HALLIE EPHRON: With winter coming, it’s time to sort clothes. Sleeveless cottons to the back and the woolies to the front. Sandals go up on a shelf and boots come down.
Every time I do this, I try to cull. Anything I haven’t worn in more than a year should go to Goodwill. And yet… and yet… each year there are certain items which, though I haven’t worn them in eons, I can’t bear to throw out.
The oldest item in my closet is a short coat made of thick dark mouton (sheepskin). I remember the day I pushed my two-year-old (she’s now 40) in a baby stroller into Anne Taylor after Christmas and found it on the sale rack marked 75% off. It is the warmest thing I’ve ever worn. Also the heaviest. I wore it through a pregnancy and two linings, and if I could get into it I’d be wearing it still.
I have no idea why I cannot give it away but ever year I take it out, nuzzle my face into its soft fur, and hang it back up.
So share. What’s the oldest item of clothing in your closet and why can’t you throw it away?
SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: I still have my wedding dress, if you can believe! Which is a fairly dumb thing to keep in a "cozy" NYC apartment. I keep thinking I'll give it to a charity, but then I get sentimental..... And distracted..
LUCY BURDETTE: I have saved my wedding dress too, and also the flower girl dress that I sewed for my stepdaughter to wear in the wedding. But the oldest piece of clothing in my house belonged to my mother and her two sisters, Janet, Barbara, and Betty Burdette.
This was an evening dress studded with rhinestones that they shared. In the close-up, you might be able to see the seams where it was let in and out, depending on which sister was wearing it.
I wore it once at a Halloween party, dressed as Marilyn Monroe. I'm certain that I wouldn't fit into it now, and besides it's very very fragile. But I'm unable to give it up!
RHYS BOWEN: I have my wedding veil. I didn't wear a long wedding dress as John and I were in Australia and didn't have a big wedding--just a few friends in church, and we were leaving Australia the next day!
The oldest piece of clothing in our house is the family Christening gown that was hand made by John's great grandmother and has been used for every baby in the family since. It's quite fragile but so lovely with handsewn tucks and ribbons and lace.
I still have a silk dress that belonged to my mother and fits me well. I wear it sometimes just to remember her.
I think my oldest piece of clothing (that I never wear) is a Scottish kilt. I always tell myself that it's such good quality and timeless. But I never wear it, so.perhaps it should go.......
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Ha! I still have TWO wedding dresses! And I used to have three :-) until I spilled coffee on one of them, a really slinky white wool floor length racer back sheath.
The dress I wore marrying my darling Jonathan is FABULOUS, strapless black and gold tulle, and when I get nominated for an Oscar (kidding) I will wear it to the awards ceremony. I really do wish there was someplace to wear it.
But the oldest article of clothing --two things. One, a lacy shawl that Jonathan's mother's father gave her in 1925, and she gave to me. I adore it, and it is still as gorgeous as can be. Jonathan's mother also gave me a dress she wore to -some big event. In the fifties. It is an amazingly chic little sheath, terrific, and I remember she said (very Jonathan's mom): "Oh, I was so tiny, you'll never be able to wear it." HA. Guess what. Isn't it great?
DEBORAH CROMBIE: I didn't have a proper wedding dress for either wedding, so didn't save them. I'm not much of a clothes keeper--or at least so I thought before I did a major clear out this summer. I really did get rid of most of the stuff I never wore. (I think...) But I could not bear to give away my mom's silver mink jacket. I remember when she bought it, when I was in elementary school. I thought it was so glamorous and sometimes she would let me wear it for dress up. I loved watching her get ready for parties and putting on the jacket at the very last. It always smelled of her perfume.
But even older than that is my christening dress. My daughter wore it, too. It's the finest white cotton, with lace. So sweet, but I don't have a photo as it's packed away in tissue in a box.
I'm determined to wear this gorgeous jacket this winter instead of letting it hang in the closet. Mink, jeans, and boots.
HALLIE: So what's lurking in the back of your closet, something you don't wear but can't bear to part with.