A few weeks ago, I had dinner with my parents, and it was right after I got back from Colorado and the fencing program. They said I looked great, they praised me to the skies, they said all sorts of nice things, and they bought me a very nice dinner at a very nice restaurant.
At the end of the night, though, they got honest. “You look great. Your clothes look terrible.” I was indignant, but they were right. My shirt was all wrinkled and bent out of shape, my pants were stained in places, and the hems were ripped. The were also unflattering to a man of my build and proportions.
Going through my closet to prepare for the first days of school, I discover that what my parents said about my clothes that night applies to much of what I own. It seems that I am afraid of good clothes. I own a lot of stuff from Old Navy, which does not hold up to the kind of uses to which I put my clothes. I have too much ‘festival’ clothing which I hardly ever get to wear, and not enough of the clothing that I use on a daily and weekly basis, like collared polo shirts, dressy button-downs nd suits. I have too much underwear (some of which needs to be thrown away), and not enough pairs of socks (and not enough athletic socks compared with dress socks). I have three pairs of shoes that look crappy, and a couple of pairs of boots that look even worse. There are several pairs of jeans or shorts that don’t fit me (and look terrible on me even when I do lose the pounds to wear them). Half of my ties are stained and not really good for regular use. Many can’t be cleaned, and many more are wrinkled.
Mom told me I should go through my clothes and find a lot of stuff to throw or give away. She wants me to be ruthless. Torn cuffs on pants? Toss ’em. Threadbare collars on shirts? Shred ’em for rags. Highly visible stains? Throw them out? Worn in places and unflattering? Give to Goodwill.
It’s a little horrifying how much of my wardrobe falls into one of the four categories just listed. But it’s not only that the older stuff is worn or damaged. I have a pair of shorts I bought only this summer that are already stained and look nasty. I have two nice Lacoste shirts, presents from my mom this summer, and both of them have indelible stains on the front or on the shoulder; both shirts are light colors, and one is white.
How do people decide what to wear, and when to get rid of something? When you get rid of something, do you take it to Goodwill or the Salvation Army or a consignment shop, or do you just throw it away?