Say ‘No’ to the Dress? Why I Can’t Let GoAlice Gomstyn
I’m keeping a hostage in my closet. This pale captive has been hidden for years in a dark corner, getting rather wrinkled over time.
Before you call the cops, please note that I’m referring to a dress.
It’s a white halter dress that would be perfect for the hot summer weather we’ve been having here in the northeast…except it doesn’t fit me anymore. To be honest, it hasn’t since the birth of my first child.
This is not a woe-is-me-I-can’t-get-back-to-my-pre-pregnancy-weight post. I actually now weigh about the same as I did before I had both Saucer Eyes and Scrunchy Face. But as another woman put it, “things have shifted,” so the dress that used to flatter now shapes my postpartum body into something resembling a sausage with legs.
If I were practical, I’d donate it or sell it — aside from the wrinkles, it’s in good condition. But I just can’t do it and I know I’m not alone among moms who just can’t let go of a certain garment or two.
Stacy Grant, a New York mom I recently interviewed, has literally made thousands selling her old clothes and accessories. But the suburban mom can’t bear to part with one item — a poncho that was once her go-to outwear before she had children, when she was a peripatetic New York City dweller. Now, as a suburbanite, it’s not practical for her to wear the poncho beneath a seat belt, but she still keeps it around for sentimental reasons.
I’m sentimental about my dress too, but my nostalgia, at least on the surface, may seem less justified than Grant’s. I’m pretty sure I only wore the dress twice.
I do remember that I bought it for a specific occasion. A long time ago, in the days when I used to stay up late for fun instead of feedings — a.k.a. life, pre-parenthood — my friend Ashley invited me to a “white party.”
This was not, as clueless me initially feared, a racist thing. This was a “wear all white clothing” thing — the type of affair thrown by none other than Sean “Diddy” Combs in some luxurious Hamptons locale. The party I was invited to was neither in the Hamptons, nor thrown by Diddy, but I figured it’d be the closest I’d ever get to hip hop street cred — the secret wish of white suburban Jewish girls everywhere, clearly — so I went with it.
I don’t remember much about the party, other than that it was held in a dark night club which had beds instead of chairs and that I wanted to dance, but with so few people on the dance floor, I didn’t last longer than a single song before feeling self conscious.
But I didn’t feel self conscious about how I looked — the dress, at least back then, fit like a glove and Ashley and I had a good time out on the town in our clubbing attire.
Maybe it’s the memory of how good I felt in the dress at that moment that keeps me hanging on to it. Maybe it’s the tangible way it represents my carefree childless days. Maybe it’s just a nice reminder of a fun night with a friend who now lives thousands of miles away.
In any case, the dress isn’t going anywhere … and I owe Ashley a call.
Is there a pre-pregnancy item of clothing you can’t bear to get rid of?