Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Look Away, Anna. Look Away.











After sifting through the contents of my closet the other day, a thought struck me like a pointy-toed stiletto. I hoard useless fashion. I am an ugly-clothing sentimentalist. It's a sickness, I know, but in my fashion time capsule, I have dresses sewn before the invention of microwave ovens, personal computers, and VHS video players.


Obviously, if you’ve chosen to store away your wedding gown or your child's heirloom blessing ensemble, it’s understandable. I have those, of course, and that sort of memento is normal. Saving the peach suit I wore before my wedding is okay, too. Keeping the formal gowns from my vocal recitals in college pushes the boundaries a bit. But why, oh why, have I retained the Victorian drop-waist pinstripe number with matching bowler hat from my high school days? Steampunk may be in style again, but my daughters wouldn’t even consider wearing it.


Remember Ralph Lauren stirrup pants? Circa 1991? Check! Got 'em.


The shameful list goes on and on. Sweatshirts with the neck cut out, shoulder-padded—and I mean padded—power suits, acid-wash peg-leg jeans, lace Madonna gloves. Beaded and bedazzled sweaters, broom handle skirts, business ties for women, and gypsy patchwork sundresses. Opaque leggings, Donna Karan onesie blouses, Barbara Bush pearls. And I’m skipping over the whole Durran Durran, Miami Vice, and paisley-everything era.


This post is just one embarrassing confession after another. I'm sure I'll erase it tomorrow. But the question begs to be asked. Why do I waste valuable shelf-space on these terrible things?


I think I’ve figured that out. I was happy when I wore those clothes. I liked who I was back then, and I take out my textile scrapbook, and say to myself, “See? This is who you used to be.” Before adulthood, before mortgage payments, children, and wrinkles, when the future was scary and uncertain and full of possibilities and promise.


I love my life now. I’m living what that girl from long ago dreamed of doing. Even so, I don’t want to forget her entirely. I may release my hold on the past and donate my relics to charity one day. But not yet.


Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue magazine, would have an aneurism, a cardiac infarction, a grand mal seizure, hives, and a nervous tic simultaneously if she laid eyes on this collection.


Look away, Anna. Look away.

14 comments:

  1. Stuff are so retro these days!! You are on the cutting edge of fashion for sure, lovely Roxy!!! All these clothes are so Then they are Now. Yes they are!!! Apart from the ra-ra skirt. That truly has to go. Oh - that's me, sorry! LOL!! Take care Roxy! x

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  2. I definitely have times of being sentimental... but as you said, it does all take up a lot of shelf space, and clutter makes me antsy. Maybe you could take photos of your outfits--you and your daughter should play dress up one day, document the event, and then clear out the actual clothes.

    Just an idea for ya :)

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  3. I thought I'd best quickly drop a comment on this post before you delete it! Although I certainly don't keep old clothes - I know what you mean about keeping old mementos of times gone-by. Even rubbish can be a memento if you associate it with happy memories. I still have Trenitalia train tickets from Florence, an "Oyster card" for riding the Tube, city maps from Paris and Montréal. Of course, I never look at them again, but everyone I do a clean-up I find it kind of difficult to throw them away.

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  4. Luckily I gave away the prom dresses but the first power suit, with padded shoulders is still there, along with the shoes. Jeans from high school (30 years ago) holier than thou, are tucked nicely in between the gauze beach dresses and linen pants from Ralph Lauren.

    I like what you said about them being textile memories. That's a very apt phrase.

    Oh, and guess what I found the other day -- orginal white Dr. Scholl's brand new still in the box. You bet I broke out those bad boys. (And my poor feet have the band aids to prove it.)

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  5. Heh, I still have the sweater dress I bought in 1985. I wore it in 1988 for my senior pictures. And this year, I made my daughter wear it for a round of her senior pictures. Those will never see the inside of anyone's wallet, but it was fun taking them.

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  6. Oh, I don't know, sounds like you've been a fashion diva. And, I like how you say that your clothes tell the story of your life. You could reduce the piles, I suppose, by taking a photo of the outfits then scrapbooking and writing the story. Or, keep them around for funny dress-up days.

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  7. LOL. I had one of those dropped waist sailor dresses that I kept forever. I finally gave it away when I realized it would never..never come back in style (at least not in the same form).

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  8. I have sentimental clothes too... you aren't alone!!

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  9. Love this! I keep the memories locked away in my brain since I'm not much of a pack rat and I hate keeping a hold of anything that doesn't get used (that pertains to EVERYTHING in my house). I'm a bit of a weirdo in that respect.

    However I completely get what you're talking about. The nostalgia of it all, the happiness it brought you. Sometimes it's nice to remember :)

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  10. Awh I think those clothes were waiting for you to come to a decision, reach a personal milestone and now you can give them to the charity with impunity. I gave away my wedding dress to a charity. Sometimes I keep stuff and later I too wonder why on earth. Then I stuff them all in the charity bag and feel cleansed. :O)

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  11. Ha! I so love this post!

    Glad I found you after popping open a new tab over at Madeleine's blog. Love the visual on the Victorian drop-waist pinstripe number with bowler hat. And ya just never know ...

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  12. What was the 1980s clothing so hideous but Paulina Porizkova was still able to look beautiful in them? Why can't we save our looks like we can save our big shirt and leggings, neon bracelets, fingerless gloves, rhinestones. And the pins. Remember the pins?

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  13. Thanks for all the great comments! I may be able to part with some of my old stuff now. My loss is some other hopelessly past-obsessed persons gain.

    Theresa- I am all over that saving the looks thing. It would be a lot easier than making salads and going to the gym!

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