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.