Sunday, June 12, 2011

A year without clothes

After writing the last blog, like any normal person, I sought the advice of my 357 closest friends on Facebook. I got comments from ‘total genius’ (posted by me) to – ‘are you crazy?’ Not deterred, I responded to the two or three people who, like me, felt it was a wonderful idea and planned to start on January 1, 2011.

With a firm date in place, I looked through my closet and made a list of items I absolutely needed to have before I went on my apparel diet. My plan was to go do some crazy shopping while in New York over the Christmas holidays. I had everything in place, including an extra suitcase for all my new stuff.

I planned my shopping carefully. I made a note of which shops I would get certain items from. I was deliberate and focused. Nowhere in my plans did I take into account there would be one of the worst snow blizzards to hit NYC in twenty years. I could not believe it – not only did the City shut down but transportation was suspended, airports closed and people told to stay at home.

Given that we were already in NY I decided that nothing was going to keep this woman from her only mission – shopping. In the absence of transportation, I decided to walk through the waist high snow piles and bravely face the cold, slush and frozen feet to make it to my destinations. After traversing for 32 blocks, I found my favorite store in the world CLOSED!

What do you mean you are closed? Many others struggled in, despite being told to stay at home. There were retailers committed to the after Christmas sales and returned gifts. I sat heavily on the doorstep of Chico's and fighting tears tried to put a new plan in place. I considered breaking the windows of the shop and bursting in to find my stuff. However, I couldn’t think of a good enough explanation that would get New York City’s finest on my side.

With a last forlorn look at the beautiful red sweater in the window – the one the matched my eyes – I reluctantly moved on. I tore up my plan and meandered my way back to the hotel. I was so dispirited I didn’t have the heart to look for anything else.

I returned to Bermuda empty handed and without anything new. I was now ready to begin the New Year by shopping in my closet. I would have to find things for every season, every occasion and every meeting in the back of my closet. I would have to rely on my previous impeccable taste to ensure that whatever I currently own would work.

One of the first things I discovered in my closet was a pair of silver flat loafers. For the life of me, don’t remember buying them and I’m pretty sure that until I found them I would have sworn I didn’t own a pair of silver flats. Is there such a thing as a silver flats fairy? Well, she visited my house and saved my life.

I found that when all else fails flat silver shoes work – and if they don't no one will ever say anything about them. I found that my silver shoes go well with jeans, black pants, khakis, long skirts. You name it I’ve made them work for me.

It is now June and the first half of the year is almost over. Other than silver shoes, what other opportunities have I had to bring out the best of my closet? I have a metallic gold shirt. Yes, I wore it to a client event. I remember buying the shirt and at the time it dazzled me but in the harsh, cold, reality of my closet it asked questions, ‘what were you thinking?’ ‘are you seriously planning to wear me out and to an important client event at that? Ignoring the questions, I took the tags off and paired it with a navy suit and bronze shoes and refused to look myself in the eyes as I checked my appearance in the mirror.

There was the time I found a pair of sandals I had no recollection of buying or even wearing. But judging from their somewhat dusty state, they have been in my closet for many moons. I pulled them out and got a few complements. Note to self, bring out those puppies again.

In the last six months I have had a few close purchasing calls. There was the time I was in Virginia and accidentally tried on a pair of shoes. They were beautiful and fit me perfectly. I had to walk away with the shoes I wore into the store. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they would have come home with me under normal circumstance.

Then I celebrated my birthday. What to do? What to do? I usually treat myself to something each year – a cute pair of earrings, a nice outfit or a pair of shades that will take me through the summer. Nothing. Nada. Zip. It took all my courage to resist the temptation but I made it.

We are now in June and I am as strong and resolute as I was in January. I will not yield to temptation. I will remain focused and know there is a bigger picture. I know I will make it through this year wiser, stronger and in need of a new wardrobe.

I have recruited a few people along the way. I won’t call their names but they know who you are. I appreciate the strength you have given to me when times looked bleak.

If you haven’t already – join our crusade, save some money and appreciate your wardrobe. It’s not too late!

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