Tis time for a powerfully important ritual performed twice a year. Time to exchange the contents of my closet from fall/winter attire to spring/summer.
We live in an old house, which generally translates to small closets. Many consider this a ding against the house value, but I don’t see it that way. Small closets force me to alternate seasonal wardrobes from closet to under-the-bed storage bins. Though I do have an odd superstition, leery of pulling out spring attire because Denver weather has multiple personalities. Yup, I alone could irritate the Snow Gods to bring on three feet of white stuff out of spite, just by pulling out a sleeveless linen dress. Perhaps a press release of my pending transition as a forewarning to local weather forecasters might be a good idea. In the meantime, the Yankee Clipper and Radio Flyer sleds remain on full alert and the snow shovel rests on the front porch. Maybe after Mothers Day they can be relieved of duty.
The process of seasonal swapping commands me to inventory the haves and determine needs versus wants. Giant, walk-in closets don’t require that seasonal exchange. Not unless it becomes so packed one can no longer enter it. Besides, forced entry into such a closet comes with serious threat of clothes blindness where one can be inches from the door, but not able to see it thanks to giant clothes drifts. These giant closets should come with a giant warning label or OnStar communication system. This is America, no doubt it has happened, some poor woman stuck in her closet for days. It will never make the news because who wants to admit that?
This process encourages me to treat clothes with respect. Afterward, there is a brief period of mending a seam or sewing a button. How many Americans still do that? How many own even semi-stocked sewing boxes? If you have time to watch corny reality shows, then you certainly have time to mend a few clothes. Besides, these acts have a meditative quality. I find that American culture is losing many simple acts that help us pause, relax and appreciate something. Why? Because when we appreciate what we have there's a big possibility we won’t want more.
Mostly, this process keeps me fiscally responsible. If I have to shop, it's done with greater wisdom and knowledge of my needs. Items I purchase blend with my wardrobe. I don’t buy cheap, trendy clothes that require me to buy more clothes. Ever done that? If you do, just return the offending item and forgo the unnecessary expense. What I buy will be worn.
This process keeps my wardrobe honest. Items unused for two seasons - unless it’s something unique - go to the thrift store. Many American closets are packed with closet filler. What is closet filler? Items that still have the tags on them that have been hanging in the same spot for years. Closet filler distorts perception. There are many Americans who have huge, fully stocked closets supporting hundreds of ensembles, but the owner wears the same seven-day attire. Weird, no?
We’ve been in our house for over ten years. The goal is to reduce the spring haul to the thrift store. Why? Because that means I’m getting to be wiser in my retail choices. The same process is performed with my daughters. Our thrift donation largely comes from Little Pie’s wardrobe, items that no longer fit. My clothes filter down to Petite Poe which in turn filter on down to Little Pie and eventually end up thrift.
My wardrobe is becoming more and more timeless. I believe there’s a misconception of what is (and is not) a timeless wardrobe. Many people equate "timeless" with a conservative style. Trust me, I don’t dress conservatively. A timeless wardrobe is built with a solid foundation of quality clothing. For starters, there’s the little black dress that can go from beach to a fine restaurant depending upon the shoes and how hair is styled.
I’ve come to realize (and it’s a painful realization of how fast time passes) that many of my clothes where purchased after graduating college in the 90’s. Yup, I have gorgeous, timeless summer dresses from the 90’s that still receive compliments.
A wardrobe needs tending, mending and thought to become timeless. Once you achieve that state of fashion enlightenment, the forces of want (and suffering from the onslaught of tacky yearly and seasonal trends) are forgone. The bank account gets added protection too. Fashion enlightenment is better than any strongly fortified fashion insurance policy.
Maybe soon I can tackle Mr. Golightly (he's been insanely busy) for a photo shoot of my twenty-year-old items mixed with thrifted items and you can tell me whether I look like an old maid or whether these clothes are indeed timeless. Some of my older wardrobe was bought in the lower level consignment shops of Chicago's Gold Coast and Boston's Newbury Street.
Please, I dare you to look into the deepest, darkest recesses of your closet. It’s a brave thing to do. Do you like what you see?
Post Script: I kid you not. It’s been raining today. After I posted and went to my closet the rain turned to snow, it's too warm to stick but sheesh! Damn the torpedo’s! Spring has sprung in my closet! I don’t care if I wear sandals in the snow, they’re gorgeous sandals!