September 9, 2013

Remaking an Aristocrat's Closet: Lessons from Rarity

Yes, that Rarity.

Like many of my generation, I am a fan of My Little Pony. I like the expansion in variety of female archetypes for girls. I approve of the lessons of the show for the most part. I appreciate the integrity of the aesthetic. It is a fun, pretty show with a good host of characters and a great thing to watch before bed.

Rarity is, by far, my favorite. Does that really come as a surprise to anyone? She is elegant, passionate, intelligent and mature. It is possible, she proves, to possess both femininity and strength. She also represents the element of generosity.

The more I think on elegance and nobility, which I do think Rarity possesses, the more accurate her element appears. Elegance is inherently generous. It operates from a position of abundance because a mark of beauty is that it is enough. Beauty exists when nothing else can be removed.

Generosity is a quality that I with which I.... could use some improvement. I have a tendency to hoard on the chance of a "what if." I like to accumulate clothing, books, pretty trinkets and then guard them jealously. Even if I don't use them. Even if they just sit there collecting dust. At least I know they are there.

The things I have, I don't like to share. Not snacks. Not books. God forbid you want to borrow some clothes. But more than my things, I am jealous of my time and energy. There are several times I fall into the unfortunate mindset that everyone else is out to drain my precious minutes of alone down time which I hoard with all the powers of my Introvertedness to.... read webcomics? But that is a discussion for another day.

The mental shift I am trying to engender with Rarity's lessons of generosity is this: the clothes which are sitting in my closet and being admired but not worn could be used instead to make someone else very happy.

Now, to satisfy the Randian in me which is balking at that statement, this is not to say that I should give away my favorite pieces that I do wear just because they might make someone happy. Rather those pieces which have the right color, but not the right cut; have the right style but don't quite fit; have more sentimental value than use; that might be used one day for a cosplay of something- those are the pieces which need to move on.

And they are the hard ones to move on- because they are the just ifs. If I just lose a little weight. If I just find the right skirt. If I just remembered it existed. They have sentimental value. They have aesthetic value. But they are still taking up valuable space in your closet.

I just cleared out two paper bags worth of such items and I have to keep myself from going back to them and hanging the items up- because of those just ifs. But I look in my closet and it feels healthier without the dead weight. Looks slimmer and fuller of potential. And yet I want to go hang up that Lolita shirt (I decided that it would be easier to thrift the shirts) or the silk shirt from Thailand that is wrong color and has slits up to my bra straps but that my mum bought for me years ago.

So rather than thinking of these clothes as a loss from my life, I am trying to think of them as a gift into other people's lives.

It's helping a little.


  1. Wardrobe culling is always a bit of a trauma. I have given away a lot of clothes to friends and that does feel better. I know that the clothes "go to a good home" and to someone who loves them. ;) A lot of my favorite clothes have been gifted to me by friends who know my tastes and just happened to have some poor ignored piece in their wardrobe that they thought would suit me. So, I'm all for sharing clothing! Selling is more difficult for me, it really hurts to see an item go if I have no idea where it's going.

    1. Yes, selling just seems a little time consuming. Especially since I know I haven't really any clothes that are nice enough to be sold. Maybe one day. Right now just sending the clothes to the thrift store is good for me.

      It's funny though how attached to clothing we can get. I still sometimes think about clothes that have worn out and I had to give away and wish I still had them.