When I decided to start this project, I never focused on a big cleansing moment. I figured I’d get rid of the things I didn’t love with no great fanfare, just by gradual replacements – certainly not by stopping to thank the lousy bras with wires poking through or the collection of button ups that are boring me to tears. But it’s become obvious that friends are expecting a big gesture, and when I walked into my closet yesterday morning, I suddenly craved one myself.
The amount of things I have to purge isn’t huge – I have a tiny closet and shifted to a smaller wardrobe a couple of years ago – but it is certainly meaningful. To truly keep only really special pieces requires a fair amount of ruthlessness. I already own only one pair of black pants, one tailored blazer, one pencil skirt, and they are all serviceable, but I’ve never liked the fit of the pants, and I haven’t worn the blazer in a year. The skirt is vintage, and it’s fine, but I’ve only worn it twice. It can all be way better and definitely more artful.
So what do I have in my closet now?
At first, I kept almost all of the vintage, but upon more reflection, I’ve decided to stash a fair amount of it away in the archives for my daughter (that includes the sequined pieces and a velvet jacket I made and hand-beaded for myself over a decade ago and wore only once). This is no easy move, but clearing them out will allow me to focus on what I really want to make for myself. The closet is now mostly bare, with a few pairs of jeans, a handful of pretty tops that I’ve either made for myself, purchased from thoughtful designers, or are vintage, and a few jackets. It’s not nothing, but when my daughter wanted to play in the yard earlier today, I realized I’d better get to work – none of this is casual or sturdy enough for everyday use. I need to always be mindful of how everything fits together and that everything I make feels special, but also purposeful.
Note: I haven’t even TOUCHED my dressers – all the crummy pajamas and t-shirts and socks and undies and sweaters – all the stuff that truly NEEDS TO GO. That’s coming up in Part 2, and in dire need of a major overhaul. And I will definitely not be thanking any of this crap as I stuff it into donation bags.
But First …
Being one to never fully stay on task, as I grabbed armloads of clothes and scarves and bathing suits and belts, it occurred to me that in order to build something that feels like true luxury, I would need to overhaul more than just my wardrobe. The closet, with chipping paint and cobwebs, was a reflection of the tired, dusty wardrobe within. I love the idea of wiping the slate clean and creating a little jewel box for myself (emphasis on “little” – seriously, guys, I have a very tiny closet), and so I’m sacrificing a couple of sewing days to focus on that. But I need to go so fast, because rolling around in the yard in a rare Victorian lace blouse today did not feel good.