I had never been to a Naked Lady party. I’d vaguely heard about them over the years but didn’t really know what one was until my Empowering Self & Style participant sidekick, Krista Swan, wanted to hold one with her closet audit spoils. She too had to do what I did and subject her wardrobe to scrutiny with the aid of her Style for Hire stylist, Susan Bristow Ford.
Krista and I had commiserated before about the reality of being up to date versus out of date with our wardrobes. We’ve both had weight fluctuations. We both have busy, active lives as moms of two kids. We both juggle demanding careers. Our closets probably reflected a good couple of decades of amassing clothes and identities.
A Naked Lady party is when you invite your friends and their bags and suitcases of closet cleaning castaways for a swap. The idea is in sharing, and that one girl’s disgrace is another girl’s diva. Since clothing and letting go are so closely tied with ego and identity, having wine available is a good idea.
Because there were so many people expected, Krista’s party was on a Sunday, held at National Beauty salon downtown. I brought about 1/2 of what was once my wardrobe. With the assistance of her friends, hangers and bags of my former life were brought into the salon and placed on racks and tables alongside the remnants of dozens of others former lives. Shoes, belts, purses, jackets, dresses, pants and skirts were everywhere!
The goal is to pick and sift through everything that’s out, try stuff on, then take home whatever you can possibly carry. It was fabulous. We were lucky to have our Style for Hire stylists there to help people look and learn about proper fit and style based on their own individual body types. This was invaluable because we were able to spare our friends from the embarrassment of taking home more crap that didn’t look good or fit, just because it was free…
While I was there surrounded by stuff, I had a couple of thoughts going on simultaneously that surprised me: First, because I had just gone through the painstaking effort of cleaning out my closet, I really didn’t want to start adding stuff back. I kind of had a stuff hangover, and was getting sober, after I had cleaned out my closet. It felt good to be lighter and freer and not feeling as if I was suffocating under my clothes.
The next thing that transpired which surprised me was I felt territorial over my old clothes and had a hard time seeing them on someone else. Krista was telling me how good it feels to share your clothes you longer want and to see them on someone else enjoying them. I had a different reaction. Seeing someone else wearing a dress I once loved was like seeing an old boyfriend with a new woman. I may not love that boyfriend, that boyfriend may be all wrong for me and I no longer want him, but as soon as he has a new girlfriend, he looks good again. There was one lady in particular who kept picking out MY clothes from all the other clothes from the piles and racks. Each time she came out of the dressing room and squealed with delight over how good one of MY dresses or pants looked on her. I wanted to go over and kindly tell her to please give that dress/top/sweater back…
I knew the reasons why I had gotten rid of something, but I was clear that when it comes to our stuff, our ego and our identity, we can fight with an iron grip to hold on, even if that notion of our identities no longer serves us. This particular reaction was so telling.