Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Purge

Thanks to everyone who voted on the best outfit to wear to JD's Phi Kappa Phi induction! I'm going with Outfit #2, with a short sleeve shirt tucked into my purse in case I sweat to death in the cashmere.

There were many outfits I rejected outright when I reviewed the photos. Some were shapeless and baggy, some just fit me badly (too short in the waist, too short a sleeve, etc.). Really, taking photos helped me see what a real difference it makes to wear clothes that actually fit the body instead of just covering it. That, and my overflowing closet, has got me thinking.

I need to purge.

I'm a packrat when it comes to clothing because I'm working from an assumption of scarcity. There's a tiny part of me that honestly thinks that if I throw away this torn, bleach-stained faded cami that I haven't worn in three years but have washed several times because I've dug it off the floor of my closet...If I throw that thing away I will somehow NEVER EVER FIND ANOTHER ONE.

Because I'm fat, of course, and clothes that I can fit into, afford and like are so rare that I often settle for best two out of three.

Ditto for the too-baggy tops and the frumpy fraying faded skirts that are sold as ankle length but cut me mid-calf. Ditto for the shirts that are too short for my frame because some manufacturers only size clothing up sideways, but I bought them anyway (because, ya know, I might NEVER FIND ANOTHER SHIRT...EVER).

My self reward for this purge is that I will set aside a chunk of money (maybe $100?) for new clothes and/or fabric and patterns. Yeah, ok that'll buy me half an outfit at Kiyonna. But considering that's more than I usually spend in a year, it feels like indulgence and that's what's important.

Also, I need to vow that in the future, I will not buy badly fitting clothes in the first place. I don't care that the shirt at Salvation Army is relatively new and a good color. If it's also shapeless and a size too big, there's no point in buying it. I don't care that the dress is super-cute. If the waist is too high and the hemline is a frumpy length I'll never wear it and there's no point in buying it. And really, even if I do go on long camping trips, I do NOT need an entire drawerful of "camping shirts" that are too baggy, worn or ugly to normally wear in public. (Bears and other campers not counting as public). I need, at most, one for painting and other messy home improvement projects, and three for extended camping trips.

The fact that a piece of clothing covers my body is just not good enough anymore.

I don't know if my purging willpower extends to my insane shoe collection, but maybe that's something that calls for babysteps.

Le Sigh.

Maybe I can at least put the toeless and strappy sandal types in the attic for the winter.


Amanda said...

One of the best things about the blogosphere in general and the fatosphere in particular is you find other people who feel the way you do, when you've felt alone before. I, too, suffer from this 'scarcity' fear around my closet and my clothes. Good for you for getting the stuff out that doesn't make you feel good when you wear it!

On the subject of things that are too big, if it's something you really LOVE, you might consider finding a friendly neighborhood tailor... and don't be afraid to go into a menswear store to find one! I got a recommendation on a tailor from a friend, and when I arrived and saw it was a suit store, I almost chickened out. But my friend had recommended him, so I knew he'd dealt with at least 1 fat female body before. He didn't even blink when I came in with my men's jeans (the only ones that fit my hips, but I needed the waistline taken in). I am such a fan of getting things tailored now! We deserve clothes that fit!

Anonymous said...

Good for you!

I have been known to keep a treasured garment as a memento, but I mentally shift it from "clothing" to "keepsake" because I don't wear it.

Anonymous said...

You know, I used to have the clothing hoarding problem, too. Then I made a promise to myself that if I had either a) to spend more than 5 minutes digging through my closet in the morning for something to wear, or b) more than half my hanging closet space is occupied by stuff I haven't worn for at least a year (which usually means that either I don't like it, or I know it doesn't look good on me), I'd make a closet cleaning project and dump the stuff I no longer wore...just get a garbage bag, fold it all up, drop it all in, shuffle it into the garage for the next Goodwill trip.

It's kind of mentally liberating to establish some parameters for determining the acceptable amount of "junk" in life. (Then again, I'm not a sentimental person, so maybe you don't consider things "junk" the way I do...)

Also, watching What Not To Wear practically every week has drummed the "don't buy it if you don't love it" mantra into my head. Now, rather than focusing just on the price, I try to think of the value...Do I like this thing enough to wear it often?

Snarkysmachine said...

The paucity of well fitting, attractive and REASONABLY priced large sized clothing is well documented. Still, it's like nobody is listening. I think it's awful that anyone over a 14 (depending on the height) has to hang onto clothing way beyond its expiration date because of a real fear there aren't going to be suitable replacements. I am a bargain gal and I scour the racks of less hip places (Like Kmart and JcPenney) and find really great items I can pair with higher priced things and come up with totally cute outfits. I often challenge myself to put together an outfit (excluding shoes) for less than twenty bucks and this has helped me be far more creative and ultimately less distressed when it's time to put an old item of clothing out to pasture.

Great blog!!!