This week, I did the annual dusting of my dress-up clothes.
I may have mentioned in an earlier post that I hate dressing up. Thanks to benevolent fortune and my own avoidance tactics, these days I work from home and employ other people to represent my computer training company much more professionally than I. So I have a closet full of business clothes I never wear. Dust gradually accumulates on them, and every now and then I go in and vacuum it off.
I like it that way. It’s a good system.
I’ve always hated dressing up. When I began Grade One, my mother thought it was proper for little girls to wear dresses to school. She crammed me into cute little outfits and sent me off clutching my tartan-patterned tin lunchbox and my utter disregard for propriety.
The “dress” phase lasted until the teachers gently informed her that I spent most of recess hanging upside-down by my knees from the monkey-bars.
After that came the phase of “dress with matching bloomers underneath”, which rapidly morphed into “fine, slacks it is”.
But it was still slacks. I didn’t get my first pair of jeans until Grade 5, by which time I had already been labelled hopelessly uncool. That was probably due more to my personality than to my clothes, but I prefer to cling to my illusions.
I made it through my remaining school years in blissful slobbishness, but when I went to university to take my interior design degree, I decided it was time to grow up and make an effort. I wore slacks and blazers and sometimes (gasp) skirts and pantyhose.
That lasted about six months, and then it was back to jeans and T-shirts. Styles changed, and I got rid of the outdated clothes.
The same pattern repeated when I entered the workforce: I bought sleek business clothes and high heels, which I wore for several months, followed by increasingly casual slacks and flat shoes.
At last I quit interior design (which was a relief to all concerned) and switched over to IT where my frumpy slacks and flats made me look like a fashionplate. So I got rid of the dress clothes entirely and started wearing jeans and sneakers to work.
When I started my own business, it was back to the stores for more damn dress-up clothes. Then came the inevitable decline, at which point I decided it was a much better idea to hire somebody else to represent my company. At least my staff wouldn’t be mistaken for vagrants who’d wandered in off the street to cadge goodies from the networking events.
Which brings me to the present, slouched happily in my home office. My only human contact occurs at a weekly staff meeting (I wear jeans), the gym, and Friday pub night with friends. No need to dress up at all.
But I’m afraid to get rid of the dress-up clothes. As long as they’re gathering dust and quietly going out of style in my closet, I’m safe. The instant I get rid of them, I just know the cycle will start all over again.
Anybody else keep out-of-style clothing as insurance?