My Nostalgic Attachment To Some Random Articles of Clothing
Even before reading Marie Kondo's now infamous book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I had been performing periodic purges of my closet. I've read countless articles on organization and fashion and the consensus is largely, if you haven't worn it [or used it], you're never going to so just get rid of it. There's also the prevailing idea that if you wear something and you're uncomfortable or feel unattractive, then you should toss it as soon as you get home otherwise you'll just repeatedly make yourself miserable. Having combined these nuggets of wisdom with the KonMari method of only keeping items that bring you joy, I should be in possession of the most functional and beautiful wardrobe known to man. Not exactly.
There are a handful of things I can't seem to part with; either I believe they are worth big bucks and should be saved for some monumental eBay auction, or I fancy them to be a key element in some fashionable future. It’s worth noting that most of the things don’t fit, are troublesome to wear or just aren’t my style anymore. But nostalgia has a cattle-rope hold of my good sense and so I hold on to these things. I have made the mature and noble step of assigning them to their own closet, theoretically as a means of encouraging detachment, but really it means I have a special place to go when I wish to ogle the garments in their unused perfection.
To be fair, there are a whole host of other household items I’m still loathe to part with, but none with the same nostalgic attachment as the following articles of clothing:
Apple-green German motorcycle police jacket bought in Amsterdam. It’s in fantastic condition, totally authentic, has a fully removable lining and awesome silver reflective letters spelling POLIZEI on the back. It’s too small at the bottom, too big at the top and sleeves are super duper long because it’s meant to be worn while leaning forward on a motorcycle. I can only surmise it was sized to be worn by some wide-shouldered male string bean on the hog force as it is certainly not for my body type.
Pink wool skirt bought in Beijing with the most adorable sheep pattern. Created by a local designer and constructed with a high-quality and heavyweight fabric, it pinched my waist when I found it and now I can’t even close it. The size I bought was the biggest they had and despite a lengthy conversation via Google translate with the salesgirl, I was unable to obtain a larger size. I had to make the choice between leaving it behind and buying it with the hopes and plans to lose enough weight for it to fit comfortably; already attached to the item, I chose the latter. Well, I have never been able to wear it and that trip was four years ago.
Blue satin Mets jacket with the name Helen embroidered on the breast and ‘1986 World Champions’ in embroidered patch letters on the back. I’m still a loyal Mets fan but I find their performance to be so heartbreaking I can’t bring myself to sit through an entire game. Also I live way too far away from the stadium now so that isn’t an option either. I bought the jacket to wear during games but now that I don’t watch the games, I don’t wear the jacket…
Silver lamé dress that belonged to my grandmother. A sleeveless gown with a mandarin collar that won’t fully button up because one of the button loops is broken. Also the funky and so tacky-it’s-good fabric has several small coffee stains on the front. I got it from her basement closet after she died when I was a sophomore in college and I have never worn it nor repaired the broken button loop or successfully removed the stains.
Multi-colored silk dress from the 80s with peplum waist and shoulder pads; probably bought on eBay during my hyper-vintage phase where every day was dress-up day. The length is great and it fits but I’ve outgrown the look. Also, the multi-color is REALLY aggressive, all teal and purple and royal blue and magenta like a fucking gemstone-colored parrot got massacred all over the fabric. I think I’ve worn it twice.
Black and silver-ivory silk/linen blazer from Ann Taylor Loft. I used my birthday money to buy this my first year of sobriety. It has a shawl collar, open front and still fits but I don’t like the way the color looks on me. I was overwhelmed by its chicness when I first discovered it. Now I am merely underwhelmed and mildly disgusted. To the piece’s credit, I have gotten a fair amount of use out of it.
Five items all gifted to me from my mother which I have never worn:
A black leather trench coat that fits with the exception of the sleeves being too short. Also the leather is cheap and crunchy and it is so over-the-top badass that it makes me look like I’m trying too hard when I wear it [which I don’t]. A tan trench coat with real fur lining that I will never wear because I look terrible in tan and refuse to wear fur. Even if I did wear fur, the coat only succeeds in adding several visual pounds because of the bulk of said fur which you can’t even appreciate as an observer because it’s on the inside! An ivory silk midi dress with lace waist that my mother wore as her wedding dress when she got hitched to the third husband. Incidentally, that husband was an asshole and I always hated him and for that reason alone I will never wear the dress but also it doesn’t fit. A red Ultrasuede® skirt suit with ivory and tan trim which is chic as hell but the skirt has an elastic waist and also it really REALLY doesn’t fit. A red zip-up wool sweater coat from the 70s which is also super stylish and quite warm but is the scratchiest wool garment I’ve ever worn in my life. Despite the unbearable discomfort of wearing it, I consider wearing it every fall season.
Will I ever part with any of these things? I certainly hope so and not only because I have better uses for that damn closet. Writing these words and seeing in black and white how truly useless I consider each garment to be, has given me a newfound sense of closure. Also enough shame and revulsion towards their continued presence in my home that I feel slightly more capable of finally saying goodbye. Wish me luck.