Sunday, August 19, 2007

I have too many clothes

Periodically, I worry about this (the clothes-having) or even plan to not shop for a specified amount of time, but even then I still buy an item here, an article there. Frequently I am moved enough to envision going through my clothes and actually give some to goodwill or something, but never enough to go through with it (it's as if the mental effort of sorting and planning was enough to cure me of my intentions. You know, dieting works the same way for me.)

With this summer class, however, I was inspired to wear nice skirts, and so I delved deep into the back of my closet (which runs the width of my bedroom although there is only a tiny slot door to access it, meaning that anything that is not the five items directly in front of the door is completely inaccessible) and re-emerged with a treasure trove of stuff I didn't really remember I had. Certainly not at the moment when I'm getting dressed, anyway.

The nice thing about swimming regularly is that I'm no longer using my shower at home (the downsides include having to get two sets of everything bathroom-related or else you'll find yourself at school and the conditioner at home; also, there's the problem of running into everyone you know and having them see you, unshowered and schlobbily dressed, on the early bus). But besides avoiding cleaning, this means that I can use the shower rod as an impromptu clothes rack and actually see my skirt selections. So as I've been teaching I've also been slowly assessing my collection. I've tossed four non-fitting skirts into the giveaway pile so far (that closet, in the living room, is directly under the apartment stairs and is no higher than about four feet at any point. It's a cute place, but not closet-convenient.) and one skirt that fits but I reluctantly decided was looking a little too well-loved. Another, that I haven't worn for years because it didn't fit, lo and behold, did, (yay swimming!) so I wore it and am keeping it despite the fact that I will probably not fit in it the next time I get the urge to parade about in it.

Of course, it feels strange to have five black skirts, but each is a different texture and length, so I'm tempted to not get rid of any. And I have a couple beautiful satin (silk? dunno) skirts that are ankle length, holdovers from when I was trying to "dress old" because I was younger than many of the students I was supposed to be teaching. They're pretty colors, but possibly too out of style. (Side note, I have a pair of jeans that still look perfectly new, because they are high-waisted, tight and uncomfortable. And they made me feel self conscious because they are skinny-legged. First I wouldn't toss them because they were in perfect condition, now I feel obligated to keep them because the fashions have swung all the way around to them again. Instead of feeling prescient I only feel old.)

This experiment has been fun and so today I was inspired to go through my drawer full of shorts. Many many did not fit, and I have known that for years. Of course, leaving them there in the bottom of the drawer until you forget all the psychic anguish you fought when you were struggling to still fit in them is one way of getting beyond it enough to toss them. I'm keeping all my schloppy short drawstring shorts on the grounds that I need to wear something when I clean or am sitting around in my nightshirt blogging, but pretty much everything looks ratty, has unflatteringly placed pockets (hello, Gap! looking at you there! Why design pockets to gape open right at the widest point of my hips?) or otherwise has to go. Now I must go out shopping and get me some more comfy jean shorts and some khaki ones too --- suggestions for where to go? (the problem of throwing out wardrobe staples. My brown boots are worn out too, but it's not like I never wore them, so I must replace, and then I still have too many clothes.)

You'll notice, if you have read this long through a dull post, that I haven't mentioned tops. I love them. Those I have too many of. Shopping for pants or shorts is an ordeal and I will probably, on a jeans-hunting trip, bring in to the dressing room five or six cute tops for every pair of pants. So I guess this is a warm-up for the true test: culling out beloved old favorites that no longer look nice, and tossing tops I never really warmed up to but feel like I should get my money's worth out of, you know. I'm having trouble getting that drawer to shut. Or, on the other hand, I could just move some down to the shorts drawer; I have room there now.


heu mihi said...

Re buying new pants, I have no idea where you should go, but if you get any good suggestions (of the online or chain-store variety), please let me know! I am in dire need. In my massive pre-move culling--which still left me with 984 tee-shirts, somehow--I got rid of almost all of my pants. It was necessary; there were big holes in unsightly places. My remaining jeans are tolerable but not great, and I have one pair of black pants. And that's it! So I need to get me some PANTS.

Short version: I have no suggestions, but I second your request.

Eddie said...

Oh I *do* love clothing posts.

I have trouble finding shorts that are appropriate for my age (i.e., ones that actually cover my butt), so I rarely wear them. I usually wear comfy skirts instead. But, I do have a pair of shorts from Old Navy that I love, and actually also a pair from Gap (sorry!).

Eddie said...

And jb--I like Express for pants.

Marcelle Proust said...

I have my own version of the 6-black-skirts thing; I think once you figure out your "uniform items," you should have multiples in different lengths, weights, etc. I recently discovered this blog & found this post very helpful:

Tree of Knowledge said...

I go through my clothes twice a year (pull it out, sigh that it doesn't fit, and put it back in the closet), but only make it to Goodwill about once a year. Anyway. I like Ross Dress for Less for replenishing standard wear. By the time clothing makes it to Ross, it's probably no longer in style, but it's cheap. I picked up some great black pants for teaching and some wonderfully comfortable shorts there recently (not trendy, but standard fits and colors that are always in style). And since it's cheap, you can usually get 10-12 things for $100.

Sisyphus said...

TreeofKnowledge --- Wait, they have shorts at Ross? I thought they just had officewear.

JB, I too have 8 million t-shirts, and the scruffy ones are all favorites so I can't get rid of them. I did go to an outlet store and get dockers on sale for 19$ --- are there any outlets near you?

Eddie --- I like gap jeans; they have regular jeans pockets. My shorts, on the other hand, have vertical pocket slashes that sit right on the widest part of my hips, and then gap (Gap? hee hee!) open unflatteringly. I'd toss em but I just tossed out all the other shorts, so this needs to be fixed soon.

I second Express for pants, as also that NY store (Learner's NY? I forget.) Once you know your size and cut for the express you can try ebay ---- for some reason the Express Editor Pant is sold there a lot. Hmm, maybe I should try shorts there? Naw, I'll need to try things on.

Sisyphus said...

Oh, and Marcelle --- I'm supposed to go teach now but soon I will be procrastinating with that link, thanks!

Horace said...

Every time I think I have too many clothes, I purge and donate, and then seem to fill the space with more new clothes I don't really need.

Which reminds me, I really want to go shopping soon for fall clothes...