Thursday, April 16, 2015

Who Is my Closet?

I have other posts in mind right now, other things I could be talking about. But there is one random thought going through my head that I wanted to get out before it fades. You see, I looked in my closet the other day and wondered who it belonged to.

A few years ago, I found myself at that point where I no longer get rid of clothing because it doesn't fit me anymore (it's called growing up). And around that time, I was also trying to get more quality clothing. Less synthetic materials, less things with elastic that tends to wear down more quickly. Oh, yes, and be friends with washing clothing by hand: even if an item doesn't have to be hand washed, do hand wash it if you know it'll last longer that way. And try to air dry as much as possible. But I digress. My point is, I now have clothing that is new and that is eight years old and everything in between.

I've come to have a fairly specific style and a decently good idea of what I do or don't like when it comes to clothing. So around the time I graduated college, I was at a high point, loving my lace dresses and colored tights. But style changes depending on where you are, what you do every day, and where you are in life (also your daily mood). And when I looked in my closet the other day, I realized that it's still the closet of a college student--and I wasn't sure what I thought of that.

The closet of a college student can mean many things. I wasn't the type to show up to class in sweats (I hate hoodies and sweats are pretty much the same thing--in fact, I don't think many literature students wore sweats). I was the type to try out crazy outfits just because college is that time in your life where it doesn't really matter what you're wearing. I'd wear dresses and vintage hats and brown shorts with lavender tights or this really weird outfit where I put green tights and a green shirt under a black Banana Republic dress. By trying things out, I figured out what I liked and what worked.

But now I'm realizing that what worked then doesn't necessarily work now. Where I'm living now, a lace dress that I wore to class on a regular day is considered a very nice dress--so I find myself wearing dresses like that less often or trying to dress them down as much as I can. But then I realize that much of my closet is made up of simple, girly dresses like that. And I wonder if that's a good thing.

When you're in your twenties, you can pretty much wear whatever you want (aside from how you need to dress for work). You can dress a little older or a little younger; it's all fine because you are at that in-between age. But I generally think that if you can or feel like it, you shouldn't try and dress older than you are. I used to wonder why people in their twenties dressed the same as people in their forties. And then I realized that these are people who probably shop at places like Ross, Wal-Mart, JC Penny's, and Sears for their clothing (other places are considered more expensive, although you can sometimes still get better deals if you have the time to look--but sometimes other stores are also farther away). And stores like this tend to jump right from the teen clothing to the grown-up women clothing: there are no in-between styles. That's why I like Anthropologie and Chelsea & Violet and MSSP from Dillard's: for the most part they're clothes that aren't for a specific age group and yet there's youth in the playfulness and originality of the styles.

But how far should you take playfulness? Given that I am short and thin, sometimes people still think I'm sixteen--at which point I have to assure them that I'm two years out of (four years of) college. So I stay away from the shirts with animals on them or things like that that I think would help make me younger. I add in some Antonio Melani pieces, or pearl earrings (I don't feel the need to wear shoes to make me taller). But I'm still wearing the pretty dresses and lace shirts, and now I ask, to what identity does that clothing belong?

Is it of a free, creative young woman who enjoys life? Or is it of a woman still searching for stability, still thinking that she is that young college student who was trying things out instead of maintaining things and working toward specific things?

So what do you think? Is there a time when your wardrobe needs to gain a little more seriousness, or is it okay for it to remain fun and original?

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