Monday, May 25, 2009


I threw out clothes I loved.
I miss them.

I could have thrown out love letters, less regretfully. Even without re-reading those letters, you remember the words ... so precious, caressive ... You don't really want to see if if they feel the same way now.

I had a black coat I bought at Bloomingdales. I was 18. It was fitted. My waist was 24. I was as tall as I am now. (Actually taller -- I keep forgetting the inch I lost, when my broken back was fused.) The coat had a high collar, four inches that stood up, not because it was stiffened with buckram. It just stayed high ... Buttons were covered, fabric soft wool, bodice formfitting, skirt flaring into a half circle ... It made me feel like a Russian princess. It cost $125.00, which was my birthday money.

I was in New York, with barely enough money to live on, having fled, spur of the moment, from the University of Chicago. Was I taking classes at the New Dance Group? I can't quite place this marvelous coat in the sequence of my career pursuits.

A few years later, when I was beginning to be looked at, and wanted to be looked at in unique, ahead-of-the-trend outfits, I sewed a five-inch antique silver chain onto the collar so that I could fasten the elegant collar in an elegant way.

Time passed. I was getting to be a "name" in dance. I had a baby. And a thicker waist. JC was earning a lot . We got me a fabulous, white, sheared Canadian badger coat. With brilliantly hidden zippers, it could be worn as a traffic-stopping full-length evening cloak; a calf-length coat, or a fun "shorty."

Though my Russian Princess coat was stunning, it was tight if I ate anything. Even after I moved the buttons , I rarely wore it. I'd try it on, twirl in front of the mirror, debate what hat to wear, but didn't have anything spectacular, and those were the days when I wanted to look spectacular. So every fall, the coat was taken out of the closet where it was protected by cedar chips -- not worn -- returned to the closet with fresh cedar chips in the spring.

When we were living Malibu, animal lovers were donating furs, not wearing them, and I didn't want to be attacked on the street. Bye-bye incredible three coats in one. I gave my Canadian Badger back to the designer.

When we said bye-bye Malibu and returned to NY, my closets were filled with show biz glamor clothes. There wasn't hanger space for California clothes worn by a writer who'd lived in a log cabin on two acres, who no longer wore high-heeled leather boots, and elegant outfits, because you wear jeans, men's shirts, and sneakers, when your desk overlooks semi-tropical vegetation, and you're expanding "The Woman" into "Woman of the Century." (and mulling over yet another version.)

Yes, clothes affect me, creatively. I had no room for my log cabin outfits, so I made an Em rule. "If you haven't worn it in ten years. you throw it out."

Chiffons, velvets, lace, organza, be-jeweled, sparkling, floating dresses, blouses, skirts ... Bloomingdales coat, capes, jump suits -- I see them one by one as I write this and miss them ... that coat, oh my ...
I called my friend's daughter to whom I'd given a Kangaroo coat I'd bought in Australia, hoping I'd given her my Russian Princess coat. "No," she said, "You showed it to me, but didn't give it me ..."

I'm thinner now -- it would fit, it wouldn't be too tight, but if you haven't worn it in ten years ...

I guess I'm sad because the time for wearing it is gone. I can't get it back -- coat, or glamor clothes, or the person I was. So I'm lamenting the coat because it's gone, like my youth.

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