The other day, whilst idly perusing my phone in the usual way, I came across an opportunity to work with Ebay as a blogger. The job involved listing some stuff on Ebay and then writing about it.
I thought about it.
I met the criteria. I hadn’t listed anything on Ebay in years (this was part of the criteria. They clearly weren’t looking for the pro I always imagine myself becoming when I finally manage to work out how to sell something without making a loss).
And then I thought some more, and I had a sudden epiphany.
I didn’t want to sell anything on Ebay.
What would I sell? Baby items? Most have already been dispensed with-donated to the Baby Bank or the local charity shops. Furniture? I hardly think so. I’m barely settled in my new house and in the process of filling it up. My decaying CD collection of classic Europop from the mid-nineties? One day, perhaps, when the rest of the world catches up with my ahead of the curve musical thinking and finally realises that MC Sar and the Real McCoy on compact disc is far more cutting edge collectible than rare vinyl.
So that just leaves clothes then; clothes and shoes.
I thought about my mother. My mother thinks I should get rid of my clothes and shoes. I can hear the derision in her voice when she points out that most of my wardrobe is now simply unwearable and should be consigned to the dustbin of history, along with the extensive collection of clothes from her own youth that she threw out in the nineties, about two weeks before I developed an interest in recycling them for my own burgeoning “look.”
I thought about the spacious cupboard in the loft that contains rows of Jeffrey Campbell platforms circa 2008, most of which I am virtually certain I’ll never wear again. Could I…? Would I….?
See, the thing is, I used to be cool. I listed “shopping” as my number one hobby, despite the necessity of stretching the definition of the word “hobby” somewhat. It’s a hobby, right? I strove to be better at it; better informed about the latest designers, better at sifting through the racks to find the bargains and knowing the start dates of the upcoming high street-designer collaborations. Better at putting an outfit together, at rocking the look. It was a hobby. It was my hobby.
I would never lose my fashion sense, I said, I would never trade my vintage dresses for a life in leggings. And then motherhood happened, and leggings were all I had the energy to wear. Leggings for the days when I left the house, and pyjamas for the days when I did not, and to be honest, there wasn’t much difference.
Suddenly, the limitations were everywhere. Breastfeeding? You can’t wear anything without a strategically placed flap or easy access shoulder slip. Carrying a baby? Ditch the heels. You wouldn’t want to topple over on an uneven pavement with that child in your arms, would you? Rocking a more “challenging” fabric, are we? Forget that unless you want a stratospheric dry cleaning bill and a muslin permanently attached to your front, and even that won’t save you from the onslaught of milk, food, mud and worse.
Three years later, and I am still clasping at shreds of hope that one day, probably long after I have lost the youth and ability to carry it off, I will wear those clothes again, and if not, perhaps they could find a permanent home in a museum dedicated specially for the purpose, as members of the public walk round the exhibits in awe, pointing out legendary pieces as though they were the cast-offs of Kylie Minogue or Diana, Princess of Wales.
And if not, well, surely I have to cling to the hope that my days as a fashion icon (ahem) are not dead; to the hope that I can find attractive low-heeled shoes and trousers and skirts of an appropriate length to suit them, without looking like a munchkin or a child who raided her or his mother’s dressing up box. I have to find a new style, one that befits my changed shape and need for a more practical set of threads, and ditch those leggings for good.
Just don’t tell me to sell the old ones, not yet.