven years old, recently asked if he could have a pair of those guy socks. One pair, that’s it. Ah, peer pressure socks. My son is super sweet and doesn’t ask for much. So of course I bought him not one but six pairs of theses guy socks. The hugs and smile? Totally worth it! Hey, and at least they help to cut down on the stinky shoes.
People love to gift teeny tiny Nike shoes to the infant who doesn’t actually need or wear shoes. I mean, how can you resist?
And what about the monkey hats? One-piece puppy jammies? Tights with ruffles on the butt? Junior-sized cardigans? Miniature velvet dresses? Tiny corduroy overalls? Onesies? Striped leggings? Snapping t-shirts?
Tiny clothes are oh-so-cute. And when my kids were little, everyone (especially the grandparents) gifted oh-so-cute clothes in droves. Piles. Mountains.
But once the children hit 13 months, the gifting of the clothes slowed down. Until it stopped. Dang!
Yet, the children’s growing didn’t stop. What about the fire engine shirts? Then the Star Wars shirts? Then the skateboarders and skulls shirts? Then the Nike and Under Armour? Cha-ching!
I mean, I know man-jeans for teens aren’t exactly cute as a button. But man-jeans are expensive! And what about ginormous athletic shoes they need to buy each sports season.
I’m not sure why people stop gifting clothes once children grow into big children and then into gangly, young men and women.
Except. I’m not really a scarf-wearer. I’m more of a t-shirt-and-jeans wearer.
Coordinating work clothes puts me in a tizzy. What with the blouse, the cardigan, the skirt, the tights, the shoes, the accessories. It’s overwhelming to me.
But. I am thankful to receive presents.
I consulted my fashionista 10-year-old daughter and even checked out a fashion website–http://www.refinery29.com/how-to-tie-a-scarf/–that details exactly how to wear a scarf. Did you know there’s a way to wear a scarf called The Neck Brace? And, yeah, when I checked myself in the mirror, I looked about as uncomfortable as someone wearing an actual neck brace. Stiff and awkward.
I tried the looping and the twisting and the wrapping. I paired my new lime green scarf with my black outfit, and headed into work. I walked into the meeting looking something like this.
Remember that old commercial? You don’t? Well, I do. It’s from Pantene shampoo, you Silly Goose. Here it is on YouTube to jog your memory:
Well, the other day, I was a bitch. Straight out. Of all places, at Nordstrom. At the Clinique make-up counter, where all things are supposed to be beautiful. My bad attitude was, uh, not beautiful.
Mean to a salesperson on purpose. Sorry. I just felt like it.
So, it was pretty stupid, really. I was there to return some cream. OK, it was anti-wrinkle cream. It was expensive. And they sold me the wrong kind for the wrong skin type. It’s hard for me to find the time to drive to the mall where they sell Clinique, so when I had gotten home and realized they sold me the wrong product and that I would have to go back to make a return, I was perturbed. And THEN, when I went back, they were out of the product I needed and said they could mail it to me. In about 10 days. Meanwhile, I could feel the lines on my face emerging. Like red cracking clay in Australia. You get the picture.
So I threw a little hissy fit right on the spot. Saying how this was unacceptable. That they should not be out of stock. And that it was their mistake in the first place. And that they should mail me the right anti-wrinkle cream pronto. And that they need to give me enough samples to last me until the package arrived.
Well, they listened. And I felt great for my throwing my tantrum. For a little while.
Then on my drive home, I felt guilty. Is it worth being a bitch in the first place if you’re gonna just feel guilty about it? I have enough Mother Guilt going on, thank you very much.
A friend once said to me, “You’re always soooo nice.” And I’m like, “I’m not as nice as you think.” But the reality is, yeah I am usually pretty nice. But that’s exactly the reason why we nice people need to blurt out things once in awhile and be not-so-nice once in awhile. Because things piss me off. And I don’t want to hold them in. Every time. For example: When I’m driving. When someone puts me or my family down. When my kids bicker and won’t shut up. When people create hassles for me and I have to go out of my way to fix things. When people are righteous and condescending and they think they are better than me. (Righteous people suck, by the way.) Or, maybe when people look down at me (ala the movie Pretty Woman) when I am shopping for clothes or make-up. And maybe I’m-simply-stopping-in-real-quick-after-soccer-or-football-whatever-you-want-to-call-it-and-maybe-I’m-looking-like-a-sweaty-hag-but-does-that-give-others-a-right-to-look-down-on-me-and-treat-me-like-I-am-not-worthy?
I sometimes don’t want to be nice all the time. And I am worthy (sweat and soccer/football shin guards on and all). And so are you. Except if you are condescending to others. I don’t think those people are as worthy because people who put down others just to pump themselves up? No like.
Oh, and about being beautiful, don’t bother looking for me when you type “most beautiful women” into Google. I may not be the first page when you search. But if you keep scrolling and hit “next page,” I think we all are there somewhere.
I think some parents fuss too much about what their children choose to wear. So what if your nine-year-old daughter pins a long, pink tail on her skirt. And wants to wear it every day.
I am happy that my daughter wears what she wants. Her outfits are an extension of her personality and spirit: colorful, fun, fanciful, free, imaginative.
Sometimes, she selects t-shirts with horses; layered, ruffled skirts; leggings with stars or hearts; and rain boots. And sometimes, she picks Snoopy shirts; jeggings; striped socks; and Adidas. And always, as an added accessory, a wild hat or an animal tail pinned on her butt.
I help fuel her wardrobe. The joy of shopping with women!
I smile every time I see my daughter and I take in all of her new ensembles. She is sometimes Fancy Nancy. Sometimes Punky Brewster. Sometimes fairy. Sometimes zoo animal. Sometimes jock. But always she is uniquely herself.
I think I am a little jealous that I have chosen gray as my monotone color in clothing these days. No flounce in my skirts; no rainbow leggings; and definitely no tail. 🙁
It may sound cliche. But I’m always telling my daughter she is unique and special. And I tell her nearly every day that I love her JUST THE WAY SHE IS. Tail and all.
May my daughter always keep that sense of self-confidence and creativity with her, as she gets older. And may she never wear the word “JUICY” on her butt. I just might have something to say about that.
I have got to clean out my closet. Today. I am not a hoarder (and oh, by the way, the A&E show Hoarders scares the freaking crap out of me).
Yikes refers to my taste in clothes. When I take a peek in my closet, I see I have made some poor purchasing decisions.
I have heard that you should keep the clothes you really love and the others: give away to charity. Looking through my closet, there’s not really much to love. I am feeling very generous today.
What was I thinking when I purchased my tacky-ass-print-stretchy top with the capped sleeves? Did I think that the print would help camouflage some of the heft in the mid-section? Yes. Did I think capped sleeves are truly flattering? Yes. Wrong on both.
What about Capri pants, cropped mid-calf? Fashion guides tell us that Capri pants are not flattering because they visually crop your leg, making your legs look stumpy. We need to elongate our legs; so next Spring, boycott those Capri pants that are on sale everywhere!
How about the baby doll tops that I have purchased? So ugly, definitely not fit for a baby.
Shoes? I’m good at buying shoes. They are not my problem. I own about 14 pairs. And most of them are sneakers. Oh and two pairs of boots.
It’s the outfits. I struggle with matching tops to bottoms.
Running late for work, what to wear? Quick, grab low-waisted, hip slacks and a button-down shirt. A working woman’s go-to uniform. Craptastic: the buttons are gaping open. Lately, I’ve started buying all grey clothing for work. Grey goes with black goes with white goes with navy. It’s like Garanimals.
And, then there the: how long should I save my clothes—you know, the ones that I-need-to-lose-10-lbs.-in-order-to-fit-in-these-clothes clothes? I save those. But if I need to lose more than 10 lbs., which I do, well, those clothes could be sitting around awhile. So off to Goodwill they will go. If I lose 20 lbs., I’m goin’ shopping!
Recycling. Just hoping there’s a woman out there who has worse taste than me. Because if there is, today is her lucky day.