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Clothes Hoarder

I never thought of myself as a clothes hoarder, I mean, good grief, I simply don’t have very many clothes. However, when I was recently looking through some photos of a trip we took as a family to England in 1995, the pants I was wearing in a photograph caught my eye. I looked down to my lap and there were the selfsame pants still on my bod. I still like them.

Now, either those pants are very durable or I haven’t noticed how ratty they look. That choice is probably in the eye of the beholder. I guess I should mention that we don’t have a full length mirror in the house, so I’ve probably been missing something.

One of my sons subtle feedback on my dressing style.

My boys keep an eye on how I dress. I used to embarrass them often, especially with my choice of clothes when I was working in the garden. Come on now, just what is the matter with red shorts and black socks topped off with a threadbare pink dress shirt? I mean one has to make use of their old clothes somehow.

I guess I should ask their opinion of how I look in some of my ‘mature’ clothes. My conundrum will be when they reject something and I have to decide whether to throw it out or not. My wife informs me that there is hardly anything in my closet that the thrift stores will accept, so donating my old clothes evidently isn’t an option.

Given that most of my clothes are more than ten years old, the act of throwing something out can be emotional. I used to throw old clothes over the back of a chair in my room for a while, just to be sure before throwing them out. While they were there they reminded me of various events in my life where I was probably wearing them. This process became entirely too emotional. What’s worse, the ‘used clothes’ often ended up back in my dresser drawer or hanging in my closet. Pathetic, eh?

I’ve now taken to making the decision immediately and hauling the offending items out to the garbage bin. What strength of character, don’t you think.

After my recent awakening associated with my ‘mature’ pants, I thought that I’d better take a survey and see if there was anything else that needed to head for the landfill. Here’s some of what I came up with. It’s all just a little embarrassing.

  • Sock test One of my sons gave me a set of three pairs of work socks for my birthday back in about 1998. I still use them regularly, but looked at them carefully last week and saw that only one pair had any sort of heel material left. Out they went, well at least two pair. One is still quite adequate, thank you very much. That discovery moved me to come up with a sock test. I held each pair of socks I own up to the light and looked through the material. If I could see through the heel, out they went. Far too many failed and now I have to head out to do the dreaded job of buying new socks.

  • Shirt deterioration I never noticed before, but when I recently looked at my shirts closely some of my favourites were showing badly worn edges on cuffs and collars. Here I thought they still looked pretty good, especially the no-iron ones. No one has ever commented on my ‘country look’ in those shirts. People are so kind. Bottom line, out they went. Yet more money to be spent on clothes.

  • Pants - dress and casual Now this is embarrassing. I went through my pants and held each up to the light. I was amazed how many of them were almost worn through in the crotch. Nothing has been done with them yet, but I’d better act soon. One day, bending over to pick up something, I’ll be stopped in my tracks when I hear the tearing of cloth. A discreet exit from where ever I am at the time will be necessary. Not cool.

  • Underwear OK. I get it with underwear. It really does need to be thrown out on a regular basis. My problem is that ‘regular’ for me seems to be every ten-plus years. That is just not good. Really, not good at all. When you go to put on underwear and you can see your toes through the cloth in the crotch, that underwear must go. After having a good look through my underwear I realized that I needed to do a significant purchase. Stanfield’s, of course. Comfort has returned.


When one shops for clothes once or twice a decade, change is noticeable. I used to get most of my shirts from a well known store in Calgary. I could pick what I wanted off the rack, apply my sizing criteria on what I bought last time, go home, put it on, and it would fit perfectly. This doesn’t seem to be the case any more and it really is a pain. I bought some shirts recently from the same store in the same manner that I did five years ago. I had to take them all back. Yes, my girth is not as trim as it used to be, but that didn’t account for all the fitting problems. For someone who has to be almost pulled into a clothing store, these repeat visits are a very discouraging. I mean, to have to make two trips to the same clothing store within one week is not a good experience for this guy.

A notable example of the sizing dilemma for me occurred when I dealt with an online clothing store. This one was an erstwhile dependable source. I had bought some shirts and pants from this firm and found them to be excellent — well made, well fitting. I liked them so much that, after three months, I thought I would order some more. I ordered the exact same catalogue numbers in exactly same sizes. When the goods came, nothing fit. I phoned the on-line store and they actually read out the specifications for the shirts and pants both then and six months before. The specifications were the same. The only thing I could conclude from that conversation was that the second order came out of a different overseas factory with a different inspector. I returned the second order and got a refund. I’ve not ordered anything from that online store since. I’m afraid to.

I guess from now on I’ll have no choice but to try absolutely everything on before purchase. I don’t think they allow that with underwear so, Stanfield’s, no changes please.

If you see me dressed a bit bedraggled, please don’t hesitate to tell me. Just know that my neighbours may be faced with a very eclectic dresser doing yard work next year. I won’t easily decide to throw out old friends.



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