Lists · Style

The Art of Owning

I opened the doors to my wardrobe to find only six items hanging up in it.

– The dress I wore to my year 12 formal

– A polka dotted shirt I sewed myself when I was seventeen

– Another attempted home-sewn shirt

– A short black skirt I’ve never worn except when I was showing it off to a friend in a public bathroom

– My bridesmaids dress that I wore for my sister’s wedding as her maid of honour

– My bright purple fluffy dressing gown

I’m on holidays, so all my clothes (besides these six items) are at another house (seven hours away). The items that I have left over intrigue me.

For instance, I love my year 12 formal dress, but I haven’t found a reason to wear it since my formal (two years ago). Despite this, it’s still one of my favourite articles of clothing that I own, because when I wore it I knew I had chosen it for me and I knew that it suited who I was and I know that it still suits who I am. Sometimes we buy clothes and we look back at photos of us wearing them and we don’t understand because they don’t look like who we are in the present. But I would wear my formal dress again, given the opportunity.

For instance, I haven’t worn the shirts I made since I was in high school. When I finished making the first one, I was so proud of it. It had bias binding and darts and it actually fit me. I wore it to Bible study most weeks in the following few months, and I was so confident it’s not even funny. Looking at it now, hanging up in my closet, I don’t know that I’d wear it again. It’s not the most flattering shape and the bias binding had a mind of its own. But how could I throw it out? How could I do such a thing?

For instance, the short black skirt I’ve never worn? I can’t get rid of it either, even if I don’t end up wearing it, because it marks a milestone. And the milestone is this: I bought it because I wanted it. It’s one of those things that you buy completely on your own terms and you’re proud of it because you feel like you’re becoming your own person and you feel like no one can tell you no. The skirt was bought the week after I left school, the week I had officially finished every exam ever. Definitely a milestone.

For instance, my dressing gown. My dressing gown has been with me for a long time, though it’s surprisingly not worn. It’s been there in moments of coldness, needing comfort, sadness, relaxation; dressing gowns really are good for many occasions. (Though sometimes I have dreams where I’m out in public wearing my dressing gown and I hate these dreams because I always feel so embarrassed about being caught wearing a bright purple fluffy dressing gown in public and in my dream I can feel the panic when I can’t take it off. Humiliation *shudder* though I always wake up feeling terribly relieved upon realising I haven’t made the mistake of wearing my dressing gown to church.)

These items, all of great importance, didn’t make the cut when I moved away from home. But they’re in the category of do-not-throw-away, because if I were to throw them away I would have to somehow replace them, and what’s the point of that?

Sarah xx

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