Monday, July 7, 2008

Deep (Fashion) Thoughts

I wake up thinking about clothes. I go to sleep thinking about clothes. If you see me staring off into the middle distance? I’m likely putting together a look in my head or pondering something I saw another girl on the street wearing, wondering if it might work for me. And not just because it’s my job: for as long as I can remember I’ve been acutely fashion aware. According to my mother, I excused myself from the cake-cutting portion of my third birthday party so I could try on the pair of pink pants my grandmother had brought me as a gift. Though barely verbal, clothes had already captured my imagination.

I seem to come by this obsession genetically: my aforementioned grandmother made her own paper dolls as a child and wanted to be a fashion designer. (Times being what they were, she married young and never worked outside the home, channeling her design dreams into intricate, involved sewing projects.) Her spare bedroom is a shrine to her beloved wardrobe, to her favorite pieces from the past four decades: un-PC fur coats and print polyester maxi dresses, swingy Jackie O-era jackets, and the Joan Crawford-esque suit she wore on her honeymoon, all hung in closets or folded carefully in cedar chests and dresser drawers.

Like all fashion-obsessed folk, she appreciates that clothes are more than just fabric and seams: they’re opportunity for creative expression, tangible pieces of a personal history. 10, 20, 30 years from now, what will your outfit today make you remember about your life, about who you are at this moment?

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