Shopping in My Closet (and Under the Bed)

Yes, it is time to move the black-shoe dresses to the dark side of the closet and pull the white-shoe, won’t die-of-heat-stress dresses to the front. And the summer work shirts and slacks, and to put the sweaters away, and the turtlenecks. And to see what’s been attacked by the button moths, and what mysteriously shrank over winter.

One of my former colleagues (since retired) called it “shopping in your closet.” You know, when you really start digging waaaaaayyy in the back, sometimes with a flashlight, and discover things that you didn’t remember you had. Or thought had disappeared, or been given away by a family member (or hidden, then buried by a family member.) “Oh, yeah, that dress.” “These pants? No, they are comfortable, and the stains don’t matter when I’m doing yard work or make a quick run to the hardware store.”

I discovered a black mock-turtleneck that had gotten in with long-john bottoms, which explains why I never could find it this winter, a vest that took refuge under some skirts so that I never found it this winter, and a few other things. Why do I have three white Oxford* shirts? Because for a while you couldn’t find them. Now you can’t find cream-colored ones (at least not for ladies). I also have a light teal Oxford shirt, still folded with collar stays, for the same reason.

So now the white dresses are at the front of the closet and the black ones are in the back. The wools are packed away and will get mothballed, then tucked under the end of the bed until next fall. I’ve sorted out some things to give away, and two that will become cleaning rags.

I do wonder, however, what happens between November and May, or May and November, that causes seams to get taken in, especially around the waist. And how the button moths managed to get in and loosen about half a dozen buttons. I used mothballs, I sealed the boxes as best I could, and yet something worked on the button threads and made the waistbands smaller.

‘Tis a mystery.

*My term for button-down collar business shirts. These are made of the heavier Oxford-weave cloth, and were pretty much all I wore between grades 6-12, and into college. For a while that was all I could find in long-sleeve, high collar shirts that could be machine washed and were school acceptable.

Book Review: Dress Codes

Ford, Richard Thompson. Dress Codes: How the Laws of Fashion Made History. (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2021) E-book.

Fashion history has been a bit of an interest for me, mostly in the whys and wherefores. I mean, if I’m going to dress 150+ years out of date, I probably ought to know something about the clothes and the reasons (then) for them. Professor of Law Richard Thompson Ford takes a sideways look at fashion going back to the Renaissance, arguing that laws related to dress had serious effects on society, and can reveal a lot about power and culture. I don’t always agree with him, but he has some very interesting observations and ideas. Continue reading