Letting Go

Shades of the '80s.

Shades of the '80s.

The annual Pantone color designations for 2016 were a surprise. Ever interested in maintaining my slavish devotion to all things trendy, I was very stunned to realize that the ’16 pastels of the year – Rose Quartz and Serenity (blue) – were curiously similar to the trendy colors of the early/mid 80s when my friends were getting married.

I know that because I’ve been schlepping a collection of bridesmaid dresses cross-country for the past 30 years.  Featuring shimmering taffeta folds, poufy sleeves, and necklines that reflect the awkward hang of a fabric not meant to drape, this collection of wedding memories have occupied a corner of a basement closet that is rarely visited in the Minneapolis house.

The weddings themselves were memorable – with or without the physical swoosh of the stored dresses. Although not all of the marriages lasted as long as the dresses, the women remain friends – and would probably be surprised to know the dresses are still here.

The Pantone news release reminded me of the style dictum – if you were old enough to have worn the fashion the first time around, you’re too old to wear it again. And I was never ever going to wear those dresses again.

Originally, I had used my daughter as the excuse to keep the dresses. What if she wanted to wear one to a high school dance? Right…

But truth be told, I was holding on to a period of time that I remembered as filled with the potential and promise of youth. I remembered the sheer bravery of leaping into marriage in our 20s, launching new careers, imagining the life of a grown up hosting dinner parties with lifelong friends, and actually raising children.

Fast-forward 30-some years and that’s where we are now. We leapt, we launched, we figured out place settings, and now travel to spend time with grown children who forgive us for most of our mistakes.

And that’s when I knew it was time to let go of the dresses – to take them where they might be enjoyed. Since the dress colors are now trendy, there are young ladies who might enjoy remaking them into something stylish for Spring 2016 dances (poufy sleeves, be gone).

It has been a year of letting go of the things of life that are an unnecessary anchor. The things that hold back the brave acts of our next chapters. Some of those are physical things, some the mental and emotional baggage of stored memories. That’s my resolution for 2016 – to let go of all that doesn’t serve the future, which definitely includes bridesmaid dresses from the 1980s.