I’ve come back from the summer in the States, where I lived in the same two pairs of shorts the entire time, and switched up my top. Even for work, which was on zoom, so no one cares what I look like from the shoulders down.
I’ve come home to unpack and realise I have more clothes than I know what to do with. And have space for. Because I live in England where houses were built in the 1930’s and people bought armoires to store their five pieces of clothing. Even with a large wardrobe from IKEA, I don’t have room for all the clothes I own.
I want to purge. I feel better when I have fewer things, fewer clothes. I can breathe easier.
A friend and colleague of mine, and a brilliant coach by the way, Rhian Davies, talks about the decisions we make. She made a short list of a few things our decisions have created:
▪️ The job you have
▪️ The house you live in
▪️ The car you drive
▪️ The free time you have
▪️ The person you ‘do’ life with
▪️ The friends you have
▪️ The team that you lead
▪️ The money you have
▪️ The 'state' of the body you walk around in
▪️ The direction life is currently heading in
I’ve been delving deep into myself and making peace with the choices I’ve made and the habits I have formed over the last few years while I have been in deep grief, for the international move and loss of my tribe, for the loss of my nephew, for my daughters struggles at school, for COVID…..
And I find myself in a small-ish house, with no storage space, and so many clothes from a different life. Or two. Well, ok, four.
I have clothes from when I was in my early 30’s. Fabulous, living in NYC. Meeting new people. Auditioning 5-6 times a week. Working as an actor all the time.
I have clothes from right after I had my daughter, Grace, my late 30’s. Dealing with the new reality of motherhood, still fabulous by the way. Working as an actor all the time.
I have clothes from my 40’s, when I lived in Denver – totally different kind of shoes, as you drive where you are going, you can wear those 3 inch heels and not have to navigate public transport. Working as an actor, all the time.
And I have clothes from my late 40’s when I moved to London, my nephew died, my daughter struggled, and while I work a bit in film and TV, my career has shifted to being a Grief and Loss Coach, as well as a Corporate Coach.
4 sizes of clothes here, babes.
As I started to purge, I realised that I am holding onto memories of a life past, memories of being fabulous, being powerful.
These clothes represent who I was, just as Nigel Kipling says in The Devil Wears Prada:
“Holston. Lagerfeld. De la Renta. And what they did, what they created, is greater than art. Because you live your life in it.”
Not that I had designer clothes, but I lived my life in those clothes. A life I LOVED. A life I worked hard to create.
Since COVID, that life has not been super fabulous. Hell, I was dressing from the top up for a good portion of that!
Now, I have gone through my wardrobe.
I have offered key pieces like Nine West 3 inch supple black leather knee boots to my daughter. She’s 15, she won’t wear them anytime soon, but her eyes lit up when I offered them to her. They are beautiful. They are powerful. I hope she wears them and feels that.
I have kept a few pieces that I think I can get back into when I drop my COVID-19 lbs and my kummerspeck (German word, literally means Grief Bacon, refers to the 10 lbs we gain when we are grieving). Not many pieces, they are mostly tops, and I love them and have made it my goal to get back into them.
I have put aside a few pieces for friends whom I think would look amazing in them.
I have put together a massive haul for Dress for Success Worldwide and the local charity shops. Someone else will benefit from some of my nicer clothes, some of which might even be considered vintage at this point (WHAT?). I hope they will feel as fabulous and powerful as I did.
If you are like me, and holding onto clothes from a past life, consider:
Offering a few pieces to others who might benefit or enjoy them, because your fabulous clothes are meant to be lived in. A friend who has admired a shirt or dress of yours, will love you for it.
Donating your corporate clothes to Dress for Success Worldwide, a worldwide organisation to empower women to have economic independence by providing support and professional attire. Or any other organisation that might benefit from your attire.
And of course, donating to any charity shop or goodwill.
I promise you, you won’t miss the clothes.
You’ll remember how you felt when you wore them.
And that’s what we want.
We want to remember how we felt.
And hold onto that.
THAT is worth saving.