24 June 2007

Recognizing when to have the "we need to talk" talk

Having spent much of last night assembling another perfectly transitioned long-run iMix (think circa-2002 Shakira meets Billy Idol meets Wrecks-'n'-Effect), watching the second half of Live and Let Die, the first half of A View to a Kill, and giving the smuckerbug his bi-monthly deep-conditioning treatment, I was in no mood to tackle my usual Saturday night chore of re-hangering the two-foot-high pile of something-about-it-just-doesn't-look-right wardrobe components atop my dresser. You know what I'm talking about -- those skirts, city shorts and silk jersey shells that at some point during the previous week contended, even made it to the full-length mirror with shoes and earrings, maybe even made it through hair and makeup but ultimately failed to make the final outfit cut.

In direct contrast to the chaos of my office, kitchen and bathroom counter-top, I keep a pretty clean closet. And not just clean in the organized-by-color-and-venue sense (though it is) but clean in that there's nothing in there that isn't an integral part of one of my four primary - work, weekend casual, weekend temptress and special occasion - wardrobe rotations.

But as I look to my left at the intimidating size of this week's pile of rejects, I ashamedly realize I haven't been as tough on poor performers as I have been in seasons past. Even without glasses, I can identify among all those brown, ivory, red but predominately black items at least four I haven't worn in months and unless stretched-out, irreparably-shrunken and faded-to-grey makes a comeback next Fall, I won't wear in the months to come.

Just like when a romantic relationship takes a final turn for the worse you initiate the "we need to talk" talk, so should you with your out-of-rotation clothes.

They take up precious urban-apartment space, they tempt you with their previously impressive performances resulting in a departure delay every Monday through Friday morning, and most detrimental, they prohibit you from being able to make a clear assessment as to what your wardrobe inadequacies are.

Unlike a deteriorating romantic relationship, there are no consecutive months without oral sex, indifferent dinner conversations or at-work crushes to remind you how necessary a task it is to grab a trash bag and call up Good Will to schedule an impending donation. No, with clothes it's slightly different -- you hang on a bit longer than you should, you rationalize and make excuses and choose to overlook deficiencies because it's easier - not to mention less expensive - than the alternative of finding a replacement.

But here's my advice, advice which I too will follow after my poolside excursion this afternoon: anything more than two sizes too big or two sizes too small, anything whose color has faded to a sad reminder of its original vibrance, anything whose shape has been irretrievably lost either at the neck, sleeves, waist, legs or bah'um, and anything that smacks of memories too painfully good or too painfully I-can't-believe-I-dated-him to recall on a daily basis all get the automatic heave-ho.

Beloved vintage pieces, of course, are immune to this rule. We may have broken up with our quirky bisexual college boyfriend who loved gangsta rap and Julia Roberts movies for legitimate reasons (i.e. his refusal to give up comfort sandals and the four-foot water bong) but we certainly don't erase his number. One-of-a-kinds are just that -- one-of-a-kind.

Don't stay in a relationship simply because it's comfortable, familiar and proven its worth in outfits past -- reevaluate thoroughly and often, and never be afraid to replace something old with something new.

It's not like you'll ever have to face your decision with an unexpected and hostile run-in on ConnAve, after all.

Though with my recent sophistikitty haircut, already deep Summer glow and new leaf-print sheath, I won't lie, I pray every 11:11 for those run-ins.


dara said...

I still can't get over the hair. It's just looks soooo good on you. The gamble paid off in spades.

You've inspired me to throw out half the clothes in my drawers. The closet, however, is going to take some more prodding. How could I ever part with my first ever polyblend suit from Ann Taylor?? It would be like cutting off an arm!

denver fan said...

If I've recently lost quite a bit of weight, is it a good idea to get rid of my "fat clothes"? Some friends say yes, while others say no.


Johanna said...


thank you on both accounts - the hair and letting me know I served as your inspiration to clean out the drawers. Baby steps are steps nonetheless!

denver fan-

a good friend just asked me this question. my advice is, if this weight loss is part of a lifestyle overhaul to which you're committed - i.e. not just a Spring Break bikini weight loss - then go ahead and purge your wardrobe of those "fat clothes." Maybe not the pricier pieces such as suits and evening dresses, but definitely the basics: jeans, blouses, trousers, skirts, t-shirts, shorts, etc. Not only will you have 50% more room for your new "skinny clothes," but you'll also eliminate from your morning routine flipping past reminder after reminder of your previous weight. The sooner you can stop thinking of the way you look now as a temporary you - a *new* you -the better.

but again, if there's a piece you love and know you can't find a replacement for, get it altered or simply keep it tucked away in the back. There's nothing wrong with relics.

hope this helps!


bow seat said...

Love the posh bob (pob) haircut - looks so glamtastic on you.

Yes, the "we need to talk" talk, but can I ever find the right time to part with any of my DKNY Pure classics no matter how worn?

denver fan said...

thanks for the advice!

Johanna said...

"bow seat"-

when you (or your parents) live a stone's throw from the DKNY flagship store off Newbury, yes, you can pitch your stretched-out, threadbare favorites :-)

you should bob yours, too, and then we could be the bitchiest pair of lookalike bitches in New York. Oh wait, neither of us are there.