Sunday, May 17, 2015

Cleans up well

I love that jacket,” my friend exclaimed. She gestured for me to spin clockwise and then counterclockwise so she could see all its angles.

Such is the standard greeting in most corners of kinship. But finding myself in unusual territory, I turned my head to gaze down at my outstretched arm, needing a reference to remind myself what I'd thrown on that morning.

It was my faaaaaaavorite jacket: A black, neoprene hoodie with vents and reflective tape striping its length, and fashionable thumb holes at the end of each sleeve.

I mumbled a meek thank-you, but in my mind, I twirled through an awkward humble-brag response: “Oh this old thing? I found it washed up on a beach. It's practically an endangered species.”

Blank. Stare.

So … I wasn't just thinking that, huh?

See, this is just my fashion sense. Dulled, apparently, by thrift and absurdity. Someone compliments me on my attire, and I explain how I bought it for pennies at a flea market or fished it out of the trash.

Give it a shake.

Hand wash.

Tumble dry.


Still, with the staring?

I'm going to need you to explain that one,” she ventured.

Well, one morning last summer I was walking on the beach, and I thought a dead seal had been brought in by the tide. So I went over … you know, to poke it … and it turned out to be this jacket. One swim in the wash, and it was good as new.”

So I guess you could say it is an endangered species.”

I don't know if you can tell, but I don't receive many compliments.

Not that I would expect them.

My wardrobe consists of roughly a dozen garments that orbit my person in a fairly consistent three-day rotation.

Today is Sunday, so I am likely wearing my Lucky jeans (Marshall's clearance) a cobalt blue sweatshirt (Goodwill) and a green Lands' End hoodie (overstuffed hand-me-downs bag meant for the kids). It is also likely I'll be wearing several of these pieces come Wednesday, as well.

Now, you probably think I have nothing to wear.

Go ahead, pretend you are a 15-year-old girl and imagine me saying “I have nothing to wear.”

Can't do it, can you? You can't because you KNOW such a notion is totally ridiculous.

My closet -- like every 15-year-old-girl's in the western world -- is cascading with frocks and fabrics that haven't seen the light of day since they were acquired. These things are arranged by color (or, in my case, varying shades of lack of color) and hung like great works of art in a Closet Museum.

A dresser contains another wing of this fiber repository. I don't even have to claw through its deep drawers to find my usual favorites. Fancy fibers sink to the bottom; everyday wear floats to the top like flotsam.

Oh, I love this headband. I found it in a mud puddle in the parking lot of the supermarket. Came through the wash like new.”

I know I shouldn't be proud of this. I have socially acceptable clothes that take up precious real estate in my wardrobe but rarely get worn.
Doesn't matter how much I paid, I keep them around because of sentiment. Each clothes hanger holds the place of a distant memory that I don't want to see evaporate because of rote generosity. Therefore, I flout my own rule of thumb: For every Good Deal goes two for Goodwill.

Which means every year, I just wedge a few more pieces between the already tightly packed hangers. Clothes that are waiting to take a spin.

I'm not a clothes horse; I'm a clothes hoarder.

… But I could use some new shoes. It is almost beach combing season.

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