Shopping Ban Revelation #1

Betsy Johnson

The other night I was playing my daughter’s favorite game: Princess. I’m basically her life-size doll and she goes through my closet and picks out “fancy” things for me to wear. This instance she chose for me three items:

  • A Betsy Johnson strapless sparkly tulle dress (above)
  • A grey fedora (which she later switched out for one of her plastic tiaras – more fitting)
  • A purple and grey silk scarf

The dress was something I bought in 2006 for a party (and before Betsy went bankrupt to be resurrected by Steve Madden). I’ve found excuses to wear it MAYBE two times since the party. 2006 was way before I had kids. Somehow I got the thing on, but it took some effort. Like those commercials where women wiggle around on their beds struggling to get their tightest jeans on kind of thing. It didn’t fit like that in 2006. I remember being able to breathe.

Aside from realizing I left out scarves of my original inventory (and will go back to add the 13 I counted), I noticed there’s a good chunk of stuff I’m holding on to for all the wrong reasons. I still have that dress because I think there might be some occasion in the future where it will come in handy. Granted, now that I know how it fits me (or doesn’t fit, whatever) I’ll be selling it straight away, but holding onto something with the hope that it one day might be useful isn’t useful at all.

So I need to let go of the sentiment, and I need to let go of the idea that “might” might happen. I’m not at a point in my life where black tie is part of any of my social invitations. I’m thick in the world of machine washable because my little boy is 2 and I’m convinced he’s been watching Viking eating customs documentaries behind my back. I like being able to not totally freak out when the kids figure out their spoons can double as catapults, landing applesauce square on my back. Even when I wear my coveted dry clean only wardrobe, it’s for work and my first order of business when getting home is to change to keep the clothes safe.

It’s kind of surprising to find out I hold such emotional attachment to these things. That’s not normally my deal. I don’t save the kids’ clothes when they grow out of them. I clean out the clutter out of our house twice a year–anything that’s not being used goes to charity. I’m sentimental about people and places (but even sparingly there), so why am I wrapped up in emotion with this stuff? I have a Kate Spade bag–my very first one–that’s probably 12 years old. It’s smaller and I suffer from mom-purse syndrome so I never carry it anymore. Do I hold on to it in hopes that one day I don’t have to lug around 5 matchbox cars, a spare pull-up, at least 2 snacks, and a sippy cup plus all my crap? Or do I let it go and wonder if I’ll miss it down the road?

I imagine it will end up being a combination of both. And maybe the further along I get in this experiment, the more I’ll be able to let go. Or maybe I’ll keep a much smaller secret stash of “just in case” things and laugh at myself every time I look at it and don’t use any of it.

Begrudgingly, allowing my daughter to be her uber girly self when I was a tomboy and have no idea how to handle it, I have a good starting place for my closet thin out. Before the end of the month, I’ll need to try everything on so I can get rid of anything that no longer fits. We’ll see how much I can eliminate from that alone… then I’ll go further down the rabbit hole of my emotional attachment to fashion.

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