Wednesday, 25 March 2009

For a self-professed tomboy, I sure have a LOT of clothes

I think of myself as a bit of a tomboy. I always have. My favourite article of clothing EVER were my pale blue spaceship pyjamas which I grew out of when I was 6. I stole all my brother's Lego and his Transformers. I could canoe by 4, J-stroke by 9, and portage a canoe by 11. I knew how to build a good camp-fire by age 5. When I was six, I did ballet for a few weeks before the instructor told my mom to put my in Karate instead (she never did, much to my dismay). Nor did I ever get enrolled in hockey. Or join Scouts. (Both of which I really REALLY wanted to do.) At the time I felt like it was my parents way of trying to make me act more like a girl. Now, I know it's mostly because we couldn't afford it.

Generally speaking, I spent a lot of time in trees, on my bike, playing tag or Wave or making epic Lego cities and causing a general ruckus.

That said, I definitely have my girlie moments. I played dress up a lot as a kid. And I had dolls (never any Barbies though, although E.L. and I got kicks out of popping the heads of her younger sisters'...) and I drew and wrote and loved fairy tales above and beyond what is probably normal.

I also organized 2 fashion shows, which I designed clothing for, and then designed for another 2 shows... but I've always spent more time in jeans and RegattaSport shirts and climbing pants and I still spend most of my time in jeans and tank tops and my Scarpas or Keds depending on the season. I mean I do clean up half decently and all... but generally I can't be bothered.

You'll notice that even in a skirt, I'm in black steel-toed boots. The only reason this photo was even taken was for my portfolio when I applied to theatre school for costume design. What compelled me to make corsets in the first place (because that thing definitely has 14 pieces of boning in it), I will never know. I think it's because someone figured I couldn't do it. So I had to prove them wrong. Suffice to say, I am almost positive that that top and a blue one I made that's almost exactly like it, got me in to Ryerson (where they abused my sewing abilities so badly that I quit two months into my second year, but that's a story for another day).

Thing is, even though I'm a bit of a tomboy, I have all these great clothes, and I really LIKE clothes. I realized just how much clothing I had the other day when I did laundry (4 loads of it) and still had a closet bursting with clothes... So, in traditional "pre-spring cleaning" fashion (groan... bad pun) I decided to go through it all to see if I can get rid of any of it, and, figured that while I was doing so, I may as well figure out just how much clothing I have, so...

The Contents of Mer's Closet (& dresser)

19 tank tops - What? I wear these almost every day...
13 things with hoods - I don't say hoodies because two of these things aren't really hoodies, most of them are though...
33 t-shirts - I probably only wear about 6 of these on a semi-regular basis
15 pairs of pants - my definition of pants include anything that goes below my knee, everything else is shorts
3 pairs of dress pants - I actually LOVE one of these pairs of pants more than about 98% my wardrobe; they're those really awesome, old school, high-waisted kind that, by some miracle were made with wide legs. A former raver-girl's DREAM.
12 skirts - I don't really like (or wear) skirts. People keep giving me them. Like a hint. I like about 5 of them. All but one of which I've made (but how can you not LOVE a pleated red tartan mini-skirt? how, I ask you?)
9 things with turtlenecks - they're not all sweaters, but they all have turtlenecks...
13 sweaters - a good 1/2 of these fall into my I-stole-this-from-my-dad-when-I-was-twelve category, the other half are mostly V-necks
9 halter tops - I love these. I live in them in the summer because I can't stand things sticking to my back...
41 other shirts
- this includes clubbing shirts, button ups, long sleeves, et c. ... it's still A LOT of shirts...
6 items of silk long underwear - camping. nuff said.
8 items of spandex - Don't ask. No. Really. Don't ask.
5 pairs of shorts - mostly those guys quick-dry board shorts. I hate shorts.
3 hockey jerseys - Sens. Pens. Team Canada.
14 coats and jackety things - including 3 leather jackets, 4 black wool coats and a leather trench coat with a fur collar that Sara bought for me for 12$ at St. Vinny's when I was 14
5 suits - including the most incredible 600$ blood-red suit that I got for 1/4 of the price. LOVE Boxing Day!!

AND, last but not least, the thing that prompted this post... 25 dresses !!!

Now, the scary part is that every item is only in one category (so the pants in my pant suit are in addition to the 3 pairs of dress pants). That, ladies and gentlemen, is 233 articles of clothing (and you haven't seen my scarf collection... EPIC). And that's not including any of my (and I'm not exaggerating here) dozens of sewing projects. Or my socks and underwear or pyjamas or bathing suits. Which would probably push me over 300 articles of clothing... even still, 233 is A LOT.

It is ludicrous. Excessive even.

But most interesting are those 25 dresses. Thing is, I like them all and have actually worn all but two of them to public events/out, most of them multiple times. I love vintage. About 1/3 of my dresses are pre-1965 because I love structured dresses and, to be perfectly honest, I look and feel awesome in them. I'm curvy and I actually kind of love showing off my curves so long as I can keep myself tastefully covered up.

Structured dresses are fabulous because they're kind of conservative, and for the most part, they keep everything in place. I feel much more confident if I'm not having to worry about my dress slipping down or my cleavage becoming obscene. It's old fashioned, but that's how I roll. Plus, the number of people who comment on those dresses is way higher, and the type of people who comment are way more likely to be the type of people I will actually like.

I also have about half a dozen sun-dresses and I have about as many on the go in my sewing box... I make dresses in the summer because they're fun, and because in the sweltering heat, they're really comfy.

But TWENTY-FIVE dresses?? I was shocked. The sad thing is, there are only maybe 3 that I would part with without feeling really icky inside, knowing that I would regret it someday. See, I had the MOST PERFECT little black dress in the WHOLE WIDE UNIVERSE -I called it my Audrey Hepburn dress- and I gave it away when I was 19 because it was size 2 and I wasn't anymore. Now I want it back. I wouldn't fit into it (not quite) but I could at least make a pattern for a slightly larger twin that I WOULD fit into. I miss that dress. I am still looking for its replacement.

The weirdest thing is that I get rid of clothes every spring, but every year I seem to have accumulated more even though I never plan to. The only things I ever really "wear through" are jeans and tank tops because I wear them day-in-day-out from September to June.

Some gems and interesting facts, however, that must be noted:
- my red fleece hoodie with the pointy sleeves and the devils horns on the hood. Saw this on my way out of Off the Wall in Kingston the night of the Weeping Tile's annual Christmas reunion show with M.V. and C.K. and ran back into the store where M&C had just spent 45 minutes trying stuff one and bought it. It wasn't even a decision. I think I wore it almost every day between then and turning 21 about two and a half years later. Will never give it away. Ever.

- my yellow beaded cardigan which is like sunshine made into a single piece of clothing. 20$ second hand. Love it.

- 4 little black dresses... you really can't have too many little black dresses.

- 16.3% of my clothing is black.

- 3 corsets. If feminism is about having choice, I choose to look hot, thank-you-very-much!

- the Marilyn Monroe dress I made for my second fashion show which has earned me countless compliments. You can't tell from the photo, but it hangs to just below the knee. Honestly, one of the most awesome dresses ever. It somehow manages to combine classy, sexy, and a full 360 skirt that, if you twirl fast enough, spins out flat (well ripples, but in the most awesome way) parallel to the floor at that perfect height below the hips where you don't show anything indecent, except maybe the tops of your stockings if you're wearing thigh-highs and a garter belt - which, with this dress, I generally feel compelled to do, just 'cause if I'm going to dress up, I figure I'll really dress up.

This picture really does the dress no justice... I wish I had a better shot and I can't believe I don't, because I've worn it countless times, and probably will wear it again to a couple weddings I'm attending in August. I had a wicked photo of A.B. in it a few years ago (also for my portfolio) but I don't have any of that stuff with me in B.C. In any case, it's probably my second favourite dress ever and most likely the best article of clothing I have ever made (for myself).

- my "prom dress"
- which I wear on a regular basis every summer because it's a gorgeous empire waisted, cap-sleeved, sun-dress from a wicked little designer in Paris. I LOVE IT.

- 54% of my clothing is black, blue, red or white. An none of this pink-counts-as-red or off-white-and grey count as "black & whites" stuff... this is just straight-up black, white red and blue.

- I somehow, inexplicably, have 13 articles of pink clothing.
I have only purchased and/or made 6 of these items. I don't really like pink, but because I am blonde everyone seems to think I should wear it. (Oh and that ISN'T counting the 4 pairs of pink pyjamas people have given me.) I really don't get it. Is it so hard to find red plaid pyjama pants?

- (At least) 27 of these items are things I have made myself.
really, I should stop... but I go on these binges in the summer time and sew for days at a time and make myself dresses and purses and halter tops and god only knows what else.

- the remnants of my raver days
, including the shirt with Sugarsmack across the chest in seedbeads that I made as a joke because of a line in a Matthew Good Band song.

- the 'wedding dress'
- Not an actual wedding dress. Not in the traditional sense. It's black lace over beige silk with a full 360 skirt (the basis for the pattern for the Marylin dress) and it's been to at least 7 weddings. I joke that I will wear it to my own wedding. If I elope, I just may do it.

- I own only 3 articles of orange clothing. I wear my orange wrist-warmers about 300 days a year. I wear my orange halter top about 25 of the other 65 days of the year.

- a pair of skin-tight, black leather pants that Emma's mom gave me when I was 14 (and which, by some MIRACLE, I fit into again lately). They are Harley Davidson pants from the 1970s. They have the little logo-y thinga on the belt loop. They are the BOMB. You have to have Major attitude when you wear these babies, but it's pretty much inevitable that you Have attitude, because it is bestowed upon you just by slipping into them.

Most of my closet is not nearly that interesting and clearly I need to get rid of some clothes, because half of it is stuff I never wear anyways... So spring cleaning time rears its ugly head and I will spend a few weeks agonizing over what to give to Goodwill only to keep 75% of it in the end anyways... But I may have to reassess my tomboy status, given that any respectable tomboy wouldn't be caught dead with 25 dresses in her closet...


Jessclub7 said...

I am having a clothing cull at the weekend. I have SO much stuff it is ridiculous.

The other day I bought 3 dresses in one go. Excessive much? I could probably go to great length to justify why I absolutely NEEDED them, but really I just like having pretty (and cheap) things!

I pretty much never pay full price for anything which means I can get away with buying a lot more stuff. In my mind anyway.

I always find it interesting that people think they can tell something about personality from clothes. My clothes are no reflection of me whatsoever (in my opinion) - but maybe I am the exception.

Susan said...

A respectable tomboy does what she damn well pleases and to heck with what people think about the number of dresses she owns!
I would love to have the courage to wear black leather pants (as well as the body that must go with them).

Val said...

My personal favorite of yours - the Marilyn dress that you awesome is that. 25 go, girl, and I am of the opinion that you can never, ever have too many black dresses, pants, skirts, boots...

That whole spring cleaning thing - meh, maybe I will, maybe I won't, but I certainly won't feel too bad after reading your blog - love it!