I’ve been cleaning my closet out for weeks now, slowly weeding out all the pieces I don’t wear. For the most part, I have no second thoughts about what I’ve put in the giveaway pile, but there’s one jacket — a navy and white striped jersey blazer — that I keep taking out and putting back in and taking out and …
You get the idea.
I bought the jacket last summer, on a whim; I loved the idea of the striped blazer, and it’s super cute and fits really well. And I’ve never worn it because it doesn’t go with anything in my closet. I’m not sure why; the waist seems to be in the wrong place or something. All I know is that every time I put it on, it looks silly. But it’s cute and it’s in my closet and I am totally determined to make it work.
I’m like that about things — not just my clothes, either. Even when I can see that a project or a job isn’t going the way I had anticipated, I’m loath to quit, because I made the commitment and I’m always sure I can make it work. Even when I’m also pretty sure I can’t.
I had taken the jacket out of the closet, again, and then I saw these photos of Gwyneth Paltrow, in a campaign for the Swedish brand Lindex. The clothes are classic and Preppie and look a lot like pieces I already own — and in with all the other things I’m already wearing, there’s the blazer! Just like mine! And paired with pieces I already own! Maybe that was how to make it work.
So I gave it one more try.
When I know something isn’t working, I have no trouble giving it up. But anything I think might be workable at some level is harder for me — even if I’m struggling to find the solution. So the striped blazer lingers in my closet while I ruthlessly edit the rest of my wardrobe.
Yesterday, trying once again to make the blazer work, I had a light bulb moment: All this closet cleaning isn’t about my closet at all. This ongoing wardrobe purge is about other things in my life that I can’t seem to make work. I have too many commitments right now, and while they’re all good opportunities, not all of them are working for me. But just like the blazer, I keep thinking that I’m bound to find a way to make everything come together.
What would Gwyneth do? She would stick to what works for her, that’s what.
I’m giving up the jacket — for real this time — and I’m dropping a few of my commitments as well. And cleaning off my desk because it’s making me crazy. And I’ll probably get rid of a few more things in my closet, because that makes me feel like I’m in control.
What do you do when you’re feeling overwhelmed? Do you shop or clean or lose yourself in all of season two of “Downton Abbey”? Dish in the comments. (I’ll bet Gwyneth does yoga — and then goes home and has a glass or three of wine. Just a guess.)
Photos via Marie Claire