Saturday, 10 March 2018

Spring Rite of Passage: Wardrobe Inventory

I don't know about you, but when the end of winter is in sight I regress. I become the small girl who couldn't wait patiently for the seasons to change, who longed for fall when it was summer, and for winter when it was fall. But I think the season I always longed for the most was spring. 

I longed for the snow to melt and trickle across the fields and into the ditches, so we could pretend to be engineers and build dams. For the ground to become soft enough, so we could make potholes with the heels of our boots and play marbles. For the playground to dry up enough, so we could bring out the skipping ropes. Skipping was my most favourite thing in the world for a few years, second only to Mum's seasonal unveiling of the treasures in the cedar chest.


fields, melted snow, tree and a fallen wooden fence
Snow melting in the fields back home in 2016.
Sigh. That was a yearly rite of passage. When the temperatures climbed, and we shed our winter coats, and mittens, Mum levered the top off the big old cedar chest and we dug out our spring and summer clothes. Oh, the anticipation. What would fit me this year? Which of my sisters' dresses might I finally be grown up enough to wear? Would I need a new spring coat, or a new pair of white sneakers? New white sneakers being as coveted by me as a new skipping rope. 


And I have to say that things haven't changed all that much. I still lever the lid off the metaphorical cedar chest and peer inside, unpacking layers of clothes. Except now they're hanging in garment bags in a closet, or folded into drawers under the bed in the spare room. I still check to see what fits and what doesn't. What I will wear. What I won't. What needs to be packed off to the thrift shop, or sent for cleaning. 

This year I'm pushing the season a little. We've just had snow, and Hubby is still skiing every day. But I can't wait for spring. So, today I did a digital inventory, looking at shots of spring outfits over the years on my blog. Cringing at some, making a note that this piece or that one will probably not be getting an airing this year. And choosing those items that still have me sighing, "Oh... I love that." 

Here is my visual list of keepers.


eight shots of woman in eight spring outfits
Keepers for this year in more or less chronological order. 
That Elie Tahari tan safari jacket at the top left is one of the oldest pieces here, dating from 2011. Last year I tried it with my black leggings and black Rag and Bone silk tank and it was reborn. The brown and lilac pleated skirt in the next shot is from 2005. It's old but I can't bear to part with that skirt. The gold Michael Kors tote, the black hooded rain coat, and the gauzy floral scarf are all from my spring 2012 purchases. My black Helmet Lang jacket from spring 2015, and my khaki suede Moto jacket from spring 2016 will still be in heavy rotation this year. Ditto my navy Rag and Bone dress, and my navy Veronica Beard suit (not shown) from 2016. And from last year, I'm excited to wear my lilac Vince sweater, black and white striped A.L.C. midi-skirt, black Rag and Bone cropped pants, and white Lafayette 148 blouse. Not to mention my new black Paul Green flats with the snazzy laces.


But, of course, the point of a wardrobe inventory is to ascertain what we have in our closet, and what we don't. And this visual inventory shows me that I have a huge gap. What the heck will I wear when I'm sick to death of my winter duds, and it's too cold for bare ankles and legs? Because all of these looks are appropriate for late spring at the earliest, May, possibly, when temperatures are above 10° C. We hope. Ha.

So it appears that I have a serious need for jeans, or pants which I can wear with my low boots or sneakers... and socks. I hate cold ankles. Plus I'll also be looking for a spring coat. Longer than my black Michael Kors. Hopefully a traditional tan trench coat. Maybe like this one on Jennifer Aniston. I love this look on her. On second thought, maybe I should be able to button my new coat, or at least belt it, since I do plan to wear it when it's still cool. 


woman in long tan coat, white tee, sneakers and joggers.
I love this look on Jennifer Aniston    source
So, that's my list started, people. I'm going to head off to the mall this week to begin the hunt. Spring shopping is never, ever a one day activity. But I'll get to my shopping strategies another day.

You know, it's not just skipping ropes and wardrobe inventories that spring brings each year. Hubby is wondering if it's too early for another spring tradition, tramping across the fields in search of pussy willows. Every spring I refresh the pussy willow bouquets in my old earthenware jugs. It's a tradition. But I tell him it's way too early. And even if the weather was warm enough to allow for the furry buds to open... there's still a ton of snow in the fields. And I am not going to gather pussy willows on skis. There's just something so wrong about that. 

It's rubber boots or nothing at all. So to speak. Ha. I hate to mix my seasons. 



How about you folks? What spring rites of passage do you remember from when you were a child? Have any of them persisted into your adult life? 







33 comments:

  1. I love that collage of the outfits you love:). And the thought of a seasonal wardrobe is so alien here, all I do is move the long sleeved tees to the back of the drawer and the short sleeved tees to the front;).

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. I'd love to do without some of the cold and snow we get and the need for at least four months of boots and winter coats... but I think I'd miss it if we didn't have winter at all.

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  2. As winter began to bite we would line up & the liberty bodices would be taken out of the cupboard . They were thick vests , fleece lined with tapes & rubber buttons to fasten & we hated them . But there was no central heating & with ice on the inside of windows at times , I can see they were needed - no cashmere then . I think the name was to show they were not a restrictive corset but we didn’t think they were liberating. It was wonderful when the weather eased & we could put them back in the cupboard . Happy days . I haven’t thought about spring clothes much yet but did buy a soft , back denim duster coat , unlined , which should perk things up .
    Wendy in York

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    1. Back/Black
      Wendy

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    2. Oh Wendy, the liberty bodice! How I longed to be rid of it in spring but then mum would chime the old "ne'er cast a clout till May is out" = no discussion! X

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    3. That's a new one on me... liberty bodices. We wore undershirts in the winter and I always hated mine. The old farmhouse that my parents lived in before I was born had no central heating. Everyone crowded close to the wood stove to get dressed in the morning. I must look up liberty bodices on-line ... someone somewhere is sure to have posted a shot of them.

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    4. They have the look of a medical appliance Sue
      Wendy

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    5. I've never heard of a "liberty bodice," but just googled it, and found:

      Liberty bodice in British. noun. trademark. a sleeveless vest-like undergarment made from thick cotton and covering the upper part of the body, formerly worn esp by young children. Collins English Dictionary.

      Jeez! It sounds so very 19th or even 18th century. And I'm probably older (72) than either of you. Growing up in Mississippi, we had NONE of this.

      My big childhood thrill was, in the ninth grade, finally have five completely separate outfits to wear to school -- one for each day of the week. That's got to be one reason for my heightened fascination these days with clothes of all kinds. :)

      Ann in Missouri

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    6. You must have been a fashion plate in grade nine... five separate outfits! I'm impressed. I remember in grade nine a friend the same size as me and I tried shopping together and sharing clothes. We bought two items which we both loved and swapped them round each week. She had the skirt when I had the dress and vice versa. It was fun to see how we each wore them differently.

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  3. I live in Los Angeles, and we're pretty trans-seasonal here, so the divides are far more subtle. But I did a deep closet dive today, and there was way too much "oh yeah, I forgot I had that" for my current tastes. Not quite sure how to resolve that - I have a day job for which I have to dress on the business end of business casual, which means a pretty full wardrobe - but I'm feeling the need to tackle this one. All advice appreciated!

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    1. Not sure what to suggest, Carol. Have you tried hanging your stuff in categories, work wear, jeans and casual sweaters, dressy clothes etc? So you don't have to look at everything when you're deciding what to wear to work or out for dinner. I have a small closet and have to store non-seasonal things elsewhere, but when I organized my sister's closet, we hung all her clothes according to activity: work wear on one side, and her weekend wear on the other. Then fitness clothes in a separate place. More dressy business wear and conference clothes in another etc.

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  4. Oh Sue, how I could see that pleated skirt working with opaques and boots as one if your bridging give-to outfits! Good luck spring coat hunting! Hugs, x

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    1. I may just give that a try, Mary. Good idea.

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  5. In Quebec the first sign of spring was the maple trees being tapped...when that happened Dad would bring our bicycles out of storage and my sister and I could ride up and down the street in front of the house...skipping ropes, bags of marbles and sidewalk chalk also came out once the snow had melted sufficiently. Luckily we lived in a rural area and traffic was not an issue. Shopping for an Easter outfit was another certain sign that spring was just around the corner... there was the Easter hat to buy to wear to church and of course new patent leather shoes. Closets are a delightful place to begin the spring cleaning ritual! Love to see the items you are keeping from previous years...great selections that still look as classy as the day they were purchased! Cheers, Alayne

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    1. Ah yes.... at our farm too... the first sign was the sap running, then the tapping of the trees, and boiling the sap. Yum. And the Easter hats... I remember white straw hats with ribbons...loved those.

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  6. Oh, yes! I also grew up in big snow country, and mom letting us take off our rubber boots was huge. She usually let me do that only after swearing I would not walk in the puddles. And being me, I didn't want to, because who wants to get their lovely spring shoes muddy? :-)

    I am going through my wardrobe as well. There are just things I haven't worn in forever that have to be purged out. Nothing I really love, though. Well, maybe a couple pair of painful shoes that I haven't been able to part with, but I'm getting more realistic as I age. Ha!

    --Laurel

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    1. That feeling when the ground is hard enough to go without our spring boots. Sigh. I'm not sure why clothes bring back such visceral memories for me.

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  7. Great collage, and a great idea for reviewing Spring things, Susan. I remember loving that ALC skirt and i still do. It's pretty much early summer here, so no need to cover my ankles, but I feel you. Thanks for linking up, xo

    -Patti
    http://notdeadyetstyle.com

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  8. Your keeper outfits are great. What an easy way to get an outfit inspiration with already owned items!
    I sometimes can't think of anything to put together even with lots of previously worn outfits - just cannot remember the successful "ensembles"- hahaha
    Even though we don't have the same cold winters as the rest of Canada, I love the season changes. I am just starting to wear some lighter stuff on top, but still in jeans on the bottom!
    Thank you for another fun post.
    Suz from Vancouver

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    1. I was the same. I even tried taking notes one year after I had a try-on session. But photos are much easier!

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  9. Hi Sue,
    These are really nice spring fashion selections that look runway-perfect on you with your long legs. My favorite is the ensemble with the gauzy scarf - every piece of that look is great, especially those perfect black loafers.

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    1. Thanks, Jo. Those loafers are a perennial favourite of mine. They're several years old, but I still love them.

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  10. Lovely outfits!
    I've never heard (or seen) about liberty bodices-just have googled them. They don't seem so awful :-)
    I liked the change of seasons, as it was before,waiting for spring,white knee-lenght socks and patent black mary janes (although I can't remember shoes for everyday's running around,skipping,playing in the mud....)
    I wore a silk Liberty (ha :-)!)print dress yesterday,(cashmere turtleck beneath),and leather jacket,it was sooo nice but am back to coat today.
    Dottoressa

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    1. Dottoressa, they were thick & rather stiff with not much ‘give’ in them . The worst was when they got tighter as we grew bigger :( You’re right though , our hatred was out of proportion . We all seemed to feel the same though .
      Wendy

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    2. I believe you Wendy,there were always clothes that we've hated in childhood,weren't they? High shoes,sturdy and ugly for instance (I find them quite nice now),and I didn't find wool very comfortable,it was (and is for me still,I could wear it only with cotton tees beneath )always very itchy
      And if liberty bodices were stiff,they must have been quite uncomfortable,I'm sorry and apologize :-))
      D.

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    3. No need to apologize, Dottoressa. I'm sure Wendy did not take offence.

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  11. Living in Los Angeles we don't have too many seasons. It stays pretty much the same temperature. BUT, I have decided it's time for a closet clean out. So I have a favorite organizer and she is coming next week to help me weed and clean in the closets. Haven't done it in years so it's about time. I do not have your organizational genes so I must start from scratch and just see what fits. I hate getting rid of beautiful clothes that no longer fit. What will I do?

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    1. Donate then to "Dress for Success"?? Do you have that organization down there? Or give then to a women's shelter? Thinking that some women have escaped dangerous situations with only the clothes on their back, and need clothes to go for job interviews, etc etc.

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  12. PS. You had no central heating? Brrrrrr.

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    1. That was when my parents were first married. Many old farmhouse did not have furnaces but relied on wood stoves. The pipe that went through floor of the bedroom sometimes providing the only heat upstairs.

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  13. I love that Anniston look, too! (Impossible to wear if you're a shrimp.) And you, as always, look fabulous! :)

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  14. I love that you took pictures of your favorites - reminds me of Clueless, where she has pics of all of her clothes in her closet! I need to do a deep dive into mine and remove some things! Thanks for sharing with Thursday Favorite Things, we are so happy you joined us !

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All comments, ideas, commiserations, questions, complaints... are most welcome.