Like a magpie, I am a scavenger of shiny things: fairy tales, dead languages, weird folk beliefs, fascinating religions, and more. (Author’s note)
…she was the one artists would want to draw…She was the one who would someday know a dozen ways to wear a silk scarf, how to read the sky for rain and coax feral animals near, how to purr throaty love songs in Portuguese and Basque, how to lay a vampire to rest, how to light a cigar, how to light a man’s imagination on fire. (p. 24)
It wasn’t a Gothic cemetery; there were no mossy angels weeping miraculous tears of blood, no crypts or curses or crumble. No poets or courtesans were buried here; no vampires slumbered belowground. … Even the dead loitering here spoke of dull things, like the one who worried she’d left the stove burning when she died. (p. 45)
(Goblin Fruit pp. 1 – 55)
Lips Touch: Three Times
by Laini Taylor
Toronto: Scholastic, 2009
My turquoise blouse has become a Smock of Shame…It tells me that I’m cheap, that I very possibly have no taste, that I’ve all but given up on being an attractive, reasonably well-dressed person. By this time next year I’m going to be in kitten sweatshirts. (p.33)
Welcome, Valued Customer
by Emily Chenoweth
Spent: Exposing Our Complicated Relationship With Shopping
edited by Kerry Cohen
Berkeley, CA: Seal, 2014
I hate clothes. No, this is not about me coming out as a nudist. I wear clothes. I just don’t like them. I’ve yet to find anything that is 100% comfortable or fun or that makes me feel pretty.
There is so much wrong about my wardrobe. Firstly, tags annoy me. I cut off all tags the minute I get new clothes home and then everything goes straight into the washer. I prefer v-necks to scoop necks but only one t-shirt in my closet is a v-neck. Right now, none of my pants fit. I’ve lost weight recently and I am in-between sizes plus I’m unemployed and have no money for new clothes. I’m pretty much wearing the same thing day after day because I see so few people. Plus, way too much of my wardrobe is black, bland and depressing.
I can’t remember the last time I experimented with colour. Okay I lie. Yes, I can remember. I was thirteen and in love with nail polish – greens, pinks, reds, violets, blues. I could afford nail polish. In High school, I tended not to wear colourful clothes because they got you noticed and I didn’t want to be noticed. Painting my fingernails was just enough colour for me. This phase didn’t last long. My nails were always bitten to the quick and the colour soon chipped off. I had better things to do (read) than to be constantly applying nail polish.
I hardly ever shop because I have no money and no taste and no desire. When I do shop, nothing ever fits. It’s a never-ending loop of frustration. I want to feel comfortable in my skin (comfortable not necessarily pretty) but I can’t even remember when I felt attractive.
That is, when I felt attractive for myself not when someone told me or showed me that they felt me to be attractive.
My ex loved for me to wear my white jeans and fluffy white sweater. I don’t wear white anymore. White clothes stain too easily and I always feel washed-out in white. This was his fantasy, not mine.
My youngest sister could never find the clothes she wanted so she sewed her own. Her mother, my step-mother, also sewed.
Then came home-ec and more modern sewing machines that wouldn’t let me control the speed. I made impractical outfits – baby doll pajamas, a stripped pantsuit and a cape. I only ever wore the pajamas and I’ll admit that I wore them for years. They were impractical because the year we sewed them we had to model what we made (something we only found out once our patterns were selected and begun).
I can still sew. I mostly do repairs by hand – I can fix a seam or sew a button back on. That is why I have a button jar and a small sewing kit.
I do covet certain items.
I would love to try on Susan Sarandon’s 1996 copper Oscar dress. I think I would look good in copper.
I wanted a pair of Candies for the longest time. As a teenager, I could not afford such impractical shoes and no one was ever going to buy them for me.
Plus, a dress from Betsey Johnson. She designs nothing in my size but I’ve always admired her fun, quirky style.
And a charm bracelet (or at the least, the type of life that the tiny, little charms represented). I wanted parents who would buy me a Sweet Sixteen charm or a book or Big Ben. I wanted parents who understood and believed in my dreams.
I don’t hate clothes. I just don’t get what they represent and I still don’t have a style of my own. I’m not sure I want to spend any more of my time on my clothes but I do want to feel comfortable in them.
Anybody interested in being my personal style guru. 😉
Today’s post inspired by:
Spent: Exposing Our Complicated Relationship With Shopping
Edited by Kerry Cohen
Berkeley, CA: Seal Press, 2014
Women in Clothes
Edited by Shelia Heti, Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton & 639 Others
N.Y., Blue Rider Press, 2014
Previous Solitary Spinster posts.
“Ownership is an entirely human construct.” (p. 26)
High Tide in Tucson: Essays From Now or Never
by Barbara Kingsolver
N.Y.: Harper Collins, 1995
“The end of the world does not impress cats.” (p. 271)
by Sheri S. Tepper
Toronto: Doubleday, 1991
You’ve seen this picture before, click on it to be taken to January’s post about the colour “Yellow.”
It is Easter Sunday today. I will go to church today. I will wear jeans and a sweater (probably).
I will not feel pretty.
Dressing up for Sunday service use to make me feel pretty.
I was a child in the 1960s when dressing your family all alike was a trend.
For an example, see the first picture of this post; my younger brother probably had a shirt made of the same material.
We were poor. We got new dresses two or three times a year, Easter, the first day of school and Christmas. They were not store bought dresses, they were home sewed. My mom would buy the pattern and materials and her friend would do the sewing.
I think the reason slips evolved and stuck as a necessity, even when someone’s already wearing so many layers that she doesn’t need them for modesty, is that traditionally, dresses were not washed very often. A slip (or, in previous centuries, a shift) could be washed and dried often and easily, and it would keep sweat off of the dress, so that it wouldn’t need to be more than brushed off after being worn. If you only got a new dress once every few years, it had to last!
Pretty. New dresses use to make me feel pretty.
Dressing up use to make me feel pretty.
Even though, I could wear the same dress (basically) nine years in a row. I was tiny and wore my sisters’ hand-me-downs. Thus, that yellow dress above was something I wore until all three dresses were worn out.
I don’t remember getting a choice of what kind of dresses I wanted to wear.
Still, getting dressed up for Sunday service use to make me feel pretty.
I would get up on Sunday morning, put on a dress, tights and black Mary Jane shoes. I would get to wear the necklaces my father’s parents bought me on special occasions (they would buy us necklaces for Christmas and on our birthdays). I wasn’t allowed to wear jewelry anywhere but church. I was a fiddler; necklace chains always broke on me and would get lost.
Still, in spite of all the fuss, I felt pretty.
Until I turned thirteen and noticed what everyone in my peer group was saying. They said that my dresses weren’t stylish and that I didn’t know how to dress.
They weren’t wrong.
I’m not a style guru. I’m not a trend setter. I’m a plain and tall woman with plain taste.
Now, I wear dresses maybe once every decade or so. The last dress I bought was black and makes me feel too tall because the hem falls between my knees and ankles – in the catalog the hem hovers right over the model’s shoe top.
I need a Fairy Goth Mother.
I need a stylist to teach me how to dress.
Or maybe, I just need to ignore everyone’s fashion advice and wear what makes me feel pretty.