Closets


Wednesday, Nov. 7 – Who What Wear
My closet has been a bone of contention during my entire life.  In my early college days, it consisted of a shared space constricted between bi-fold doors. Every time I moved it grew or changed, things got lost, borrowed.
When I married my first husband the closet was always an issue. I had buckets under beds, took up most of the space in every place we lived. We moved every year for the first ten years of our marriage. I dragged all of the clothes along. Looking back I wonder what I would have experienced had e-bay been around.  I might have just sold it all in little like groupings and started over, re-inventing my self each year.
At year eight in Montgomery and eleven years of marriage, we bought a house with a closet room full of mirrored doors. I finally had the closet. It was the place and era of the ball. Montgomery is known for formal occasions. I loved to get glammed up and party like a rock star the first of the eight years we lived there but as with anything else, it began to lose its glitter.
By the time we left there for a totally opposite lifestyle to the Gulf Coast, we had a three and five year old. The clothes I dragged to a small closet not unlike the one I started in had solid core doors instead of bi-fold, and a safety hazard when opened and closed. I wouldn’t get rid of any of those clothes either.
I remember the day the closet came crashing to the ground. I was taking a nap and heard clattering. 
“Wow, so sweet, all that banging! He is finally putting together that shelf for the kids,” I thought before noticing the doors wide open and a bar of clothing jutting towards me.
That incident sparked the argument and the year we decided to go to counseling to try to keep our fifteen year marriage together. We even moved into another house in town with a bigger closet. (The first one was my family’s vacation home we vowed to be in for six months before three years crept along.)
 Shortly after we moved to the new home, at the advise of my sister who was visiting, (she re-invents her closet every season), I agreed to throw out the old. We laughed until our sides hurt reliving the events to which we wore some really cheesy looking stuff. I think I had her bridesmaid dress still in there from when she had married seven years earlier. There were at least two of the seven year cycles of fashion in that new closet that then housed my things pretty comfortably.
That day a new person I then called a friend was there. She dug through my things, asking if she could have a long black leather jacket I was tired of (man I wish I had that thing now, it was thick and looked like something from Deliverance but it was warm!), a worn Louis Vuitton bag I decided at my sister’s suggestion to toss as we were not even able to remember if that one was black market or real. Yes, I have to admit, I had that phase too.
We threw out quite a bit and I lugged about five trash bags of clothes to a consignment store on the gulf coast. I never got a cent of money for those. I will blame it on the fact that a hurricane and mild tropical storm that wouldn’t leave soon washed through and water damage consumed the place. I am sure it had nothing to do with the dated styles.
My marriage soon went out with the tossed clothing and I vowed to begin again with a new style and leave most of it behind.
I moved to Birmingham, a single mom with a pretty small closet, but wow at the space! I came to find that a man with more suits than I have can take up room in any closet, large or small. 
I also found that the gal who was coveting my loot was also after my husband. Thanks to her, the fifteen year marriage was ended without all of the threatened battles being waged by the other side. So now she inherited my stuff, all of the problems that marriage had before (will leave that vague but with a sigh of relief), and last I heard, a very small closet.
So now I stand here in my closet. I have had some friends come help me sort through it probably twice in the eight years I have lived here (the longest I have ever been in one place in my life since high school). There are a few ball type gowns I have held on to. There are some suits I know I wore in those Montgomery career and museum board/Jr. League days. There are some shoes I feel sure are wanting to be released but I am the firm believer that if they still fit and I like them, why toss them! 
This year’s fringe phase makes me covet the old fringe jacket I tossed about ten years ago. It was authentic hippy fringe, suede and sassy. And yes, sixteen year old daughter, I would have been “that mom” and worn it.
My closet now is open and large. (I designed this one from scratch with three rows of bars, although one did fall off the wall this spring. That was the winter coat one). Three bars high allows for spring, summer and winter to live all in the same space. The shoes? There will never be enough shelves for my shoes, although I probably wear ten percent of them. But if God forbid I EVER need a red one, a teal kitten heel? I have one!
The highlight of my creative mood swing is to get out my InStyle and peruse the pages to find that in my closet lives something similar to a few of the items in the “gotta have” section. I didn’t go shop for it, I didn’t order it online, I dug around and found it! 
Although today after a week of 30 degree weather last week and approaching 80 degrees today, I am a bit perplexed. I was happy to see the colored jeans I sported (and somehow I am still the same size) ten years ago are in. But with the change in the climate the cute sweater I was going to wear was replaced with a quick find as I dashed to check my child out who is sick. I might be said to resemble a sorbet today, lime sherbert!
Either way, there has got to be some value in appreciation to a man, particularly a husband, that he doesn’t have to outfit his wife with new things every week! He just has to be sure he takes her somewhere special so she can wear it!
Allison Adams