Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What We Wear

This morning clothes are on my mind. 

I just got back from a family visit in Seattle - my parents and brother and sister in law, and  their boys are all there.  My aunt flew in to join us. I have spent time today going through mail, and unpacking my suitcase.  As I put things away I was thinking about whether the choices I'd made before I went worked, what notes would be helpful on my packing list for the next trip.  I pulled on some old shorts and a comfortable shirt to start my chores and was conscious that I would never wear these things there.  In fact, I was acutely aware, the whole time away, that my clothes didn't really measure up.

I'm not accustomed to paying so much attention to what I wear.  I go for comfort, practicality, and color. I spend much of my time doing messy things - painting, playing with and caring for  little ones.  When I go out I may go through my wardrobe, choosing what feels fun - reminiscent of what I loved doing when I was seven and played dressup with an old box of my mother's and grandmother's castoffs.  The operative word is "feels" - I only have a couple of small mirrors in my house, so I don't really see what I look like.

But visiting my family is another story.  Part of the problem is that they have lots of BIG mirrors in their homes.  You can't help but catch sight of yourself.  My sister in law, Lori, is petite and beautiful, and has a style that is well suited to her active life.  My brother has a job that requires a very professional look.  My parents, both in their late 80's and looking much younger, always dress nicely;  my mother, in particular, pays considerable attention to her looks, and could easily model for the "woman of a certain age" in her tailored fashions.  So I find my haphazard method of dressing doesn't really feel comfortable there.  I become self conscious.

That makes me think about why we dress the way we do.  The basic needs are for protection and modesty.
And then there's style.  We say a lot through our clothes.  While I am not often a mindful dresser, I do love Project Runway for the creativity involved.  One of the pieces of mail I opened this morning is from the Metropolitan Museum announcing the opening of the show on Prada and Schiaparelli - which I'll go see.  There's the art of clothing design that intrigues me, and I'm fascinated by the motivation behind people's choices of apparel. 

So how has your style developed?  What messages do your clothes convey?  How much of your time is given over to what you wear - in shopping, making, dressing, caring for clothing?  I'd love to hear from you.

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