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Inside the Artist’s Closet: A Brief History of my Clothes

On Tuesday, I forced myself to take a critical look at my wardrobe… and weed out anything in my closet that I haven’t worn in the last twelve months.
Barring costumes, of course, which I haven’t had an opportunity to wear lately. But I will!!! In fact, I’m making room for more Regency dresses…. :)

I shared the ill-fated nightgowns and t-shirts with friends on Facebook, who had a good chuckle remembering the horrific ensembles I wore in high school. Spandex pants were sooo not cool in the mid-90’s.
Although they seemed shocked to see some items included which didn’t make the grade ~

Like this T-shirt featuring the cast of Taming of the Shrew, from my freshman year in Drama:

Drama Cast List including Tara Gaumond /  Tara Fly

I played Bianca, the beautiful younger sister of The Shrew. I had two of these identical shirts… and really only need one as a souvenir.

The Phantom of the Opera tee was a surprise, even to me, but I honestly haven’t worn it in ages. I was half-tempted to add my Sunset Boulevard shirt AND my X-Files tee into the pile, neither of which have seen the light of day in awhile.

But they both received a temporary reprieve, until I need additional space in my closet.

Same goes for this shirt:

It's A Theatre Thing... You Wouldn't Understand t-shirt

“It’s a Theatre Thing” …. on the back, it reads “You Wouldn’t Understand”.

I’ve loved this shirt, which was purchased at the state drama competition in Huntington, WV, in 1997.
We didn’t win that year, but I received a cool trophy, induction into the All-State Cast, and the validation I craved. This shirt reminds me of the “high times” from high school.

Another cast shirt from my first freshman performance at Berkeley Springs High:

The Reluctant Dragon, BSHS 1995 starring Tara Gaumond / Tara Fly

The director, Joe Santoro, loved my audition for “The Reluctant Dragon” so much, he re-wrote the character of the little boy who befriends the dragon…. as a little girl. Just for me. :)

And he asked me to choose a name for my character; I named her Alice. Not in deference to Lewis Carroll, although the girl-meets-dragon story would have been an appropriate comparison.
No, it was entirely personal. “Alice” was the code-name of a boy I liked…. which was very mild, compared to the crazy code-names that Carolyn and I invented for my later crushes: Peanut Butter, Blue Mascara, and Caterpillar, to name a few. LOL

Speaking of Peanut Butter. The first time I had the pleasure of sharing a stage with fellow BSHS student (and current WV Young Republicans’ chairman), Conrad Lucas, was in this production; he starred as my very Reluctant Dragon.
Reluctant to learn his lines anyway…. he ad-libbed 85% of his material, forcing me to learn a harsh lesson in show business:

Always Be Prepared ~ (to improvise the heck out of your script).

 

Another article that hangs in my closet for purely sentimental reasons, is this gym shirt from the private grade school I attended in Bowie, Maryland.

Grace Christian School Cougars gym shirt, circa 1993

(And I still wear the gym shorts!)

I’ve also kept one of the uniforms I wore in junior high… because you never know when you might need a school-girl uniform, right?!

I’ve held onto it as a reminder of my past, a small memento of that former life that always appeared rosy-hued and unfocused in my mind…

Navy plaid and gold private school uniform

Of course, now we have Facebook. And classmates who post embarrassing pictures of us from 4th grade. My memories are becoming less and less rosy-hued. ;D

One of the things I remember most dearly about my childhood in Bowie, were those countless hours spent at my best friend Heather’s house.

Her mother was THE Poster Mom for stay-at-home parents everywhere.
I can still picture her, wearing her trademark jumper and blouse… cooking healthy meals from scratch, sewing dresses and costumes for Heather, keeping up with the laundry and household chores (their home always looked immaculate! You could eat her pasta straight off the floor…), carpooling a minivan-ful of kids to and from school/dance/piano/sports practice, and somehow keeping track of us (and her sons’ friends) …. all the while maintaining a relationship with her husband.

I think I envied her sewing skills the most, a talent she passed onto her daughter. Unfortunately, our close association over the years wasn’t enough to ensure even a basic understanding of sewing in me.

However, when Heather would weed through her own closet, I would occasionally get the handmade hand-me-downs, including this floral skirt:

Handsewn floral blue skirt, early 90's.

Originally it was paired with a cute matching jacket which Heather outgrew in the early 90’s… and I outgrew a few years later… (she was blessed early with a woman’s figure, heehee)
I’m hoping that it’s still packed away somewhere, as I would hate to think I’d lost this skirt’s life-partner.

I haven’t worn this skirt since high school, however it has a permanent hanger in my closet. Perhaps I’ll pass it down to Lydia and Mia when they’re old enough to wear it, because that is the true beauty of handmade things.

Tara Fly modeling a handsewn floral skirt

I can still squeeze into it, despite the lack of an elastic waistband. LOL

Now that my closet has a bit of wiggle room to accommodate new items I might chance upon, I can only wonder: Which brand-new garments will eventually become treasured keepsakes?

Someday. Every single piece of clothing in my closet will tell its own story.

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