Monday, August 26, 2013

The Rite of Passage for the Fall Equinox

 Labor Day is about upon us and that brings to mind the up coming "Changing of the Clothes" - that bi-annual ritual I celebrate generally around the spring and fall equinox. This is the ceremonial removal of the past seasonal clothes in exchange for those of the coming season. One could call it the cleansing of the closet. This simple rite of passage (between the attic and the bedroom) often gives me a new lease on life. In other words, I have "new" clothes to wear. But, I digress.

Of course they are not "New" new, they new because I have not seen them in six months and they replace those I have grown weary of wearing.  And, as usual, when I am packing up the past season's garments I find I did not wear a good 30% of them during the year. I was reading an article that said if there is something in your closet that you have not worn in a year (unless it is formal attire or some sporting gear, my fencing suit for instance) that you should discard it immediately. Looking at the abundant Rubbermaid totes (I have been wearing the same clothes for years - just adding a few pieces each year) certainly this applies to me. 

But where do I start?  After surveying the piles of shirts, pants, sweaters, and skirts, I manage to select 2 shirts and a sweater I feel are sacrificially eligible. There has to be more. And, as I look I start to question whether or not I really can part with the chosen sweater. Why do we become so attached to things down here? Honest to God trying to part with old clothes of mine is as about as easy as prying a gun from Charlton Heston's cold dead hands. 

It took me 4 years after I had lost weight and had worn the same size for 2 years to part with my boxes of size 10, size 12, and size 14 clothes. And, even then it was painful. What if I gained the weight back? There were some of my favorite clothes in those boxes. Yes, I looked like a Pygmy elephant in them, but, as long as I did not have a mirror in front of me, and lived in deniable bliss, I was a happy little elephant. I gave the boxes to Goodwill and found the act cathartic. Now, it would be way too expensive to gain the weight back - I could not afford a new wardrobe.

Our parent's generation went through the depression and they had a sense of saving and being prepared. My mother-in-law kept a pantry stocked with an extra everything she needed - which was quite convenient when you were cooking at night long after the stores closed and realized you were out of waxed paper. Not only did she have 2 rolls of waxed paper, she had it in 2 sizes, as well as 2 unopened rolls of aluminum foil, parchment paper, and saran wrap. But, we did not grow up with such a habit of reserve.

You're lucky if can find a good half roll of aluminium foil in our house and I use it frequently. Usually there's parchment paper, but it's best to check the roll before you start baking. In fact, I have to check for everything before I start cooking anything. However, if I am getting dressed, and need a peach colored sweater, I have 5 to choose from. They vary in shade, design, and sleeve length. Is that sad or what?

So my goal this year is to pare down my summer wardrobe, purge my closet of all the clothes I have not worn since 2012. Will this improve my fashion sense of a 50 year old woman? Not really. Reality sucks- I am a fifty something year old woman. But, on with the duty at hand.  To misquote Lady Macbeth, "Out, damned [clothes]! out, I say! One; two: why, then, ’tis time to do ’t. Hell is murky!

I'll start with the sweaters. On second thought, I'll start with the shirts, sweaters are so practical, I probably need to keep them. 

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