I spent yesterday cleaning out my closet, trying to get rid of stuff I never wear and don’t like. Despite my mother’s objections, I managed to get rid of a third of my wardrobe, but I’m still left with a number of things I wear maybe once every two years.
Maybe it’s because I’m a girl. I had a conversation with some of my male friends the other night and it went something like this:
“I need to clean out my clothes and get rid of stuff I don’t wear. The problem is, there’s stuff in there I only wear every once in a great while – mostly dress clothes.”
“Yeah, I don’t have that problem. When I want to dress up, it’s just my dress pants and my brown and yellow shirt.”
I gave my friend a flat look.
“Yeah, maybe I should get more dress clothes.”
He won’t, but that’s not the point. Women’s dress clothes are much more varied that men’s. Provided they don’t have to wear suits to work, most men I know have two suits – one dark and one light. The dark one gets worn during the winter and to funerals. The light one gets worn during the summer and to weddings. The only exception to this is that a winter wedding gets a dark suit. Summer funerals still get a dark suit, but that’s a Victorian carryover.
Nevermind – back on topic.
Point is: for the same series of events, I have a completely different required wardrobe. I’ve even minimized things and for the same five events – work, weddings, funerals, summer, and winter – I have seven outfits. I have a suit that I wear when I have to have one that matches, top and bottom. I have one to wear when they don’t need to match. I have a black dress I wear to funerals, regardless of weather. Presumably I would wear this to a cocktail party, but I don’t know anyone who throws those. I have a red dress I wear on most social occasions where it needs to look like I really dressed up without wearing something formal – parties, dinners, dates, and social occasions where I need to either lie or be bored. Or both, depending on the situation. Really, it gets worn when I need to be attractive without being jaw-dropping. I have a denim dress for occasions where I need to dress up but look like haven’t dressed up. I have a blue dress with sparkles that I wear when I need to go somewhere fancy enough for dress with glitter, but not fancy enough for a formal dress. Oh, and when I need to be jaw-dropping. It’s a really good dress. And then I have a black and white dress which covers all the other occasions – usually, summer events that require nice clothes and I want to be pretty without being attractive. This is any event where another woman is the center of attention – particularly if there are limited number of men.
Oh, and for a truly formal occasion I have a grey sheath dress with ruffles. It isn’t exactly a “dress to the nines” dress – at best it would rate an eight, though its probably a seven. I will probably never need a nine dress, since I won’t meet foreign dignitaries or go somewhere where the red carpet is anything other than patronizing.
But men rent, rent, tuxes for these occasions. I know they’re more expensive than most formal dresses, but have you checked the pricetags on prom dresses lately? Oh, and a tux will last longer. And it will be in fashion for longer. Possibly forever.
I’m getting bitter about this again, aren’t I? It’s really not my intention, I swear. Actually like dressing up. There’s a little girl in me that still loves to play dress up. But this business of needing specific dresses for specific occasions makes it really hard to spring clean your wardrobe.