Tuesday, March 22, 2011


The other night, my husband and I caught the end of a sports commentary show. (When the one you were watching on ETV or PBS ends early, you catch the end of a number of odd shows.) One young man on the panel was sporting a very, very wrinkled button-down shirt. Where was his mother?? What was he thinking?  What was the producer thinking? To what depths have our dress codes fallen? 
We all remember flying in ‘the good days’. We dressed for a plane trip as though we were going to church. Not these days, although I imagine it is easier to go through security checks in slip-ons and flip-flops instead of lace-ups. Flying is certainly more comfortable now that we’ve ditched the suits and ties, the panty hose, hats and gloves, and (egad!) the girdles. Now we dress for flying as though we were going to clean the garage. I’m all for comfort these days, but neat, clean, wrinkle-free comfort. 

We all do it when we’re shopping: we cringe at the dirty underwear showing above a droopy pair of jeans, or the grungy grey bra strap showing from under a tank shirt. We wonder if they really, truly believe they look good. Have you received an email about these folks, or visited The People of Walmart website? Oh, do check it out. You will be amazed, you’ll be truly awestruck, you’ll laugh yourself sick!
All this got me to thinking that maybe that wrinkled young man might have just grabbed a shirt from the ironing pile. Perhaps he was just overwhelmed by all the clothes in his closet, and opted to grab and wear ‘old faithful’. It happens to the best of us. While our dress codes have fallen into the depths, our need for clothes has risen to unmanageable heights. Perhaps that guy had so many clothes in his closet that all of them were wrinkled. Nah! That many clothes would act like a press. Relative to the varied sizes of our homes here, I believe the clothes closet space is quite generous. Ah, you disagree?  Ah, you have too many clothes!

I know of some men who are to golf shirts what Imelda Marcos is to shoes.  When you get this many clothes they become a collection, not a wardrobe. You should be displaying the best ones in your living room! Not ready to do that? Well, it’s time to do some judicious editing.  Start with a big plastic bag or two.  All the ousted items are going to get folded and put directly into a bag.  There are several methods for sorting the wheat from the chaff. There’s the old trick of going through the closet and pulling out anything you’ve not worn in a year or two. There’s the ‘three-piles’ method: first pile for old, beyond repair, never liked, too small, too big (this last one never happens to me!), haven’t worn in ages clothing; the second for ‘maybe I can still get some use out of this’ or ‘I’m undecided'; and the third pile for in-style items, classics, must-keep garments.  Perhaps best of all, there’s the spouse method: stand back and let your partner do the gleaning and cleaning out.
If you are sentimentally attached to a piece - and this applies to all our possessions, not just clothes - why not take a picture of it, and then you’ll ‘have’ it forever. Then get it into that big, black plastic bag.  Go back and tackle the undecided stuff.  Be big, be brave, make a decision. Do the same culling in the shoe, jewelry, undergarments, and accessories departments of your wardrobe. The custom-closet ads can be a bit ridiculous: who can get along with just those small collections of clothes? But they do have the right ideas for organizing and protecting your clothes. Once you’ve gotten down to the best of the bunch, treat them to proper hangers and garment covers or bags where necessary; shoe boxes, bags, or racks; drawer liners, maybe even some sachet? You’ll add length to the life of the clothes you do keep.

See that?!  You really do have enough closet space in your house! Makes you start to wonder where else in your life you can use these same tactics.

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