Fashion, Aging, and Purging

By Janey Womeldorf

Fashion, Aging, and Purging

One great thing about getting older is realizing that if you wait long enough, your clothes will come back in fashion. The downside is, that it means that our closets are full of dated, but beloved, gems that we no longer wear, can’t get rid of, but hope that one day their day in the sun will return, and we will get to wear them again. This, of course, rarely happens for the following reason:

There is something about aging that causes our bodies to hang lower to the floor. Be it bellies, bottoms or boobs, simply put, as we age, we spread, and our maturing, shifting bodies leave us no choice but to buy new. Whether it’s tops, pants, bras or panties, all these items have one thing in common – they get larger every year. We ease ourselves through this transition by saying things like roomier instead of larger, but one fact remains: Even if those beloved pants in the back of our closet do ever come back in fashion, they’re not going to fit us anymore anyway.

Fortunately, this aging phenomenon occurs at the same time as our growing desire to purge. The older we get, the more “stuff” we accrue which means the satisfaction we gain from purging increases every year. Getting rid of box after box of un-needed stuff is exhilarating and cleansing to the point of being therapeutic, and nothing feels as good as a cleared closet looks. You have to be in the mood, but once you are, it’s amazing how relentless you become.

It begins slowly. First up is the old blue and white top you haven’t worn in years. Countless memories of summer afternoons past, and photographs of you wearing the top flood your mind, and you caress the fabric with a sad look on your face; it’s like losing a friend. Ten minutes later, your Goodwill bag is still empty, your drive is weakening, and your beloved top lies un-purged on the ever-growing, let-me-think-about-it pile.

I recently conducted a huge spring clean and got rid of enough clothes to dress a small army! As I ransacked my closet and attacked the dresser, (not to mention the closet in the spare room, the drawers in the guest room, and the stuff in bags on the shelf,) I realized that when the purging gets tough, the tough need rules.

1. Bras.

Once the wire pokes through, chuck them. There’s a reason that wire is poking through – the bra is seriously old. Do yourself a favor, purge it, get professionally measured, (which most stores offer for free anyway) and buy yourself a new one – your shoulders and back will thank you. Resist reaching for the needle and thread no matter how comfy the bra is. The wire will win. This, of course, you already know, based on the rest of your collection boasting little patches of darn. Also, if frustration prompts you to sew a small patch of half-inch wide elastic over the hole thinking that will seal the wire in for good, resist that as well.

In a pathetic attempt to continue wearing one of my favorite bras that had fallen prey to a relentless wire, I did just this. Everything was fine until I took a trip to Europe recently and had my first experience walking through one of those new body-scan machines. You walk in, stand, and walk out, and then a few seconds later, your image appears on a monitor. Intrigued to see what I looked like, I peered at the screen, horrified to see a vague human profile with a small, half-inch white square just left and center of my right armpit. I knew exactly what it was. A female security guard was summoned to perform a pat-down search and as she did her job, I stammered that I thought it might have something to do with the wire on my bra. Safe that my old, patched-up bra was not a danger to the flying public, they let me, my wires and my half-inch patch of elastic pass through.

2. Nubby tops.

If a picture of your top could appear under the word “nub” in the dictionary, purge it. Don’t kid yourself that you’ll pull out that little nub-removing device you bought years ago. You put that away in a safe place, which means you don’t know where it is anyway.

3. Missing Buttons.

Have you seen how much attractive, good-quality buttons cost lately? You will never buy them, even with that 50% off coupon, so purge it or “Goodwill” it, but get rid of it.

4. Shoes.

Face it – your joints need all the help they can get, and at our age, feet are top priority. If the shoes you have in your hand are not comfortable enough to wear for an entire afternoon bra shopping around the mall, then do your feet, your knees and your back a favor, and purge them.

5. Pants.

Ask yourself: Are these pants comfortable enough to sit down and eat a meal in? If the answer is no, you have two choices: Purge the pants, or never eat again. I’d purge the pants – it’s easier.

6. Any item you’ve not worn in over two years.

This is where the experts say you should start. I think it’s the most difficult though, especially if the unworn item is in perfect condition or cost a lot of money. So, option one: Get it professionally altered to make it wearable. (Admit it: You’ll never get around to doing it yourself, otherwise you’d have done it already.) Option two: Consign it. Even a few dollars can soothe a purged and damaged soul. Option three, put it back in your closet, close the door and cross your fingers – if you wait long enough, it may come back into fashion.

And if you’re really lucky, it may even fit.

About this writer

  • Janey Womeldorf Janey Womeldorf once went to work wearing different shoes. She now freelance writes and scribbles away in Orlando, Florida. It’s probably best.

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