"I write so that my handful of pebbles, cast into still waters, will create a ripple."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Five Steps for Organizing the Closet After You Say Goodbye to 4” Heels

Feet Hurt? Is your closet overflowing with clothes you never wear? A plan for what to save and what to dump when you start to dress for comfort

Going through my closet this week I began to realize that I'm a clothes hoarder. Even if I haven’t worn it in 10 years, I feel physically ill at the idea of parting with any of it. Sure, I watch “What Not to Wear”, but the problem is how do I finesse into a (ahem) Woman of a Certain Age.

I asked my Magic Mirror and this is what she whispered to me:

Young women dress to emphasize their assets and their hair. Middle-age women dress to minimize their deficits. Older women dress to match their shoes.

Sound harsh? Think about it.

Somewhere in the fifties the tendons and bones in the foot soften. Certain foot bones are the most frequently broken bones for women after fifty. That’s when podiatrists’ numbers get put on the speed-dial.

Out of necessity, shoes become less fashion statement and more a comfort accessory. It breaks our hearts to abandon this vestige of youth, but it happens.

Unfortunately, I have dresses that don’t “do” comfortable. They want a 4” heel. And nylons and a smoother. Without tough-love, those dresses will hang in the closet pretending they’re next-up for the party. Ten years will go by and still no party. Still, maybe when I’m seventy I’ll want to wear that sleeveless cocktail dress with the slit at the thigh that I didn’t even wear when it was new.

But the sad truth is, I’ve already dumped the heels.  So in order to downsize my closet and keep it real I’ve had to take a reality check. 

Here’s my plan:

Step One: Pick out the shoes I wear. Dispose of any I haven’t worn in three years. (I know, the rule is 12 months, but I’m a hoarder, remember?)

Step Two: Pair skirts, dresses and pants with the shoes they go with. Permission to pile them on the bed, the sofa, the floor. Use bronzer, pantyhose, hairdo, anything to get an accurate assessment, including daughters and husband.

Step Three: Try on everything with the shoes. If it doesn’t work, Get Rid of It. I picked the STYLE of shoe for a reason—comfort, style or because it fits my personality. When it wears out I’ll replace it with next season’s substitute, so if it doesn’t have a companion outfit now, I doubt the old shoe will ever have a love match with anything in my closet.

Step Four: Pack up the off-season clothes and shoes and store them. That way I'll have a new wardrobe in a few months. Vacuum seal sweaters so everything will pack down small. Kmart, $9.95 for three.

Step Five: When I go shopping I’ll wear the shoes I want to match. If something doesn’t, I don’t. It’s as simple as that. 

As a footnote—I won’t keep anything that needs a 10-pound weight loss to look good. I won’t pretend I’m anything I’m not. If I lose weight or change personalities, I’ll buy something new. Clothes are what I wear, not who I am. (Okay, who am I kidding?) But shoes do become what we wear, like it or not.

Am I right about this? Share your comments.