Today I went shopping …in a friend’s closet.
It’s okay. Hand-me-downs are totally within the rules of The Promise 365.
I was invited to come over and look at items that were destined for Goodwill. Before they got the boot, I got a chance to get in on the loot!
I had almost forgot about the thrill achieved by just trying on new clothes, pulling something foreign over my body and starring at it until it speaks to me.
Are you mine cute black and white sundress? Nope, doesn’t fit.
Do you belong with me white cropped pants? I’m yours baby!
The new clothes will take a few washings and wearings until they truly transform into “mine”, completely belonging to me, feeling like me and representing me.
Do you know that process?
At some point in the owner’s cycle a new pair of jeans becomes “favorite jeans” or “Saturday afternoon jeans” or “dress up to go out jeans”. They take on a role of their own, in the form of wardrobe but also in the form of life moments.
Flash forward to my afternoon:
A bit later in the day, I read this article: Even Chloe Sevigny Saves Money With Vintage Clothing.
It made me think about more than just the “value” of vintage finds.
As I scrolled through the decades of this very cool fashion timeline and read about how the hems and hoops and design elements of the day changed I thought of my own timeline.
I just donated my wedding dress to Goodwill. Even though the marriage became unstitched one painful thread at a time, I will remember the raw silk fabric and a-line cut of that white strapless number.
I also remember the exact dress, cut and flare, that I wore to my college graduation. Black with little white flowers.
I can almost feel the sturdy baby blue fabric of the first grown up suit with the long sweeping lapels I wore to my Truman Scholar finalist interview. The one where they didn’t pick me, the one where I entered with a heap of hope and ended with a serving of humility and a little loss.
I remember the navy blue sweats pants I wore to basketball games in high school with my last name pressed in letters up one of the legs ~ E S L I N G E R ~ It was my first true power suit. Game day. Suit up.
I also remember the teal cotton stretchy pants I wore home from the hospital after having my spleen removed, my cancer diagnosed, and my mortality amplified.
First day on my very first job: long black linen summer suit
First date with Justin: white t-shirt with sheer sleeves
Fourth grade birthday party: fluffy pink dress with ribbon at the waist
Each event from my life comes with a memory and an outfit.
Just proof that vintage had a life of its own, once.
If not twice.
A fun overview of Americam fashion trends. Here’s a sampling below and you can see photos and even more info at the Vintage Fashion Guild website.