With the change of seasons comes the change of clothing in our closets. Here in New England, that means putting away the sweaters, turtlenecks and wool pants and bringing out the light skirts, tshirts and sandals.
I have fond memories of my mom and I tackling my closet when I was a young girl, sorting through all the clothes I had outgrown that could be donated. I was a string bean, and regularly out grew clothes due to height far before they fit correctly around the waist. We’d make note of things that needed replacing. If it was necessary and practical, my mom would buy it for me or make it for me. (Sewing was a required learned skilled in our house.) If there was something frivolous that I wanted, I could either save my own money to buy it, or make it myself. I remember with pride saving my pennies to triumphantly buy my own pair of wooden Dr. Scholl sandals, which mom was convinced I’d twist an ankle on, and she cringed every time she heard me clomping across the floor in them. But a deal was a deal, and I loved them.
I sort through my son’s clothing with him a couple times of year as well, however the process for a tween boy is much quicker and less exciting. In his world, all he wants to know is if the clothes fit, and if they are comfortable. He firmly told me “mom, boys don’t care about being all matchy.”
And, of course, a couple times of year it is my turn to sort my own closet. Gone are the days when I have outgrown my clothing due to a height change. However, how our clothes fit due to weight changes is a constant variable. All Real Women have fat pants and skinny pants in our closets, and we don’t need to discuss here which ones are worn more often. But what gets me is not really the gaining or losing of weight, it is how clothes can suddenly not fit or look right from year to year. Even if I maintain the same weight according to the scale, as I get older I am apparently going through some sort of cosmic shapeshifting. Gravity pulls certain parts lower than they were before, there’s the stomach pootch to contend with, and I swear overall I’m getting even more short-waisted than I’ve always been. I fear that by the time I’m 60 my hips and boobs will be next-door neighbors. So a blouse that just last year looked fine suddenly doesn’t look good at all this year…or a dress I used to wear now looks like I’m trying to be 16 again and failing miserably. And guess what — I rarely tuck in anymore. Tucking in is apparently a style only for the under-30 crowd.
As a kid, my shapeshifting was exciting – I was getting taller, or developing a figure. As a middle-aged Real Woman, my shapeshifting is annoying and a wee bit depressing. But every time I pull together a pile of clothes to be donated, I can feel at least like maybe I’m helping out someone who needs some decent clothes and will look great in them. Then I make myself feel better by treating myself to a little Retail Therapy to find a few new replacement items… and make sure I bring a fellow shapeshifting BFF with me for mutual compassion and laughter in the dressing rooms.