Space for flights of fancy

Jennie Ridyard

I’ve been purging my wardrobe. It hasn’t been cleared out since I moved in 2007, and then a gang of men I didn’t know did it for me, because the movers arrived two days early and indiscriminately tossed everything into cardboard boxes.

Yes, including my knickers.But wine and therapy have allowed me to move on and now, finally, space (or a lack thereof) and the slight whiff of mushrooms means action must be taken.

I put on rubber gloves and pink swimming goggles (for dust) and in I go.Top shelf: it transpires that I have five red handbags, three purple handbags, and zero black ones. What sort of woman doesn’t own a black handbag?I have 31 scarves, seven of which have stripes. Who actually chose this junk: Where’s Wally?

I have five purple scarves; I swear I bought none of them.But I did buy the vast collection of fishnet stockings in red, black and, oddly, brown. I did buy that mountain of coloured cotton wife-beaters.I did buy the smattering of loosely-tailored, button-up shirts, one in red check with silver running through it, another with blue flowers and cowboy stitching.And as I stare aghast at the growing heap of throwaways, I’m wondering what possessed me when I chose this stuff, because it’s simply not “me”.

Could it be that our personal purchases reflect not so much who we are, but who we’d like to be?Take the fishnets: yes, I wish I was more vampy, but my legs are like burst sausages in them. The vests? I dream of being sporty and athletic, with lean, swinging limbs and concave armpits.

God laughs.

The cowboy-esque shirts? They’re smart, classical, made for the sort of lady who throws on a neat, manly blouse over jeans and still looks all woman. Me? I look all butch-lesbian. The scarves? My mother looks glorious in scarves, but when I put them on I look like, well, my mother.Then there are the psychedelic tassles, the gingham sundresses, the clothes with pompoms, and even shameful jeggings…

Out, out, OUT!

And the clothes I’ve kept for years, hoping one day I’d shrink back into them, get weeded out too – if I’m ever that thin again I’m going everywhere naked.But I’m not ready to chuck everything, not just yet. The cowboy shirts and fishnets go into the guest wardrobe, because you never know when you might need fancy-dress…

today in print

today in print