Stripped Down


The long-timers know that back in the day I used to write a column for my girl Jess at Nest Studio called Stylin’ Mamma, where I’d put together an outfit based on stuff going on in my fascinating, glamorous life as an inexpert mom-of-two-children under-ten/part-time philanthropy consultant.  (I know.  Don’t be jealous.)  I would sometimes link back to LotF and sometimes not; I generally thought of this blog and that blog as two separate pursuits.

However, I recently decided that writing is writing, and I might as well start writing all in one spot.  Also: I spend an (unjustifiably) large amount of time thinking about and window-shopping for clothes; it’s basically my other hobby.  Maybe this is why I loved writing that column.  It gave me a (borderline) legitimate excuse to spend an hour cruising my favorite websites for fashion I might or might not ever buy, just for the fun of imagining occasions to wear it.  So in the interest of taking the time I spend ogling various fashion sites and blogs, I decided this month to start bringing a little of the Stylin’ Mamma flair to Less on the Floor.

But first:

In the week since our car accident a series of other unfortunate events have popped up (none of which are blog-worthy but which nonetheless impact our family and other people we love).  To be honest I’m feeling very frayed: just really trying to get through this tunnel without becoming overwhelmed by administrative stuff and/or emotion.  It’s temporary,  I know, but still…it’s hard balancing a fragile mindset with hands-on parenting, because in my experience hands-on parenting requires a certain steely-nerved ability to be both the “bad guy” and the “most loving person on earth”…and right now I am neither steely-nerved nor particularly patient, so I am oscillating a little too much between “total bad guy” and “repentant most loving person on earth”.  It’s confusing for everyone.

Obviously, the solution to this is to manically organize something in my apartment, and for today’s installment of Declutter Your Space, Declutter Your Mind, I chose my closet.


The closet clean-out has been a sloooow project over the past 12 – 18 months.  Because I’m someone whose identity is very closely tied to how I’m dressing or what I’m wearing, shedding old clothes is a lot like shedding past lives: jobs, friends, social habits, routines.  But I’ve been building this wardrobe for, what?  Twenty years, probably, if you count that one coat I’m still holding onto from college.  And my life has changed so much, so many times, and is still changing.  So I try to get organized, I try to be ruthless, but then I tend to get nostalgic, and feel responsible to the memories that are wrapped up in specific items, to the girl who wore them — as if donating or selling or otherwise passing along the material object is in someway a betrayal or a disowning of that moment in my life.

I was talking to someone recently who has fully bought in to the philosophy of Marie Kondo.  I mean, she was into it, waxing rhapsodical about organizing her home, even going so far as to suggest she had grown closer to her partner through the careful folding of socks in the evenings.  After a few minutes it all began to sound vaguely cultish and creepy (“You think you’re organizing your closet but really you’re changing everything about how you live!”)…but there was something she said that stuck with me: to paraphrase, consider why you are holding onto things.  You may be holding onto a lot that no longer serves you, and it’s okay to love these objects and thank them for what they gave you once, and then let them go.

As I attacked my wardrobe on Monday I held close to this notion.  And I purged.  As I folded and sorted, evaluated and packed, I remembered: my first “real job,” when I had no money at all and wore a lot of my mom’s hand-me-downs from her own past life; early-twenties shopping with friends on Sunday afternoons after too much champagne at brunch, and the impulsive, beautiful purchases that would come home with me; the Marc Jacobs shoes I bought the day I learned I was pregnant with LittleMan (my first designer purchase!); a frock I wore to a party celebrating my engagement almost 15 years ago; boho dresses I wore to dinner when my parents would visit us living in London during the Sienna-Miller-peasant-skirt craze; beautiful coats from when I was pregnant and otherwise confined to two pairs of black pants…All.  These.  Things.

I remembered.  I thanked them.  I let them go.

What’s left?  A much clearer picture, actually.  A much less confusing snapshot of the woman I am now: the life I lead, the body I inhabit.  Sliding that door open and seeing everything (actually seeing it all!), I am no longer haunted by the fact that I once was this way or that, or I once worked here or there, or I was once friends with so-and-so…I was, once, all those things.  But I’m not anymore.  And that’s okay.  Because chapters begin and end, life goes on.  We move forward.

(Apparently, I am moving forward in appropriate footwear and a great deal of denim paired with striped tops.)





Until next time.


Pictured in post: Gap black jeans // Gap girlfriend jeans // Gap summer flare jeans // Heidi Merrick tee // Golden Goose trainers // J. Crew sandals // Penelope Chilvers espadrilles // Banana Republic sunglasses  

Photos by Lauren Hemmingsen


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