August 8, 2013

Minimalism Month: Week 3 - A Wardrobe Memorial

I had planned to combine the closet and kitchen results as I had the desk and bathroom, but on delving through my closet, I decided this area of the challenge deserved a more proper goodbye.

It might seem silly, but my wardrobe has always been very important to me. Even when I left the house looking like this:


or this:

 
I always felt unique, individual, "me." I see fashion as a way to show who and what I am -- to convey my values, my interests, my influences... even my mood! I'd go so far to say that fashion impacts confidence. I certainly feel the difference when I'm wearing something I love (even if everyone else hates it) versus when I just throw on old pants and a grungy tee (unless that was a choice I made consciously, which certainly happens.) Even those who choose not to exercise "fashion sense," as it were, are making a conscious decision how they'd like the world to see them. It may seem trivial, but to me dressing is every bit as important as drafting a resume. Possibly more so.

More important than the outfit you choose to wear on any given day is what you choose to *do* in that outfit. I always have an idea of what kind of day I'm going to have when I get dressed in the morning -- what I'm trying to prove or accomplish. The reason I find clothes the hardest possession to give away is because they all have stories embedded in them. They're easy to trace through pictures, which makes it harder for me to forget them once they're gone. They also have a life span: even the best material can only endure so much wear, and the ironic outcome is often that we often avoid wearing our favorite clothes for fear we'll ruin them too fast.

I can still remember a skort I had in the 2nd grade that was donated to Goodwill by mistake. It was denim with little embroidered red apples all over it and was held closed with a button on the side. I was devastated when it disappeared. It felt like I'd lost a piece of my personality.

Later, when I was 15, I bought another denim skirt -- this one was pleated and shredded at the ends, like a pair of cutoffs. One of my girlfriends coveted it, and it was probably the single sexiest thing I owned at the time. Like my skort, it became a piece of me, and it wasn't until 2 years ago that I finally convinced myself I was too old for that kind of "sexy" anymore.

Now I'm sitting here looking at my favorite floral-print mini skirt. I got it just as I went into college, as an homage to Samantha Baker in Sixteen Candles. I've put it in my "outbox" at least 3 times over the past 4 years, and every time I pluck it back out again just before donation. I figure keeping it is worth keeping for the mere joy it brings me.

Following is a list of 25 items from my wardrobe which I've chosen to donate (d) or throw away. (I've combined the two categories for this particular section, since I'll probably wind up donating most of the items anyway.) Some of these things I've had longer than high school, and that scares me. It's a sure sign I'm holding onto pieces of my personality that I'd be much better off parting with. So, to ease me through this most *trying* time, I've fished out some memories from the iPhoto archives, as a last goodbye.

43. black & poppy-colored tank tops
Wearing the poppy-colored one, the day I left for college. 
(Back in the days I spent enough time outside for my hair to turn blonde!)  
I was so nerv-cited.

44. one pair ripped black nylons
45. black BCBG heels (d)
 Two for one! The nylons and the heels are featured here. I snapped this selfie for fashion inspiration just before my 20th birthday. 
One of my favorite ages to date; I have very fond memories of this girl.
 
46. YMI jeans (d)
Baskin Robbins night during junior year of high school. Jeans all around!

47. black kitten heels
48. blue JCP top
Purchased just before New York, but here's a shot from mere weeks ago, relaxing at the beach.

49. turquoise v-neck

A day spent with family, just before London and less than a year before my grandmother's death.
 
50. one XL man-sized thermal
51. two man-sized tees, stolen from brother
From just last year at the start of this project, on a particularly good hair day!
52. blue floral print tee (d)
53. aqua v-neck

This favorite shirt has some great mileage on it! It survived the trip to London and New York, 2 yrs later. 
You can see how much it's faded, though! The color always reminds me of Eurydice.

54. coral American Rag tank (d)

Another favorite travel top, this photo singlehandedly instigated an obsession with brick and robins egg blue. 
It also happened to be the top I wore on my last evening with J before London.

55. cream lace undershirt

This top pairs so well under this dress! I wore this outfit most recently to a general audition, 
but this shot is from the day I performed "Jackson" for the drama department. A junior year highlight.

56. oversized Fuze tee
I can't believe I've had this shirt as long as I have. I remember figuring I'd toss it the day I got it (for free at a Welcome Freshmen fair), but it soon became my favorite "whatever" shirt. Here's a fun shot from a momentous evening that same year -- discovering the background function on iPhoto!

57. teal graphic tee (d)
58. black Pumas
I can't begin to fathom how long I've had these shoes. Here they are in San Diego, CA, circa 2006. They've been great, but it's really time.

59. tan tunic


At the end-of-year Drama BBQ, after a year of straight performance and a bunch of new friends. 
The envelope I'm holding above holds a scholarship received from the department that day.

60. navy-and-white striped sailor shirt

 Celebrating the end of high school with friends. This shirt sat in my drawer for years before I took it out for one last summer hoorah. 
Now, it goes.

61. black Nike swimsuit


Crescent Lake, WA, just last summer. Probably the last water this swimsuit will see -- I've had it for at least 8 years, and it's spent.

62. lime green fish socks
63. black halter bra
64. white terry robe
My mom was kind enough to indulge this must-have for sophomore year back-to-school
By the time this photo was taken -- packing to move out of my dorm -- I was already ready to give it away. (Robes are heavy suckers!) 
I will always remember this day, the start of H and my Very Awful Summer, but also the ripening of our friendship!
 
65. brown Primark flats
66. football style 17 jersey shirt

I bought this on clearance the summer before my sophomore year because I was inexplicably attracted to the number 17. Oddly enough, J and I had our first date on that date, one year later. The photo above is from the night I went to Drama Prom with H & K. Great night.

67. purple turtleneck

Don't worry, my leather jacket isn't going anywhere... just the purple top. 
From a photo session in fall of sophomore year. I felt pretty awesome here -- Go get 'em, girl!

Gift:
2. one gently-used purple sweater

Sell:
2. __________ (We'll see if I can get anything at the consignment store.)

Part-With:
2. black 80s blazer w/shoulder pads

Sadly, these were the only photos I could find of myself in this particular blazer (a momentary hipster phase? I don't know what's going on here), but rest assured I wore it all through high school. I fancied it my Pretty in Pink blazer. I also fancied I'd grow into it (wrong.) It was purchased from Classy Rack at the height of my 80s obsession, probably on a trip with my three dear girlfriends, and I've avoided our parting by storing it at my parents' house when I couldn't find room for it. Since I haven't worn it once this year (except maybe on Halloween), I know it's time to let go. 

Goodbye, old friend. I shall miss you most of all.

 

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