There comes a time in a girl’s life when she just has to take a break from talking about – and sharing photos of – herself. For me that time came when I was weeks into what was to be a 30-day project, still finding myself choosing from an ever-reducing closet of clothes and having to take photos of said clothes every day. Actually the latter was the real problem. Two work trips abroad in as many weeks meant the documenting was overlooked and so things were naturally put on hold – although I continued my challenge, I assure you. Having now paused sufficiently long enough I am back to wrap up my Project… in bite size pieces. As it is now retrospective we can all marvel at how recent it was we were wearing short sleeves and carefree smiles. Ah, pre-December life…
The Threads I Wore
On day 58 I wore one of my very rare impulse purchases – those perceived retail highs everyone around seems to relish and I deem a personal letdown. In my defense, I was in town after having meetings all day, en route to an event. I was to meet a new client there in a sort of arranged but act casual kind of way. Prior to the arrival I spilled coffee all down my front while over zealously unwrapping my Butlers chocolate. There was 15 minutes to go and I had approximately €15 in my bank account. A-Wear were having a sale . It was like the heavens were aligned. Off I took myself and found the only €15 dress available in my size. Actually, I tell a lie. It didn’t come in my size; it was a size too small. It had to do anyway. The one I really loved cost a hefty €25 but they had just gone into examinership and wouldn’t accept the gift card that had been residing in my wallet for oh, a good 6 months. I know there was a greater and more important issue here but of all the weeks… I have forever hated this dress since the forced purchase and had actually resigned it to the donation pile but in a moment of dressing stress it winked at me and out of nowhere I didn’t mind it too much at all.
That evening I wore a dress that I can only calculate to have been bought 8 years ago. This was the first of all of the Closet Project clothes so far that caused real strain on my memory. It was for this reason that I was convinced it was purchased whilst on holiday. I often have a pre-browse tipple when vaykaying and I doubt this day was any different. It was during my time in Australia when we had taken a road trip up the East Coast and there were boutiques a-plenty, particularly Asian ones, boasting too-tiny clothing throughout. The money should have been spent on finding nicer hostels but hey, what’s glamorous bedding when you haven’t got a stitch to wear (when drinking your goon by the campfire). It’s very see-through but I never remember worrying too much about wearing a slip. That’s what makes me certain it was a backpacking purchase. This time I wore a slip. So conformist.
That next day I wore one of my all time favourite dresses. I love it for its colours, I love it for its print and most of all I love it for its provenance. It’s a See By Chloe dress that has no decades of history to share, but how I came to own it is tale enough for me. My sister and I were in BT2 shopping for an outfit for her. I was on run 45 of choices for her to try. En route to the changing room I spotted this beauty and instantly fell in love. I knew it wasn’t right, that any interaction would make me fall deeper, that there was no way things would work… but I couldn’t help myself. I tried, I sighed, I cried (on the inside). As I hung the dress back up I lamented the fact that I was not wealthy and such dresses were not available in price ‘paycheck to paycheck’. Before I took it off I spun around in front of my sister and we discussed the torture of unrequited love. Some time later, as I opened my birthday present from my parents, those old feelings came rushing back as I spotted the familiar, heartbreaker fabric. Surely it was too good to be true? The beaming faces all around me confirmed this was indeed the love of my life. Apparently my sister had relayed my hopeless falling to my mother who then repeat visited regularly (I’m guessing in the hope it became reduced and somewhat affordable). Until one fateful day where she once again found it on the rail, only this time it was… ripped! Yes, ripped. Sadly, wastefully, wonderfully ripped all down one side. No one wanted a ripped dress. No one except my Mama. I have no doubt whatever the discounted price was remained far too much to spend on a gift but she assured me that she negotiated well and the shop were happy it had a good home. I knew nothing of the backstory until Mama told me to turn the skirt over and I saw a perfectly sewn patch. If you look closely on the outside you can see some tiny stitches. I like to run my finger over these fondly whenever I remember how the dress came to be mine. It’s a dress that gives me great joy and a guaranteed warm fuzzy feeling. And no one ever asked mum what those scissors were doing in her handbag*.
Why I Wore Them
I wore the paisley dress because I was to meet long lost friends for an overdue catch up to chew the fat – and the biscuits – in our other friend’s new grown-up home. I was to chill out, lol a lot and generally relish my Saturday with pals. I wanted the comfort of a one-item outfit whilst avoiding a onesie (too obvious). As luck would have it my braces sort of fell out during brushing which left a long stabbing piece of metal loitering unwelcomely in my mouth. My speech was gone, my tongue was a balloon and all hopes of chewing anything at all were quashed. Instead I wore this dress to curl upon a slippy dentist’s chair in fear of pain, crunching noises and leaving my leg sweat behind on the leather. Oh yes, I had also brought said Dentist away from his weekend and his children had to come along for my emergency. Basically, this dress shall forever be known as ‘the fun ruiner’.
Post-dentist I was North bound. Special Gentleman’s family home has been sold so we were to spend a night there and catch up with his local friends before the ties were somewhat cut. I say ‘catch up’ but the truth is I had only really met them once in our however-many-years relationship. So the evening was an education in his past, Portadown’s present and the ultimate post-pub chippy-stop. Good job I wore flats for that particular jaunt… even if I did look slightly out of place between the 6-foot heel-clad teenagers all around me on the dance-floor. I knew we were old when one of the group’s stepson’s friends were queuing up for selfies with him. I was still young enough to recognise it as teenage ammunition.
The following morning saw a shift in gear as we took ourselves to church with the family. Unfortunately there were no M&Ms on entry as was my previous experience of Sunday service up north but still there was plenty to take in. As it happened, there were a few babies being christened which was nice to observe, particularly trying to establish who was who in the babies’ respective entourages. I became slightly concerned when they began to pass each child to apparent strangers further welcoming them to the church. Nice in theory, risky when an 80-year-old man with a shake and apparent bad memory get the gig. All ended well though and we took ourselves into the newly renovated church hall for tea and buns (finally, treats!) for a lovely presentation to Special Gentleman’s folks as they left their home of almost 40 years. End of an era but the start of a new, very happy one, I’m sure.
Where They Will Go
It’s a tale of three dress: the one that I retired to the ‘giveaway’ pile that is now back hanging on the ‘keep’ rail. Then the dress with which I didn’t like to part with but have now decided it’s for a younger (more flashing-prone girl). And my beloved Chloe number that I shall not only keep but will continue wearing long into my octogenarian years (with thick brown tights and nun shoes). For now I shall still rock it with my scuffed shoes and knobbly, permanently bruised legs that remind me fondly of my tomboy days (believe it or not, they used not be able to even force me into a skirt. ‘And now look at the length of the hem, hmmmm?).
What The Special Gentleman Thought
That the cream dress was a recent purchase. His voice went high and his face skewed up as he tried to remain calm when asking ‘is that a new dress?’ Once he was assured that it was in fact older than our relationship, he was happy. ‘It’s totally see through’ he helpfully pointed out in that matter of fact manner reserved for male’s particular brand of clothing description. I believe the others got an ‘ooh lovely’ so I’ll take it.
x Irene x
*This is a JOKE! (Everyone knows that she only carries a blade.)