Shrinking closets have extended their devilry to drawers and under-bed storage units.
For the past two years, I and others like me haven’t had to worry too much about our wardrobes. We had nowhere to go and there were limits on when we could go if we could.
So when we were captured by Covid, what we wore at home, with no one outside to see us, was limited to shabby jeans and sweatshirts, old sweaters and blouses that might have been fashionable 10 years ago but still comfortable. And the sleepwear looked really comfortable in the daytime and besides, why get dressed when you just had to undress a few hours later to put on similar sleepwear.
But suddenly we’re able to venture out of our classrooms and see people we haven’t seen in years, other than maybe their eyes, and sometimes recognition has become a challenge.
And just as quickly I wondered what I was going to wear on these public adventures. Those old jeans with loose seats and a stretched elastic waistband would be fine in the garden, but not so great for socializing again in polite, fashionable company.
A search of stocking units yielded some favorite tops from years past. I fondled each of them with love and remembered when they were last bought and worn. Such fond memories followed.
It was like shopping but without having to spend any money. I chose the tops that I thought would be suitable for my first public outings. I checked the collars for stains and made sure all the buttons were in place. Then it was time to pair these tops with some bottoms I found in a drawer.
The moment of truth came when I realized that maybe I should think of the bedroom as a dressing room. With clothes tossed on the bed, I started doing the deed. By the time I was done, I figured I’d be just as happy staying home in my old jeans and sloppy sweater.
There had been a huge sizing shift in those two years. I didn’t notice the fact that the body had changed, so much so that a blouse that once looked lovely, now looked pitiful, struggling to cover the relevant parts of the body that were previously shielded from view prying.
Ditto for the other sweaters and shirts. And the zip on the bottom no longer crosses in the middle. I broke a fingernail trying to pry a button through a buttonhole on those same pants. This shopping trip may not have cost money, but it was draining my mind.
The pile of clothes was put away but wasn’t as productive as the pile that was there to be donated to a charity clothing store. The wearables fit, but got that shabby look after not being worn for several years or really just being worn out. But they were fine, so maybe a good bang in the washing machine and a romp with a Bounce sheet in the dryer would give them new life.
At this point, I alternate what I wear and save an outfit for special occasions, beyond banking, grocery shopping, and trips to the fruit stand and ice cream shop. With careful stewardship, I may be able to get through this summer without having to do any real shopping – saving the finances for a real fall spree in search of fleece-lined bottoms and long-sleeved, really stretchy tops. .
I should also find a seamstress who could put some pressure on the worn elastics of my jeans. Then I might look for a denim color dye to make my jeans look like they just came off the rack. This hole in the knee will look totally stylish.
Joyce Walter can be reached at [email protected]
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.