Sunday, May 02, 2010
Sophisticated Clothing -- the good old days
In my working lawyer days, I wore a lot of scarves. Actually, I took pains to learn how to wear scarves, because it seemed to me that women who wore scarves seemed so professional and pulled-together. I discovered that it's not an easy thing to do, wearing scarves. When it's done well, it looks effortless. But it's all too easy to end up having a wad of fabric hanging inartfully around your neck. When I got comfortable with wearing scarves, I felt like I'd truly grown up.
So here I am, years later, not dressing up to go out in the working world, and still I have all those scarves. Today, in purge mode, I decided to clear out the scarf drawer and make room for some other things. It's not like I wear them any more.
But oh, how hard it is to get rid of some of them, and I finally end up with a small assortment of the ones I couldn't bear to part with. This one, for example, I bought at the actual Liberty of London's on my one and only trip to England. I love that scarf -- not just because it's gorgeous, but because it makes me remember standing in Liberty's fondling the silk and feeling so cosmopolitan, and all the times I wore that scarf after that too.
And the scarf my friend Mela gave me for Christmas, that went so beautifully with the winter white wool suit I had. I'd sewn the suit myself, in my just-out-of-law-school days when I didn't have much money to spend on buying clothes. One of the few female judges complimented that suit when I wore it to court early on, too, and asked where I'd gotten it. The suit is long gone, but I adore that scarf. I could wear it with jeans and a turtleneck. And the one another friend brought me back from Paris... how can I get rid of that?
Each scarf I pulled out reminded me of the dresses and suits I'd worn it with, and where I was when I got it, and how I'd hunted for something with just that color combination before I found it. And each one reminded me of the life I had as a single working woman, when I took great pains each morning to dress carefully and match my handbag to my shoes. Ah, it's a far cry from now, when I throw on jeans and my most active clothing decision is whether to wear the Merrill clogs or the Ugg boots. I wasn't just sorting through scarves: I was sorting through memories.
So I'm keeping a few that I've not worn in years, with the vow that I will try to wear them. I love them! And they hardly take up any room at the bottom of the drawer now. The rest will go off to Goodwill. I had a brief moment of wondering whether I should keep them to use them as silk fabric in a quilt ... Hah -- another way to keep them -- see how sneaky my mind is at resisting the need to clear stuff out of the house? But I put them in the give-away bag, and this way there's the chance that someone will wear them to work, or give them to their little girls for dress-up, or otherwise give them a new life out in the world.
Oh dear, I'm contemplating the new lives my scarves will have once they escape from my home. It's no wonder I have a hard time getting rid of things. But I'll carry on with my sorting -- have to stay a few steps away from those Hoarders folks, you know. And besides, I need to make room for fabric.