Friday, October 21, 2016

Yes, wardrobes have expiration dates

It has been more than 16 years since I left the corporate environment. And it has taken me about as long to purge my closet of corporate attire.

The first few passes culled items that showed wear, poor buying choices, and extremely out-of-date clothing. (Think shoulder pads.) The next few passes were harder.

It was much easier to make choices when, as a kid, I simply outgrew things. No such luck anymore. Growth spurts stopped in my teens. And, luckily, I’ve been relatively consistent in weight, so my wardrobe still fits. It just may not fit the latest style.

It’s not that I’m a fashion maven or trendy. I buy for the long term, preferring pieces that mix and match with what I already own. What I rarely think about is expiration dates on wardrobe items. And I should.

Case in point: I recently attended a wedding wearing clothing of different vintages and a pair of pumps that had seen many a corporate hallway. It wasn’t until I sat down at the ceremony that I noticed a chunk of outsole missing from my shoe. I quickly shifted my position to hide the flaw and all was well. Or so I thought.

At the first dance, the harsh reality of shoe failure hit. Just a few step-touch, step-touch moves and both soles cracked and crumbled. Chunks of sole resembling cake icing were left in my wake. I beat a hasty retreat to the table and, soon after, to the car.

At least it wasn’t as bad as the great pantyhose failure a few years ago. I had tapped my stash of stockings, a holdover from when they were a corporate necessity, for a night in the city. Things were fine through the movie and dinner, but quickly unraveled on the walk back to the car. (For those of you old enough to remember Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In, think of the Ruth Buzzi old-lady character with stockings pooling around her ankles.)

They say things come in threes, so I can only imagine what my third wardrobe failure will be. I can only be more vigilant in inspection whenever I pull something out of the closet to wear.

I have long respected expiration dates on medicines, food, and beverages. Now I’m adding shoes, stockings, and other clothing items to the list. Apparently wardrobes have expiration dates, too.

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