So I found some old clothes the other day. The kids and I were cleaning up their room, or should I say cleaning out. I was pulling out boxes from deep inside closets that hadn’t been opened for four years or so. It seems that they were from a different time. A different lifetime. But they were mine. And because they were mine we have memories. As I tried on some of the clothes, I imagined they would fit they way they did when I used to wear them. That was quixotic. My body changes as frequently as the cycles of the moon.
There was this skirt which I imagine would be long and flowy like the skirt a girl would wear in a country music video from the 90s. Modest but thin enough to feel sexy. Especially with the buttons down the front. Instead the waist is much higher up than it was intended to be and my butt shows quite a bit more than it used to.
This citrusy floral skirt that was a big favorite. It’s still just as perfect as before. Plenty of room, soft fabric, lays well. This goes with a little black spaghetti strapped shirt.
There’s this wild thing from the 80s that was way too big for me when I got it, but I couldn’t resist. And now? It kinda fits. The waist has some room in it but it’s not falling off. Good thing I never got around to those alterations. Pair with a black or red blazer with shoulder pads. I like to steal my son’s dress jackets. Shhh. I’m kidding. He knows.
There’s these jeans I know will never fit my ass again unless I’m in a terrible accident and my mouth gets wired shut. Size 1 apparently. I’ll take the food, fuck the jeans.
There’s this skirt which I sewed. It one of my favorite things I made. It was a time when there was no money for shopping except for some yards of discounted fabric. I’d carefully choose my fabrics and go home to make 1 to 5 new skirts and dresses, depending on how good I had it at the time. The skirts were all very simple. No buttons, no zippers. I’d cut the waist wide enough for it to go over my shoulders and rest on my waist. This skirt is now huge on me and I’ll have to take it in by 3 or 4 inches. I feel like a winner. Everything is relative, you see.
There’s this shirt that couldn’t be more old lady, right? I always hate it when I see it, but everytime I put it on I remember why I like it. It’s sheer and super thin and the colors play well with my skin. I couple it with a tight black mini skirt tucked in or left out. It’s a surprisingly sexy shirt, and fun too.
It strikes me that all of the clothes I found were either made by me, bought from a thrift store, or given to me by a friend. What does this tell me? Well I don’t know that it should tell me anything, and yet I’m compelled to find meaning in it. Surely this can’t be the norm among my friends. For as far back into my adult life is I can remember, I’ve always been the friend with the least.
It was during this time of financial strain, when I was sewing the most, that I began giving my children basic sewing lessons. I learned to sew because my mother sewed. She enjoyed it, yes, but it was also out of necessity. She sewed my prom dress. And when the evening before my wedding I picked up my dress only to find that the sleeves still had pins in it, and it was too late to take it back, it was my mom who sewed the straps on.
Growing up, our default shopping was the thrift store. Clothes, toys, books, that’s where they came from. I couldn’t pull it off very well when I was a kid and there was some teasing, but I’m a master now. And everyone who’s just discovering thrift stores on a wave of hipster euphoria are rookies in this game. Even now, most of my house is designed with thrift bought accessories, and for the record, my house is damn cool.
What does your closet say about you?