Going through all of my clothes a few weeks ago trying to decide which of them sparked joy, really just emphasised to me that none of them really did. All of my pre-baby clothes, with beautiful matching lace underwear, dresses and skirts, tops that were completely incompatible with breast feeding, just felt like an entirely different life, different person, than I was now. I kept a couple of things for just in case I ever get to go out ever again, but the majority went straight in the ditch pile. And then there were my post baby clothes, all slightly grey and falling apart, too much washing baby sick and snot and milk from them. All a little too big and baggy, and all looking pretty sorry for themselves.
Strictly if I’d only kept the true joy sparking items if have had a collection of four things; a baggy t-shirt that I had appropriated from my husband, with wonderful early memories, perfect for curling up on the sofa eating ice-cream and watching eighties movies, but not much else. A beautiful skirt that looks like a Klee painting, which doesn’t go with anything else I own. A spotty pink top I wore on my honeymoon which is literally falling apart, and my favourite green scarf that I would literally wear every moment of every day if I could.
I felt that even Marie Kondo may feel that this was slightly overdoing it with the minimalism idea.
So I kept the things I hated least and I got on with it until this week I have been clothes shopping. This is the first time in years I have really bought new things for myself and I had so much fun. I went with my cousin who is the ideal shopping partner, always encouraging me to try things, particularly things I wouldn’t traditionally have tried, in sizes that I would never have expected to fit me. She is completely honest about whether something looks nice or not, and she’s devilishly keen for me to buy things. Usually when I go by myself I walk into a shop, spend thirty seconds looking, decide nothing would suit me anyway, then walk out feeling miserable and in need of cake.
This shopping experience was, in contrast, utterly joyful. I found loads of things I liked, in smaller sizes than I would have expected. I found it remarkably easy to decide, going for the things where I looked in the mirror and instantly felt happy, where the colour and the feel of the material on my skin made me smile. If there was any doubt in my mind I instantly discarded it. My joy sparking barometer was perfectly tuned and I left feeling really satisfied with my choices.
So I am not, and never will be, any kind of a style icon, but I can now open my drawers and smile, seeing clothes that I want to wear, which feel right for me, who I am now, regardless of what anybody else thinks of them, and that makes me feel very joyful indeed!