Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Suits

Letting go of some old friends today really gives me pause for thought.

My work suits were taking up valuable closet space, but I loved each one of them and I refused to part ways (for years now.) When it was time to make room for maternity clothes a few months ago, I moved the suits to what will be the baby's closet as a temporary solution.

But I knew what I had to do.

I bought most of the suits in the first few years after school. In my young twenties and full of fire and ambition, I decided that if I was going to be taken seriously as a professional, I needed to stop buying clothes from the junior department. I cut off my long curly hair and started wearing it straight and shoulder length. I wore heels and hosiery 4 days a week (you already know that I love to torture myself.) And even though I didn't feel like a grown up, I made an effort to look like one.

In short, (and I am) I tried very hard to look older and take myself more seriously!

'Wish I could talk to that silly girl and tell her a few things about life. But here I am, and those suits were a tangible thing of hers that I held onto as long as I could.

I dropped the best ones off at a Dress for Success drop-off in the hope that someone else can use them before they get any more dated and dusty. I knew I was potentially "losing it" when, returning to my car, I thought for a split-second about going back in to get them.

There was the red Dana Buchman suit that I paid a small fortune for back when I believed the whole power-in-color-thing. (But I always did look good in red.)

There was the camel-colored pant suit from Talbots that still looks as sharp and tailored today as it did when I bought it. I felt about two inches taller in that one...but you won't see me in Talbots these days -- I'm way too young anymore.

There was my favorite navy short-sleeved suit (my first "summer" suit.) I loved it so much I had at least three different pairs of navy shoes to wear with it.

There was a black suit and a chocolate brown suit. So many different accessories. So many working lunches. So many memories of a simpler time that I made more complicated.

I don't know why I didn't get rid of the suits years ago. I have been a SAHM for three years now. And I had not worn suits to work for a couple years even before that. I think I was holding on to the hope that I might need an interview suit one of these days.

But as it turns out, I'm about to start a new job in a couple of months. It requires long, long hours and "dry clean only" is out of the question... And I'm not ashamed to admit that I have mixed emotions about taking on such a massive new project, although, I know how rewarding it will be.

I did keep one, a white summer suit. Because, in my imaginary world, I might be invited to a garden luncheon slash fashion show. I'll just need to throw on some strappy sandals and a big flowered hat and I'll be ready to go.

And I kept my black cocktail suit because... Well, just because.

A girl cannot survive on yoga pants alone.


chacha said...

You know, I also have a slew of suits that I (a) haven't worn to work since 1999 (IT investment bank internship) and (b) can't possibly squeeze my ass into. I have some weird idea that someday I will need them and will somehow manage to again fit into them. Right. Someone just has to instruct me on how to go about losing 20 pounds.

Anyway, I let one suit go recently, but I really should donate them all. Thanks for reminding me about the dress for success people. I remember reading about them and hopefully there's a drop location here in SD...

Jill said...

I think it's great that you donated your suits and you kept your favorite! Perfect... I think you'll wear it again soon. You could even wear it to church and have a nice lunch afterwards.

Tooj said...

What a wonderful post. :) I'm sorry that you had to part with some of "you", but your donations will be MUCH appreciated by the recipients, I am certain. You make me want to go buy some suits for myself, though. Hmmm...I really shouldn't go shopping....dang it.

The American Homemaker said...

I don't think I've ever owned a suit... LOL

On the smores-maker thing... The fuel is just sterno fuel cans. You can pick them up in the camping dept of any store or at a kitchen store for like $2. You use them both for camping and catering. The "sticks" I use are just fondue forks. The makers are nice because they have the rack over the fire, but you don't need it. You can roast marshmallows right over the flame of the can. Cheap and easy :)

Bonnie said...

Isn't it funny what clothes represent to us? I love the way you described your feelings. I remember when I decided to "get rid" of my work clothes. There were a couple suits I held on to because I just loved them.

Aggie2percenter said...

Hooray! I'm all for decluttering! And for a good cause. Kudos!

Girly Stuff said...

The question is...do you still have a few college sweatshirts? Because the suits can go, but those must stay in our closets.

You were always very sassy in your suits.

Isn't it interesting how we spend our 20's trying to dress older and our 30's trying to dress younger?