Sentiment, memory and the cull

My wardrobe is peppered with clothing that once belonged to my Auntie. Much of it was handed down throughout the years and some I pulled from her wardrobe when she passed away a few years ago. My Auntie wasn’t old – not old enough to leave us. She was very glamorous, always fully made up. When I was a child she always wore knee-high boots and kept her hair long, straight and dark – she was a rock star in my eyes. She gave me some amazing leather pants and high waisted Guess jeans when I was young, which I culled over a decade ago – a decision that makes my heart ache and my eyes well with tears today because I wasn’t to know that she wouldn’t be physically present in my adult life.

My Auntie fought a long battle against multiple myeloma. She remained strong and positive through rounds of chemo, only to have the cancer return again and again. She could have fallen apart when it took her trademark hair, only to return it silver and curly, but she didn’t, instead experimenting with wigs. She kept working until the end – you wouldn’t have known she was sick. But eventually she grew weary. My mother, sister and I visited her at the hospital to say goodbye. She smiled and was calm. She asked my mother to paint her toenails bright fuchsia, then let the cancer take her.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about culling and minimalism. I’ve been working on reducing the clutter in my house to make life easier when our second child is born in less than two months time, but when it comes to my wardrobe I’ve come to a standstill. A lot of the things that my Auntie gave me I’ll probably never wear – a tiny, leopard print, high-cut swimsuit for example – but I couldn’t possibly let it go. Whenever I come across a piece of clothing she gave to me, I lift it to my face, inhale the faint scent of the YSL Opium perfume she used to wear, and then return it to the wardrobe. Wardrobe clean out over, just like that.

I’ve been looking at minimalist blogs and websites trying to find out how to navigate sentimentality when clearing out clutter but what I’ve found is that there is no room for sentiment in the minimalist lifestyle. The minimalist says cull the clutter, keep the memories, but I have a problem with this notion. You see, memories fade. Sometimes we need a prompt to keep the memory alive, like a photo, a trinket, or a tiny leopard print swimsuit that smells of Opium perfume. So, while I’m happy to donate the tired looking jumper I got from Sportsgirl last year to St. Vinnies, I’ll be holding on to some of my ‘clutter’, because memories, unlike jumpers, can not be replaced.

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I’m beaking up with breton

I’ve had a long time love afair with breton tops –   the timeless, and quintessentially French, navy and white striped top that was made famous by Coco Chanel.

For me, breton tops have always represented the ultimate in effortless chic, especially when worn with dark skinny jeans, tan ballet flats, a flick of mascara and an air of nonchalance.

Until now.

When I look in my wardrobe at the breton upon breton I feel…uninspired. Bored. Over it!

Maybe it’s because I can’t find my waist anymore and you really need to be slim to carry off the horizontal stripes, but I have a feeling that the true reason I’ve gone off breton is because I got carried away and overdosed.

I have no less than seven items in my wardrobe bearing breton stripes – dresses, tops and jumpers – so it seems that I have unintentionally cornered myself into a fashion rut.

So, it’s time for this love affair to come to an end. Breton, we’re done.

Or are we…

Do I give all my breton away and start anew or store it in case I want to rekindle our romance after bubs is born?