Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Ode to the Dresses for Donation

I have always hated moving. Yes, the word "hated" is a strong choice of words for a chore as mundane as moving, but I really do despise it.  We are lucky, to have paid military movers (TMO), but regardless, I have moved a lot in my lifetime.  I have moved from the Philippines to the United States, from California to Wisconsin, moved five times in the same city, repeatedly moved back and forth from my hometown to Madison, moved to California (twice), and then from SoCal to Central Cal.  Now it's time to move to Montana.  You would think that I have become better at it, but to be honest with you, the best way to get better at it is to have less stuff. 

So this begins the weekly process of getting rid of said stuff.  We started by going through boxes and boxes in our spare room of things that my mom helped pack and send from Wisconsin to California.  TMO, God bless their hearts, will literally pack everything, so many boxes had notebooks of old college class notes (even high school notebooks), old chapsticks, scraps of paper and old water bottles. 

There are bags dedicated to Goodwill and then there are trashbags filled with just plain ol' garbage.  Which brings me to the topic of this post, my college dresses.
Lordy do I miss being in college.  Madison just has this feel to it that is good for the soul.  There's this store on campus called Pitaya and then there was an Urban Outfitters, not to mention West Towne Mall that would always restock its dresses and I would always be well stocked on numerous outfits to wear to sorority functions or just to be business casual.  Every year, I would make that difficult decision to donate the clothes that I rarely wore to Goodwill and just keep pressing on.
The last major dress donation involved getting rid of many of my "going out" clothes since I got married.

A tame picture from my 21st-birthday celebration. Yep, animal print had to go.
It was easy to go through them because many of them were filled with good memories, usually a little fuzzy from jaunts at bars like Kollege Klub or Karaoke Kid or grabbing a fishbowl at Wando's, but they were a little much, a little tight or a little too short.  The type of outfits where you can say, "someone else can enjoy you." 

However, packing up the bags and folding clothes this time around was surprisingly a little more difficult.

As I write this, I'm staring at space vacuum bags littered on the floor- some of them filled, others not.  I see a pile of Theta t-shirts that are neatly folded into a leaning tower of pisa.  I'm not sure what else to do with them besides make them into a t-shirt quilt.  There are jeans that are just a size too small and I'm realizing that with many of my clothes.  However, it's difficult to part with many of them because they're my favorites.  I love clothes and fashion.  I love putting together a great outfit from numerous pieces I have in my closet.  I adore lace, vintage-style dresses or a sweater paired with my dark-rimmed glasses.  Plus many of these outfits are filled with really great memories.

Like this white dress I first wore to celebrate the end of summer with my friends.  I was off to field training and we decided to get together and have a grand old time.  Most of us spent our summers as lifeguards so we always had killer tans.  We even had a condom pinata with collectible ONE condoms (they're hilarious) at the party and no preggo the eggo cupcakes which is a recipe post just waiting to happen.

That same white dress would later be used at my Bachelorette Party where we had way too much fun with my friends and sorority sisters.  They wrote down words of advice, we ate cake and snacks and had an outrageously great time on a Madison bar crawl.  Here I am with Kate, one of my all time best-friends and world travelers.  After I got married, I lived vicariously through her adventures to Australia.

Here I am with another one of my sorority sisters in a "going out" outfit.  I'm pretty sure we were just craving cheesecake and wine and so we went out for it.  Our favorite stop was The Icon because the specialty drinks were delicious and named after classic movie titles.  I miss living with my sisters and getting all dolled up to go out on weekends- even if it was just to get a glass of wine with the girls.

Here was my notorious "going out" shirt.  Pretty sure I kept this bad boy for a solid 3+ years because it was the best material and a gorgeous color.  Kate dubbed it my "going out" shirt for how often I wore it out.  It was like good luck.  We always had an amazing time whenever I wore that shirt.

As college progressed, I took fewer pictures because I was always held up at work or had other commitments.  This caused me to go out fewer times.  I also stopped enjoying going out to bars, and definitely not going to socials because I was already married and let's face it, frat boys aren't really going after married ladies :P  Plus, it wasn't really my kind of scene to begin with.  However, I loved hanging out with my sorority sisters.  Nights spent in sweatpants watching a chick flick were my favorites. 

Now as an adult, my career requires that I'm wearing a military uniform 5 days a week for almost the entire day (from sun-up to sun-down).  That's perfectly alright, but by the time I get home, I'm all about the stretchy soft comfort that a pair of yoga pants provides.  Half the time I choose to go without make-up because it's quite a bit of work.  Ryan isn't big into going out, so I can't tell you the last time I wore a "going out" style dress.  Wait, I can.  I put on make-up and a nice outfit to run errands one day because I felt like it.  Ryan asked me why and all I could say was that I wanted to look nice.  There just isn't too much cause or opportunity.  My friends here have to actually plan an event that would require us to dress-up.  Ryan doesn't even own dress clothes (this is a story for another post) but that should give you an idea that we don't attend too many occasions or events that require dress slacks and a pretty dress.

It's not my intention for this to be a pity post.  As I folded these outfits or put them up for donation, I was filled with a loving sense of all the great memories I made with wonderful people.  I wore many of these dresses and tops for birthday parties, movie nights, hugged a sister when she was accepted into a prestigious academic program, dinner and margs with girls, etc.  I wouldn't necessarily call it a type of sadness, because I'm not sad.  I just love this opportunity to reminisce on the things that have happened.  I hope that another young woman in this town can make use of that polka dot dress or the stretchy white, sparkly number because I had so many great times in all of them.

Thanks for Reading!


  1. How very generous of you to share both your dresses and your memories. I had a very difficult time giving away my prom dress (I held on to that for years and years and years) but finally decided that if anyone was going to get use out of it before it went out of style, it had to go soon. Good for you!

  2. This is an awesome post, Kim! So I suck at fashion, so any time you want to shop with me and doll me up, go for it! But no worries...we'll make plenty of awesome memories in Montana with our...well, glorified one-sies!!!!

  3. I really enjoyed this post Kim! As a sentimental sorority girl myself, I could really relate to the attachment you had to your dresses and old t-shirts for what they represented. It's not the clothes's all the memories you made wearing them! Thanks for sharing.

  4. I"ve moved a lot too, and it is much easier with less "stuff." I love that you donated all your old dresses, but I still think you should have kept your one super favorite as a memory and maybe to randomly dress up for your hubs as a surprise. That's just me, though. And you should totally make a t-shirt quilt!!


  5. I highlighted this post in the Favorite Reads Friday link up!