The Ugly Cloak

There’s this certain shirt hanging in my closet that I hate. No, I’m not talking about the type of hatred that is you-hate-it-so-much-you-never-wear-it-so-it-just-hangs-there hatred. I mean, I have tons of clothes in closets, drawers and storage boxes that fall into that category. This is a unique sort of hatred. The dysfunctional relationship that I have with this particular shirt is like no other relationship I have ever had with any other garment… ever.

You see… I hate this shirt… and YET I continue to wear it every few weeks or so. Does anyone else have a clothing item like this in their possession? I don’t know what is the matter with me, but I never seem to remember how much I dislike it until it’s too late. I keep thinking that I will like it. Why do I keep thinking that I will like it? I keep giving it one more chance, and one more chance, and one more chance and it keeps right on letting me down… every… single… time.

There’s comes a time each evening that I go to my closet and select whatever it is I plan on wearing the following day. Inevitably I will stand there, staring at my clothes and feeling like I “haven’t a thing to wear” like most women do. I flip through the pants and skirts, blouses, cotton tops and sweaters until I find something that will do. And every so often, I come across this collared, grey, stretch-cotton, button-down, three-quarter-length-sleeve blouse. And it’s almost as if I’ve never seen it before. I pull it off the rack and look it over. It seems fine. It’s really basic and goes with just about anything.

The funny thing is… I bought it specifically for a meeting once, and I even hated it on the very first day that I wore it… which, I have to tell you, is highly unusual because you ALWAYS love something the first time you wear it. It’s not until after at least 3 to 4 wearings that it ends up getting shoved further down in the fashion rotation.

Holding it in my hand, I realize that if I NEVER wear this shirt… then there has to be a reason. Therefore, I carefully look it over a second time and ask myself the question: WHY do I never wear this blouse? It isn’t stained. It isn’t torn. It isn’t see-through. It isn’t missing any buttons. It isn’t too tight, too short, too long, too low or too revealing. So WHAT the hell is the problem!?!?

Then I usually think back to whatever “bottoms” I wore with it on the previous occasion. Ahhh… that must be it, I tell myself. It’s because I didn’t wear the proper pants or skirt in which to compliment the grey shirt. The brick-red skirt was too wrinkled and didn’t create good overall lines. When paired with the darker-grey slacks, I just ended up looking like a giant pidgeon. The shirt’s seams hit me in all the wrong places the time I wore it with the denim trousers. So perhaps if I combine it with something other than the brick red skirt, charcoal slacks OR the denim trousers, it may actually be possible to make the shirt work for me.

So I try about the only option I have left available to me… and that is to match it up with a pair of black slacks. WRONG again! Like Harry Potter and his Invisibility Cloak… I have decided that this shirt is my Ugly Cloak. Every time I wear it I feel absolutely hideous. How is it that I can so easily forget just how ugly this shirt makes me look and feel? Sure… there is nothing OUTWARDLY wrong with the item, which must be why I continually pull it off the hanger and choose to drape myself in it for 10+ hours a day! However, it is uncomfortable to wear, and the color makes me look as though I have just contracted the H1N1 virus. It is shapeless and makes ME look like I am shapeless underneath of it. It rides up in the chest, neck and shoulders causing me to constantly TUG at the hem in order to keep it from eventually floating up and completely over my head. Oh yeah… and it wrinkles if you so much as look at it wrong.

And the only reason I am able to recall all of this information now with such passion and clarity, remembering enough detail to get it all down in writing, is because right now… even as I type this… I am wearing the blasted grey shirt. That’s right folks, I gave The Ugly Cloak yet another chance… and once again… it has deeply disappointed me.

Damn Grey Shirt… I swear… you have screwed me over for the last time! I am NEVER, I repeat NEVER wearing you again!!! That is, until three weeks from now… when I find you there, hanging in my closet… looking oh so innocent… and I’ve somehow managed to completely forget ONCE AGAIN how you truly make me feel.

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The Back of the Closet

Have you ever, in desperation, looked in the very back of your closet to search for something to wear because nothing you own seems good enough and you HATE all of your clothes? You push aside the tees you wore this past weekend, the blouse you wore yesterday and the top you’re saving for “Casual Friday,” all in the vain attempt to reach the bowels of your wardrobe hoping against hope that therein hangs some incredible unforeseen garment that you’ve forgotten you own and can therefore resurrect!

Aha! You find something! How in the world have you missed it in all this time?!?! This is wonderful! This is going to open you up to endless, interchangeable fashion possibilities! This is going to double, no TRIPLE your number of available ensemble choices! This textile, could perhaps… transform your entire world.

Now, of course, as you stand there… hanger in hand… arm outstretched… admiring the aforementioned “Savior Garment”… there is one thing you know you must check first. And it is absolutely imperative. It is the biggest hurdle you will have to overcome, but you MUST find out before you get too excited and mentally begin pairing things up and creating outfits that will undoubtedly turn heads. I am referring to the all important question: Does it still fit?

<gulp>

Quickly, you consider everything you ate THAT day as a peremptory justification for any minor snugness, should it exist. You try to recall the last time you’ve broken a sweat (not including this one), pushed play on that dusty Denise Austin DVD or even laid eyes on the inside of the gym. Then you begin thinking about all the morning lattes, the mayo on your sandwiches, the bleu cheese dressing on your salads, the 3 p.m. sugar binges, the weekend baseball beers, the weekly-Lifetime-movie-cookie-dough binges… and the fear begins to build.

<double gulp>

Somehow you gather the courage to slide the first appropriate appendage into said clothing item… then the second. So far, so good. Now comes the true confirmation of your intestinal fortitude: Will it button, latch, zip or close without the surgical removal of any vital organs? With your eyes squeezed shut, muttering prayers, you try it. Praise God!! It STILL fits!!! The clouds part, rays of sunshine pour into your room and in the distance you can hear the faintest sound of angels singing The Hallelujah Chorus!

Ah… now the real fun begins. What to pair with this “new” former frock for it’s reintroduction into the rotation. After trying various color and texture combinations, taking into consideration this particular item’s unique strengths and weaknesses… you finally select just the right piece with which to pair it.

You’ll wear it the very next day.

Tomorrow arrives and you’re amazingly able to jump out of bed and kick start your day just by thinking about how nice you will look in the day’s oh-so-stylish ensemble. You will get so many compliments and your envious co-workers will assume you’ve been shopping, when in actuality, you haven’t spent a single dime. In anticipation for your great day, you get dressed, leave for work early and even stop for a latte… because apparently they haven’t damaged your figure too much seeing as this item still fits.

No sooner do you get to work, pull into your parking spot and get out of the car do you realize WHY it is that this piece of clothing was SHOVED to the back of the closet… It may fit you the same as it ever did… but it is so uncomfortable you cannot STAND IT!! You spend your ENTIRE day tugging and pulling and adjusting and hiding in your office, praying for the day to be over so that you can take this freaking piece of crap and CRAM it in THE BACK OF THE CLOSET… right where it belongs.