By Marcie Everhart
I got the day before Independence Day in the story rotation among the Forever 51 babes. I thought I’d wear my Pats jersey! (I usually don’t wear it til January when my own team has long stopped playing, lol. #skolvikings) What’s more American than football?! And cars?! And Suburbia, America?! (Don’t even start on me about Tom Brady…we always play with Tom Brady balls at my house since we can’t find the dang pump to re-inflate them when they go down a smidge.)
But…who is this woman?? My God, this felt so contrived…inauthentic. Like I just perch on the car in the middle of the cul-de-sac all the time waiting for a little game of catch to just spontaneously pop up with the neighbors. Oh, yeah. And, the heat index is like a hundred degrees right now. I’m trying to smile while gasping for breath.
What I really wanted to be doing was deeeeeep decluttering of my closet, since I am forever in search of the Holy Grail of a simple, pared down life. To be American is to over-consume, right? The thing is… I hate most of my clothes. Your clothes are supposed to spark joy. There may be others of you out there feeling this too…I have a closet bursting with clothes that I honestly hate. So this is the real me: You guys, I have a whole bunch of really bad clothes.
How the Hell Did This Happen to Me
I read a lot. Then all that I read swirls around in my head like a blender on high-whip, and who knows what it’ll become when the blender finally stops. But sometimes the thoughts coalesce into action that must be taken IMMEDIATELY, now, to change something HUGE in my life!!
Exhibit A: I read Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” which explained how someone who is emotionally attached to their things can let go of them by being emotional about it. You have little conversations with the things, thank them for the joy they brought or the lessons they taught and send them on their way back out in the world. YES! I talk to clothes all the time! Check! But I’ve been apologizing to them and feeling guilty because I don’t love them anymore. Marie spoke to my heart.
Exhibit B: I read Elizabeth L. Cline’s “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion,” which informed me that the average American woman adds 64 pieces of clothing to her closet every year. What about those of us with cowboy boots and football jerseys older than our grown children? What are the numbers? Cline had 354 pieces. The bloggess at An Exacting Life had 480. Debbie Roes at Recovering Shopaholic had 272. Pah! Amateurs. I had over 800 pieces. I didn’t have the strength to even make it over to the underwear, outerwear, shoes, scarves…
I had an epiphany: I’m not normal. I immediately put the book down and ran 200 pieces to Good Will. It was liberating. I can’t describe the giddy feeling of clarity, vision, living-in-the-here-and-now, being fully engaged with life NOW. I got rid of a few old clothes and was filled with an energized sense of purpose. I want more. SO MUCH MORE. Elizabeth spoke to my brain.
Exhibit C: I read Sheila Heti’s fabulous “Women in Clothes,” which illustrated how many women buy the SAME things over and over. Check. My personal duplications are: denim shirts, beige sweaters, and black turtlenecks. I had no idea I was actually so damn boring. Sheila (and her co-authors) spoke to my hands, reaching for the same clothes on the store rack out of habit. It’s like our brains shut off, and we don’t even realize WHAT WE ARE DOING.
Wait…This Is a Fashion Blog, Everhart
Yes. And that means taking a hard look at what you have and who you want to be heading into your 50s. I want to be FREE of the clutter that keeps me pinned to the past. How can I fully connect to my bright and shining future when I’m dragged backward by all this horrifying baggage?
We have a long holiday weekend! Face down those hoochie mama shorts and matronly swimsuits and petroleum-molded $1.99 flip-flops! Charge!!! (Theoretically, we should be doing this gut check twice a year for hot weather and cold weather. If I tried to do both right now though, my head would explode.)
The White Stuff
Let’s go for the low-hanging fruit. Check all your whites for yellowing. Yep. We have yellowing on the waistband and side seams of this white lace pencil skirt. And it’s shabby. OMG, is that my underwear flashing through there? HolymotherofGod, did I ever wear this with my underwear shining through?! I used to wear this with a serious navy blazer in spring to the office and thought I looked professional! Get out of my life! Be gone. Ohhh, that is truly…unfortunate.
The Peplum Tops
These peplum tops that are supposed to be so flattering…never fit my long torso correctly. Where the hell is my waist exactly? Maybe I don’t have one. A piece of clothing should never make you feel like you don’t have a waist. But sweet Swiss Dot fabric!… Should a Forever 51 woman be wearing Swiss Dot? Summertime babies, yes. Grown-ass women, no. (BTW, so glad I never had summertime babies. Nothing against summertime babies. Everything against summertime final trimester and labor.) Be gone. You don’t do a thing for me.
Please program me to not buy stupid things like this, beep-beep.
Take Your Sad, Drab, Depressing Color and Go
A polka dot circle skirt! How fun! Who thought it was a good idea to make it orange-y beige? I think I had a great aunt with a dress in this fabric. And she had a hat to match? With plastic lace attached. It’s sort of like…Grey Poupon mustard.
This top makes me sad. I wore it to my beloved grandfather’s funeral, my grandfather who raised me. I gave his eulogy in this top. That’s all I can think when I see it. (Besides all the awesome it’s doing for my chest. And check out my bat-wings. And the built-in chain necklace that’s confusing me – how does one wash this without the chains kinking, oh yes, they are kinked.)
Ahh. I was intrigued by this Vera Wang sweater…it looked like a lovely smudged painting in the front, then had this peekaboo party in the back. Those aren’t even the worst aspects to this garment. See my face? That’s because my back is breaking out in hives due to the high-acrylic content of this itchy, hellacious sweater. I’m shuddering right now remembering the feel of it. Can anyone even explain this garment?
Me: Wait, I like this top! It’s sorta architectural. Husband: No! It’s dated. Me: What would you know about dated!!? Fine. It goes. It’s borderline too low-cut actually.
Me: What do you think? Husband: I actually like this top! Me: Seriously? It looks like it has a uterus on it. And it’s borderline on the cleavage thing. You know how I feel about cleavage!
This pink lace skirt is the color of silly putty. Or bologna. And the lining ends two inches before the lace because that’s always a classy look.
I’m so very, very brown. And not in a deep-dark chocolate way. Btw, you have a package – I’ll just put it here on your porch and ring the bell.
This is that exact shade of muddy burgundy that makes broken capillaries and zits stick out nicely.
Cheap, Cheap, Cheap
This elephant tank top is made of that cheap material that wads and pills and clings to everything else in the dryer. I hate touching it. Why do I have clothes I hate touching? They’re touching me, you know.
Hahaha! Yes! The cut-off, high-polyester-content jeans with that artful light wash right on TOP of the thighs. So flattering. Lol. The label says there’s only 17% polyester, but that has to be a lie because they feel like a rubber band, and slide right off my backside when I sit down. And the tribal tank top? See “elephant tank top” above. Ditto-kins.
This was from my Mom Era when I chased after the kids around the slippery swimming pool trying to get them to not run. I think this is sort of a take on the “eensy-weensy yellow polka-dot bikini.” I had one in every color. :^)
This swim halter top leftover from that time I tried out for the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders.
The Very Special Vulgar Category: It Just Ain’t Fittin’
Pistols Firing! Uhhh. No. No. No. My six-shooters look like I’m caught swinging pasties around in mid-swing.
Why would I throw out this tee in this nice vibrant pink? Because if I tip over even slightly, there won’t be any point in wearing the shirt. I want my boobs covered – is it too much to ask of a shirt purchased this decade?
Tempting to keep for a Trailer Trash Bash. Add hair rollers, a Pabst Blue Ribbon shirt, and some Moon Pies tucked under my arm, good. To. Go.
I let out the hem to make them more modest. Now these shorts look like I let out the hem. Yes, I washed them but was afraid ironing might melt the fibers. I so badly wanted to save this happy summer floral. Can’t you see them with a white tee or denim shirt and a big brown belt?
Another gem of a t-shirt! I am a night owl, but the eyes!… Another wondrous feat in perfect body placement. And I can totally explain the Old Navy board shorts that belonged to one of my sons about ten years ago. That was that time when you couldn’t find women’s shorts that were longer than the point where the leg and hip meet. So I just wore the kids’ dude shorts. I gave up trying to match a shirt to them long ago.
Grand Finale. Vulgar, itchy, cheap, dated, funky mustard color – all of the above.
The Real-Real Behind the Scenes
Lol. I really do have gorgeous, current clothes, and now I can get to them better and fully enjoy them. Friends, get rid of the junk and make room for all the beautiful things that are going to happen in your life.
A Little Background Music
It looks like Taylor has made some of the same choices. I have all those outfits, btw.