When people clean out their closets, they’re always so exuberant about the results. “Got rid of soooo much stuff. What a great feeling!”
I don’t have that experience.
I tried to clean my closets the other day, and all I had to show for it in the end were about 5 new free hangers.
I know the rule: if you haven’t worn it in two years, say adios. But I’m not good with rules — or goodbyes. I just can’t let go of things.
Here’s a glimpse of my tortured sorting process, item by item.
Old jeans, too big:
I don’t like the term “fat jeans,” because that means I was fat at that size. Was I? No one told me. Am I going to fit into these again? No, not if I can help it. That’s why I try not to keep ice cream in the house. So I should toss these jeans, but they’d be good to have in case we repaint the apartment: they’re comfy, and I wouldn’t care if they got splattered.
Of course, we’ll never repaint the apartment ourselves. What, are we going to have all our friends over for a “painting and pizza” party? No. We’ll hire someone and pay through the nose. Still, I’m compelled to try on the baggy jeans with a belt to see if they’d work as “boyfriend jeans.” No. They go.
Old jeans, too small:
They’re from my lowest weight. I try them on when I’m feeling skinny, to confirm that I am skinny. I also try them on when I’m feeling not-so-skinny to reassure myself that I’m wrong. Not a good idea. I’m never wrong.
These jeans are Gap 1969, a cut they’ll never make again: The Gap changed head designers since I bought them. I know, because I tried to buy several more pairs when I decided that no other jeans looked as good, and wrote an impassioned plea to headquarters to help me find them. I probably told them I had a terminal illness and wanted to die surrounded by my favorite denim.
The boot cut looks a bit 2003, but I think it will come back. And I like having a way to torment myself. So, they stay.
Black long-sleeve button down:
Kind of conservative. Also, if I want to wear something black, wouldn’t I rather wear a knit top? Who wants to deal with all these buttons? Giveaway pile. Wait, what if I’m in some group situation where they say, “everyone wear a black button down.” I’m not sure what kind of group situation, but one could come up. Singing groups sometimes have to all wear one thing. What am I talking about, singing group? I’m never, ever going to join a singing group. I can’t sing a note on key. Plus, singing groups are usually in white shirts.
It would be a great shirt to wear to funerals. But do you really want to have a funeral shirt? That’s just asking for it. It goes.
Black-and-white dotted short-sleeve button down:
It’s been in here two years and I’ve never worn it once. The tag is still on it – I’m disgusted with the waste. But I bought it at a sample sale for practically nothing, so it’s not that big a waste. If I get rid of it, it’s almost like it never existed.
But I should wear it to work meetings in summer, instead of always wearing t-shirts. A button-down is more professional-looking. More polished. They say to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Hold on, the job I want is the job I have – the job where I can wear whatever I want. But I want to be taken seriously. Oh, let’s get real, no one is going to take me seriously in the summer anyway, because they can see my feet. And my feet are a joke. The shirt goes. No, but it’s kind of cute, now I can see why I bought it. It stays.
Belt with giant flower on it
From Anthropologie. Their in-store stylist put it on me and said, “It makes the outfit.” I think I already gave away the outfit that it “made.” I’ll never wear it. But Anthropologie has a great return policy. I know I still have the receipt in one of my old wallets. It stays, till I can take it back.
Dangerous vintage shoes
I sprain an ankle every time I wear them. But they’re fantastic! Maybe there are exercises to strengthen your ankles. I can’t just give up on myself like that. They stay.
Marc Jacobs pink “camouflage” button-down
It’s time to let this one go. Every time I wear it, I feel like crap. It has a dusty rose color in it that my friend Victoria said I should never, ever wear. I wasn’t even wearing that color when she said it. My head was on a pillow, and she said, “Get that pillow away from your face. It’s the worst possible color for you. It washes you out. Remember that, if you’re ever thinking about wearing it.”
But it’s so lightweight. I learned that the fabric is called “henley.” It’s the perfect shirt to wear at the beach, like, at a clambake.
Maybe with a tan, or a bright, colorful necklace, I wouldn’t look like death in it.
Plus, I bought it at Marc Jacobs back in 2002, which I think might be vintage now. So I can’t just give it to Housing Works.
This is the 5th time I’ve tried to get rid of it, but it stays.
Long brown wool skirt
I just read that long skirts are coming back, as a backlash to mini skirts. But this skirt is just plain dowdy. It makes me look like an Orthodox girl on her way to yeshiva. Anyway, as a backlash to mini skirts, I can keep wearing what I’ve been wearing: pants. It goes.
Yay! That one was easy.
Come and get it, Housing Works.