On Sunday, I spent about 6 hours cleaning out the closet in my guest bedrooom in preparation for the kid who will soon hopefully be living there. When we moved in, we pretty much shoved everything we didn't know what else to do with into this closet and prompty forgot any of it ever existed.
Somewhere amongst my high-school algebra notes, Pete's boxed Flo-Jo Barbie and the animatronic monkey head I got him for Christmas one year, I came across this teensy little Abercrombie & Fitch flippy denim miniskirt, size 10.
I am generally sentimental about clothes -- I can remember what I was wearing for most important events in my life, from the first time I got felt up (red stretchy T-shirt with skintight Levis) to the second and third times I got felt up. To look at something I used to wear a lot is to conjure up a whole slew of memories of the time period that just can't be accessed without some tangible passport back.
So every time I've moved in the past few years, I've lugged along boxes of clothing that there is very little chance I'll ever wear again, mostly vintage dresses that no longer fit or are no longer my style but which I can't bring myself to part with because they were such extraordinary finds at the time. But sometimes it's the sheer emotion associated with the piece that makes me feel compelled to keep finding a place for it in apartment after cramped NYC apartment.
Such is the case with this skirt, which to 28-year-old me more resembles say, a headband, than something that I would be likely to use for ass-covering purposes. But when I bought it, I was a 20-year-old who had recently dropped a Beiber-sized amount of weight and was shopping in regular stores for the first time in her life.
I remember being overwhelmed by the choices -- for most of my adolescence, my clothing options were limited to whatever didn't have food items or animals known for being overweight printed on it at my local plus-size retailer. Now I could literally go anywhere and wear anything. I had no idea what my style was, especially since I felt newly awesome in pretty much everything I put on.
Since I had been losing weight steadily for the better part of a year, during which I had to replace key wardrobe items every month or so, I had like 3 items of clothing that fit by the time I finally reached my goal weight. My "cool aunt" Suzanne took me to the mall to restock, and this miniskirt was one of the things I tentatively picked up while browing through mall stores which had previously intimidated the hell out of me.
I kept expecting someone to come up and ask me if I was in the wrong place, in fact had a whole cover story that I was shopping for a friend planned in case I was challenged.
Aunt Suzanne approved of the skirt, I grew embarassed and pretended I wasn't really interested in it, she insisted I try it on and when I came out of the dressing room, feeling pride that it zipped easily tinged with embarassment of how much it revealed, she uttered the words I never forgot: "You're 20 years old, your ass is skinny, and you have to have that skirt!"
So we bought the skirt, and I soon wore it on one of my first dates with the man who would become my man. I still remember walking through the restaurant in my teensy skirt and Payless heels, feeling like a millions bucks, and seeing the admiring look on his face as what felt like every man in the room turned around to watch me pass.
Today, the skirt doesn't zip so easily anymore, and even if it did, wouldn't likely get back into rotation. I'm not as enamored with the conventional sex appeal of a denim miniskirt as I was back when I was experiencing it for the first time. I spent the first few years after losing weight dressing like an off-duty stripper, just because I could. Today I don't even go anywhere, except to work, therapy and meetings. (It's my own personal gym-tan-laundry.) But when I look at that skirt, I remember the feeling of changing my life. I remember how good I felt about myself and how new that feeling was. Plus, the last time I moved I found 150 dollars in the pocket.
My life is changing, rearranging itself to make space for a new person. I will have to let go of some things to have room for others, have to empty my hands to make room for new blessings. Which is why I came out with 8 bags of garbage and 9 donation bags for the Salvation Army. Pete even got rid of Flo-Jo! But I'm keeping the skirt. Luckily it doesn't take up much room.
What about you guys? Any outdated pieces of clothing you keep around for sentimental reasons?