21 Stories from the Closet

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Part time capsule, part treasure chest ... Some women find our closets hold more than just clothing. It's a glimpse into the lives we've led, the people we were and the people we hope to become.

Push aside the everyday wear and you might find pieces of your past, badges of honor or things that just beg to be secreted away for safekeeping. Read on to see what category your items fall under, and compare notes.


"A yellow dress I wore on my honeymoon 45 years ago. I also have my mom's wedding gown!" —Carolyn Johnson

"A Patagonia jacket my husband bought me when we were dating. He actually asked me to always keep it. I also have a pair of Guess zipper jeans I kept for my daughter, but no girl." —Kelly McGraw Braman

"My black (yes, black) Vera Wang Wedding dress." —Kari Montgomery Palazzolo

"A red sweater I keep in a bag that's from my grandma. I keep it in this bag because it still smells like her and she passed away several years ago. On a sentimental night, I open the bag and can smell my grandma. Tears every time!" —Molly Duiven

"A running top. It has seen 20 runs since I lost my daughter, including marathons and Tough Mudder. It always inspires me to push on." —Sue Evans


"First pair of Levis from high school, and they still fit!" —Sam Carr

"A Ferris sweatshirt I wore 19 years ago." —Tanya Zamora (whose daughter wears it and attends Ferris now)

"A high school sweatshirt with Timmer on the back. It's the last thing I own with my maiden name on it. I don't know why I can't get rid of it!" —Jenna Spears

"A buttery soft black leather jacket from Ann Taylor that I bought after my first real job out of college. It was my first splurge bought with my own money, so it holds a special meaning. It's 25 years old now, and I haven't worn it because it fits like a box, but once in a while I will still touch it as a reminder of my independence and appreciation of quality wardrobe pieces!" —Jill Carroll

"Mine would probably be the baby-sized Ferris State snap-front cardigan that was one of my first wardrobe items. I was born in Big Rapids, when Dad was finishing his degree at the school."—Amy L Charles


"I have this hot pink—neon pink—maxi skirt that makes me feel fabulous. I probably spend at least two days a week wearing it once it hits 65 degrees. I tell people that if my house was burning down and I could only grab one thing, it'd be that skirt." —Stephanie Larson

"A pair of black, strappy, sequined sandals that I outgrew when I was pregnant with my daughter." —Kara de Alvare

"I found a skirt at an antique shop about 15 years ago and fell in love with it! When I worked at a salon, I used to dress up funky every day. It's been hanging in my closet lonely, just because my fave garb these days are sweat pants, not fancy skirts. Still adore it." —Jessica Marody

"Two sexy pairs of Kate Spade four-inch heels. One snakeskin, the other leopard. Their only purpose these days are to stare at and reminisce of the times, I rocked that s$%&! My knee prevents me from wearing them, BUT a girl can still daydream." —Dawn Burke Gravelyn

"Two dresses, one (French Connection) that Candace Cameron Bure wore on Good Morning America that I found on clearance. Another Zooey Deschanel wore on New Girl that I found on super duper clearance at Anthropologie!" —Deana Bjork

"An '80s leopard print, one-piece bathing suit, super high-cut on the sides. My chest fits way weird in it and I have never gone swimming in it, but I find myself jumping into it once in a blue moon! I've had it since high school." —Emma Loo


"A suede blazer. A gift from my husband for our first Christmas I think. I've never worn it because the color is hideous on me, but it will be very practical when I someday get my horse farm. Ha!" —Jill Carroll

"Old concert gear ..." —Jessica Scudder

"The super skinny—when I was my smallest—jeans ... The bigger size—my largest—jeans... The sorority sweatshirt, the varsity soccer sweatshirt with my maiden name on the back, the 'if I ever go sailing' loose-knit sweater, a stack of surgical scrubs that I wore for a great job I once had--maybe I'll do that again someday ... The list goes on and on. But the one thing that maybe is meaningful, or at least practical, is my stunning, too-expensive-for-me, navy pinstripe, classic-fit interview suit. No matter my figure, it fits beautifully and has landed me a few good gigs! It won't be leaving me anytime soon!" —Kelly Rupert

"An old Laura Ashley dress and multiple dog-showing outfits." —Laura Caprara

"A yellow pleated skirt. It gets put in the giveaway pile and is always dug out and hung back up." —Dawn Bogema

Written by Missy Black, style child and contributing writer for West Michigan Woman. She has her mother's wedding veil. It looks like a long icicle hanging from the top of her closet. It's too pretty to pack away.


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