My sister and I have for many years had an informal clothes swap thing going. As our weight goes up and down we've passed stuff back and forth, and I never get rid of anything without passing it by her first.
It's always struck me as a great shame there isn't a way to do this on a bigger scale - I'm sure there are lots of people who have clothes too good to give away that simply don't fit any more - well not now anyway - and why shouldn't someone else be wearing them while they are still fashionable? Of course I send my stuff tot he op shop when neither myself nor my sister wants them, but the plus size thing is so specialised, wouldn't it be good to be able to send them to some special place? I'd quite like to shop there for other people's cast offs too.
So I have been having a fairly major wardrobe sort in the last few days. Very soon I may well be packing all my worldly goods away for a while, and my experience of doing this last time is that when you get home you never even unpack most of it. I am determined this time not to pack away things I don't really want any more.
The first step in this process has been to pull out all the things that have been in storage since 2005 when we went to Thailand. It is nothing short of total disgrace that all this stuff has just been sitting for 4 years. Some of it was stuff I couldn't even fit into back then (pre baby bearing), and a lot of it was the clothing I wore back when I was a hard core corporate worker and fairly dedicated night time party-er.
A couple of things have struck me going through it all - and believe me there is a lot. Firstly is just that - what a complete shit load of stuff I've kept for too long. No less than 7 pairs of jeans, 7 tailored suits (all lined, 6 of them imported Italian wool, 3 of them with pants as well as skirts), a cashmere overcoat, countless blouses, tops, skirts, shorts and dresses.
Some of the clothes I had and wore for a long time, some are relatively new, most of them are in fine condition and eminently wearable. Most of them are made from very nice fabrics - wools, silks, linens, a few lovely spun rayon blouses and almost everything is lined, has nice buttons, pockets and zips.
And almost everything has been made by me. Not the jeans though.
And this kind of surprises me. When I look at it all stacked up in neat piles (waiting for my sister to come and sift through) I realise that an awful lot of work has gone into this collection. A lot of choosing, a lot of money on expensive fabric, a lot of time and attention to detail (all pre child days. Sigh). I feel quite proud if the truth be known.
But the other thing is, despite the way I feel about the things I've made, this is a collection of clothes that belongs to a different life. True, quite a lot of it doesn't fit me anymore, but I know if I set my mind to it I could re-fashion most of it. The fit isn't the primary problem. This is clothing that belongs to a suit and party life, not a school drop off and gardenging life.
And I am thinking what a shame it would be for all this stuff to be lost, when it could really make a big difference to someone. After my sister has had her turn what else could I do with it all?