Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010, Day 266, LAST DAY!


Well here we are at last. You didn’t think it could go on forever, did you? Not even I have that many clothes. I finish here with probably the most gorgeous dress I own and have ever worn. I found it out shopping with Rachel in Aspen in February of last year when we walked into a J. Mendel* store just for fun. Luckily, the salesclerk announced they were having a seventy (70!) percent off sale on select items.** On said sale rack was this lovely number which happened to fit perfectly. I knew right then I would wear it to our Holiday Party that year and it became my first outfit of the evening. It was only later I found the Chie Mihara suede pumps (see March 2) in exactly the same shade of purple.

I am standing in front of a portrait painted by the illustrious Robert Russell (see April 24). We were going for a Singer Sargent vibe when he took the photograph that he based the painting on in this very room with me wearing this very dress. I imagined myself as some aristocratic woman from long ago surveying the fields and thinking, “This is my land!” We took some other photographs with me in other dresses, but in the end chose this one for the portrait and I’m glad we did.

I had a wonderful time posing for the photographs appearing in this blog and would like to thank my three most frequent photographers: Gary, Elodie and Graydon. Without them and other friends and family, this project would not be possible. I thank them profusely for their patience and their willingness to “take one more” because the first fifteen shots "really sucked."

I had an excellent time documenting the art we are blessed to live with in our home. It was so much fun to record and, in many instances, research facts about the various artists and pieces in our collection. I feel like I know so much more about the beautiful things that surround us every day. This project also forced me to keep a diary of sorts, something that I’ve always wanted to do, but never seem to have done. At least most of 2010 is documented here should a biographer ever come calling.

So, did I wear it all? Well, no, not exactly. I would estimate I wore 98.5% of the agreed upon items (see “rules,” January 1) in my closet. What I didn’t wear include a couple of never-worn dresses I have set aside for this year’s MOCA gala (gold Tadashi Shoji) and for this year’s Holiday Party (red Michael Kors) – I like when I have something “new” to wear to a big event -- and a few tops and blouses (this was bound to happen as I knew going in I have more tops than bottoms). Overall, though, I’d say I came pretty close and am pleased with the results. I never expected this project to go on this long. If you recall, my original estimate was 100 days or just over three months. And while I didn’t quite triple that, I did match the number of days it takes to gestate a human baby (see Wikipedia.com) so you could say I gave birth to my closet.

As you all know, I absolutely loved writing this blog and I learned many things. First (and most obvious), I have a lot of pretty clothes that I hadn’t been wearing. So many things, dresses in particular, I would pass by on a daily basis thinking, “Oh that’s much too special to wear today,” or “I’m not really ‘doing anything,’” or “Why bother; no one will see me.” This proved to be wrong thinking for at least two reasons: 1) If the money is spent and it’s hanging in my closet, who cares if only I see it? What am I "saving" it for? I could get hit by a bus tomorrow and then what? 2) You never know who you are going to run into during the average day or who will unexpectedly stop by the house. On more than one occasion I breathed a sigh of relief that I wasn’t wearing anything with holes or a stain down the front.

Speaking of holes and stains, this project also forced me to take a hard look at all of my clothes and repair and clean the ones in need. It was a boon for my local dry cleaner (Village Cleaners up near Gelson’s) and my local tailor (Nancy’s Alterations in the El Camino Shopping Center). Now everything in my closet is repaired, hemmed and freshly cleaned, eliminating any excuse not to wear something because it needs a trip to the cleaners or to the tailor.

Taking a photo of me each day in each outfit also forced me to face reality about which items were really not flattering on me. I think we all have a tendency to have an image in our head about how we look in certain clothes, but as they say, pictures don’t lie (although they do seem to add a few pounds). Seeing certain things on film and how they truly look on me allowed me to give them new homes with people who hopefully look better in them and I have a nice bag of donations for Casa Pacifica***.

Finally, I found out necessity really is the mother of invention as proved by the creative combinations I came up with in my final weeks, determined as I was to wear as many things as possible. I will definitely repeat some of these new looks and incorporate all the lessons I have learned. It’s been a grand 266 days and part of me will sorely miss this blog. The other parts are ready to go shopping!

*J. Mendel is more of a museum to me than a shop. The clothes are exquisite and the prices match the efforts put into each garment.

**I also was able to avoid sales tax since there is no J. Mendel shop in California and I had it shipped.

***People assume Casa Pacific focuses on small children and they donate clothes accordingly. Actually Casa Pacifica offers temporary housing and services to many teenagers who are adult-sized and in need of clothes just as much as the little ones.

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