Spring cleaning has started. Not spring quite yet, but if you do not take advantage of the mood, “the cleaning mood,” it will never get done.
So here I am in my closet and having to separate myself from some of my clothes. Well, I do not have to tell you; it is excruciatingly painful. It should not be, and that is what puzzles me.
I am not a rat-packer. I do not even have a junk drawer for Pete’s sake! Known to purge continually and any useless papers, they have the perfect place in the trash bin.
Anything too old or too used is gone—no mercy what’s so ever. But my clothes, that is another beast.
Maybe part of it is because I am not a shopper and when I shop I have a tendency to, no, I always buy very classic. You will not find any overnight fashion items in my closet. Why spend the money on something that only will last a season, when with the same amount I can buy something classic that I can wear years to come?
Maybe that is my problem. I buy too classic, and I do not realize how long I wear my clothes.
Here, I am, standing in the middle of the closet and starting by sorting and pulling out the pants that not only I have not worn in a while, and I know they will not fit me anymore. Fear settled in thinking that all my pants will be gone. With one swoop movement, I decided to move to the other closet. I am lucky to have two closets.
Truth to be known here, I am clearing a closet that I have not to declutter in years. With no exaggeration, I believe it was years and years ago. As I said earlier, I do not shop just to shop but only when I am in need of something. And since I always fluctuate in the same range weight-wise, I never needed to do a spring cleaning.
As I start to pull my clothes out, I am reminiscing when I purchased them and why. I have a serious relationship with my clothes. As I go through each piece ( Dior, Victor Costa, Piazza Sempione, Max Mara, St John, and much more,) I realized that I used to dress to kill. And I have not even started with the evening attire yet. Yes, I had places to wear them.
I can trace most of it back, and so do the clothes to when I lived in California. Dressing and looking professional was very important to me. Simple elegance, mostly black, but very classic. Skirts that were just above the knee. Tops and sweaters that I could still wear today if I lose all the pounds that 25 plus years, two pregnancies have added to my body. Moving to Arizona, where a more laissez-aller attitude is perfected and casual wear is a norm, my dressing has slowly declined. As my work has changed and I only attend the occasional trade shows, I started less wearing what made me feel great inside and out but fall into a more casual leisurely wear—something that I enjoy but with a classic undertone as well.
I keep asking myself the same question over and over; why am I so attached to my clothes? After days of negating it to myself, the answers were right there. In front of me. Two significant factors that have shaped how I dress and how I shop.
Growing up in Paris, I had my first introduction to clothing and how to wear them. The subtle way that makes you very attractive. We dressed quite differently than in Italy, where I spent my summers. Strange how this may sound to you as you may be looking at a map and see how close those two countries are.
The French approach is subtle feminine, not over-sexy, comfort, personal style. You see the woman before you see the clothes she wears. Once we found our style, we tend to stick to it. That explains my closet and how I have dressed all my life. I have worn the same pieces for over 25 years, and you will never know. Adding a new belt, a scarf, and the articles are updated. Simplicity, elegant.
The Italian, on the other hand, have a more experimental approach to dressing. Statement pieces, colors, and nothing are holding them back. Dress more to impress. Furthermore, the latest season piece must be added to the garderobe. I am not experimental with colors and do not want what I wear to speak for me.
Italian clothes are beautiful; however, I never really felt comfortable shopping for or wearing them. Classic pants and sweaters are as far as I always went. I can tell you the story of a green suit that I had to wear in Italy, and as soon as it reached Paris landed in the back of the closet, never to be seen or worn again.
The other significant factor, living with my dad, was that he never took me shopping. The necessities, yes, that of course, but anything else was all Greek to him, and sometimes he did not like what I wanted or was worn at that time. Thus it was up to me to buy what I wanted. Did I mention no allowance, either? I had small jobs, and I loved the freedom it gave me to buy my clothes.
With caution, I would pick that cute white lace blouse or sweater or whatever else I had my heart set on it. Because I was making the purchase, it made each piece even more so unique.
My dad liked most of the clothing I bought. My mother was another story, and when she would visit, I would transfer all I purchased to my girlfriend’s house so she would not throw them away as she did on one of her surprise visits. Luckily for me, the building manager saw them in the garbage, took them home, washed and iron them, and gave them back to me when she knew she was gone.
I still have the same approach now, with the way I dress and with the way I buy, thus making it hard to separate myself from them. They tell the story, my story.
As spring cleaning is underway, a beautiful silver lining moment presented itself. I was able to show my son, who never know is mom other than with silver-white hair and the size I am now, that I did have a 22-inch waist. Yes, sirree!!