9:06 PM

A few weeks ago I bought an outfit. It wasn't a fancy outfit; in fact, I picked it up at Target while getting C some bubble bath. I desperately needed a pair of pants that fit and, well, I was there.

I picked up a pair of army drab cargo pants, a lightweight, beige, crewneck sweater, and a long gray cardigan/shrug...thing.

It is my new favorite outfit. I'm seriously considering picking up another pair of pants and another crewneck sweater. I'd wear it every day if I could. Maybe I should. When one talks about simplification, clothes are a great place to start. My life needs simplifying, and if I didn't have to think about clothes, it might be a great start.

The funny thing is...I've had this outfit before. In fact, I've worn this outfit in various forms since high school when I lifted a pair of my Dad's fatigue pants, cinched the waist, and proclaimed them mine. Sexy? No. Comfortable? Yes. And somehow, very, very, me.

My senior year of high school or freshman year of college, I bought a gray v-necked cardigan from Express. My best friend got one, too. I still have mine. And wear it, often.

In college, I permanently borrowed an old, ratty, beige sweater from a boy with whom I had one of those nebulous relationships (he's not my boyfriend--he's my best friend--but we fool around and I'm not dating anyone because I'm totally hung up on him...you know--nebulous). When I took the sweater, I think I told him I wasn't giving it back. And I never did. I hauled that sweater around for years before I finally binned it.

Somehow, I managed to find working versions of all of these pieces, and when I put them all on it's like wearing armor. Or the Iron Man suit. I feel...Safe? Secure? Me? I love that outfit and wonder why I shouldn't wear it every day.

And, at the same time, I find it strange that clothes seem to have such strong sense memory for me. I'm not terribly interested in clothes (as evidenced by the fact that my new favorite outfit comes from off the rack at Target), yet I find certain things and they bring me right back to the time in my life where they belonged.

A few weeks ago, I was searching the basement for a spare storage tote and came across a bunch of things from college: namely, a UNH baseball cap and a pair of mittens. All of a sudden, I was a sophomore in college again. It was after choir rehearsal and I was getting ready to leave and go to dinner with a group of friends including my not-boyfriend, who was wearing my yellow fleece jacket and those damned mittens. And I remember the girl I was, I remember those friends and how close we were, and I failed to empty and repurpose the container. It's still sitting in the basement while I ask myself why I can't toss an old ball cap and a pair of mittens now over ten years old.

I don't want to go back to my sophomore year in college. I'm happy with my life, with who I am, with the people around me. But, somehow, I can't let go. I'm not ready to bin those foolish mittens yet. Perhaps they're as much a part of my personal uniform as the olive drab trousers, the beige sweater, and the gray cardigan.

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