Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What's the Difference between a Collector and a Neurotic?

I once had a roommate who said, “If I didn’t know how OCD you are about cleaning the house, I’d think you were a hoarder.” That comment was prompted by a conversation that led me to reveal that yes, I have items in my closet from HIGH SCHOOL.

Until I saw this Wonder, I didn’t realize it, but I collect clothes, and I do it judiciously. I don’t keep everything I’ve ever worn, and I certainly don’t hang onto things just b/c I hope to fit into them again. I use clothes for mood and memory. Favorite things, one-of-a-kind things, things I put on without a second thought that then participated in a fateful event, things I got as gifts from really special people. The most especially special things even get a different-colored hanger than the standard white that fills my closet. And even if it’s a t-shirt, if it’s one of my pieces of keeper clothes, it’s hanging up. So it’s not just that I save them … I save them is a particular location.

I’ve never given away (outside of willing) any of my ADPi shirts/pullovers/sweatshirts. I don’t wear many of them now, but I say hello to them every now and then when I’m rummaging around in my closet. I take a long-sleeved t-shirt from Fireman’s Ball to sleep in when I’m camping. I bum around the house in my blue scrubs from Semi-Formal. The Boy will even occasionally wear a navy t-shirt Wicked M sent me from one of the chapters she visited on her TCC adventures (it’s too big for me).

I still have all the formal/party dresses I’ve worn to prom my junior year of high school and since. Plus the sheath-dress-and-jacket combos my mom bought me when she thought I’d actually have a career for which I needed to look sharp (and like Ally McBeal) on a regular basis. The dresses I wore to my bridesmaids’ luncheon and rehearsal dinner are still with me, too. I have all the bridesmaid’s dresses I’ve worn.

Ask me what I wore on my birthday the last six years and I can pull out every shirt. I’ve gotten in the habit of either dressing up or being sparkly (don’t worry … I promise they’re sparkly due to subdued and tasteful sequins or just metallic thread)—and then I don’t wear that shirt/sweater/tank again for at least a year, and then only to Opening Nights or Valentine’s Day dates or other fun outings.

If an item of clothing is special to me, I just can’t bear to part with it. I’ve widened out of many a favorite pair of jeans, stopped liking the style of many a sweater, and become more sensitive to certain fabrics over the years. Goodwill is a common stop on my weekend errands. But there are a number of things mixed in with my current wardrobe that will go with me no matter what. They’re keepsakes now, really, not clothes. My closet’s not a shrine … things are organized by color rather than chronology, so old is mixed with new and special with mundane.

There’s no rhyme or reason to what becomes a nonnegotiable lifer in my closet. But if you came over and started pulling out things one by one, I could tell you why I kept that all these years. And as long as it doesn’t keep me from adding something new every once in a while (I don’t have a walk-in closet although it’s a dream that’s dear to my heart to have one someday), what’s the harm?

1 comment:

Wicked M said...

Can I just say WOW? I had no idea you had collected all of these items and kept them! I can't say the same. While I do have things I kept over the years for sentimental reasons, I definitely do not have most of my ADPi gear anymore. You should take pictures of all that you have so we can walk down memory lane.

Also, what shirt did I send you? Probably from one of my favorite places! :)