Last weekend we joined another dual-career couple for dinner and a discussion of comparative closet space. Conversation quickly veered towards the working woman’s wardrobe crisis. We know we have clothes in the house, but the struggle to collect them and create an appropriate ensemble each morning as we chase children causes endless anxiety.
We recently completed renovations to our house. I love my new bedroom and bathroom but the few square feet that constitute my new closet outstrip everything else in existential value. The disheveled morning rush up and down to hall to see if the needed jacket landed in the guest room or the desired skirt in the hall ended when my husband and I each got our own domain with inexpensive but effective closet organization systems. I felt slightly guilty when our lovely young architect installed them herself in response to my statement that they were my most anticipated addition. But not so guilty that I prevented her from completing the project.
Now, I’m a historian. I know how ludicrous all this is. Had I been an adult woman when my home was built in 1950 I would have considered the original double closet in the master bedroom the height of modern luxury. Step back a bit further in time to 1550 and I would have had only the one shift to wear and rarely wash. No need for a closet at all unless I fell into the life of an aristocrat who could hang her few robes above her chamber pot and allow the uric acid to keep the bugs at bay.
As I reach for my clothes each morning with comparative ease, I count my lucky stars that our new bathroom and new closets – although part of a suite – are not one and the same.