A closet love affair

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It finally happened. After a stifling summer in the broiler, fall temperatures dipped to a crisp, cool 58 degrees. And that meant it was time for the annual changing of the closet.

This won’t come as news to women or married men, but it may surprise some of you to know that a woman with access to multiple closets will have her clothes in at least two of them. Most of us divide what goes where by the current season. Spring and summer clothes live in this one. Fall and winter clothes live in that one. Some women even have a closet dedicated only to shoes, but I have yet to reach that level of luxury.

Some men or minimalists might say that needing two closets means you have too many clothes. But using multiple closets is more about emotional management than excess. Let me explain:

At the end of any season, a woman walks into her closet, looks at the options, and feels so over it. She might say, “I have nothing in here to wear!” But what that really means is, “I have nothing in here I want to wear.” Why? Because those clothes are old news. She’s been wearing that stuff for nearly six months straight, and she’s sick of it. She needs excitement. She wants to slide into something new.

So, when the temperatures finally change, she skips over to the other closet where her winter wardrobe has been hibernating. Maybe it has something fun to wear. Who knows? She can’t even remember what she shoved in there last spring when it got too warm for turtlenecks.

She throws open the closet doors and surveys the stack of sweaters, her collection of cardigans, and those cute boots she got on sale last year. She scoops them up and carries them back to her main closet, eager to switch out the old for the seasonally new. She lines them up like a row of boyfriends, caressing the fabric to get reacquainted. Depending on her personal history with each item, she’ll have the following range of reactions:

The Familiar Spark: “Oh, I remember you! You’re so cute, and you made me feel pretty. Remember that event we went to last year, and my best friend said I looked amazing in this color? And then my neighbor said she loved what I was wearing and asked me where I found you. Man, that was fun. You look even better than I remember. We had some good times together, didn’t we? We should definitely go out again soon.”

The Bitter Breakup: “Ugh. You again. What was I thinking when I walked out of that store with you? I don’t know why I thought this would ever work. Your whole vibe is just off. I can’t believe I ever let you in here with your weird buttons and itchy fabric. I was disgusted when I saw myself in a picture with you last year. You did me no favors, so you are outta here, buddy.”

The Rueful Retirement: “Hey there, old friend. We’ve been together for so long. It’s such a shame a messy burger gave you a mustard stain right there in the middle of the chest. And now I just don’t feel the same way anymore. I know that’s not fair. It’s not you, it’s me. I’m not saying you’re damaged goods, but, if the mustard stain fits…. I know this is harsh, but we are never, ever, ever getting back together.”

When a woman has time and space away from last year’s clothes, it’s good for everyone. It gives us a chance to fall back in love with our favorites, toss the ones that are beyond repair, and donate the stuff that might be perfect for someone else. It’s an essential part of closet evolution.

Does that mean we won’t ever bring home something new? Of course not. Maybe someone will give us a sweater for our birthday or Christmas. Or we might have a fling with flare jeans. The heart wants what the heart wants.

Then, at the end of the season, we’ll divide stuff up into separate closets and start the cycle all over again. Trees gonna turn. Temps gonna dip. Closets gonna change.

Gwen Rockwood is a syndicated freelance columnist. Email her at gwenrockwood5@gmail.com. Her book is available on Amazon.

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