My mother and I come from a family of clotheshorses, My grandmother, my dad, his brothers, my mom, her sisters, and I all love clothes. When I was a kid, if my dad couldn’t find us he’d hit the Del Amo Fashion Center because that’s where we’d be. My mom would take me there are on her evenings off from the pizzeria they operated every night of the week. It was mom and pop immigrant style. She believed in “work hard, play hard”, and her version of play was clothes shopping!
It’s true that lots of women like to shop, but my mom was an extreme case. She had a special collection. When she passed away last year, she left me her house and everything in it, most of it a 3-car garage full of clothes. I’m actually documenting the process of getting rid of our things via the Infinite Garage Project (www.infinitegarage.com), a blog I started earlier this year. Now that I’m sifting through her photographs and things, I realize that not only did she buy items in every size and color (20 silk T-shirt, 25+ houndstooth blazers!), but she really did keep everything from our past. We may have been different personality wise– she was reserved and serious while I’m more goofy– but we both understood that clothes could turned you into anyone you wanted to be.
I believe my mother hoarded clothes because she was insecure about the future, who she was going to be with, if she’d have enough money, and my future. Her things provided her with a sense of security if only material. In the end clothes are not worth anything, I know this. I’m not much of a hoarder and I want to get rid of most of our things. Part of the time I’m annoyed that I have to dispose of her things. But I’m being careful about trimming my mother’s special collection because I understand now that it was her life’s work.
October 18, 2010