“Is there not glory enough in living the days given to us? You should know there is adventure in simply being among those we love and the things we love, and beauty, too.” ~~ Lloyd Alexander, The Black CauldronSo...I said I would ruminate over the past year's post-midlife-clothes-crisis closet experiment.
I don't think the success of it has been in trying to wear radically different clothes (I'm not). It's in knowing more what I'm looking for at a certain time; why I bought two pullover sweaters on my last thrifting trip, instead of, maybe, buying a pair of pants (I have enough) or a dress that I might wear once or twice. Or instead of bypassing the clothes at all and heading for the books. I was looking for a plain navy sweater, and when I found a green henley-style one as well that matched a favourite scarf, and the green sweater turned out to be a dollar-deal...it was just icing on the clothes cake. A year ago, I was pretty random about what went into the mix; now I have more of a plan.
The second benefit, ironically, is that I'm more aware now of certain clothing brands and stores I hadn't paid attention to before. Longtime shopaholics would not understand this, but if you don't go looking at clothes much, of course you don't know what's out there and how things are changing. While I was looking the other way (or was hiding out in the book store), several Canadian clothing chains went belly-up, and others came in that I'd never heard of. I also noticed (I've posted about this before) that my default places to shop (like the discount store) have taken a dive in clothing quality. The t-shirts and sweaters might not have been great before, but now they mostly look like they'd last about two washings and then be...garbage. Like we've been talking about. So the past year has been an unexpected education, in different ways.
Initially I resisted the numbers aspect of Project 333 because I didn't want to get legalistic about it. I still don't think that setting a number limit on clothes is the best plan for everyone. For me it has helped in the same way that a "desert island" game might help someone else focus on what's important to them. If I knew that I had room in my mini-closet for only a couple of dresses, what would they look like? What would I wear them for? What kind of shoes or other things would I need to wear with them? Would I need skirts too, or would pants be enough? I don't wear shorts much outside the house in the summer...so having one or two pairs is plenty for me. I'm not as crazy about turtlenecks as I used to be; but I might try the round necklines I've always avoided. I still can't wear white, and it's not just the lights in the changing rooms. And you know what I think about black...although I caved in this Christmas and found a fake-velvet midi skirt on the dollar rack. It was headed for Lydia's closet, but she decided she didn't want it, so I wore it with sweaters over the holidays. I think I've become more open to experimentation and change, although when something is a "no," it doesn't get a second chance.
The best thing, for me, is that all this came together around the time I turned 50. Big numerals there, people. 50 is not a bad thing. 50 means you are old enough to wear what you like because you're old enough to know that you like it.
Col. Jessup: I would appreciate it if he would address me as "colonel" or "sir." I believe I've earned it.Stay tuned tomorrow for the number Four...
Judge Randolph: Defense counsel will address the witness as "colonel" or "sir."
Col. Jessup: [to Judge] I don't know what...kind of unit you're running here.
Judge Randolph: And the witness will address this court as "judge" or "your honor." I'm quite certain I've earned it. Take your seat, Colonel.