I’ve had THAT box of clothes since I was about sixteen. The clothes from when I was fourteen, which didn’t fit any more. The clothes from when I was even younger, that I didn’t wear because, well, I was sixteen and they didn’t have holes in them or the right band logos or superclever slogans scrawled all over them.
Since that time, more things have been added to THAT box. The designery things I bought when they were supercheap on sale in TKMaxx or on eBay, ‘just in case’, even though it was a wing and a prayer as to whether or not they’d fit. Like as always, I’d get home and the trousers wouldn’t go over my knees, and the oversized tops would be babydoll-fit, and I’d try very hard not to have any feelings at all about that, and simply consign them to THAT box. Things I grew out of on the way to being 31 went in there; things I bought because they were beautiful, or because I couldn’t bear to get rid of them. Jeans that seemed totally the wrong shape for my body. Everything that didn’t go to the charity shop or the textiles bin went in THAT box. It’s a big box. It’s been moved around a lot. It’s always been in the back of the wardrobe, or the middle of my floor sometimes, when there wasn’t anywhere else for it to go. I’ve not exactly been haunted or taunted by it, but I’ve wished and wondered if I’ll ever have found any point to keeping everything.
Last year, I lost a lot of size through the excellent Precision Nutrition programme. Like many people, I’ve a long and chequered history of weight loss, weight management, weight thoughts, wildly random exercise regimes, and, indeed, diet. I successfully transformed the shape of my body quite drastically after two years of heavy weight-lifting, which meant I could wear different clothes, but nothing near what was in THAT box. The box wasn’t a goal. It wasn’t a target. I didn’t have my ‘dream’ jeans in there, although there were a few amazing pairs within. They were just clothes, but I really felt I still wanted them. When I finished the PN programme, I went back to the box, and that was possibly the most disappointed I’ve been…only because they still didn’t fit. But, I thought, I’ve kept them this long, and they are closer, I’m sure they’re closer. One day, I thought, I’ll be glad of them.
I don’t really feel like I’ve got much smaller over the last couple of months, but my body has definitely ‘settled’ a bit. The scale is down a few, but that doesn’t mean much, this I’ve certainly learnt over the years. The January running streak and the 20 days I managed of the 30 Day Shred before I succumbed to a combination of extreme cold-having, post-dentistry jaw agony and tension headaches and decided to take the rest of February off have shaped me up a bit, and my job, which is ratcheting up the hours now spring is making itself known again, is pretty physical.
This morning, I went to THAT box. I had a feeling that its time might have come. Based on not much at all, especially considering I’ve eaten more than anyone usually does in a week in the solid belief that it’s the best way to fight a cold. I’ve been thinking it’s a while since I tried anything on in there.
And it was its time. Everything fitted. Everything. The shorts I wore to Chessington World of Adventures in 1996, and I remember, as Rameses’ Revenge got stuck upside down, thinking to myself, oh no, no, not only is this my actual nightmare, but NOW MY SHORTS ARE DIGGING INTO ME. I haven’t worn them since. Now, with a warm day (those will come around again, right?!) they’re an option. Unimaginable.
My first pair of Topshop jeans. Fit perfectly, and go completely with the mid-nineties revival. They’re gorgeous, and contain absolutely no Lycra, so they might last more than a week without splitting their seams.
My incredible Japanese T-shirts, bought from eBay back in the dark ages of the internet, when international post didn’t seem to cost five times as much as the thing you were buying. Still small, but workable, in ways.
It was strange, decanting the box into my wardrobe. All the things that have been waiting for me to catch up with them. Just there, now, waiting for a day out. Things I know and love so well, but haven’t worn in up to seventeen years. It’s a most peculiar place to be. But I like it. And I’m so glad I kept all those things.