Friday, 20 March 2009

Downsizing - the wardrobe, not the body

Every so often it is incumbent on a person - generally a female - to rationalise the contents of the house. And so it happens with me. There are periodic outbursts of the urge to  clear out the cupboards. One such urge hit me this morning. I have obviously reached the the age  when this sort of urge seems more compelling that the urges of the past. But hey!

The urge often strikes just before visitors arrives, and SD3 arrives tomorrow. Her bed is made up, the fridge is stocked, and apart from that things are fairly organised. 

Clad only in the shorts and tops I wear to the pool, for some reason I surveyed the contents of my wardrobe with a discontented eye. Things had to go. So some of them have.

I love clothes and when I contemplate my past wardrobe, it is quite fun, because I had some lovely things. In those days I was slender and easy to fit. No more, alas. In my teens my mother had the deciding say in what I wore, and none of us had all that many clothes. I had a lot of hand-me-downs from my older sister, who has dark hair, eyes and skin, and who looked good in colours that looked awful on me. Mum tended to think in brown, which is possibly my least favourite colour. My view is that anyone who looks good in brown will look absolutely fabulous in any other colour. It gradually dawned on me that I looked better in blues, green and turquoise shades. Yellows and orange also suited me, and in my early married life, these were the colours I chose. I made quite a lot of clothes, and because I was a standard size, the patterns generally fitted quite well.

We had some wonderful clothes designers way back then, in the 1960s. Fabrics were fun, the mini skirt came into fashion, and perhaps legs may have been gazed on more than breasts. Prue Acton and Norma Tullo designed fabulous clothes, and as I generally bought at sales, I became quite well dressed - not fearfully expensively. The clothes were so pretty. Stomper still has one of them and it still looks gorgeous. Dazzling colours, zigzag stripes and a plunging neckline, a culottes skirt, and closely hugging the figure. I wish I had a photo of me in it, but would settle for one of Stomper (hint hint).

As time went by my skin tones changed. The bright greens, golds, yellows and oranges nolonger suited me. The purple stage had arrived. Soon I was bedecked in all shades of purple, mauve, blues and jades. These are the colours I still wear, and I love them.

Unfortunately, as I put on weight, and got older, some of the clothes no longer fitted me and had to go. But it is not easy to farewell pretty clothes, or to acknowledge that for one reason or another, they just don't look good any more. They have been lurking in my wardrobe for many years, and periodically I have weeded the wardrobe, but there have been many clothes I just could not bring myself to part with. Maybe I never will.

I had a lot of clothes made by a friend who was a dressmaker and designer, and that solved some of the problems of buying ready made clothes. We were both silk painters at that stage, and Helen knew of fabric wholesalers, and I got into the habit of buying fabrics to be used one of these days. I still have most of these little stashes of fabric. Helen moved into designing and producing baby clothes, which were just beautiful.

Helen made this jacket, with a matching skirt (which I just managed to delete from this post),

and also made this, in the same fabric with different colours. They don't fit me now, and the styles have changed. They would make wonderful patchwork or parts of quilts, perhaps.

I was  very fond of this dress, but even when it fitted me, the last time I managed to lose weight, it did not look right.

I wonder whether, when these all arrive at Vinnies, whether anyone will choose them, and enjoy them the way I did. There is quite a lot of space in the wardrobe now, but I could, and probably should, have been a lot more ruthless.

Now if only I could have a go at the contents of Dr P's study....
What I really need is more bookshelves. When I look around the house I
have to admit that I could not fit in any more bookshelves. This simple fact does not stop me from adding to the book collection. 


Pam said...

Ah, I have lots of clothes that I fantasise I might one day get into again. Not that I've ever been particularly into clothes. Books, now.

The book I wrote was a children's novel, by the way. I mainly wrote it when I was in my early twenties, and it was published when I was twenty-eight or so (I did quite a bit of rewriting, in the days of typewriters, when it involved retyping the whole thing). But then I had babies and never did any more. The book is out of print. I'm sure it was rather feeble anyway, but I havn't read it for years and years.

Pam said...

That would be "haven't".

molly said...

Oh, you're just reminding me of what I've been meaning to do for ages! I want to take EVERYTHING out of my closet and put back only those things that I wear regularly. After all, there is no need to be keeping beautiful wool skirts that belonged to my mother, is there? I live in Florida, for heaven's sake! But there they hang, year after year.... Along with other cold country clothes......One of these days! The plan is I'll pile them all on the bed. That way I'll have to be decisive, if I want to have a place to sleep!
And then there are the groaning bookshelves.....Don't even want to think about it.

persiflage said...

Molly, I have the same problem with now living in a warmer climate ( I sit here perspiring as I persiflage, after a short walk to the market and back) but I do need the warm things for when I visit Canberra in winter. Or Melbourne, for that matter. Books are much more difficult to discard.
Isabelle, I feel even more curious about your novel. One of the people in my highly enjoyable Italian class is a writer, very successful and a prizewinner. I have been reading her books as they come to hand. She has been moving on to teen literature and is soon to have her first "adult' book published, and I am very keen to read it. Children's literature can be so enjoyable.

Stomper Girl said...

Here you go. The zip pull is broken and I am fatter than I was so it is not done up in this shot but I got into it better than I anticipated and only didn't persevere with the zip for fear of being stuck in it till Fixit gets back from the motorbike ride

meggie said...

I have a dress I have kept for many years, if only to believe I was once so slim! It is black, & light, so does not take up much space in my life!
I must get onto the sorting of other clothing. A blouse of my very small mother's needs to go, but I can't bring myself to part with it.
Gom has moved many of our books down into the garage where we have many bookcases!

Alison said...

That dress as modelled by Stomper is fabulous!

I tend to be ruthless with my wardrobe on a regular basis...which is good for storage, but I fear that when I'm older there will be a lot of things I wish I'd kept just for the sentimental value of them... taffeta balldresses, shoulder-padded corporate suits that I wore to my first job.

It's a balancing act working out what to keep and what to toss.