Being clothes-minded

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Husband-and-wife journalists Bob Miller and Callie Clark Miller share the same small house (still), work in the same office (again) and somehow manage to cling to their sanity (barely). Older and wiser (she's wiser, he's just older), the Southeast Missourian sweethearts offer their views on everyday issues, told from two different perspectives. This recount of the view on appearance first ran in the Southeast Missourian on Oct. 9, 2005.

SHE SAID: When I moved in, Bob's clothes moved out.

Out of the bedroom closet and into the closet in Drew's room.

I believe our house was built before the invention of clothing that requires hangers. Our closets are roughly the size of a compact car's glove compartment.

Admittedly, Bob's wardrobe fits nicely inside a glove-compartment-sized space. My more extensive wardrobe does not.

And thus the impetus behind the Perpetual Clothing Struggle that plagues the Miller household.

I may not understand the subtle nuances of baseball, but Bob does not understand the subtle nuances of clothes.

Sure, a girl may have 11 pairs of dress pants. In my husband's mind, five pairs of dress pants is enough. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he labeled his Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. And not that it matters much because all of his pants pretty much look alike anyway.

My 11 pairs of dress pants carry different (mental) labels. Some are made of fabrics that are better suited for the winter months. Others are "summer" pants. There are cropped pants, and there are leg-elongating pants that require high heels. So the fact that I don't wear certain pairs for six months is really about (A) a carefully plotted meteorological-based science or (B) complex style logistics.

Subtle nuances.

Why do I need five different pairs of black shoes?

The flats work well in the winter if there's snow or ice on the ground. The heels (two pairs, one open-toed for summer months, one closed-toed for the fall and winter) are nice if it's raining and I have to walk through puddles and want to avoid getting the hem of my pants wet. There's also a black pair of dress sandals and a black pair of regular ol' wear-around-house sandals that are just plain comfy.

Subtle nuances.

I could go on and on, but in the end, it doesn't matter. If something's cute, I'll probably buy it and then think up a rationale afterward.

Subtle nuances.

HE SAID: Yard-sale time is upon us.

Callie pulls out a long, navy-blue dress.

"I haven't worn this in five years," she says.

She tries it on. Stunning. (Too tight, she says.)

She pulls another dress out, a black one.

"I haven't worn this in years, either," she says.

She tries it on. Stunning. (Too sexy for a funeral, too sexy for work, she says. Nowhere to wear it anymore now that she's married.)

She pulls out another dress, something that looks like an oversized sweater with a satin-ish slip-thingy that goes underneath it.

"I don't think I ever wore this one," she says.

She tries it on. OK, not so stunning. But useful ... (Too frumpy, she says. Makes her look like a grandma.)

A sweater. Shrunk in the dryer. Another sweater. Never fit her right. (Why didn't you TRY IT ON AT THE STORE BEFORE BUYING IT?) One garment after another she pulls out of the closet or out of the dresser like a magician with handkerchiefs coming out of his sleeve.

Why does she need all these clothes? I ask myself.

Well, it's because she needs new clothes every time she has a big interview at work. Every time she has a bad day at work. Every time I do something really stupid. Every time we get bored. Some couples play bingo. Some bowl. Some travel. We shop. And watch baseball (which is much less expensive.)

I know I shouldn't complain. My cute and talented wife always looks chic. (Chic, that's a good thing, right?) But she looks just as chic in the dress she's only worn once as the expensive must-have gown hanging on the rack.

I know she'll never change her ways. She, if you haven't figured this out yet, wears the pants in this relationship. But at least they're stylish pants.

Bob Miller is the Southeast Missourian's managing editor. Callie Clark Miller is the managing editor of online/special publications. She has been buying more clothes to keep her "chic" during her pregnancy. You can reach them at or

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