RHYS BOWEN: Have you made any New Year resolutions? I usually only make general ones--to be kinder and more generous and give more to charity. But this year I've made a bold one--to use and enjoy everything in my closet.
Like many of you I was brought up to save the good stuff "for best". I come from a long line of frugal women. My great aunt told me that they got a new dress around Christmastime. That would become their best dress--to be worn only for church and special occasions. At the end of the year it would become their everyday dress, to be worn with a white pinny over it to make sure it lasted. I'm sure the winter dress was never ever washed. I can't imagine how it smelled by the end of the year!
My childhood wasn't as bad as that, but I had very few clothes. I had my school uniform for winter and summer, then a couple of cotton dresses for play in the summer holidays, a pair of warm trousers and a hand-knitted sweater or two for the winter, plus one party dress--saved for best until I grew out of it.
And now, as I go through my closet to purge I come across items I hardly ever wear. A drawer of cashmere sweaters, to be worn when I have to look professional or go out somewhere special. I have several good suits for when I go to New York. I have some nice pieces of jewelry. I have unopened bottles of perfume. And in the downstairs bathroom I have various luxury bath products, waiting for a suitable occasion to indulge myself.
And I found myself thinking--if I died now, what a waste. I've never really enjoyed these things. Why not wear cashmere every day, all winter, until they fall to pieces? I had a dear friend who recently died and wore matching jewelry every day of her life. Why shouldn't I take the time to put on jewelry, even if nobody was going to see it but John and me?
So that's my resolution--enjoy everything I have to the full. If you happen to drop in on me when I'm writing this year, I won't be wearing my customary sweats--I'll be in cashmere and Ann Taylor pants, with my pearl earrings and necklace and a dab of Chanel Number Five behind my ears. And don't even be surprised if I'm wearing a tiara! (or not. We'll see how long this resolution lasts, but certainly I'm resolving never to come across an item in my closet with the tags still on it, several years after I bought it.)
What do you think of this resolution? Is this a problem you have? Or have you learned to overcome it?