Already Prettypoll: Castoff Time Machine

I’ve chronicled my style evolution – photo evidence here – and I feel like I’ve come a long way, sartorially speaking. Still evolving, as we all are. Since I feel better about my style now than I ever have before, there aren’t too many items that I’ve cast off over time that I wish I could get back. But I DO wish I’d held onto those brown Doc Martens I had back in high school. I honestly have no idea why I donated them. They still fit, the toe box had started to flatten a bit as happens to many Docs but they were still in good shape, still comfy … I think it’s possible that, in a closet-purging whirlwind, I decided they just weren’t “me” any longer and never would be. I’d rock them now if I still had ’em.

How about you? If you could hop in a time machine and prevent yourself from donating something or passing it along to a friend, what item would you rescue?

  • Jessica

    I loved the photo history of your style! Too cool! I let a really cool pair of ripped jeans go….darn it! I would love to have them back!

  • Herbee

    I had a citron green pullover sweater that I searched MONTHS for- I knew exactly what I wanted and I looked everywhere until I found it at Dillards. I wore it for a couple years and at some point I decided it wasn’t “me” anymore and I donated it. About a month later, I started regretting it and I’m still searching for a replacement! (sorry, sweater! I hope you found a good home!)

  • Annabeth

    Honestly, my foray into fashion is recent enough that I can happily disclaim almost everything I wore before about 2009. Egads. :(

  • Vildy

    This has been on my mind. I have tended to acquire a lot of inexpensive style options thrifting, plus I can sew so I can do my own alterations or what my husband calls “remanufacturing to my specifications.” I have liked to try out new style ideas in this way. But I also love familiar clothes where I know how they’ll feel on before I put them on. And I’m happy to repeat outfits, sometimes days in a row if I feel like it. So I tend to find new outfits I like and they become the familiar outfits. But then what happens to the next previous familiar outfits? And the ones before that? Plus I don’t want more clothes than I have room to house and I have small closets. And the more options added, the more confusion. You can imagine that because I have added so much, I have purged a great deal. Resulting in some regrets for having purged too fast.

    My solution has been to recognize that I have enough clothes of every category to get me through summer (and then some) and also that I want to take the same strategy with the cooler weather clothes: not to shop until I find out the satisfactions of what I already have. I still do purge clothing but at a slower rate. I now feel as though I have all the time in the world. I still have a few more alterations to complete but I no longer feel I have to beat the clock and get them done ASAP because I want to add yet more. I am five feet tall, so many things naturally require at least the minimum alteration of pants and sleeve length and often hem length and jacket length. I’ve been at this for about 3 or 4 weeks now and am thoroughly satisfied with it. When I have an opportunity to shop, I pass it up for the reason mentioned – not to add more choices – but also because I have traditionally tried out so very many styles quite fearlessly, I’ve lost sight of what is “me.” I’ll find out by going deeper into the wardrobe I have, so I wouldn’t know what type or style of garment to shop *for*.

    I did start by remembering a few favorite outfits. All but one gone, drat. I miss a linen look peanut butter color collarless cardigan jacket with self belt and pleated skirt; a navy blue pantsuit that amused me when fashion savvy people tried to pump me as to whether it were Armani. That was a GoTo item, so easy to wear. I got rid of it for being too slouchy. Ah but now, alas. And also, this purged for size, a vintage synthetic white sharkskin pique shawl collar pantsuit. I wore it with a rugby width red and white stripe halter top with lots of banding at the edges. Demure when under the jacket.

  • poodletail

    I love seeing your style evolution, Sal. Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes …

    If I spied the person to whom I gave this purged outfit, I’d crawl on my belly like a reptile and beg to have it returned: ecru ankle-length tissue-thin linen, knife-pleated skirt. The pleats were so bountiful the skirt wasn’t transparent but I wore it with a matching silk slip. (I still have the damn slip.) The matching top was a heavily-cabled linen/silk knit, cap sleeves, all by Calvin Klein. (We know how beautifully he matches colors with different textures!)

    I bought the outfit @25 years ago and after wearing it for, maybe, 10 years decided the heavy cables made my chesty chest look even chestier.

    Now, after having breast reduction surgery, oh man! I wish I had that beautiful, summery ensemble hanging in my closet again.

  • Connie

    I threw away a Betsy Johnson dress from the early 70s because it was too small for me to ever wear again. I should have framed it.

    • poodletail

      amen to Betsey Johnson’s early ’70s “Alley Cat” line! Sexy but sweet! I was wearing a Betsey Johnson halter and pinwale corduroy peplumed jacket when I met my husband and it was love at first sight. (For both of us!)

  • Emily

    There’s something about Doc Martins…I had a floral-print pair in high school which I gave away, and I definitely regretted it when they came back in style. (They weren’t very comfortable though, so maybe I’m glorifying them in my mind!)

  • Heidi / Frantic But Fabulous

    As much a fan as I am of prudent wardrobe editing, I regret giving away a funky sheer Benetton top that was printed with images of faces. I would totally wear the heck out of it!

  • Kathy

    Oh yes! An unlined burlap jacket/blazer with no buttons and no embellishments. I loved it, it worked with everything—and I have no CLUE why I parted with it. I look for a replacement every season, and nothing comes close :(

  • Jen Morris

    My biggest regret is shoes. During my second pregnancy (during which I gained a lot of weight) my feet expanded a whole size. I waited a year after my son was born, and my feet never went back down to the original size. I got rid of all of my shoes and started replacing them. Then I went on to lose about 28lb – and lo and behold, my feet went down a size. I still mourn the shoes I got rid of, including an awesome pair of clog sandals that my mom had worn when she was pregnant with me! *sob*

  • Shaye

    Most of the stuff I wish I still had got worn out, not given away!

  • Angela

    When I was in junior high, my parents went to San Francisco, and my mom bought me a back a plaid flannel baby doll dress, with a black sleeveless unitard to go under it. Being from Nebraska, this was the coolest outfit I owned, and I wore it a lot. Since the dress was an oversized 90s silhouette, I know it would still fit if I still had it, and I really really wish I did still have it!

    Another thing I wish I could get back is a gorgeous pink corseted party dress that laced up in the back, and I think it was by Nicole Miller or BCBG. I used to wear it out to ballroom dance parties, and one dance partner told me I should never get rid of that dress because it was perfect for me, and perfect for dancing (it had a knee-length flowy handkerchief hem that swished “just so” when dancing). I have NO IDEA where that dress went. Either my mom got rid of it, or my sister stole it, but to this day I still feel so much angst when I think about how that beautiful dress disappeared from my life. :(

    On the bright side, I still have my Doc Martens from high school! They stayed boxed up through several years and several moves, but a few months ago I dug them out and started wearing them again. I’m so glad I don’t have to break in a new pair, and these Docs were with me when I went to Disneyworld as a teen, and when studied abroad in college, so they have many happy memories. My heart definitely goes out to you for your loss.

  • Vildy

    This has been enlightening to me. Most folks miss something spectacular or that has something special about it whereas I miss everyday GoTo outfits that are solid colored and that I wore a lot. I did relate to Kathy’s post about her burlap jacket. I had one similar that also went with everything and have searched everywhere for a duplicate vintage jacket. 😀

  • Ariel

    I’m still mourning the loss of a black, long-sleeved, V-neck wool jersey wrap dress with an obi-like sash that wrapped & tied around the waist. It was very adjustable, but when I quit smoking & gained 85 pounds, I surpassed the limits of its adjustability! Too bad, because it could be worn over or under something, dressed up or down, & rolled into a ball in a suitcase & come out fine. I still look at the black dress rack every time I go to a thrift shop, because now it would fit great on me at 100 pounds…
    I’m so glad I quit smoking, but I’m pretty sure I’ll never fine such a perfect dress again. C’est la vie.