In Other Words: A case of closet envy
I just spent two hours inside my friend, Amy’s closet, which was both exhausting and exhilarating. It’s equipped with wall-to-wall mirrors, a stereo system, chaise lounge, built-in bookcases, a wall safe, elliptical machine and a mini-fridge stocked with Pellegrino and splits of champagne. It’s so gigantic it could actually be a home entertainment center. All it needs is a toilet and a sink, and my friend could stay there for the rest of her life. It also serves its original purpose: to house her clothes and accessories.
The closet was custom-designed by Amy herself, a woman with lots of time on her hands and an equal amount of money enough to satisfy all her whims. This year’s whim was to build “La Cave Couture” that would accommodate her clothes, hats, jewelry and other worldly possessions. After the arduous task of trying on clothes, she can then take a breather, and retire to her chaise lounge for a little nap. It satisfies all her needs.
Let me tell you about my closet. It’s a simple story, and pales by comparison to Amy’s, which can best be described as a closet on steroids. My bedroom closet is a study in chaos. It is unkempt and lacks total organization. I refer to it as the “Dark Abyss” into which no human should trespass. But it works. When I open the door and peer inside, I am never quite sure what to expect. Much like the interior of my refrigerator, it’s always a surprise.
Amy’s Olympic-size closet is never a jarring experience. It exudes calm. It defines elegance, order and sophistication. Her outfits are color-coordinated from darks to lights, prints to pastels much like an abstract painting on hangars. Amy’s shoes are arranged according to heel size, all the way down from her six inch Manolo Blahniks to her sturdy pumps, strappy sandals, athletic shoes and her ballet-style flats. The same goes for her bags, which run the gamut from clutch to shoulder bags to totes.
Amy is ready for any occasion be it a formal affair or a simple night out with the girls, to an appointment with her shrink for whom she dresses up, and on whom she has a minor crush. Her therapist has diagnosed the problem as a bipolar closet disorder. Nevertheless, Amy enjoys lying on his couch, looking adorably fetching while she fantasizes in her latest Ralph Lauren ensemble. She is always prepared for whatever adventures the day brings.
So when I found myself in Amy’s closet, I asked myself the question many women who feel closet-challenged have asked: why not me? Don’t I deserve to be closet-coutured? Shouldn’t I have stained wood shelves for my sweaters, cubbies for my shoes and wall-to-wall built-ins for my accessories? My accessories are starting to feel neglected because they have no place to call their own.
But I can’t have a closet like that. Doing so would require living in another house — one like Amy’s, which is a mega-mansion with endless amounts of space to add on according to what her desires dictate.
Around my house, “adding on” means a wall-mounted microwave oven or a new bath mat, or if I in a really frivolous mood, I might indulge in the addition of an air purifier for my fridge, also known as a box of Arm & Hammer baking soda.
Usually, I’m not the envious type. I don’t begrudge anyone his or her little material dalliances, but when I noticed that Amy had installed a plasma TV and DVD player in her closet, I did exhibit a momentary tug of closet-envy.
“You watch TV in your closet?” I asked.
“Darling,” she said, gyrating into a pair of skinny jeans she had plucked from her designer jeans shelf, “sometimes a girl has simply got to do what a girl has got to do.”
As a person who spends a good part of her life living vicariously, I can’t argue with that.
Judith Marks-White is a Westport writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at www.judithmarks-white.com.