When is the moment?
You know, the moment when a piece of cloth goes from being a beloved t-shirt to something you use to dry off the car?
When do clothes becomes rags?
Is it when jeans are essentially worn away in the thighs? When you can hold a t-shirt up to the light and see through it? When a sweatshirt is coming apart at the cuffs? When heels are worn away from socks, and the elastic in running shorts is stretched to hell?
By any reasonable definition, my 2020 wardrobe is in tatters.
I can’t blame the clothes. Five-dollar Target t-shirts and Old Navy jeans were never designed for the gauntlet I put them through this past year.
No one would ever accuse me of being a slave to fashion or variety. Back when I went into the office, I’d rotate through a stable of trousers and blouses suitable for a professional. Outside the office I wore shorts and jeans. Cute matching workout clothes have never been my priority—just ask my rowing club.
But left completely to my own devices for the past year, I wake up every morning and pull on my favorite pair of jeans, socks, t-shirt, and/or sweater. I’m not one to spend the day in my pajamas.
Your mileage may vary, but my first rule of pandemic life is to always get dressed.
The second rule is that the clothes be clean. I wear jeans for three days max, t-shirts one or two. Socks get changed every day. Sweatshirts and sweaters can be worn all week if the t-shirt underneath changes. And since I’m always home, I can throw a load of laundry in anytime.
So what happens when you’re constantly washing clothes and your instinct is to always put on your favorite clean outfit?
You wear the same two pairs of jeans, five t-shirts, one sweater and five pairs of socks.
And you wash the same two pairs of jeans, five t-shirts, one sweater and five pairs of socks.
EVERY WEEK FOR A YEAR.
And in the end, you have the ugliest but most comfortable wardrobe you can imagine—ripped and faded shirts so soft they’re like wearing blankets, threadbare jeans that fit like they were custom made. Socks that mold to the shape of your foot, except for the heel, which has worn away.
And with no one around to tell you you’re turning into a modern-day Miss Havisham, you live in clothing bliss.
Until your perfect wardrobe disintegrates under the grind of fifty-two washings and your bubble bursts.
I know I need to order some new jeans from Old Navy and wear the other socks and t-shirts in my drawer.
Then again, do my thighs and heels really need to be fully covered if I’m not leaving the house? I think not.