Sunday, July 27, 2008

Closet Inventory

Ladies and gentlemen... my closet.

This is the only place where I keep my clothes; everything else, like underwear and socks, ends up in the drawers. I have a shoe rack in there, too, but that's another discussion for another time; for now, let's talk about the clothes.

I just went through a major purge recently, which led to a lot of revelations: for every wrongfully punished outfit (sorry, Indian tunic that got donated recently to Goodwill), there are a few mistakes that actually remain in the closet for some strange reason: tacky souvenir shirts from my parents' travels; forgotten skirts; sweaters "just in case" it gets cold. As you can see, however, my favorite dresses, blouses, and pants remain at the forefront - perpetual staples for any occasion, from church to work to the occasional gala event.

One item sticks out from this closet like a Yeti in a candy shop: a white cable-knit sweater that was given to me as a gift by a favorite supervisor at the Chaminade bookstore. I wore this on our trip to San Diego to keep me warm; it's disproportionate and stretched out, yet I can't bear to even part with it on account of being a gift from a person I always loved and respected. My Masters robe and hood from my recent graduation is here, too; just looking at it makes me happy for so many intangible reasons.

See this red cheongsam above? I love it - all that red and gold mingling together, like an unending Chinese New Year party... and yet, I still have not found the heart to wear it for the last five years, mostly because I wore it to events associated with some seriously painful memories. I've been dithering about getting it retailored, too, since I do remember being a little larger when I first started wearing this out. But there's still hope: I may wear it again to my next trip to Cleveland, or at least to another event that would purge the trauma from the past once and for all.
Here is the oldest item in my closet: a tunic that my Dad got for me in Sumatra when I was 15. How this blouse has managed to hold itself up after 16 years' worth of washings (and several size fluctuations on my part) is astounding, but what makes this even more remarkable is the fact that this item basically started my unending romance with South Asian-style long-sleeved embroidered tunics.

Speaking of items that Just Won't Die... there are no words to describe why, or how, this Old Navy skirt managed to stay in my closet, despite the fact that I no longer actively pursue the "naughty Catholic schoolgirl" look in all aspects of my life. I personally think that the deal-breakers here involve the length and the tailoring; despite the oh-so-trite plaid pattern, I can still dress it up with tights, heels, and a black turtleneck, or dress it down with flip-flops and a plain T-shirt. As long as I'm not wearing it with something that has a sailor collar or a tie - and as long as my hair remains un-pigtailed - I should be fine.

And then there's the inevitable Wardrobe Rescue - in this case, it's a reversible jacket from Nepal that's designed to float and flow over the body, but in its current state it makes me look like I have no shoulders whatsoever. But before I threw this back into the Good Willy bin, I experimented by throwing it on a plain T-shirt and cinching it, kimono-style, with a corset belt. Result: a newly invigorated piece for the colder months.

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