The Closet Project: Days 38 – 43

After wading through approximately one thousand photos of myself in various outfits I have finally figured(ish) what I wore and when. This was further delayed due to approximately 90% of these photographs residing on Special Gentleman’s phone so I had to wait for a time we were actually both off work at the same time to get them off him. When I did finally acquire his phone and make my way through pages of images of myself – many of them exact repeats of the previous one (how many shots does iPhone take in one go??) – we couldn’t help wonder what a phone thief would think of said images. Stalk much? Although the subject looks pretty ok about having her photo taken on the whole. Stockholm syndrome perhaps? Either way, when viewed all at once the collection looks nothing short of freaky. Today starts the catch up (and SG can begin the cathartic clear-out of my many faces from his phone)…

A secretary photographed in the 1950s

The Threads I Wore

Day 38 saw me wearing a black pinafore from River Island. It came in a really long version that I had used for a shoot and fallen in love with. Alas when I tried it myself it was less Rihanna and more Sr. Mary Clarence so I opted for the short ‘I’m going on a playdate’ version. I feel worryingly comfortable dressing like a 7 year old. The breton stripe is well worn and fairly out of shape at this stage but I still can’t part with it. So a French, kind of scruffy 7 year old it is. I’ll take it.

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Day 39 saw me don another vintage-inspired dress from Carousel. As you can probably see by now I’m a bit obsessed with their Circus range. I love the floral prints, the ’40s cuts and the 100% cotton fabric. Hells yeah for cotton! Dresses like a 7 year olds, considers fabrics like a 70 year old.

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On Day 40 I wore a shirt dress that I bought in a boutique in San Francisco a couple of years back. I spent approximately one hour jumping in and out of the changing room trying to establish whether I should take it in the small or the medium. Special Gentleman was the other side of the curtain losing the will to live with every new twirl. Eventually I went for the small. I always loved wearing the dress but after not so long owning it, the yellow slip that came with it began to fray and soon came apart. I should have gone for the medium.

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Day 41 saw me pull out another dress that I love in theory but never quite feel the love for in reality. I bought it years ago at The Toejam car boot sale in The Bernard Shaw. As with all such sales there was no great abundance of fitting room options so I bought away and skipped home to my Camden St abode. Within an hour I was getting ready to meet friends in another nearby pub and threw on my new purchase with glee. Turns out it looked a bit funny. ‘Needs taking in’ I thought. Today I tried it on again with fond memories until I zipped the sides. ‘Needs taking in’ I thought.

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Day 42 saw me start the day in comfort. A knit skirt from H&M that looked much more stylish on the hanger when I made the purchase in London’s Angel a couple of years back. In fairness it looked much more stylish any of the other times I’ve worn it but seeing as I was saving it for a comfort day it was paired with one my many grey sweat tops (this one being Topshop – it has become apparent that this is my particular multiple purchase item. Who knew?) and fleece tights. The resulting feeling was pure comfort bliss.

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Later I reached for an old friend of mine bought on the now notorious NY girly trip of 20… – I can’t actually remember now. I floated around Bloomies with a couple of gal pals and found myself returning time and again to this Marc Jacobs dress. The print spoke to me. My credit card yelled at me. I tried it on nonetheless and my every-encouraging friends agreed it was a must have. As it happens the day ended in ‘y’ so of course there was a 20% discount in the department store. Then we were visitors so that was a further 10%. Don’t forget the exchange rate. I can’t remember the year but I do remember the beautiful Euro favouring maths. The dress was still what we shall call ‘an investment’ but for approximately half the investment it should have been. Plus, here I am still wearing it all these years later (and not just for this bet, I promise).

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 Day 43 saw me return to the proverbial gloves. ‘Hello there stranger’ I greeted my Topshop Jamie jeans. I was slightly embarrassed; we used to be together nearly every day – sometimes causing trouble and sometimes getting cosy and yet here I was, opening the drawer in which I had locked my partners in crime up in so long ago I couldn’t remember when, acting as if nothing had happened, pretending they hadn’t been replaced with a newer, higher-waisted version of themselves. Amazingly, once I pulled them on and buttoned up, it was as if we had never parted. Together we skipped through the day. We included a rarely worn Penneys pussybow blouse. It made things easier between us knowing the top half of the outfit had been far more neglected than the bottom. Ok it was opportunistic but it worked. The shirt was just glad to be getting a spin to be fair.

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Why I Wore Them

 The day of the pinny was a day of pulling looks. I was spending a fair few hours in Dundrum choosing clothes for three different shoots so comfort was the ultimate aim. The desire not to overheat was also major. Pockets for mobile phone housing was an added bonus. A breton and a red lip always make me feel more ‘done’. Essentially I was cheating my way to professional dressing. Ok yes, I failed.

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The following day saw me filming a collection of features in Dundrum. Seeing as the shoots were promoting the centre I ended up wearing an array of looks from the stores thus only fitting in one of my own outfits. Not to worry – it slipped on and off with ease and that was all I needed on that particular day. That sounds a bit weird actually…

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The following day was one I had been waiting for with excited anticipation and dread in equal measures. After years of talking about it I was finally getting braces on my teeth. I thought I should wear something super comfortable and super comforting. No further restrictions needed – being tied to a dentists chair with my mouth clamped open for an hour was going to be restrictive enough as far as I was concerned*. I wore the dress with a cream slip that reminded me how badly I need to get a yellow replacement for the one I *ahem* grew out of some time ago. I also had the NCT that afternoon so I figured the dress would suit all occasions. We failed but I’m pretty sure that was more to do with Donald’s cracked bottom than the dress. Either way, we’re working on both.

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It was a Saturday and I was due a meeting with a new client. This is where life has become slightly tricky. I had a zillion appropriate outfits to wear for such an occasion (or at least 30, right?) but I had to carry on The Closet Project. So I looked and considered, and finally I went with the navy dress. With the ‘ill-fitting’ memories flooding back I considered explaining myself to my new client, give her the lowdown on what was going on.  ’Isth justht thisth Closeth projecth, you sthee’. Nope, that wasn’t going to work. As it turned out my clothes were the least of my worries for that particular encounter.

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The next day saw an early start to make it to Fermanagh for Special Gentleman’s family get together. There was to be many miles, no stops and zero jellies (or any chewable food for that matter) for comfort / time-passing. It was clear then that this journey required serious hug-like attire. I changed in the car once we pulled up at the venue. I didn’t wait for us to drive off on the return journey, I just launched right into costume change. Of course it was right in the middle of this ‘change-back’ that one of the family members came running out to catch us for a ‘so-long’ she had missed over the previous thirty-minute long goodbyes. I would have been worried about what she thought but seeing as they thought I was slurring due to a few cheeky G&Ts ahead of our arrival I figured I needn’t give it too much further thought.

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The celebration was the wonderful Aunty May’s 70th and it took place in Lusty Beg Island. Stunning setting and a great gathering for a fabulous lady. And it’s a real island that required a boat to bring you to it. The trip takes approximately 3 minutes but it was enough excitement to cheer me up no end. By the end of dinner I had baby sick all down the front of the dress but I think it added to the character. Plus it’s lucky, isn’t it? Or is that bird shite? Or are both of those just things said by the really lucky smug feckers that have no uninvited natural body fluids on their person?

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Finally (for this round), I was back to business as I spent the day pulling looks for an upcoming accessories shoot. Jeans were going to be acceptable but evidence of at least a slight effort was required. I figured the addition of the pussybow could do the jobie. Later I was travelling to Wexford for a week of events so my old pals were happy to stay put for a roadtrip.

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What I Learnt

So, so much. It may have been my wisest week yet. I learnt that spending thousands on braces that no one can see becomes less of a genius idea when no one around can understand one word you’re saying. I learnt that soaked Weetabix were my best friend and my old favourite ingredient, rocket was hellbent on choking me. I learnt of many things I would have to give up eating for a number of months. I learnt that no one wants to hear a 30-something moan about pain – particularly with the new addition of a strong lisp – but a Mama will allow you cry like a baby and make things better with scrambled eggs and drugs (hey, I didn’t say this was a Disney movie). I learnt that time is indeed a healer. Time… and lots of those drugs. Oh what did I learn about my clothes? Haven’t the foggiest. I probably didn’t mention it before but I got braces and was slightly preoccupied with getting use to them.

Where It Will Go

The navy dress and the yellow dress are both (finally) getting a trip to the tailors. Sure don’t you know everything else is being squeezed onto that soon to collapse ‘keeping’ rail?

What The Special Gentleman Thought

‘I don’t know what she’s wearing but I’m so glad she’s gone to Wexford for a few days and I can get a break from 24-hour-brace-news’. I’m telling you, that’s definitely what he thought.

x Irene x

* At no time was I chained to my dentist chair nor was my mouth clamped open… it just really, really felt that way.


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