R.I.P. Clothing

I know I haven’t posted in a while. I was busy sitting shiva for about 50% of my wardrobe. No, friends, it was not just the expired Gu, mountains of post-its courtesy of various pharmaceutical reps, and crusty old condiments that had to go in the move. I also had to take a hard look at my clothes. Or to be more accurate, I had only to hold up a garment and let my sister take a quick glance before she imparted her decree. Each and every shirt, pant, cardigan, pull-over, skirt, dress, jacket, hoodie, and jersey was evaluated for retention in my wardrobe, based on criteria including but not limited to: Frequency of wear, Whether and to what extent it was in style, Whether and to what extent it fit, and Whim of Judge Lizzy.

Do you ever watch TLC’s What Not to Wear? My sister played the part of the cold-hearted fashionista, Stacy London, while I performed the role of the pathetic guest, who shifts rapidly between angry defensiveness and utter mortification as London doles out unharnessed criticism. Luckily I was spared the humiliation of showing the television-watching public the errors of my fashion ways. Don’t get me wrong though, it was really hard. All my clothes were on trial.

For some mistakes I pleaded guilty without hesitation. Like the khakis I bought in 2003 and have not worn since ca. 2005, or the really cute short corduroy skirt I got for 15.99 at TJ Maxx in 2006 and wore exactly twice. Some I tried to defend, pleading innocent with half-hearted conviction. I am sure a fancy New York lawyer could have kept them off death row, but instead they had me, the equivalent of an overworked, underpaid rookie public defender as their court appointed attorney… Cute halter-neck black polka-dotted stretchy halter top of my 25th birthday party, I’m sorry I couldn’t let you stay. Liz said I hadn’t worn you in a while and if I ever attended an event warranting your hooch-factor I would be better off buying a new one for 14.99 at Forever 21…. Trendy beige sleeveless ribbed top of New Year’s Eve 2005… I bought you at Lucky Stars as my congratulations-on-finishing-the-semester-gift-from-me-to-me… I’m sorry but I was defenseless. Liz said you were really cool… back in 2005. Keri crinkled her nose and said you looked like chair upholstery. I bid you a fond farewell…. Old Navy girl’s plaid pants… What can I tell you? You were a hand-me-down from Natalie, and you served us well. You made me feel skinny and hip, in a Miami golfer kind of way. But the last time you were in public, Josh made a comment about my “pajamas” and Liz vetoed you without an opportunity for debate. I hope you will understand… And you, my mock-turtleneck navy blue long-sleeve wicking running t-shirt… We shared many a long run. You were my introduction to technical fabrics, rescued from Fleet Feet’s sale crate in the fall of 2000. You helped get me to the start of my first marathon sans chafing, you let me wipe as much snot as you would absorb on your right sleeve, and you opened my eyes to all the non-cotton fabrics available to the modern athlete, and for this I thank you. The truth is, we were over for a while, but I was content to romanticize about the past. Liz broke it down for me in no uncertain terms; Mock turtlenecks are lame, no one wears them anymore, and frankly I could not remember the last time I’d worn you. Good luck to you in your next life.

But I digress… Some clothes I tried to defend as not guilty on principle, like the gauzy white short-sleeve button down I wore a few times ca. 2003, whispering “That was Memee’s” (our late grandmother) as my sister ripped it from my weary hands, placing in the Salvation Army pile. Mostly she was ruthless. Sometimes she softened. The silky printed retro blouse was headed for the give-away bag as I pleaded, “No, I wear that!!! Seriously. I wore it two weeks ago!” I received a glare that said “You shouldn’t have.” I pulled out the big guns, “Bubby made that.” The fashion dictator remained cool. I went on, “It has a matching skirt. I gave that away. Please, it looks different on. I love that shirt.” She relented and it got to stay. On some matters she was willing to negotiate. For instance, between the black v-neck tank top adorned with sparkly stuff around the neckline and the brown sleeveless sweater whose neck was decorated with little white beads, she allowed me to pick one or the other. (I chose the latter. If you were at my sister-in-law’s bridal shower, you may remember it). Also, Liz stated all cycling wear is ugly, however as a non-cyclist she was not fit to make decisions regarding its survival. Therefore instead of passing judgement, she simply stated that one needs no more than 5 short-sleeve jerseys and no more than 6 sleeveless ones. Fair enough. Eliminating my least-favorite obnoxiously bright polyester bike jerseys felt more like euthanasia than 1st degree murder. I guess certain things, like a royal purple short-sleeve with lavender flatlock stitching, or the Castelli jersey that only looks halfway decent on the skinniest of skinny days deserve to be put out of their misery.

So it is with the utmost sympathy that I wish not just the aforementioned, but all my old clothes a happy everafter. I have faith that someone else will find them at the Salvation Army and let them hang unused in a warm cozy closet probably not much unlike my own. With any luck, I accidentally left a $20 bill in a pocket and am now due some good karma.

In lieu of flowers, please send gift cards to Nordstrom, Ann Taylor Loft, Banana Republic, REI, and SierraTradingPost.com. Thank you in advance.

5 thoughts on “R.I.P. Clothing

  1. Natalie says:

    Holy Guac, I totally remember those Girl sized ON golfer pants. I am not sure they were cute in 2001, when I got them, but I sure did love them, and am oddly flattered that you still had them in your closet 7 years later. Sigh…I wish I had Liz with me when I clean out my closets! Absolutely LOVED this post, and knew every single piece of clothing that you mentioned (except the TJMaxx skirt you mentioned 1st)!!!! Mi pobrecito (“my poor little thing”, in Espanol, you know – for emphasis).

  2. Pam says:

    Natalie, the clothes will live as long as they are in our memories… But yeah the skirt was something I bought after you left Chapel Hill. Seriously, Liz should get paid to be a clothes Nazi. She’s good. I hadn’t purged like that maybe ever.

  3. sue says:

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