Monday, May 7, 2007

A Spring Rite of Passage

It's a ritual every year...around this time...May...when the the grass starts to turn green again,the tulips are in full bloom...and the beautiful cherry trees (front and back of my house) fill up with pink blossoms...then I know it's time to do my spring ritual.

This year it happened on May winter closet turned to spring. Only this year...was the last time I would turn over my winter closet as a forty-something female. I thought long and hard as I transferred my seasonal attire - what should I keep (or continue to keep even though I transfer it every year and don't wear it)...and what should I discard?

I lifted the heavy beige suitcase from my husband's closet where it is stored for the winter...he has more room in his closet than I do in mine...I don't think he even thinks about a seasonal's just all in there...all his clothes in his walk-in closet...nothing sorted by color or long sleeves or short sleeves...just all in there...frankly, I don't even think he realizes that I keep my seasonal attire in a big suitcase in his closet...and after almost 25 years I'm not going to tell him...or it might wind up back in my walk-in closet...and I like it this way...more room in my closet year-round.

Anyway...I took out my short sleeve shirts and my capri pants (no more shorts in that suitcase...shorts went by the wayside after I turned 40...capris are the best for my legs these summer days)...I took out my Speedo bathing suits and the cute chiffon scarf that wraps around my waist to cover my hips and "lily white" thighs (the teal chiffon wrap matches my bathing suit so it looks nice)...I've had these bathing suits for about four years but I rarely wear them so they last forever.

I took out my summer cotton sweaters - the brown one that goes with my striped linen pants (hope those pants still fit me...and hope the green lime color of the shirt is still in style). I took out the coral sweater that goes with my striped beige and coral pants (never liked those pants but like the sweater so I've managed to make the outfit last season after season). I color coded the tops and laid them in order of color on my closet shelf (love how neat everything looks the day of transition and how colorful my closet appears when I open the door).

Then it was time to put away my winter winter winter pants (just the corduroy ones...the winter woolens get sent to storage...a ritual from my NYC days when my closets only fit one season...although it is getting harder and harder to find a dry cleaner in the suburbs that still stores winter clothes) heavy cotton turtlenecks went in the suitcase too.

This time though, as I piled the "never wear" sweaters and readied them for the suitcase...I thought twice before packing them away...if I didn't wear them during my 40s why would I need them in my 50s (but what if those clothes that I was about to throw away came back in style five years from now...what if that top that I saved the past five years in the hopes that it might come back in style actually did?...what would I do? repent that I had thrown it out during my 49th year?)If that actually happens I'll just go buy a new one...I said to myself...I'll be 50 or 50+ when that happens and I'll just go buy a new one.

I decided it was time...time to rid myself of those old clothes...out with the old...get ready for my new 50+ wardrobe...I threw out the brown silk top that once looked good on me...I threw out the white shirt that had a stain on the sleeve even though I could continue to wear it under a suit jacket...and I threw out the black shoes with the 2-inch heels that I will never be able to wear again (flat or kitten -no high heels for me anymore). And as I went down the the rack...shelf by shelf...hanger by hanger...

I stopped when I got to my Ralph Lauren RL navy blue pinstriped Ralph Lauren suit...the doubled breasted suit...with the big shoulder pads...and wide flaired pants...with the invisible zipper that was almost worn away. I stopped because I could not bear to part with my Ralph Lauren suit...even though I knew I should. It held such memories...each stripe reminded me of a different career defining moment...when I wore that power first real power suit...I think I bought it in the '80s (now they have '80s playbacks on the radio each night...and my kids remind me to listen to the songs of the '80s...playbacks they are called).

I wasn't ready to part with my Ralph Lauren pinstripe...not in my early 40s and now...and now... not even at 49. Alhough, I wore it only once this still brings me good luck...and lots of compliments...and it still makes me feel powerful everytime I put it on. But, while my memories are telling me to keep mind is saying "Judi, those shoulder pads...those shoulder pads have to go...they are just too big for the 21st century...they are too big for you." My mind keeps saying, "Judi, throw it out." My shoulders have gotten smaller (thanks to all the exercising and weight lifting)...maybe there is less weighing on them too now that I'm older and wiser...they are lighter...they don't need those big, heavy shoulder pads to hold me up anymore...I can be powerful without them. "Throw it out, Judi, throw the RL suit out."

I still have to make the annual run to the cleaners...that will happen next Saturday if the weather stays warm...before the moths come out and try to sneak into my closet and peck at my woolen suits. Maybe next week, as my spring rite of passage on my 49th year comes to an end...I'll break down and throw the RL suit out. After all, I have to make room for the new Armani I'm going to buy for myself when I turn 50...the one with the much smaller shoulder pads...the stylish one...because I'm still going back to the '80s anymore...yep, I'm taking that radio station off my dial...that is if I know how to work the radio program in my car...may have to ask the kids to change it...or maybe I'll break down and learn how to do it...before I turn 50 that is!


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