Saturday, 9 August 2014

Wardrobe Catharsis

I did a major wardrobe clear out last week.  On the Saturday of the August Bank Holiday weekend.  When it was lashing rain.  Sure what else would you be doing ?  The clear out was partly because of my 'I'm 40, I need to reinvent myself this year plan' and partly because I haven't been able to find gear that I was looking for lately, because my wardrobe was so jammers.

Buying a new wardrobe for the overflow was not an option.  Living in a cottage, storage space is of a premium.  The minute that the children grow out of their clothes, the wardrobe is stripped and clothes are packed up for handing-on to someone else.  It's the same with their toys.  I regularly sneak out of the house with bags of toys, destined for the charity shop, or ... don't say this in front of Leon ... shhhh ... the bin.

But when it comes to my own gear, well, that's a whole other matter.  As previous blog posts might suggest, I'm a bit of a sentimental git.  I hold onto things.  Clothes included.  Going through my wardrobe last week, I realise that I had some clothes for 15 years, yip, 15 long years.  Time for an overhaul ....

As I was wardrobe weeding, I could see clear categories emerging.  So, to use modern speak (me being a rather hip and happening 40 year old), I'll make a wardrobe listicle of sorts.

1. Gear I bought when I started earning decent money.
Most of this was Karen Millen clothes, well tailored, with beautiful fabrics.  Good for looking grown up, as a fresh faced art teacher.  After my puppy fat, grungie Galway years, I needed a good fashion overhaul.  Still a bit outside my price range, almost all these clothes were bought in Clery's rather brilliant sales.  (This was pre-Kildare Village, of course).  I wonder if I hold onto these clothes, will they become classics that my daughter will wear as an adult ?  I wish I had some of the clothes my Mam had when she was in her twenties, some of them handmade, in quality fabrics.  Now, THAT was craftmanship.

2. Gear I bought because it was a bargain.
Yes, we have all done it.  Okay, it never quite fitted, but ... with a nip and tuck ... a piece of fabric inserted here ... Yeah, right.  As if that ever happened.  Blessed with my mother's family genes, having a broad back and Bellew Shoulders, even if I was Skinny Malink, the underlying bone structure would dictate that some clothes just ain't meant for me ...  Unless ... maybe, I get a rib removed or two removed ?

3.  Gear that I am sentimental about.
The dress I wore to my graduation ceremony in Limerick School of Art and Design. I still love it, but maybe I'd be a bit mutton/lamb in it ? A top that I wore to a music festival that was great craic.  Stuff that I will never put on my back again ... Mind you, I am going to Electric Picnic in September.  I don't want to cut my wardrobe options ...

4.  Gear that I bought because I liked the fabric.

I am one of those people who feels clothes before I buy them.  If I need a wee rush, I can always open the wardrobe and have a feel, even if I never intend putting the clothes on my back.  Also in this category are the clothes that I will wear to death, because I love the comfort of them.  It's as if they are giving me a hug.  I've realised that I am actually a 'comfort wearer', rather than a comfort eater (much kinder on the waist line than the latter).  A little baby pink John Rocha cami is in this category.  It is slowly falling apart, but you can expect to see me wearing this in another ten years, with a bit more patchwork on the disintegrating fabric.

Having said that, there are quite a few items in my wardrobe made from fabrics that I don't like - funnily enough - mostly bought on sale, and largely unworn !

The wardrobe clear out did not start out well.  I looked for every reason NOT to give clothes away.  An hour later, it looked like the charity shop was getting two black round neck t shirts - and let's face it, they didn't exactly need those.

But then I had a 'moment' and gave myself a kick in the bum.  Karen Millen gear, even the beautifully embroidered skirt ... in the bag ... Festival clothes ... gone.  Eight pairs of jeans that I was waiting to come back into fashion.  Anything in a fabric I don't like ... well gone.  I filled a bag the size of the ones you see forklift trucks lifting with bricks in them.

I wasn't 100% ruthless though.  A leather gilet, beautifully cut, gorgeous colour, very expensive, but bought in a sale had to stay.  Unless I get the Bellew shoulders narrowed and those ribs removed, I will need the help of two firemen to get it off over my head, especially if I had a few beverages of an alcoholic nature.

.... Actually, that's quite a pleasant thought ... (Damn, did I just say that out loud ??)

During the clear out, I also found some great gear that I forgot I had.  I used the opportunity to plan new outfits, matching up different items.  Fashionista Gold Star for me.  Which reminds me - Just letting you all know that I want Sonya Lennon to give me a makeover some time.  I'll go on TV.  I'll even strip to my undies and let Brendan Courtney fiddle with my baps.

When I grow up, I want to be Sonya.  I want my red lipstick to have the staying power of hers.  I want all of her gear and her hair.  So if any of you can arrange that, I'd be a rather happy bunny.

While I was doing my wardrobe clear out, a rather worrying pattern emerged.  Somehow, totally unknown to me, NAVY had creeped into my wardrobe.  And quite a lot of it.  And you know what it said to me ?  'Classic wardrobe staples ?' No.  It said 'You are 40 now love'.  Damn it !

In the lashings of rain, I loaded up the bag and headed to the charity shop.  They were rather pleased to see me.  I explained to them, with a serious face, that there was some really good gear in the bag.  It was the worried face that you have when you leave your kids in a creche for the first time, willing them to take good care of your precious ones.  I stopped myself from pulling a tailored jacket out of the bag.  One that I bought when I handed in my thesis, just to show them the detail on the seams.  Reluctantly, I stepped out of the shop and into the rain.  I hesitated, but walked on ... The rain hid my tears ...  Well, not quite, but I had you there for a minute !!

Still, I did feel a wee bit sad.  And if the worst comes to the worst, I can always go back to the charity shop and buy them all back.  But I'd prefer to hold on for Sonya x

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