You’re standing in a frilly little clothing boutique (or Sears, I don’t know where you shop) and right in front of you is the very last jacket that is, by any and all standards, the second coming of Christ. It’s the perfect shade of navy blue, has the most wonderful silk lining when turned up, and the perfect amount of subtle-yet-intricate buttons. Hell, it even comes with a pocket square. This is the jacket. And you look at the tag — though let’s be honest, you’d lie down on the floor right now and have your kidney taken out by the mafia if it meant you could walk home with this jacket — and what, ho! It’s on sale! A full 60 percent off. What madman decided to put this beautiful specimen for such an unbecoming price? No matter, his folly is now your precious gain. You check the size, and it’s … more or less your size. You slip it on and, uhh, it pretty much fits. If you don’t move your arms too far forward and you don’t button the second button, yeah, you can get this thing on.
So you buy it, because you are a fool, and would trade your own mother in for a good bargain on a quality blazer.
Wearing this jacket out, you realize how many things are so much farther in front of you than you thought they were. Oh, that wine glass on the bar? I… don’t need it. That book high up on the shelf? Uhh… reading is for losers. And your own mistake becomes so painfully, painfully clear in these small moments: You bought yet another item of clothing that just doesn’t fit you.
Whether it’s a pair of shoes that kind of squeezes your toes on one foot (only to later manifest itself as the world’s most excruciating pain after half an hour of walking on city streets), a pair of jeans which you can button under only the most tenuous of circumstances, or a sweater that you must constantly tug at the hem of to keep in place–we’ve all done it. We’ve all been overwhelmed by the beauty or the sheer bargain of an item and bought it, often doing away with our receipt or the tag before we could fully realize the consequence of our purchase. These clothes — if we do not suck it up and awkwardly wear them — will fall to the back of our closet, only to be looked at with a fleeting moment of contempt, until one day we accept defeat and march that stuff down to the Goodwill, where it should have gone in the first place.
And I feel that, as I’m getting older and attempting to set something resembling a balanced budget for myself every month, the first item to scratch off the list is piles of clothing and accessories which serve, literally, no purpose. Even to make a sparse, ugly quilt out of all my sartorial mistakes would be putting them to something resembling good use. But I hope that I’m finally mature enough to just put away the things that don’t fit, even if it kills me to see them go. I’m not magically going to shrink two inches in height, or squeeze my feet small enough to fit into a 7.5. It’s just not in the cards for me, and it shouldn’t be for you, either.
So I say, let these wearable markers of our own indiscretion stay on the shelves where they belong, to be found by some Little Miss Perfect who wears sample size and thus can get whatever she needs whenever she needs it and, well, she can just suck on a lemon.