The (Closet) 5+ Year Club

CAUTION!!!!! This post is about clothes! If you are offended or put off by this kind of thing, please run for your life until the next post! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH! See you later in the week!

Dear Those-of-You-Who-Are-Left,

When you are a bleached blond not only by bottle but somewhat by nature, it is not always easy to explain how your brain comes up with certain concepts but, alas, I am going to try to tell you how this post was conceived. You may need to pour another cup of coffee because it’s rather involved and, not only that, it could not possibly be less important.

Maybe I should say that last part again: It could not POSSIBLY be less important. Proceed from here at your own colossal waste of time.

While many of you have frozen half to death in other parts of the country and world, we have enjoyed a series of near perfect days in a city that, in the summertime, could well be selected as the sweaty armpit of Planet Humanity. Except for a rainy respite here and there, Houston has basked in blue skies and cool breezes with trees budding and birds heralding the in-breaking Spring for such a run of days now that we might well fear that the end is near.

Last Thursday was so utterly gorgeous that, the second I got home from work, I pitched my purse and keys on the counter and headed to the spot where I keep my rubber boots. I couldn’t help but get tickled because all it takes for my two brilliant little canines to rev up for a romp in the woods is for me to start changing shoes. Running amok in these country acres makes them so exuberantly happy that I could honestly swallow gnats from over-smiling as I trudge the path behind them. And I trudge quickly, like my boots are on fire, or they’ll leap and bound themselves to the next county. (Side note: You don’t dare run in these woods if you’re a human or you will break your foot on a big, fat root. And you will miss the poetry in those last 8 words if you do not hear the word “root” as my grandmother would say it: root as would rhyme with foot. Now, try it again: break your foot on a big, fat root. Got it?) So, while I was bringing up the rear (hopefully literally), I was overcome by their imposing enthusiasm and overall cuteness and decided to take a picture of them and tweet about how smart they were. This is the picture.

That is Geli (pronounced “jelly” and short for Angelina) in the front and my own Queen Esther, or Star for short, hanging back a tad closer to her mother. Geli appears headless in every single picture I take of her from behind because she is a bird dog and runs snoot down. I mentioned in the tweet how they know their run is coming just by a changing of the boots. (Kind of like a changing of the guard.) Then, after I got a few fun responses, I thought to my blond self, “If I were on the other side of that tweet, visual soul that I am, I’d be trying to picture the pairs of shoes involved in the person’s exchange.” SO, I did what any red-blooded superficial woman would do. I tweeted a picture of the boots. (Are you on pins and needles by now? Isn’t this post riveting?)


I told the good folks on Twitter that, after I pitched my keys, I exchanged the boots on the right for the boots on the left but, based on the replies, I do believe most of them flipped the order around in their own mind’s eye. I think they assumed I’d had on the rubber boots and changed to the cowboy boots for the walk in country. Au contraire mon ami. Those are gen-u-ine (long “i” on last syllable) Lucchese’s and you don’t wear them in the mud and sticks. Or at least I don’t. I have other cowboy boots I would subject to the ugly elements but not those. Those are the boots I’d worn to work. All said, I switched to the rubber boots for the walk. I can only imagine how intellectually stimulated you must be by now. It’s just that, if we’re going to be visual learners, let’s try to get our visions as accurate as possible. Now I’ll go on if you’re caught up.

So, I’d mentioned in the tweet that those Lucchese’s were a gift to me from the great Texas town of El Paso. Lo and behold, only a few minutes later, what to my wondering eyes should appear but a tweet capturing the momentous reception of those very boots?? The snapshot below was backstage with the most wonderful and gracious handful of women you could imagine at our Living Proof Live Saturday morning before our session began. We seldom do this kind of thing and I also don’t make a practice of receiving lavish gifts but this was arranged in advance and was, quite simply, a matter of heritage. It takes a Texan to know one. That’s all I know to say. Don’t bother entertaining the thought that I did not put the boots on instantly and wear them for the rest of the day to teach. Of course I did. And home on the plane.

SO (there will be lots of “so’s” in this post because I’m taking you with me on a dizzying journey of the blond psyche and I’m trying to sew/so the pieces together for you) THEN I noticed that I had on the exact same jacket in the picture in El Paso that I’d worn to work THAT VERY DAY. (Did any of you catch your breath??) Some of you regulars even with abbreviated memories may remember because there is a picture in the previous blog of me wearing it. This is not the exact same picture I used in that post but it’s among the handful KMac and I took for it and it gives you a better view of the jacket. I wish it was full length because the same boots would really provide the finishing touch. (And, if there is anything some of you are wanting by now, it’s the finishing touch.)

Now, let’s admit it. There’s absolutely nothing impressive about me having on the same jacket in 2013 that I wore in the picture from Living Proof Live El Paso in 2009. But surely you will quit that slouching in your desk-chair post haste when I tell you that I bought it at a Lord & Taylor department store in Houston, Texas that has been closed for a solid decade and have worn it for 13 years with a devotion that can only come from true smittenness. I have loved it every time I’ve worn it.

Whose boots are stepping in this hay with me now, Sisters? Are you beginning to see the light? Because this post is about those rare and elusive pieces of clothing that we can actually call a good buy. And the best way to tell a good buy is that you…

never can say good-bye. No, no, no, no.

SO (everybody say that word with me now), I marched into my closet when I got home from that walk in the country and commenced to grabbing hangers. The result of that mad hanger-grabbing was 7 of my personal favorites from what I will henceforth call my 5+ Year Club. Each of these jackets have not only been in my closet for five or more years. They are still on the active list, getting plenty of current wear. Drum roll please:

I love this one. It’s got a darling little strip of that beading on the lower back, too. It’s a good choice for a big room. Tailored but not stuffy. Just in case you care to know a fairly reliable dressing guide for female communicators, the smaller the room, the better off you are if your clothing is understated. The larger the room, the larger you might tend to go on the look so that you don’t disappear in it. (Of course, the rub is that “larger” is a highly subjective matter. For instance, small rooms never kept me from large hair.) Addendum: I just heard from one of you on Twitter who said I wore this jacket at LPL Portland in 2003. Boom.

As you can see, the following is the utmost in understated. Clearing throat. So sue me. I’ve totally loved it. I wear it numerous times a year but without fail on Valentine’s. It is even brighter red than it looks in this picture if you can imagine that and I most like to wear it with black slim-legged slacks or jeans.

Melissa gave me the next jacket for Christmas a number of years ago. She and I tried to think exactly how long it’s been but couldn’t quite put a date on it. It makes the 5+ Year Club for certain though. It would have been a little pricier because it came from a rack at Anthropologie.  It was a splurge for love of her mother and one not put to waste. I’ve worn it a million times. Because it’s bell shaped, I go with a slimmer leg on this one, too. My usual rule is: blousy top, slimmer bottom. Slimmer top, blousier bottom.

I wish I could remember exactly where I got this next one because it was my favorite kind of buy: super cheap and great fun. (Interjection: Melissa proofread the post and said, “Mom, you got it at Forever 21.” Embarrassingly, I think I did.) It is well beyond the 5 year mark and still not nearing the retirement list. I wore it to teach one Tuesday night during this recent round of women’s Bible study and somehow must have gone so utterly wild that I flung a button. (See fourth spot below) I did, however, find the button up on the third level of the church auditorium where it had put somebody’s eye out (all of that part was a lie). I will soon break out the needle and thread, as much as I hate to, and give it a mending. Or at least before next Fall.

Come on, Western Girls, and give this one a hand! BEST WESTERN COAT I HAVE EVER OWNED. Hands down. I’m going to estimate it at about 8 years old. Its story, however, has taken a recent turn that will color it, I fear, a whole new shade. A few weeks ago a young barista at a Starbucks told me how much she liked it and I was so powerfully jolted by the spirit of giving that I scared the living fire out of her. Wild-eyed and grinning madly, I ripped it off my shoulders and said, “Take off that green apron right this minute! Try this on! I want to give it to you!” To which she responded with horror and said (I wish you could hear the tone of this as I write it) “I don’t WANT your jacket!” And off she went with her lighter and pack of cigarettes like she was running from Freddy Krueger. I think she may have been staring at me from safe cover as I walked with my head down to my car, slinking like one who’d been shamed. For some reason I’m tickled. Let’s move on.

We are now nearing the end of Beth’s personal favorites in her 5+ Year Club. This next selection gets honorable mention because it is without a doubt the one I’ve worn the most. It is multipurpose and can be dressed up or dressed down. I’ve spoken or taught in it more times than I could count, worn it to dinner with Keith (when we used to actually go to restaurants because we lived in an actual city), worn it to church, and to numerous funerals and it is still a long way from worn out and nowhere near retirement. If I were quizzing you, I’d ask this: Based on my rule of pairing earlier stated, would I wear slimmer pant-legs or blousier pant-legs with this?

Blousies win.

I saved this one for last because it is the jacket of my life. Yep. My all-time favorite. I could almost pause for a moment of silence. Melissa got it for me for Mother’s Day while she was in college and that was a minimum of eight years ago so it’s at least that old. Amanda and I do a lot of gift-giving as well, needless to say. It’s just that Melissa has been more prone to jacket-buying somehow. It’s the neatest fabric ever and such a pretty blend colors. It’s truly my favorite thing in the closet. I don’t wear it as much as I used to but I just can’t seem to say good bye. I want to retire it like a basketball jersey and have it hung in one of my daughter’s homes after I’ve passed. Addendum: Amanda has now added that a theme has emerged here today: my best jackets have clearly come from Melissa. For this reason, I am leaving instructions in my will for this jacket to be hung in Amanda’s home for time immemorial.

This final selection is meant to serve as a warning not to buy things when you are hormonal. It is the most hideous thing in my closet. It looks and feels like something a deep sea diver would wear and you sweat in it like you’re wearing a tall kitchen trash bag. It’s so orange, cars yield to it and pumpkins bow. I am ashamed to show it to you but, to be fair, I feel that I must. We make it a practice to air some of our dirty laundry here on this blog. I still own it, not because it was a good buy, but because it wasn’t and because I am trying to punish myself by making myself wear it. I put it on from time to time and think something to the tune of, “This is what you get.” I have to challenge myself when I wear it not to try to explain it to people I’m with. I have this feeling that most would not fully grasp that I am trying to punish myself. I need to give it away but really. Who wants it?

SO, that’s it. Let me just go ahead and say that I am sorry for this post. I have a feeling that some of you read all the way to this point because you, too, are in a self-punishing mood. I’d like to thank you.


422 Responses to “The (Closet) 5+ Year Club”

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  1. 401
    jani says:

    Oh my word!!!
    You are hilarious, Beth.
    This post was linked in a discussion of your clothes on a popular social outlet and I had to come read it.
    Thank you for giving me a laugh today!
    Love you!

  2. 402
    Christine says:

    Loved the fun!
    Where do you purchase the blouses you wear I absolutely love the long tops.

    • 402.1
      Susie LaBelle says:

      I LOVE your style and I LOVE this post. I want more clothing posts, there’s got to be a spiritual lesson you could attach somehow!! 😉
      Really, I would LOVE to know where you shop. Your “bell-shaped” tops are my favorite!!

  3. 403
    Karoline Muckelvane says:

    We need to know where to get blue flannel bell sleeved blouse worn on TBN Better together , nest of feathers ??? Thank you! Gods Blessings love your studies keep me in the Word

    • 403.1
      Media says:

      Hi Karoline,

      Wasn’t it adorable?! Her shirt is from a small boutique called “Anything Bling” at Vintage Park in Houston.

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