And I have enough clothes to wear something completely different every single day of the week, with multiple costume changes in between.
Unfortunately I do not actually have 2,500 square feet of closet space, so I have to purge or risk being swallowed alive by clothes. But, the joy thing--well that's tricky. I had to create new criteria for purging. Instead of joy, I ask myself if I feel anything when I look at the clothing. And then I decide if I want to feel that feeling. Sometimes, when I look at certain clothing items, I don't feel great about myself because I know the clothes fit poorly--that's an instant purge. Other times, I look at certain items and I feel a memory attached.
Clothing has memories for me. Like the headband I am wearing in the picture. I snagged this one summer afternoon shopping a sidewalk sale in Haddonfield with Chloe. She was so adorable searching through sales racks for cute treasures and found me this headband. I remember she said, "Mommy, you love knotted headbands! You have to have it." And so I had it, so I could always remember my daughter thinking of me.
I also found the brown skirt I wore for Lily's first birthday party. It was knee length and has an adorable gold floral motif by the lower hem and a crepe tie at the waist. We had ordered 5 dozen pink and black balloons. The pink ribbons dripped from the ceiling and created a surreal fairytale forest in our living room. I remember sitting on the floor of our first house--an adorable 1920s bungalow with dark wood everywhere--opening Lily's first birthday presents and looking around at all our friends who loved us and Lily.
Two months later, those same people came to Lily's hospital room at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, bringing us muffins and meals and stuffed animals and most of all, love, support and prayers. That skirt fills me with love and friendship.
I also stumbled upon the kimono I wore with cut-off jeans shorts when my brother was dying. This is a hard piece of clothing. It was one of my favorite pieces to wear from summer to Fall. I wore it the day before he died and then the next morning when we got the call that time was shorter than they imagined, I put it back on. I wore it under my scrubs in the operating room. The logical part of me thinks I should purge that memory; but my heart won't allow it. That kimono touched my brother's arm and thanks to its flowy-nature, it brushed his cheek when I kissed him. I remember tucking it out of the way when I washed his face for the last time. It's a hard memory; but it reminds me of when I was a sister and that I did not fail at that job.
It is just the opposite, I was good at it.
There are less serious memories too--a Flyer's t-shirt I wore on a fun date day with my husband, a blue asymmetrical dress I wore to my friend Kathleen's wedding, the orange Alice + Olivia dress I wore to my 40th birthday party and the maxi length tank dress I wore to Chloe's preschool graduation. I got that dress at Target--I remember I wanted something new, but had neither the time nor the money to get something. Nicholas was a baby. I only worked here and there, so my budget was Target. I taught yoga that afternoon to kids at Appel Farms and raced from there to the preschool (changing in my car in the parking lot). I love that dress. It reminds me of the days of being a young mother--so busy and stretched but so blessed with little ones to chase.
So, in the end, the clothes I purged were the clothes that offered nothing. I held onto the joy, of course, but I also held onto to the other things. Those things might not always be as pretty (as my gorgeous Fall floral dress that I love with off-white suede boots and a red blazer), but they hold all the memories that make up a life (and a wardrobe).