a lifelong obsession

I love buying them, selling them, sharing them, making them, talking about them. I love helping people try new styles. I can recite what’s in this season (white, nautical, Factory Girl, lace) and next season (black tights, wide-leg pants, layers, vests). I think it’s hilarious that at any given moment, at least one person at church is probably wearing something that used to be mine. I have a folder of pictures consisting solely of the cool, very random outfits that my sisters and I have worn in public.
However, there are moments when I worry even myself. Like when I spend hours thinking about the perfect outfit for someone to wear for a skit, even raiding my own closet, and they don’t like it. “Real people don’t dress that way” or “I think it looks dumb” or whatever. It makes me mad, because I’m just dumb that way. But it also makes me sad, because these people don’t have the confidence to try something different. Not even around all their friends, who are going to give them nothing but encouragement! I was going to give them the benefit of the doubt, thinking that when I was fifteen I was probably the same way.
But I wasn’t. (Unfortunately, I’m sure.)
When I was twelve my birthday party was spending an afternoon with one friend and my sister, trying on dresses at what is still my favorite vintage store.
When I was fifteen my mom induldged my obsession with all things vintage and bought me a box of fifties housedresses at an auction. I wore them all the time, even when my father informed me I looked like a german hausfrau.
When I was sixteen I went through a stage where I wore plaid shirts and argyle socks all. the. time. (Yes, with skirts. We didn’t wear pants then.) A lot of people thought I looked like a dork. (I did.) But some people? Copied me.
When I was seventeen I was wearing my grandmother’s pale blue linen skirt and vintage sandals found at thrift stores.
When I was eighteen I was modifying the pattern of the “hoopdee” culottes we wore at camp, streamlining the yoke, eliminating the elastic waistband, trying to make the four yards of fabric look somehow less voluminous.
When I was nineteen I was modifying another, trimmer pattern, lengthening it, and convincing camp directors that it was just as modest.
When I was twenty-one I chose orange as my signature color, regardless of the fact that it makes me look like a dying cow, and wore it incessantly.
When I was twenty-two I spent weeks traveling around the country, wearing long, slit-less skirts and white shirts which I attempted to personalize by wearing extremly random accesories.
And I’m still at it, wearing patterned tights and knee-high boots and keeping track of the latest trends and good ideas. Because let’s face it: I love clothes. I love helping people look good, and I love it when they try new things.
But I do NOT love it when they wear woven shirts unbuttoned over a tshirt. It looks sloppy, and I won’t even let my husband do it any more.
Garg. I’ll stop with the mindless dribble now.


~ by wildeyedwonder on February 20, 2006.

2 Responses to “a lifelong obsession”

  1. HAHAH….when i was 14, i thought open, collard shirts over t-shirts was the most awesome thing ever.

    your post brings back so many memories. the not- so- good ones. *laugh*

  2. Hmmmm. . .i’m just remembering a couple of the outfits i’ve worn around y’all.
    i’d never have picked them out myself, but they were some of the greatest ensembles i’ve ever put on.
    taste is a wonderful thing.

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