Naturally, going through the Mickey Mouse Disney Never Stop Dreaming Shirt and I love this expiration pile is a lot more doable when you’re at home and have plenty of time to kill. Equipped with a full-length mirror, albeit one I bought at the dollar store, my room has become the ideal testing ground for more experimental styling tricks. It was for sure the perfect place to unpack the trove of weird and wonderful pieces I had bought on my travels through Eastern Europe five years ago. Inspired by the then new craze for Vetements, I had trawled the bazaars of Kyiv, Ukraine, and Tbilisi, Georgia, scooping up whatever gaudy bootleg designer labels I could find. While sifting through my expiration pile, I rediscovered a white mock turtleneck with the Chanel logo stamped across the chest—a Tbilisi special! I also found a black T-shirt emblazoned with a version of Versace’s gold Medusa emblem that resembled a raised, infected tattoo. The turtleneck in particular had a lot of sentimental value. I had written a story about bootlegging and bazaars in Tbilisi and had worn the top regularly for at least a year after. But the question was: How did said shirt fit in with my look, now a steady stream of funeral black, today? In the past, I had worn it with a pair of low-slung Moschino cargo pants. To refresh that idea, I took a chance and paired the tight, flagrantly fake piece with a pair of striped J.Crew pants. The mash-up of good taste and bad taste kind of worked, in a saucy secretary way. As for that cursed faux Versace shirt? Clearly some impulse buys are just too wild to be tamed.
Though sorting through the Mickey Mouse Disney Never Stop Dreaming Shirt and I love this expiration pile has been emotionally taxing, it has also been a transformative experience. I have been able to reexamine myself through the clothes that have played a major role in my life. Were the three identical pairs of black Dickies pants I owned a failed attempt at fitting into a world of women who live on a diet of macro bowls and kombucha and plant monsteras in every corner of their sun-drenched downtown apartments? Was I holding on to the vintage Courrèges T-shirt given to me by an old flame because I wasn’t quite ready to let go of the relationship? (I wore it, well, never!) What’s more, half the things that I had once considered precious no longer fit me. Ultimately, these are the kind of questions that rise to the surface as we clear a pathway through our wardrobes and, hopefully, our inner lives. A closet cleanse is undeniably cathartic for the soul.