Hello, blogger buddies. Maybe, if you're old enough, this will bring back a few bad fashion memories.
I was sifting through the contents of my closet the other day when an idea struck me like a pointy-toed stiletto. I confess. I am a clothing sentimentalist. What is that, you ask? A clothing sentimentalist preserves cherished memories through fabric and design. We have textile scrapbooks instead of the kind with photographs and hoard outfits associated with important events in our lives.
I’m sick, I know, but in my fashion time capsule, I have dresses sewn before the invention of microwave ovens, personal computers, and VHS video players.
Obviously, if you’ve chosen to store away your wedding gown or your children’s heirloom blessing ensemble, it’s understandable. I have those, of course, and that sort of memento is normal. Saving the peach suit I wore before my wedding is okay, too. Keeping the formal gowns from my vocal recitals in college pushes the boundaries a bit. But why, oh why, have I retained the Victorian drop-waist pinstripe number with matching bowler hat from my high school days? Steampunk may be in style again, but my daughters wouldn’t consider wearing it.
Worse still, I have Ralph Lauren denim stirrup pants! Sweatshirts with the neck cut out, shoulder-padded—and I mean padded—power suits, acid-wash peg-leg pants, circa ’85 lace Madonna gloves. Beaded and bedazzled sweaters, broom handle skirts, business ties for women, and gypsy patchwork sundresses. Opaque leggings, Donna Karan onesie blouses, Barbara Bush pearls . . . The shameful list could go on and on. And I’m not even highlighting the tacky Durran, Durran, Miami Vice, or paisley-everything era.
After witnessing the invention of the mini-skirt, I’ve seen it reappear twice on the fashion scene since then, decades apart. Pant legs have veered from wide to skinny to wide to skinny again. I have some of all of these stored away. And what woman can forget where they were the first time they purchased their original pair of Sbicca wedges or Candie's mules?
So why do I waste valuable shelf space on these things? I think I’ve figured that out. I was happy when I wore those clothes. I liked who I was back then, and I take out my textile scrapbook, and say to myself, “See? This is who you used to be.” Before adulthood, before mortgage payments, children, and wrinkles, when the future was scary and uncertain yet full of possibilities and promise.
I love my life now. I’m living what that girl from long ago dreamed of doing. Even so, I don’t want to forget her entirely. I may release my hold on the past and donate my couture relics to charity one day. But not yet.
Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue magazine, would have an aneurism, a cardiac infarction, a grand mal seizure, hives, and a nervous tic simultaneously if she laid eyes on my collection.
Look away, Anna, look away.