The Skinny Closet or My Date with Judy

At QWAC, we have a judy (dress makers doll) that has always caught my eye. She isn’t your average skinny little mannequin… this Judy has curves… hips, boobs and a pinchable bottom. I love her and often go and give her a squeeze at some point in my shift. She is everything I wish I could be, although I must admit my legs are nicer.

A week or so ago, K sent me a text message that went like this.

“Do you know you have 40 dresses in the closest? and many more stored in bags?’


I didn’t like his tone (as much as one can convey tone through a text message) and I felt I was being judged. We share a closet, and actually we only have one closet in our entire place and it not only stores K and my clothing, but also winter gear, coats, sports equipment, xmas stuff, an air-conditioner, fan, the vacuum, the ladder, our hamper, etc etc etc. oh, and a dining room table. oh, and it’s 9 feet deep and 2 feet wide. Basically the most useless storage imaginable. So I can sympathise with why my having forty dresses in there, especially if I wasn’t wearing all of them, might be frustrating for him, and hard to understand. So, as we do in these modern times, I turned to the internet for support.

I posted on my facebook the following;

what is a reasonable amount of dresses to own? i’m being judged. (keep in mind I don’t actually wear anything else… )

and I was a bit floored by the response. Everyone had an opinion on this, from friends of mine, kevin’s colleagues, exes, family members, even old high school teachers, and a really interesting dialogue emerged.

Basically, the consensus was: as long as I love them and wear them, I should be able to keep them.

So I went to my closet/black hole to evaluate the situation. There were definitely a few that I’d worn to death and were  looking a little threadbare and I could part with, no problem. There were the 3-5 that are in my regular everyday rotation, those were obviously safe. There were the handful of schmancy-occasion dresses that could stay in their little dress coffins in the back and not cause a fuss, and several thicker winter dresses that could be tucked away as well.

But most of the dresses were part of my ‘skinny collection’.

I have had a skinny collection for as long as I can remember, a section of clothing that I LOVE but no longer fits me, and yet I hold on optimistically (see: stupidly) for the day they will. But that day never comes. And sadly, most of these dresses are not ones I grew out of, but rather, clothing that I bought but could not fit into, in the hopes that it would act as encouragement to get to that size. A year and a half ago a gave away most of them to a friend (10 years worth of gorgeous vintage that I STILL think about) but somehow, the skinny closet is back.

And they sit in my closet, and I open the door and stare, and say

I have nothing to wear

because my closet in filled with hopes.

So I think this is probably not the healthiest thing to be doing. And then I thought of Judy.

I took Judy’s measurements at work one day… she is pretty much exactly 2 inches smaller than me all around. My bust is a little bigger, and my bum is a little smaller, but we’re pretty much a before and after.  And I think she looks healthy, and I think it’s realistic that potentially, should I choose to devote myself to such a thing (which I really should for my health) I could likely get myself down to Judy’s size. And I bet you I would be much happier.

So I decided I would take Judy home for the day, and do a little fashion show. And if the dress fit Judy, I could keep it. But if it didn’t, then I was just torturing myself keeping it around. And hogging the closet.

And because I promised on facebook, I will now share my skinny closet with you.


Hot pink 1940s day dress. the material is so so so soft and lovely and i want to wear this so badly. It fit the judy… but just.

I bought it non-fitting from a thrift shop in kensington this summer.


Ungh… so embarrassing. But I wasn’t going to iron for this, so use your imagination. I love this dress, and I bought it fitting (though barely) in the fall of 2005, and wore it to a marathon Back To The Future Party the week I met Kevin. Judy had to hold her breath to make this work… but this is a case where sentimentality wins out.


Love this blue pocketed number, and it wasn’t tight on Judy.


Pretty colours, and loose on Judy. Keep!

This dress is not meant for a curvy girl. Lesson learned.

Up for Grabs.

I love this little sundress. Loose on Judy, snug on me. Potential!


This burgundy number is pulling on J’s tatas… so sadly I know it’s never gonna happen.

Up for Grabs.

Picked this one up in Vermont in March, and dyed it blue. Its pretty close to fitting me, and Judy wore it like a champ.


I know I wore this xmas 2008, and yet I can’t even get it on Judy. It’s SUCH a lovely dress, and still has its dry cleaning tag on. Someone love snap this up from me, I think I wore it twice.

Up For Grabs.

Loose on Judy, snug on me. I’m going to make this happen. Just you wait, little blue and red dress… just you wait.


Oh, my little Marimekko dress. You make me feel like I’m off to a children’s birthday party…

I will wear you before the year is out.


Fits me, but fits J better. Love the sweetheart neck.


Last but not least, my very favorite piece… it’s a bit tight on J, so technically it should go, but I just can’t pass up the mermaid silver-green silk and black velvet combo… my dream is to rock this at a new years eve party.



So what do I do now? Fold them and seal them away in a bag? back in the closet so I don’t forget?

Internet, I need your help. What to do?


10 thoughts on “The Skinny Closet or My Date with Judy

  1. Back in the closet so you don’t forget!

    The Judy idea is great! Really great. She’s healthy and (I do believe) an achievable size. You’ve pared down your closet without feeling consigned. You will wear those dresses before you know it and if you need help/support/general cheerleading, I am here!

    (On a more vulture-ish note, if that Xmas 2008 dress is still up for grabs, could I take a look?)

    • Thanks Nims, for your support and also for being the kind of friend that gets that when I serve up coffee ice cream in coffee cups post breakfast-dinner, that it’s an intentional thing. I love you.

      Come snag that xmas dress, little one!

  2. lauren, when i love clothing, and don’t wear it anymore – i do one of three things:

    a) i give it to someone who will love it, who will look great in it and who will bring me pleasure by wearing it a lot!
    b) i fold it up in a card board box, and hid it from myself. people hold onto photos, tchatzkas and all sorts of stuff as souvenirs of their life. my clothing is no different. i’ve often gone back to a photo and wondered what i’ve done with an item of clothing, as it’s become a representation of that moment. so now, i keep it if i really love.
    c) i transform it. i’m a lifelong repurposer of stuff. in kindergarden, i had a sweatshirt that i loved. when i outgrew it, i couldn’t bare to part with it and turned it into a pillow. i also have a pillow i made out of the jean cut-offs i wore as my summer uniform from 8 to 10 (with a t-shirt, a long braid, and a chicago cubs cap). although its hard to alter vintage clothing (i have major guilt around this) sometimes it is the way to go.

    remember, judy may be “ideal” but she is nowhere near as incredible as you are!

  3. Lauren I think it’s really great that you did this. I think your goal is completely achievable – and as for number of dresses that is reasonable to own – that number is INFINITE!! don’t limit yourself to closet space …

    But i do know the frustration of having too many items of clothing. I’ve been refining my wardrobe over the last few years by removing types of fabric. Even though I love the look of a lot of the vintage I’ve collected, I sweat like crazy and can’t wear polyester or other synthetics without sacrificing my own comfort and possibly that of people in my physical vicinity. So making rules that work specifically for you can help pare things down … that said, since ruling out synthetics I’ve only collected far more silks and cashmere so maybe it’s a losing battle …

    the dress you’ve dyed blue looks lovely btw.

    • Thanks JW! I value your very knowledgeable opinions on this… I have also tried to pair down on the synthetic, but they are so stretchy and have the best colours! If only they weren’t so sweaty / fragrant. A closet full of silks and chasmere sounds like a battle worth losing to me. xo

  4. You have such great style, Lauren! Having Judy as the cut-off size is a great idea. I wish I could find a Judy with my dimensions. I would bring her shopping with me and avoid waiting in line for a change room!

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