Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Gone But Not Forgotten

I finally started going through my closet and dresser before Mass on Sunday.  It’s a chore I’ve known that was needed, and have avoided, for a long time.

Some (Himself) might say I’m a clothes hog.  It’s not that I buy that many new things each season.  After all, a girl’s wardrobes needs some refreshing.  It’s that I never get rid of anything.

Until about a year ago I had a sweater dress that I bought my freshman year of college.  That wouldn’t be so bad if I was thirty and had graduated less than ten years back.  But I graduated in ’87 and acquired the dress a few years prior to that!  The dress was thirty years old and looked it.

Then there’s the blue sweater I dug out of the back of the dresser.  It must have shrunk greatly because it is much shorter and more “snug” than I remember.

Neither the dress or the sweater has any great fashion significance.  What they both held are memories.

The dress was the first  real good article of clothing that I bought for myself.  Until then, most of my clothes were from discount stores like Gold Circle’s, Uncle Bill’s and Kresge’s. 

I remember needing a dress for a student government event at college, so I went to the local mall.  There was a Laura Ashley store in it and the dress caught my eye.  It was perfect, simple.  It could be dressed up with a scarf and heels or made to look more casual with a pair of leather boots (that I still have).  The problem was the price tag - $99.  That was an especially steep price for a college girl who working at McDonald’s. 

But, I bought it anyway and it served me well.  Throughout the years I wore it to all sorts of events – orchestra concerts, dinners out, Mass, Christmas celebrations, and more.  Then the wear and my changing size became apparent and it got pushed to the back of the closet.

The blue sweater doesn’t have quite a storied history.  It was a cheap purchase, I think at Sam’s Club.  But one of my favorite pictures of myself was taken while I was wearing it.  It was after we have moved to where we live now and Himself and I were enjoying some patio time after work.  I was sitting on a rock in the garden and he snapped a picture of me.  I was relaxed and content, and it showed.

Like the dress, the sweater is showing signs of better days and will go out with a pile of clothes making its way to the resale shop.

I am finding that I attach meaning to clothes that slows me down from getting rid of them when I should.  Just because the item is gone doesn’t mean the memory that went along with it is.

Perhaps by letting it go someone else can make a memory in it.  Or else they can have a pretty rag!


  1. Wow. I hadn't heard "Gold Circle" in at least 15 years. Or Laura Ashley for that matter. :) I had a rich friend in college who was decked out in Laura Ashley, including her bedding. Back then, I couldn't have imagined owning anything so expensive. I would have held onto that dress just as long as you have.
    That is a beautiful photo of you. I'm glad I now know the story behind it. And it will be remembered whether you keep the sweater or not. (So get rid of it.) :)

  2. It can be a little nostalgic getting rid of clothing that has meaning for you or you have had a long time. I just put a pair of shorts in the box to giveaway that I've had a while...they still fit and all but since I bought new shorts..it was time for me to say good-bye to the older pair. I still have a dress in my closet that I've had awhile and it came in handy a few months ago when I needed something a little warmer to wear during a spring outing...I was glad I had it and I'm still not ready to let it go. It's interesting how we can attach ourselves to certain pieces of clothing.

  3. When cleaning out a closet over the weekend, I too came across items that held memories. Sadly, some went into the trash. some will go to resale shop. A few others made their way back into the closet : ) have to confess, still have my 7th grade home ec dress that was my first sewing project....won't even mention how many decades ago that was. Tracy

  4. I have a hard time letting go of clothing, too. Sometimes it is memories, and sometimes it is wanting to still be the person who would wear those items.

  5. I have volunteered at a resale shop the last 4 years or so every Thursday night for a local organization. Most everything finds a new owner...sometimes people are so filled with joy at the things they find. ...and use volunteers usually find some new things too!

  6. I just had to throw out some stuff in my basement, and most of it was worthless monetarily, but I had held onto it because of memories. I realized as I got rid of the stuff that the events that I was remembering with the stuff were a part of me that were not gone, just because the stuff was gone. So I guess I had the same realization that you did!