Spring has sprung. The buttery yellow daffodils sway in the breeze while the red-breasted robin beckons from the trees. Mother Nature has pulled out all the stops once again as the drab grey winter gives way to the spectacular performance that is the pleasant prelude to summer.
The scene inside my house, while not as hueful as outside, is no less daunting. Each year the ritual is the same – swap winter wardrobe for a summer one. Scarves, hats and gloves find their way into my grandmother’s old black steamship trunk, a fitting color for the deadness that has prevailed over these last few dull months. Sweaters the color of mud find their way to the bottom of the pile. Coats lined with fleece have no place in the exuberance that is now June’s finery. Boots, socks, wool pants that have honorably performed their job of keeping my legs warm are now relieved of their duties.
This year, though, much of my winter wardrobe is destined for the giveaway pile. Many items will be demoted to a category that marks the finale of a life stage, not just the end of a season. Turning 65 gives me and my wardrobe pause. What stays, what goes?
The red, white and blue billboard that arrived in my mailbox a few weeks ago screaming “OLD” began this cycle of thought that preceded my wardrobe demise. Otherwise known as a Medicare card, this 3 ½ inch by 2 ½ inch square of government-issued paper heralds in the senior citizen stage of life, along with 10,000 other souls born daily during the baby boom era.
And, while this mini-billboard takes up no more than a sliver of space in my wallet, it has the bulk to edge out many of my frivolous and fun fashion statements.
There is no room any longer for 3 inch Badgley Mishka heels. For a brief moment of wardrobe denial just a few short years ago, I was on a shopping spree, gathering up heels as if I could wear them in my world of teaching. Their crystal buckles shimmering in the light are a reminder that my ability to teeter on heels has faded. The shoes go, and I won’t shed a tear for them.
It’s time to bury the above-the-knee skirts that have been hanging like dead bodies in my closet for a couple of years. I am not sure how or why I thought they would ever make their way from the hanger to my hips. They weren’t comfortable the few times I wore them several years ago. This year they are casualties of my increasing awareness that the cute clothes of yesterday have no place in my life today or tomorrow.
Victoria’s Secret nighties, likely gifts my husband hopefully gave me to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or invitation to a night of romping make way for comfortable flannels and fleece nightgowns. I’m not sure if frills and froth belong in a pile destined for the Salvation Army. Perhaps their bright colors and frivolous fabric will scare away the crows that daily threaten my garden? Recycling at its best. Although I doubt that Victoria would be pleased.
Are shorts in my future or a vestige from the past? They belong in the “maybe” pile, frantically retrieved when the sun blisters the air to 90 degrees with 75% humidity. Old lady decorum be damned during July and August, I have no doubt, so I’d better hang onto them for the summer scourge.
The recognition that just because I can wear sleeveless shirts doesn’t mean I should may signal the demise for my tank tops. Yes, I believe that I have the right to bare arms, but it doesn’t mean that I should exercise that right.
Do cute strappy sandals adorned with Swarovski crystals in the multi-hued colors of the rainbow really need to make way for sensible shoes? Come on, shoe designers. There are millions of 65+ women who aren’t dead yet and we don’t want our feet to look like it either. Can’t comfortable and attractive coexist in footwear?
When all is said and done, what remains in my closet is the plumage of the baby boomer woman – denim. It’s the uniform of my generation, no matter that modern-day designers have tried to claim it for their own.
Truth be told, I am thrilled to be free of the roles assigned by my clothes. Denim says “I’m on my own time, all the time” and that’s what I’ve been waiting for most of my life.
My time. My clothes. The end of winter, the beginning of spring. My new life that bursts forth from spring cleaning signals that I am finished with pretense and conformity, although I admit that there are days when I long for cute again.