An Obituary for the Unworn Clothes

Raffaela Ann Kalmar | January 30, 2016

Below, the winner of this week’s Writers Club prompt: write your own obituary

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She lived a tumultuous, interesting and unexpectedly short life. A violinist from age five, her admiration of beautiful garments was cultivated while choosing performance garb. The purchase of the hot pink ombré sequin-laden gown provided the initial impetus behind her adoration of a new way of expression.

However, that very purchase, while monetarily significant, had a much more meaningful place in her reality: It was the first prisoner held captive in her armoire. To her, the dress was perfect. Because of this, no situation would ever live up to the expectations she had created in her curly-haired head of the occasion when the dress was to be worn.

And so it hung indefinitely.

Over the years, the collection of soulless, never-worn clothing grew steadily. Her obsession with finding the ideal outfit/occasion match far outweighed her desire to simply wear the item.

She’d imagine the perfect party: the air warm, but not hot; she’d sip expensive champagne from a crystal glass; the room’s color scheme would complement her even more than the gorgeous Spaniard standing with his hand on her bare shoulder.

But alas, black-tie-appropriate was hardly favored during her lifetime.

She dreamed of a life where situations would present themselves in such a way that the most perfect ensemble would be painfully obvious — there would be no choice involved. In some mystical realm the situation and the outfit had already been chosen to coexist; a destiny so riddled with fierce profundity, she knew to be wary.

As her stockpile grew, so did her delusion…until her last year of life.

She awoke one day and saw, out of the corner of her sleep-crusted eye, a new pair of Rachel Comey denim. Tag still attached, these jeans were special. They demanded a special occasion. But that day, she made a decision that neither her mind nor body was comfortable with. After showering at the gym, she would don the high waist, cropped, two-tone, wide-leg pants and do what always came next in her ordered life: drive home and change into more comfortable house clothes.

And that was it. The antithesis of an occasion, this was living the most mundane part of life decked in something that every part of her being was telling her to save. But no more. It was then that she realized: it was up to her to reclaim for herself the dignity that she had bestowed upon clothing — for what is clothing without a body in it? A negative space, a non-attendance of soul; fashion in absentia.

Collage by Emily Zirimis

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  • Now that I am a senior in HS, I hate any clothing. I am sooo tired of waking up at six in the morning that now all my outfits consist of oversized shirts and leggings (I hate leggings as pants). I have totally neglected all my other clothing pieces. I will get around to them, maybe, hopefully…

    Laila from Townhouse Palette

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  • Karo Yosifova

    I enjoyed this very much. Every single sentence is perfect.

  • decked in something that every part of her being was telling her to save – utterly true and utterly brilliant. I have so many clothes and yet I feel compelled to ‘save’ them and seperate them into ‘to wear frequently’ and ‘to hardly wear’ piles

  • BK

    I feel this soo much. Whenever I buy something new I usually attach with it an impossible projection of my future: “these are the clumpy brogues you’ll wear with that wispy skirt when you score a hole in one from that impossible golf challenge they have for drunk people at that winery you’re going to next Saturday”, “you’ll save a kitten from a burning building in these jeans”, “if you don’t manage to rig the next state election in that skirt, I will lost faith in humanity”. Naturally these things never happen, because they are unlikely and weird, and the clothes, whilst still lovely (because I have exquisite and offbeat taste), always hang a little more forlornly in my wardrobe after I get home and their future never happened.

  • Anna Louise

    This is entirely the reason for my several closets full of beautiful, unused clothes: for the perfect occasion, just in case. You may have cured me.

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  • Sanna Wege

    I do this but for different reasons. I have gained a few kilogramms during the last few years, done hardly any sports and feel very uncomfortable in my own body. Therefore, I never wear my favorite items anymore (some of them haven’t even been worn once), as I do not want to disgrace them… I guess it’s time to finally shape up.