My first guest isSal from Almost Pretty. She writes a fantastic blog about style and self image, and also contributes features to well known style blogs such as Joanna Goddard’s Smitten. Her posts range from practical wardrobe advice to battling poor body image. I think of Sal as a stylist for regular girls. She features options that most readers (as opposed to Paris Hilton) can afford and actually wear in everyday life (as opposed to what Paris wears to the clubs). She doesn’t think you have to be stick thin to look fabulous – and I agree. Isn’t she cute?
Welcome Sal!MAKING ROOM It’s nearly April and only just getting warm enough for me to transition over to the spring duds. My house is smallish and my closet minuscule, so off-season clothing lives in the basement when not in use. I’ve just spent the last few hours hauling sweaters and hoodies and heavy wool skirts downstairs, and loading the tees and tanks and slinky silk skirts into the closet upstairs. So I’m schvitzing a little. Just FYI.
This seasonal shift presents a fabulous opportunity to purge my wardrobe – an opportunity I inevitably take. Due to the aforementioned scarcity of closet space, I need to keep a careful count of garments or things get aggravatingly overcrowded. And while it’s fun to occasionally stumble upon a long-forgotten and well-hidden gem in my own closet, I vastly prefer being able to SEE everything in the morning while scrambling to assemble an ensemble that says “stylish professional” instead of “colorblind homeless person. “Seasonal purging keeps my wardrobe under some semblance of control, and, as a self-confessed organizational fiend, I rather enjoy the process of sorting wheat from chaff. It feels good to finally rid myself of those pumpkin orange corduroy pants that didn’t fit properly the day I bought them, and that dingy ivory fine gauge sweater with the freaky-deaky collar. Dangit, girls, it feels downright liberating!
When I purge, I toss several categories of clothing into the giveaway pile:
1. Anything that hasn’t been worn for more than two years. If I’ve passed it over for 24 full months, why on earth would it suddenly acquire irresistible appeal?
2. Anything damaged irreparably: As I am capable of minor mending, and my tailor is capable of major mending, this generally means stained or badly torn. Klutziness takes its toll on my wardrobe with alarming regularity, I tell ya.
3. Anything that doesn’t fit: As someone whose weight fluctuates about as frequently as the flippin’ temperature, I make a practice of trying on any item that gave me even a single wearing’s trouble in the past .If it squeezes or bags, it leaves.
Although parting with brand new garments that have gone two years unworn pains my pocketbook, and bidding farewell to snagged or stained silk skirts makes me sigh, numero tres up there is the most emotionally taxing. You feel me, don’t you? Popping on a pair of pants that once fit, only to find that your body has shifted its configuration YET AGAIN can be surprising and disheartening.
But getting rid of clothes that don’t fit the body you have today allows you to make room. In addition to preventing your closet racks from bowing under the weight of their heavy load, casting off ill-fitting garments can be an important step to accepting your body as it is today, and allowing yourself to adorn it stylishly.
Hanging on to clothes that fit you when you were a different shape both weighs you down and holds you back. These clothes may seem like flimsy bits of cloth when you first hold them up on their hangers for scrutiny and evaluation, but to most women they are much more. Clothes that used to fit are powerful personal symbols: They represent a body that you no longer have, and may never have again. In the course of your closet purge, you drag them out and look at them and heave heavy, loaded sighs. You beat yourself up for the crime of shape change, and sink down into frustration and self-loathing, criticism and negativity. Suddenly, an innocent pair of jeans has become a device of self-inflicted emotional torture.
How about this as an alternative: CHUCK THEM. Jeans that don’t fit the woman you are today are of no use to you! Banish them, and allow only jeans that hug your wonderful curves and make you feel like a sultry screen siren to grace your dresser drawers. Clothes that once fit but no longer do will whisper to you about the past … but you need to live in the present. Purging the ill-fitting can empower you to castoff the deadly nostalgia-judgment mixture that accompanies memories of a previous body shape. Sending these duds packing can be liberating, eye-opening, and comforting: It can help you see yourself clearly, and embrace yourself fully. The today you.
Additionally, ridding yourself of clothing that no longer flatters creates a vacuum: It creates physical room in your closet for properly fitting clothing that will help you feel your best, and it creates emotional room for contemplating your natural assets and accepting them as the gifts that they are. What could be better? An action that essentially FORCES you to shop for new duds, and simultaneously helps you embrace your present-day self.
During this particular purge, I assembled quite the pile of exiles. I chucked a shrunken track jacket and a ripped scarf and a gooftastic black blazer with bizarrely poofy shoulders that transforms me into a deranged goth princess. I also sacrificed a gorgeous pair of khaki pants that made me look like Kate Hepburn a few seasons back. Wide-legged and boxy, with a subtle sheen to the twill, they were favorites once. But they gave me unforgivable camel toe when I tried them on today.
So I had to make room.