11.26.2011

Soon I'll turn into Gollum. Just wait and see.

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In case you haven't noticed, I'm very attached to "things". It's taken me a while to realize that as it may be superficial, things make me happy. Of course it's not the only thing that make me happy, there are those cliche moments that I love the most, but honestly I love pretty things, and surround myself with them.

Lately I've been simplifying. To de-clutter, and make some extra cash, especially this time of year.

I pull out all my clothes, look at each piece, and decide if I need it. Some stay, there are those that I know I will keep forever like the skirt I was wearing when Sam proposed to me, and some I know I'll eventually have to let go of. Then there are those that are on their way to be sold.

Today I did it again. Only this time I meant to be rock solid, and really get rid of things. That dress I've only ever worn once? Yeah, someone else will wear it all the time. Those skirts you've grown out of? Time to let go.

Then I got to a robe. My beautiful navy blue wool robe, with a silk polka dot hood. I'ts a little too small. I'm usually too warm to wear it inside. But I remember spotting it at the shop, hidden on the back of a pillar, and my heart skipped a beat. And I asked to see it almost in a panic, as if someone would grab it before I could. And how perfect it was.

And then like a little girl, I started crying. I hate crying. I'd rather eat a worm than have anyone see me cry. Actually I'd feel sorry for the worm. How about oilves? Gross.

And then I realized that my clothes aren't just things. To other people they are, but to me, they're my lifes work. Iv'e spent years accumulating all my clothes, and wearing them, and taking proper care of them. They are me. I didn't just walk into a vintage store one day and buy an entire wardrobe, these all come from different places, and different times of my life. And I remember buying them, and the excitement and thrill of finding that one of a kind, special piece. Wearing each one, and gosh what was I thinking paring that with those shoes, and when I wear this dress everyone calls me Snow White.

I think anyone who has a collection of any kind can understand. It's practically impossible to let go, because this is at it's core, your life. I'm sure it would be different if I had children, but for now my wardrobe is what I've created, something I'm very proud of, and something I have a terrible time letting go of. I get offended when people want to buy my things without them being offered because I think "I spent years of constant searching and building to have what I have, you expect me to just hand a part of it over?"

So here I am, surrounded by piles and racks of beautiful clothes, with a pile to let go of. I know you guys will give them good homes, much better than in a box under the bed. But I'm still attached to the robe. Maybe next time. Maybe never. I have lots of clothes I don't wear anymore that I can't even begin to think of selling. Perhaps one day I'll wear them again, or hopefully one of my little cousins will want to wear them.

Either way, I like my pretties. They're as much a part of my life as anything. 

 


33 comments:

Maria Elyse said...

Honest, beautiful, and true words. For some it's clothes, knick-knacks, words, books, photos, letters, other collections, and even memories or feelings. For me it's junk from when I was a kid...junk. It really is. But it means something to me...a million memories compiled in the form of pieces of paper, cards, newspaper clippings, silly little crafts that are falling apart, all in an old American Girl doll box underneath my bed.

Anyway, I know it's not exactly the same thing, but I entirely and completely understand, Solannah. ♥

xo
Maria Elyse
First Impressions
Flying Ships Vintage

Stephanie said...

I couldn't have said it better! (even though I love olives.. hehe) Sometimes I feel so trivial and silly, like today. I've been looking for tights in certain colors for a while and when I found 4 of them in one place I was so, so excited! I love that feeling of finding something you just adore, and then it's all yours. Ahhh. But it's so true, this is my collection .. and I shouldn't feel bad about that. I think as long something doesn't become an addiction/detrimental financially, it's fine! =)

StanwyckFan said...

Your hair looks so stinkin' cute in that picture!

And I know what you mean about collections. Of course, I don't collect anything half as cool as you do, but I do know what you mean.

Nelly said...

I am so in tune with what you said.I have a huge rack of vintage and lots dont fit me.But I cant get rid of them I just cant.I do have a rack of things to sell but even then I have been taking a few thing off it lol.
I have kids and gradkids.My own gorls arent interetstd but my grandaughters are starting to wear some of the vintage that fits them.
I always ask sellers how do you let it go as I see them with such amazingly beautiful things.
I really would love to be a proper seller But I have to let go and need to know the secret of doing that.If you love it keep it coz you wont be able to replce it not lik ethe mass roduced stuff of today.

Coedith said...

I have often thought of making a quilt out of some of my favorite/sentimental pieces. Of course that destroys the garment... but I would be surrounded by the memories.

Miss Tallulah Porkchop said...

I am exactly the same. I have so many dresses thesummer isn't long enough for them all to get a wear... yet when Isee osmething beautiful, that fits, I have to own it.

It must be nice though, to still see your old friends (dresses) on other people in blog-world.

alittlevintagestory said...

Strange as it is to say, but at this very moment I'm taking a break from doing just that. Sitting on my floor, contemplating my vintage collection, knowing I should probably part with a few pieces to homes that will actually wear the items that are too big/too small/too unflattering..but i just can't do it. Each piece has a story and a memory attached.. I think i'll leave it for now and go and eat some cake instead xx Fran

AnnaBananaCupcake said...

I have the worst time getting rid of clothing, knick-knacks and other sentimental odds and ends. I'm very attached to things as a form of memories. I love to look at something from my past and remembering what I was doing at the time I found it or what was going on in my life. Can't wait to see what you were able to give up though. I need to follow in your footsteps.
XOXO

mary van note said...

I feel the same way!

Irene :: { Heirloom Attire } :: said...

Aw, that's beautiful, Solanah. Well said! You should put little stories like that with each item in the next lot you sell! I love finding old wedding dresses with anecdotes like that pinned to them, it makes them all the more special! :)

Kristin said...

I understand exactly what you mean! For me it's not clothes (because I have such a hard time finding any I love, anyway). It's mostly books for me. I collect them like crazy. Not only do I buy new ones (or new to me, from our amazing Goodwill bookstore), but I cannot bear to get rid of my old ones...Even really silly series like The Baby-Sitter's Club! I can't get rid of them because I absolutely loved them at one point in my life. I can remember where I got most of my books. And I also collect children's books for my someday children.

I'm also a little obsessive with my classic movies. The majority of modern films disappoint me so much that I just want to cling onto the gorgeous old ones. It's like I'm afraid we'll lose them someday, but I want my kids to know about them.

I think deep down we know we could survive without all of these "things." But they really do become a part of us and letting go is like letting go of a part of your past that you want to remember forever.

~Kristin

Kate said...

I feel the same way about my clothes too! I have so many pieces I will likely never wear more than once or twice (some aren't even close to my size!), but I could never part with them. I'm the same way with my vintage books as well, most of which are too delicate to read properly.

Bunny Moreno said...

Omg I wish I had that problem! Oh I hope one day I have that problem! After having all three of my babies in four years I am left with a fab maternity wardrobe but very few pieces of descent non-maternity clothes and just about nothing when it comes to vintage. I hope this time next yr I have a nice 40's wardrobe with at least some 30's, 50's, and 60's outfits (one each would be fab). Do you sell on etsy? But I totally get what you wrote-I used to be that way until the kids and a mortgage kinda shook me up and now I only keep things I really love and adore. Lawdy what would I give to look into your closet heheh Take pics and post one day-it gives gals like me a glimpse of what could be heheh Hugs-Bunny xox

http://themusingsandadventuresofapinupmama.blogspot.com/

Vintagesuburbia said...

I am so glad you wrote this post. I have collected lots of vintage books and clothes over the years and have lots of trouble parting with them (by the way, it doesn't change once you have children - I have two!). My family and I are moving to France for 2 years in March so I do have to do a cull. It is going to be sooo difficult, but I would rather put lots of stuff in storage then part with things I love. Good vintage is getting more difficult to come by and more expensive so I say hang on to what you have!

Carys said...

That was so beautifully and eloquently written! You've managed to totally put into words how I feel about my clothing collection. In fact, I may just keep a copy of this blog post in my pocket to recite whenever my family says 'you have way to many clothes...'.
From Carys of La Ville Inconnue

delightw said...

I loved this post-struck a cord with me.The beauty,workmanship,color combos etc. combined with memories attached mean I have many things in my cedar trunks that I won't/can't wear.Still it makes me happy to look at them feel the fabrics.Items that have "issues" I refashion.

Peachy Keen said...

Such a lovely post, I also feel very attatched to my wardrobe.

Jade





http://91peachykeen.blogspot.com

aprettymess said...

everytime i try to make a pile to donate or sell i end up falling in love all over again and the pile goes from "garbage bag" size to little store plastic bag. I have never thought of it as a collection but that is so true!

Sean MacKenzie said...

I am a total pack rat and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I too form attachments to clothing. Mainly from memories or receiving them for special occasions. I was about to get rid of a cute argyle sweater and then on second thought I plan on wearing it until there's holes I love it so much!

kittentown said...

Now I feel terrible! I just want to apologise for nagging and nagging (and nagging) you last year for your 'horsey/country scenes' dress….
I too get attached to 'things' so I completely understand where you're coming from

Solanah said...

Oh kittentown don't feel terrible! You were very nice and had a genuine interest in it, but when I get people at work who say "how much for your dress?" when they just kind of think it's "different", thats what irks me. I totally understand when you see something you just have to have in your life, but not when it's something that's just interesting for a moment. xoxo

Kristen Leonna said...

I feel precisely the same way. My clothes are a part of me, just as much as my hands and feet and fingers.

Ashley Marie said...

Someday you can display your garments in some sort of exibition or museum! Thats what I plan on doing with mine ;) xox

Veronica Looney said...

This post struck a chord with me when I remembered how upset I can get about "things."

I was assisting an artist friend and a jewelry gallery show a few weekends ago, a compilation of local artists specializing in couture jewelry (not a craft fair type thing- the least expensive piece wasn't under $500). When I was walking around the show looking at some of the other artists' work, a 1930s pendant caught my eye. Imagine my surprise! I have a nearly identical pendant in my collection of heirlooms from my great-grandmother, which I treasure.

Upon closer inspection, I realized that the artist had somehow painted over the original metal of the pendant and soldered it to a thick gold chain. "The chain is from a Coco Chanel purse" the artist boasted.

The entire collection that this artist presented was "refurbished" vintage jewelry, none of it preserving the integrity of the original piece. I wanted to cry. As a lover of vintage, I want to see these artifacts preserved and appreciated within their original context. I also think that this artist is stealing from others' designs.

Is refurbishing vintage okay? How does it make you feel when you see these sorts of crafty "recycling" projects?

ConstantlyAlice said...

Totally and completely sympathize..in fact, when my husband thinks I'm out of control, he makes me watch "Hoarders" and gives me pointed glances during the show. My things have emotional significance and, while I never mind giving them to friends or family, I hate to think of them being unloved somewhere!

In The Heyday said...

I love that you wrote this! I have been thinking along a similar line. Clothing is my hobby, my craft,and my wardrobe is my favourite thing! If I'm not shopping for it, I'm making it, or mending it - and I work with all the time too!
But then, if I was an avid skier, I would own lots of ski gear and spend money and holiday time going skiing. Ditto if I was into cars, or golf.
It feels good to honour it for what it really is so thanks for putting it into words

LandGirl1980 said...

What a wonderfully honest and thoughtful post. x

kittentown said...

Thanks Solanah,
I don't feel as bad now!

Kitten said...

I know what you mean, I have a few pieces of vintage that don't even fit me and probably never will, but I still can't let go. I read once of a trick for "keeping" things even thought you get rid of them, by taking photos and making an album/framing them. But I can't see that working very well for me though, I enjoy feeling the fabric and admiring details that might not show in photos. I guess I need to get my own museum to store my vintage in ;)

casey said...

Funny you should post about this... I've been doing a lot of gut-wrenching evaluation of my "massive" closet and vintage collection during post-move. I got rid of a few things before we left FL, but most of it were things I made that I didn't really wear any longer or just "modern" stuff that wasn't in tune with where I am stylistically. My vintage, however, I couldn't part with. Yes, an insane number of boxes and bins that were transported housed my vintage, but the idea of parting with any of it was too hard. Many of the pieces I've searched high and low for, and done a little dance in the middle of a thrift store when I finally found it. Or they have a special memory, or appeal to some side of my personality (like an amazing late 30s/early 40s smock that has the most obnoxious floral print ever. It's awesome and I got it for $10 years ago. Can't get rid of that baby even though I haven't worn it since before I was married!). Or I just enjoy the pieces far too much for their beauty. I'm very aesthetically influenced, and surrounding myself with things that make me smile is important. As much as I get the urge to simplify (because honestly, I probably do need to part with a few pieces that could go to homes where they'd be worn!), I realize that it's just not my personality to have a tiny wardrobe. Even when I have children I can't see parting with anything. Packing it away, yes, but that is so I can save it for the future generations!

Marie said...

"Iv'e spent years accumulating all my clothes, and wearing them, and taking proper care of them. They are me. I didn't just walk into a vintage store one day and buy an entire wardrobe, these all come from different places, and different times of my life. And I remember buying them, and the excitement and thrill of finding that one of a kind, special piece."

I can relate to this paragraph to a tee. I could tell a little story about each piece, how I accumulated it, what sort of reactions I have recieved. Beautifully written!

KaryAnn said...

you couldn't have said words any truer! I feel exactly the same way about my clothes, for me though, my collection is just starting. I've only recently maybe the last six months or so finally gotten the nerve to show the real me through how I dress. Really its amazing young women with inspirational blogs like yours that have inspired me. For now my collection is small, but someday I hope to have at least half as many treasures as I imagine that you do! And as for the crying, you're not alone I build attachments to my pretty things too! I like to call myself a sentimentalist :) Congrats on your full time blogging career now by the way!

tambourinegirl said...

Very wonderfully put. I feel the same way!