Sunday, September 09, 2007

Dressed for Success

This weekend I began the big chore of getting rid of things before the move. Starting with my closet. Most people who see me today would think I only own a few jeans and paint spattered sweatshirt, t-shirts and a few dress clothes. Wrong. In college I began an addiction to buying clothes second hand. Lots of these clothes have come with me and also ones that I have been given. Mostly, in the last, I don't know, twenty years I haven't spent much on clothes.

So where do they all come from? Well, Mom was a great seamstress and decided to make me a bunch of skirts before I went off to college. I still have those, plus a skirt she made me when I was sixteen. I'm pleased to say I still fit in all of them, but would I wear them? Well, first the skirt from sixteen is going. I will never wear orange paisley, let's face it. Then there's a print skirt I took from Mom's closet when she died. Most of her clothing wasn't salvageable because she was a major smoker, but this was. Thought I would wear it. That was, what, five years, six ago? Haven't worn it, it's going. Then there's a myriad of clothes I got second hand with a kind of wistful nostalgia for the faded, which has now also faded. Then there's the belts Ron gave me before he died, which I said I would wear. Didn't, out they go. And the list grows.

I still need to be tougher with myself. I read that it's a good idea to cluster groups of clothes that go together. That's the next step. I'll put together a few outfits that I think I really will wear. What is truly at issue here is a question of identity. Just who do I think I am? Well, most of the time I'm a painter so most of these clothes are just silly. Still, when shopping or going out with "normal" people, a few less paint streaks might come in handy. I mention the shopping because I went to get some hair accessories from Claire's boutique one day. There were two prices on the package, one more than the other because it was a transfer from pounds. Anyway, the cashier pointed out to me the higher price was the right one and then waited...as if I couldn't afford it and I would put it back. Fooled her though, I bought them. Afterwards, I saw myself in a mirror and realized I was dressed for the studio. Not that I care about how much money people think I have. I actually found that fun.

Then there's the fifties-style dresses that I got second hand, or handed down. Those are the tough ones. I love that fitted bodice and bigger skirt. Still, I haven't worn one of those since living in DC! Basically, I'm looking for comfortable but not too sloppy in neutrals though sometimes with a little flash of color. That kind of knocks out many of the skirts mom made me. They're more for business. Maybe one or two of the best would be enough to "suit" me.

Finally, once I get it all pared down, there will be nothing else left to do but...go shopping! (This, folks, is very tongue in cheek as I haven't been much in the last years, as I mentioned, and basically go into cardiac arrest when I see the prices, promise myself to become a better seamstress, and run home.) But, for now, I'm off to the studio, so...on go the paint-stained jeans, holey t-shirt, and frayed sweater...aaah, now that's who I really am. Fashion mogul I'm not, but ready to do art, yes!

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