A casualty of the pandemic turns out to be some of my clothes.
Well, most of my clothes. Actually, all my clothes, not counting half a dozen T-shirts and those comfortable, not-quite-flannel garments called “lounging pants.”
Everything else in my closet can go, probably should and likely will, if I continue down the ruthless path I’m on. The pants I once might have described as “work clothes” were first into the toss pile. Never all that comfortable, they now feel like two tubes of boiled cardboard connected at the top with an unidentifiable scratchy material. Besides, my work clothes now are the aforementioned T-shirts and lounging pants with holes and bleach stains.
On top of the pants, I’m piling shirts, blouses, tanks and random garments whose only fashion statement is “clearance rack.” This will empty my closet of tops, as the T-shirts already in rotation are kept in my dresser drawers.
Speaking of my dresser drawers, I saw a video the other day of a Japanese subway train so packed with passengers, with more trying to board that attendants were pushing people onto the train with all their strength before laboring to close the doors over protruding body parts. My dresser drawers are just like that, minus the human hips and elbows. Everything is crammed together willy-nilly, and brute force must be applied to put away the clean laundry. As long as I can shut the drawer with nothing hanging out, I’m satisfied.
Back to the closet. It goes without saying that any lingering skirts and dresses will be dismissed. I still own a few, most of them older than my grandchildren and considerably less fresh, but I can think of no occasion to which I would feel it was appropriate to wear them. Yes, I might be invited to a wedding or a minor coronation, but for those occasions I’d buy a new outfit because I’m certainly not going to show up in a not-quite-flannel, elastic-waist skirt purchased 12 years ago at T.J. Maxx.
We recently had some painting done that included the interior of my closet. Because I had to empty it anyway, I did some preliminary gleaning then – several pairs of jeans, sweaters whose only possible use was as a maternity bed for a cat, a disgraceful number of shoes. That was when I had an epiphany: Women’s clothes in general tend to be annoying and uncomfortable. And yes, I do mean compared to men’s clothes.
This isn’t to say all men’s clothing is comfortable.
Neckties, for instance, are curiously punishing. But trousers and a suit coat tailored to minimize a man’s love for nachos are positively cozy next to dressy clothes for women, which almost always require the wearer to hold her stomach in for six hours, endure a certain amount of itchiness (yes, I’m mentioning it again; scratchy clothes are my personal bete noire) and, of course, wear stockings and high heels, or some other shoe that makes her feet feel like they’ve been caught in a bear trap. Listen, a person can wear high heels and hold in her stomach all day or she can be the vice president in charge of the northeast region and eastern Canada. She can’t do everything, and she shouldn’t be expected to.
Years ago, my job required me to fly to Dallas for a conference. Because I was going from the airport directly to the conference’s exhibit hall, I dressed for work, right down to heels. These days, of course, I have no more connection to high heels than I have to the pelt of the North American ground squirrel, but back then, I owned several pairs, none of them comfortable, none of them sole mates. By the time I gained my hotel room, hours later, I might as well have walked to Texas.
This is why I’ve never liked the Bob Seger song that goes “They love to watch her strut.” You just know the woman in that song is not strutting in comfortable, extra-wide Danskos or wicked cozy L.L. Bean moccasins. She’s strutting in pointy-toed, 6-inch, $700 designer shoes. She has nothing to do with my life, thank goodness.
Maybe I’ll turn my closet into a reading nook.
Write to Margo Bartlett at [email protected]