If you should wake up dead tomorrow, would you leave price tags on some clothes in your closet? I would. I’d never thought much about it until I moved to Florida, where death and after-death are frequent topics. I don’t mean after-death in a metaphysical sense, but the practicalities of what comes after dying. More specifically, what happens to a person’s stuff after they’ve gone. If the dearly departed is a woman who liked clothes, you can be almost certain that somebody will say, “She had so many clothes in her closet, some of them still had price tags.”
I always feel slightly guilty when I hear the phrase, because I’ve always had clothes in my closet with price tags still on them. Maybe a winter coat bought at an August sale, or a terrific sequined dress bought in September but planned for a New Years Eve party. Currently, it would be a snazzy outfit that will be perfect to wear on a dinner date to a posh place — just in case I ever get asked on a dinner date to a posh place — and a slinky dress that can be dressed up or down and go anywhere — just in case I have to go some place where my usual rumpled linen won’t do. I think of those things as clothes insurance.
More than likely, every woman has some clothes like that in her closet. The question is why some of us leave price tags on them. I’d like to see a scientific study done on the personalities of women who cut tags off the minute they bring clothes home, and those who leave them on until they wear them. My guess is that we tag-keepers do it as a way of doubling our pleasure at having something new to wear. We get the fun of the great find and the anticipation of how we’ll enjoy wearing it, and then when we finally cut off the tags and put the thing on, we get that little sense of pleasure that comes with wearing something brand new for the first time. Irrational as it is, the thing doesn’t seem brand new any more without its price tag, it just hasn’t been worn yet.
I might as well face it: after I shuffle off this mortal coil, when friends and relatives sort through my stuff and decide which goes to Goodwill and which to a resale shop, somebody is bound to say, “My gosh, some of these things still have price tags on them!” I guess I should hope that’s the worst thing they’ll say.