All Those Clothes

All Those Clothes (Or: Memory Lane Fills the Closet) By Patrick M. Kennedy

Look at your closet, it is filled from end to end and top to bottom. Where did all those clothes come from that you have been hoarding and moving around from place to place, small apartment to apartment and house to house and job to job? You probably bought the house you are in because of all the Closet Space — one in each room. And that is not even counting the boxes in the basement or the attic.

There is a theory that if you haven’t worn an item in a year, and you’re not willing to wear it tomorrow, that it should be tossed out. Unfortunately, it’s just that, a theory. Memory Lane takes over.

Instead of getting rid of most things, you look longingly at them, remembering all the good times you had. The shirt your friend gave you before the big dance or the one you wore to your first job. Or the dress you wore when you were a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding that makes you want to try it on to recreate memories of that great night. The cute hot pink “go-out” skirt your friend in college lent you over and over until she finally resolved ‘I should just keep it’, but it makes you long for the days of dancing and laughing all night with the gals.

And the pink-and-black polka-dot tube top will surely get used again for some 80+ party, someday, right? That is, if you lose 20 or 30 pounds.

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society”, said the humorist, Mark Twain. But can the same again be said of women. Clothes make the woman in many cases; and there are numerous fashion magazines and catalogs to support this notion. And the nudity of women is another subject for another time.

End to end the clothes rod in the closet holds years and seasons of garb that were useful once, or may be useful today, if the time and weather is right. If it is summer, the winter clothes are at the back end. If it is winter the opposite is true. If you are retired the work clothes and ties are hiding behind all the functional and no-nonsense hangers full of wraps, coats, sweaters, golf shirts, golf shorts, old jeans, new jeans, maybe-I’ll-wear-these-again-someday pants and shirts and blouses that caught your eye one afternoon while browsing thorough the mall. There is even that Western Style shirt you bought when you went to the rodeo once, once.

Now you have to look at the bottom, the floor, of the closet and examine the dozen or two pairs of shoes you have been tripping over while examining the clothes rod. Three pairs if tennis shoes! Why do you need three pairs when you only wear one once in a while. Slippers, thongs, and those comfy leather strapped sandals that always fell off your feet and hurt your calves to walk in — but they looked so cool. Brown, then black, dress shoes, walking shoes, running shoes (not sneakers), hiking boots, work boots, and those penny loafers — really?

Let us not even investigate the upper levels of the closet’s shelves filled with a lot of whatever.

So many scenarios and environments varied and changed that helped fill that closet; body weight, seasons, moods, friends, entertainment, this job, that job, this hobby, that hobby, this friend and that friend — and of course, the ultimate and borderline criminal progression — age. Pegged pants and full, billowing skirts are too young for you now, too dated, and probably not in the closet anyhow. Besides everything else, tastes change, but the Memory Lane stays the same and the huge box you were going to fill for charity gets smaller as each item in the closet becomes cherished, and not charity.

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