09 April 2014

my communal closet

purse: target // dress + sweater: lane's hand-me-downs // chelsea boots: shoemint // hat: h+m (similar) // bangles: gift (similar)

I have been thinking lately about what a very social thing our clothing is. I actually prefer to shop on my own -- to take time perusing, try things on slowly + just so. It's an exercise in slow-moving for me, shopping is. Watch me sometime in a store -- like molasses being poured out.

Even so, I've been looking at my closet and thinking how much a communally created thing it is. There are the big and obvious ways -- the friends who challenge your modes of dressing, or maybe the ones you inspire, or pinterest -- all the big influencers, and trends, and ways of transmission. But in other ways, too. I was packing some things for a friend to borrow -- a floral backpack, kimono, big old sunhat, and an instax camera. I get so giddy at the thought of these things going on a new adventure, with someone else. And then that same friend in turn handed me a bag of hand-me-downs. As I pulled things out, I would remember -- she wore this when we took photos out in that field, or I remember her thrifting this! Memories, tied to them already. 

And so I was attune to this connection while hanging things up -- and it became more evident, then. The big things -- prom dress, his wedding suit -- but then all the small things imbued with bits of other people -- I wore that dress to photograph so-and-so's wedding, to church (when I met so-and-so's daughter-in-law). How I dress a little different for meeting different friends. Or this would be a nice homage to my mother-in-law's college days (and yes! then it sparks a conversation about Gunne Sax jumpers that lasts several blocks!). Maybe it's my hyper-photographic memory, or the fact that I'm always chasing stories, but connected to every piece in my closet are 100 people -- that I talked to, passed by, sat near, stood at the crosswalk and had the fastest conversation with. I couldn't wash off their faces if I wanted to -- and I don't. 


  1. So true. Looking through my closet I am reminded of my early punk phase, my vintage, hippie, mod phase and everything in between. Clothing is definitely a lottle time capsule of who you were at that given time.

    I saw that purse at target!! It looks great on you.

    1. i love thinking of it that way -- like a time capsule. good call. : )

  2. I never thought about it that way, but you're exactly right! I imagine that's why I can't part with the shirt I wore on my first date with the hubs, even though it hasn't fit me in years.

  3. Oh, I adore this. And you! I have been so behind on blogs and haven't read or commented on yours in ages! I have missed it oh so much. I was saving yours for last in my blog reading because you always save the best for last :)

    I understand everything you said in this post. I connect so many memories with my clothes. Just everything they have gone through. I was just thinking about this recently. I have this one red cardigan. To most people it would be nothing special, just a cheap Target one. But I wore it when my sister got married, I wore it through multiple days of work, multiple adventures, to see friends, to my aunt's viewing after cancer took her last October. I wore it on a night when I fell so hard for a guy and even though that ended up breaking my heart, I have such beautiful sweet memories connected to that cardigan. I love that our wardrobes can do that for us and bring back the joy and sadness and all of it. sorry for rambling my heart out but sometimes I just can't help it.