I think about clothes a lot. My clothes, clothes I want to make, other people's clothes. I don't think about fashion, and I know nothing about designers or Fashion Week or what's in style or what's not. I don't care about clothes that way; I care about clothes qua clothes: clothes their own selves. I know I talk about this a lot, and I know people have left us here because it's boring to them, but I can't see how that's possible: to be bored by something that's closer to you than anything but your own skin.
I get a little excited when I talk to people about clothes (which I hardly ever do In Real Life because that would be like pulling out photos of your twins' birth and passing them around during dessert), and it's difficult for me to figure out why other people don't share my fascination. It's not that I want everyone to look fabulous or to be stylish; I want people to wear clothes they love, to own only clothes that make them feel good in their bodies, clothes they care about. If they have to have specific Work Clothes, that's another matter; they can still have another set of clothes they adore. And it would be different for everyone. The EGE, for instance, likes clothes I've altered for him (I'm not nearly good enough to make men's clothing from scratch; the best I can do is dye it and appliqué it and make it colorful), stuff that was created for him and that nobody else has. I like to think he feels wrapped in a hug when he wears it.
I like clothes that I've dyed and embellished and then worn over and over and over again. Right now I've got on an orange henley top that I've had for so long I can't even remember when I got it. Twenty years ago? Thirty? I have no idea: I've had it--and the two others like it--for longer than I've had anything else. They've become threadbare in places, and I've mended them with bright floss with visible on-the-outside knots. They're nothing special and probably cost less than $10 back whenever I bought them, back when I bought new stuff. I have a skirt I made out of a pair of worn-out Levi's, and I've been wearing it and patching it for over ten years. It has layers of patches on top of layers of patches, and it's so heavy now it has a life of its own. I love it. And that's what I want for a wardrobe: a set of clothes that are all like that, worn and mended and dyed and embellished and then mended some more, getting richer and softer with age, becoming companions, friends, rather than something that will be worn for a year or six months and then thrown away. Creating this fantasy wardrobe would be a LOT easier if I didn't get obsessed with things, like the dress I made 52 times, or the army of Yoolies I made (and then, mostly, gave away), or the Jests or the Jumprons (I'm almost done with those; I have 16 I've made from the pattern I created and then four I made out of other garments). If I didn't get obsessed with creating a pattern and then tweaking the shape and then making it over and over and over, I'd have my Fantasy Wardrobe by now, a set of clothing that would last me the rest of my life, mended and added-on-to and embellished and getting richer year by year. I'm working on it, though.
This morning I posted two photos on Facebook. I'm playing dress-up, kind of: I'm trying to figure out what I want to take with me to Art Is You in Petaluma, California (tomorrow) and Stamford, Connecticut (in October), and so I'm trying on various things to see how I can mix and match stuff and have the most options with the least amount of schlepping. I would have been happy in the days of huge steamer trunks, when Ladies would pack their entire Spring Wardrobe and have it sent ahead of them. Then you have your Ladies' Maid dress you in the morning, and you're good to go.
Eh. Doesn't sound like fun, does it? Way more fun to hunt through drawers and closets and find stuff that goes together:
I've had those leather Birkenstocks forever. At least ten years, maybe longer. The socks are my favorites: they've knitted from the discards of cotton t-shirts, and they don't come in matching pairs. I got them at the International Quilt Festival in Houston last year, and last night I ordered some more, just so I'd have a variety. I love that they're colorful AND cotton, and that they were knitted out of stuff that would have gone into a landfill somewhere. If I could knit, I'd make myself (and The EGE--he has two pair in men's sizes) a ton of these, each one different so it was impossible to have matching pairs and possible, instead, to have the maximum number of colors on your feet at any one time.
That's what's fun for me: to collect/make/salvage things that I keep and wear for years and years. The hard part for me right now is avoiding adding TO what I already have: when I find a like-new white linen Flax skirt for $7, how can I pass it up? I mean, really. Will it become something I love, or will it not? Most women my age seem to know exactly what they like, what size they wear, what colors Look Good on them, what fabrics function best. They have a list of designers/companies from whom/which they buy over and over, and they've got it all figured out. I never have. All I know is that every now and then I put on a piece of clothing and feel like I've come home to a place that's comfortable and welcoming and just perfect in every way. So of course I keep looking for that.
Today I'm ironing a bunch of appliques onto the last (I think) Jumpron so I'll have it to stitch on the trip and while sitting in The Voodoo Lounge waiting for guests: Sallianne and Ellen give me a room for doing video interviews, and in the times between visitors, I stitch. It's quite lovely, and with my iPhone speaker for Pandora radio and my clip-on lamp for extra light, I'm good to go for hours and hours and hours. Wish you all could come join me!