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Margaret Gow: The clothes decision looms: what do I keep and what not


You may remember, the last time I wrote, that the rail had fallen down in my wardrobe.

I couldn’t blame my daughter for looking smug; she was right. I began picking everything up and laying them, still on their hangers, in a pile on my bed with a view to looking at them ‘later’.

Of course, the ‘later’ was in the evening, when I realised that if I didn’t shift them I would have to be sleeping elsewhere, so they began to festoon the bedroom chair, the bannisters, the linen chest and anywhere else handy, to be looked at after said daughter had gone back home.

The problem is, I didn’t know what to keep and what not: it all goes back to the 1960s, when I was given some very posh frocks by an upmarket friend whose sister - a size smaller - had given them to her and she thought they may fit me. Well, they were a bit too big, so I gave them to a charity shop. Silly me!

Oh, the certainties of youth when you don’t think for one moment that you may just put on weight... Hence, I chastised myself mentally and vowed to think carefully in the future.

Well, now the future is here, and it’s a reversal of what happened all those years ago. Some of the clothes - most of which I love dearly, which is why I don’t want to get rid of them - are, though it pains me to say it, now too small (and maybe - just maybe, a little bit brief for a person of my advancing age?)

However, I remember my mother who, in her later years, began to shrink. Who knows? Hopefully I may well do the same thing, especially if I can stop being a chocoholic! I might even have shrunk a bit in height.

My cousin who was a nurse maintains that it’s because the discs in one’s spine compact that we get fatter: the flesh has to go somewhere, hasn’t it?

So, having looked at the various piles, stuck the rail end back with really strong adhesive and replaced the frocks-and-jackets sets with lighter dresses and blouses; the heavier items going next door onto a shorter rail, I have had to make up my mind and be firm.

Although some of us feel that charities put ‘begging bags’ through the door too often, for once I was pleased to get one last week because it sharpened the resolution.

I have begun to fill it with things that, really, I know I will never wear again and may bring happiness to somebody else younger than I am for whom they would be a lot more suitable.

My mother was very fond of talking of ladies who dressed more like lamb than mutton, and certainly I don’t want to be put in that category ever!

I wonder what she would think of the vivid hair colours of today: although well-versed in the perm, only once was she persuaded to have her hair tinted fashionably lilac.

On arriving back at the house she took one look in the mirror and hurtled straight into the bathroom to wash it out.

No mutton dressed as lamb for her, no indeed... So anything with short skirts is on its way, and with a bit of luck the lightened load will ensure that my slumber is not disturbed by things that go bump in the night in the future.”

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