A Peek Inside my Closet
Last night I watched a silly entertainment show giving viewers a peek into celebrity closets. I don’t know why I feel compelled to watch such things, as programs like these usually make my own tiny closet blush from embarrassment in the corner.
Among a few others, Paris Hilton showed me her closet. It was predictably huge and filled with so many shiny objects that I was nearly blind in one eye by the end of the show. She had rows and rows of designer heels, a mountain of metallic clutches and sequined cocktail dresses as far as one eye could see. Her closet was as dazzling and colorful as a Mardi Gras float, and the only way I could have pulled off any of her outfits was if I was headed to Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve or out for a night of intense gambling. I bought a gold lame’ scarf at a vintage shop several years ago and still haven’t found an appropriate venue to wear it. I wouldn’t even know what to do with a whole dress in that fabric. I’d probably have to sell it for parts.
I slept fitfully last night after turning off the TV, and between R.E.M. cycles, dreamt of Paris Hilton being given a tour of my closet. Unfortunately it’s pretty rare for me to remember details of my dreams, but I do recall her being extremely underwhelmed. Which is weird considering I hit up the GAP’s 40% off sale yesterday and stocked up on some very sensible basics.
(my current day closet…Paris, eat your heart out)
As a 30-something therapist, my closet does not lend itself to a lot of flashiness. My weekdays are spent in dark slacks and tidy blazers; weekends are for ripped jeans and tee-shirts, and–if there is any justice at all in this world– someday soon, flip-flops. I reserve high heels for weddings and short sexy dresses for my next lifetime.
When I was 22 and new to the city, I had a lot of fun with my clothes. After moving here from Texas, it was my first time really needing plenty of sweaters and coats and scarves, and I loved adding them to the mix. I started shopping at vintage stores and making bold choices. I bought funky leather jackets and bright skirts that were fun to twirl around in. I wore tight colorful pants that made my butt look good. I wore big hats that grabbed attention. I worked in magazine publishing at the time, where that kind of sartorial creativity was appreciated and the only dress code prescribed was for all your important parts to be covered up. I was 22 and I felt very young, very free and very adventurous. My clothing reflected how I felt about life, how I felt about living in New York City, how I felt about being young.
At 36, I feel like I’m at a bit of a crossroads, style-wise. I’m not one of those people who feel like you have to give up mini-skirts after 25 or needs to wear Ann Taylor twinsets at work to be taken seriously. Clothing is a personal thing, and if you feel good in it, you should wear it. These days I feel best when I’m wearing simple, chic, comfortable pieces that suit my body, work with the weather and will still look good on a 4o-year-old woman, because let’s face it, if I’m buying investment pieces, that’s who’ll be wearing them in a few years. (Hold on, my stomach hurts after writing that sentence. I’ll be right back…).
Everyone’s got their own style, and it’s constantly evolving. Some people couldn’t give a rip about personal style, and that’s cool too. I’m currently caught somewhere between wanting to dress like Kate Middleton, the average Parisian and Stevie Nicks circa Rumours. I’m not exactly sure how to blend the three, but I’m working on it. I live in a city where one can get away with almost anything, but I no longer feel like I want to. I just want to look good and feel like myself.
Still, it’s been hard to have any style at all this winter, and the frigid temps and icy streets have had me pulling out the same tired outfits for months on end. Black pants, sweater, scarf. I’ve felt extremely dowdy in my black puffy jacket and incredibly unsexy in my scuffed flat boots. Winter weight gain hasn’t helped. My mojo took a little break, and I’ve decided I’d like it back.
It had nothing to do with my dream and even less to do with Paris Hilton, but I woke up feeling compelled to dress myself in something pretty today, practicality be damned. It’s amazing what a black skirt and heeled boots can do for your posture, and downright thrilling the way a rose-colored shirt can make your cheeks appear as though they haven’t spent the last five months hidden from the sun.
I’m not a woman with designer bags or beautiful shoes. I’m a 30-something therapist with cotton basics on her back and sensible shoes on her feet. No beading, no sequins, no fur, no frills. I look pretty good today and I can pull it together style-wise when necessary, but nothing in my closet is ever going to be exciting enough to warrant a TV crew taking a peek inside.
Oh well. We’ll always have Paris.