There are so many wonderful things spring ushers in. Little league, daffodils, flip-flops….and the annual swapping of the clothes. You know what I’m talking about. Those days when you decide you can endure the possibility of a morning in the high 30’s without your favorite cable knit sweater. Unfortunately, spring is a reluctant arrival. Like a sleep-deprived mother who can’t decide what the baby should wear for her first portrait, spring changes her mind often. One day will be beautiful 70 degree weather and the neighborhood yards teem with new bags of potting soil and young children in short sleeves. The next it’s 50 and rainy and your 4 year old is crying because she can’t wear her new capris. Or maybe it’s not that spring can’t decide when to stay, but that winter isn’t ready to leave. So, how do you get rid of a guest who has overstayed it’s welcome? Subtle cues of course. And that’s where the clothing swap comes in. Remember Field of Dreams? “If you build it, they will come.” Well, if you wear it, spring will come. Right?
At my house there are currently 4 large boxes in my living room. One contains all the heavier winter clothes (or pants that are too short) I have cleaned out of the girls’ room recently. One contains last year’s summer clothes that are still in good enough condition to save for Amelia. One contains clothes for Amelia that are a variety of sizes and season, none of which are appropriate for right now. And one is clothes to be donated next fall when others are willing to embrace winter again. Oh, and there’s a laundry basket in Amelia’s room full of summer clothes for her sissies. So, what’s left for them to wear?
The clothing swap requires that certain items be re-categorized into that ambivalent “Spring” category. These items include short-sleeve shirts that can easily go over or under long-sleeve shirts that were light enough to make the cut. Capri pants are acceptable, but only when the weather is also warm enough for flip-flops or Crocs without socks. Jeans make any cut, any time since my mama said you should always keep a comfy pair of jeans in your drawer. Now, the closet is another delicate matter altogether.
This manic weather requires that church wear also be given careful consideration. So last week I cleaned out the closet of all dresses in velvet or corduroy with appliques of snowmen, snowflakes, or figure skates. I folded the tights and put them in the winter box. I left out the black shoes because it’s not after Easter yet. I washed a stack of gingham smocked dresses bought for a steal from a friend at the bank. I ironed dresses with crinolines and big pink flowers. And guess what?
On Sunday it rained. A chilly, don’t wear open-toed shoes kind of rain. And now we come to the most important addition of the spring wardrobe.
The white sweater.
Moms of girls know what I’m talking about. A sweet, deceptively warm, button down sweater that can be paired with any spring dress of any type at any time. The kind of sweater that you won’t find on the Saturday before Easter if you wait until then to realize you need one.
So, here’s my advice if the end of March, beginning of April, and hidden rainbow colored eggs have you thinking it’s time for the swap. This week is going to be beautiful by Wednesday. Warm temperatures and sunny days. But come Sunday it’s going to be cloudy. And probably chilly. So, go get a white sweater for yours or your daughter’s Easter dress. And hide a sweatshirt on your bottom drawer next to that cute tank top you bought on sale at the end of last summer. Chances are you’ll need both in the coming weeks.