I love acquiring impractical items, such as super tall high heels, extremely fancy dresses, mink stoles, tutus, and tiaras. I enjoy acquiring practical items too, like groceries, socks, running shoes, and food for my cat, but the thrill is sub par to the former purchases.
In short, I enjoy shopping and especially accumulating funky items to hang in my closet. They hang in my closet because there is no place to ever where them. Take for example that hot pink, sparkly dress I own that goes so well with those hot pink 5 inch heels I own. I’m 28, not 18. I live in Washington, DC. I hardly think it would’ve been an appropriate clothing choice for the inaugural ball… had Obama invited me (not at all miffed about that one, Mr. President…).
It’s clear I’m a typical girl in the sense that I have an affinity for fashion, brands, sales, pink, and happily exchange my credit score in order to obtain all the pretty things.
But as I acquire and acquire more, doing my part to boost the economy, I find it difficult to purge my closet of my ancient, dusty garments because I’m far too emotionally invested.
There have been times I’ve shopped because I was sad and bought ugly, overpriced digs which looked so terrible on me but made me so oh-so-happy. I celebrated milestones with shopping, like earning a magnificent job, and rewarded myself with a coat that cost one week’s pay—even before my first day of employment. In Italy, a mecca for fashion-forward material girls, I had to buy as much as possible because it was Italy, even though it was all made in China. I have a mink fur from my grandma, a prom dress from senior year, jeans that make my butt look great but that are completely outdated, and a super provocative dress I bought two years ago after a break-up that still has the tags on. Each article of clothing I own has a story and that story is part of my own.
Last fall, at the urging of a friend who had a similarly gluttonous closet, I hosted my first clothing swap with a group of girlfriends.
Blogger’s Note: A clothing swap is a bunch of girls (normally) getting together, drinking wine, eating nom noms, and carting heaps of clothes of fair quality to almost-new for anyone and everyone to take as their own, free of charge. Rarely do these end in violence and cat fights over a Kate Spade purse.
I remember how hard it was to say goodbye to some of my precious items, but truthfully, the clothes I’ve given away, I haven’t noticed are gone (until I see my friends in them, then I’m like, “aw…”). This shows how much I didn’t truly value them just hanging around not fulfilling their clothing destiny to be worn. Now they have good homes.
Blogger’s Note: Any clothes that aren’t taken by a participant in the swapping festivities are donated because everybody deserves to be clothed, and everybody deserves something pretty.
It’s springtime now, and it was my friend’s turn to sponsor a “Swapternoon” party. This forced me to reevaluate the items that I didn’t give away last year due to attachment issues.
The dress from Sicily was easier to give up than anticipated, it had bad Italian ex-boyfriend memories. The bikini that I don’t wear because it’s a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen is now gone. The tank top I paid $3 for and wore a handful of times looks much better on everyone else who tried it on that wasn’t me. And the tangerine orange dress I had no business trying-on let alone buying (which is why the tags were still there) is now in the hands of someone who masters the look.
It may seem silly to get so attached to clothes, but I remember buying or receiving every item I own. I know exactly how old it is, what shop it came from, who I was with when I purchased it, and the price it cost at full-value and sale. It may be a disease…
In the process of going through my wardrobe (yet again) I also threw out some items/memories:
Rest in peace, pink Chucks I’ve had since I was 16. Goodbye, Etienne Agnier boots that survived just two seasons, I wore you too hard and it’s cheaper to buy a new pair than to fix you. Toodles, black shirt that has been washed and dried far too many times than any one shirt can endure. Ciao, little white glove that lost it’s mate earlier this winter…
I’ve ridded my apartment of garbage bags full of clothes in the past year. Still, my closets are full beyond capacity. I carry notions in mind that one day, these styles may come back. Maybe my little nieces will want my quirky, vintage items. After all, they already say to my sister that, “Auntie Gingermermaid is soooooo fashionable.” Kids are so intuitive.
I don’t take much from clothing swaps, I do it more as a purging out of necessity of space and emotional “baggage” that hangs around a certain piece. I’m happy when someone finds something of mine, looks great in it, loves it, and gives it new life. After all, at some point, I loved that item enough to actually pay money for it. It needs that love and life again and it won’t get that hanging out in my closet for another 28 years.