Two Things Converged
My oldest friend Carolyn, after reading the first post, wrote this to me: Also, I’m wondering about an umbrella/core statement from you about your passion for this: how is it that this came to matter to you? I know you said you’re interested in colors, shapes, textures, but as a reader, I’d love to know more about how/why those things vividly engage you in the world and/or with others.
It’s a good question, which is most often the case with Carolyn. What instantly came to me were the words “My mother.” And nothing beyond that. Oddly enough, a couple of days later when my mom had a chance to go through the blog, she said that she must be a disappointment to me in a fashion sense. I told her to shut up. It’s rare that I say that to my mother, but I had to. As you can see from these photos, my mom is a stylish lady. I hope both my mother and Carolyn will forgive me for sharing their words without express permission and that my mom will particularly forgive me using pictures without asking.
Coming down the stairs in that suit, she is heading off to her honeymoon. In the second photo, with the halter dress and completely groovy purse, I think that was worn at some pre-wedding event. The horrendous color photo, snapped on my front porch railing with a shaky hand (I really want the ice cream truck to drive by), was taken down in North Carolina. I might be six or seven there. That’s me in the blue and white bathing suit. The other arrow points to my mother. That shift dress is totally great. So to my mother, I say this: “Mom, you have tremendous style. You know what you like, what you feel comfortable in. You pick great colors. You choose clothes that are age-appropriate and filled with vitality and sometimes whimsy. I can hardly think of a time when I’ve seen you in public when you didn’t look great.” Just like you see in these pictures. Only it’s different now because bodies , lifestyles and tastes change.
Yet fashion’s allure for me is more than just learning about style and class from my mother. She also taught me to sew. Her skills as a seamstress were fierce and one day I hope to be that good. One more tendril from my mother to my love of fashion. After this, it veers off and lands squarely back in me. I have struggled to find an answer to the question. What is it? It’s attainable. Even if you’re fat and even if you’re broke. It’s sensual. It’s an intellectual and frivolous pursuit in the same moment. It’s about finding your voice without screaming at everyone. It’s about delight and rejoicing in the color combinations, the textures. It’s a story told in bias, draping and wool. It’s collaborative. How the heck did this end up last? It’s beautiful. That’s the best thing. Like a painting, but it slides over your skin. But if you never think about it, it’s nothing. That life I cannot imagine.