Deconstructing the Wardrobe when you are 60

As 60 approaches I am deconstructing my wardrobe. Looking to switch to the M&S Classic range in keeping with my age and infirmity. After all it’s a range I have yet to experience and the thrill is immeasurable. The problem with making space for this new range is I am such a hoarder and have outfits and shoes befitting a much younger woman. The good news is most still fit hence the bulging wardrobes, the bad news means it’s harder to throw away. And I’m moving increasingly in to flatties, hence I cannot justify retaining the 30-40 pairs of 6-7 inch stiletto heels, currently in boxes along the top shelf of my wardrobe, any longer. Apart from the fact I might fall off these heels,Granny’s teetering about on platforms and stilettos is not a look I am keen to develop.

I am including in this deconstruction, my jewellery. If clothes are hard to remove then jewellery, annotated with memories and sentimentality, means it’s unlikely that any of them will make the charity shops. Pride of place is my engagement ring minus the solitaire diamond. And the substitute rings never living up to the symbolism of the lost stone engagement ring but the Lion thought they might help. I can still remember the day I lost it, running a terry nappy under the hot tap to slough away the contents of my baby’s breakfast, the force of that water also carried the diamond with it, deep into the heart of the sewage system, never to be seen again. The deconstruction of this jewellery has resulted in it being strewn across the bedroom furniture for a week now and with each memory I am no closer to getting rid of any of it.

There are 32 pairs of shoes in boxes, this does not include the summer shoes in the storage box in the wardrobe and the winter shoes/boots littering the carpet at the foot of the wardrobe. Trying to look organised but nevertheless cluttering up the limited space and certainly not with the original neighbours. Now there are several reasons for this Imelda Marcos behaviour, none of which is blog worthy but nonetheless needs to be justified. I can hear you draw a sharp intake of breath at the sheer decadence of it, but I can assure you these were, to the last pair, absolutely essentialbuys. The oldest pair I have are 40 years old, bought for £9.99 in a long gone shop in the local Shopping Centre. The interesting thing, and I know the Economist readers among you will find this insight invaluable, you can ( and I have) 50 years later buy shoes for £9.99 from shops in the same Shopping Centre (Quiz, for instance). It is pretty clear to me that manufacturing in this area has not witnessed much in the way of economic growth, therefore I have made a significant contribution through these purchases to the economic development of my country.

Everyone knows that 2 of the three items you wear to a wedding need to match or coordinate. I’m not saying I had new shoes for every wedding, that is silly, but I did need to buy new ones for my children’s weddings. Although I could have gotten away with wellies, since I wore long frocks both times, and no one is likely to recall the shoes in any event. In fact I did wear the same shoes to each of their weddings and not an eyelid was batted. Between 2011 and 2018 I attended 12 weddings. There was an issue in so far as the guests were largely attending the same weddings as me, give or take a few independents and everyone knows women have the memory of an elephant when it comes to remembering what you are wearing. It was a chance I just could not take. The 2 out of 3 matching items rules accounts for at least 8 pairs of the 32 in boxes. And rules are rules.

By far the most extravagant pair of shoes was bought in NYC, on a visit with my daughter who spent most of our time there throwing up. She suffers from Hyperemesis Gravidarum; a condition of pregnancy our future Queen Kate also has apparently, and this awful illness meant most of our sightseeing was limited to toilets and washbasins. Nonetheless we did manage a trip to Bloomingdales where incidentally the toilets and washbasins are far superior to those of similar stores. I was seeking a pair of orange shoes. And after the helpful assistant brought me over 30 pairs. I left with the orange leather Michael Kors sandal, 7 inch stilettos safely in my grasp. I was filled with fear at the price I had paid, actively encouraged by my daughter who was exhausted by all the vomiting and had given up the will to live at the 22nd pair. She was agreeing to anything in the hope of moving onto the next washbasin, after all there were so many to see. After this purchase I was immediately gripped by the fear of bankruptcy which required me to consider how I would explain everything to the Lion. I absolved myself of all responsibility in this purchase convincing myself categorically that the purchase had been essential to my daughter escaping the shop floor and being able to throw up outside the store.

Despite their vintage status, the personal stories attached to each item and their enduring importance to the history and insight of fashion choices of the 20th century woman, most of these wonderful clothes, shoes and jewellery are going to end up in some charity shop at best or some clothes bin at worst. And it is that thought that is shouting at me to keep it for another 10 years at least. By the time I am 70 it should be much easier to throw it away since I won’t remember why I had it in the first place. There; decision made I am off to tidy up and put it all back in the drawer, boxes and wardrobe……………. and the Classic range can wait.

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