two random memories about clothes that land on your day and have nothing to do with anything and that suits you just fine

 

1. 

It’s nineteen seventy something and you’re at the Hadassah Bazaar in Toronto, in the days when such places had no crowds so that you could go on a whim, casually waltz in and wander about. When the perfect white shirt cost ten cents, a shirt you would wear for years until it actually fell so badly apart it could no longer be repaired. A shirt with exactly the right length sleeves (cuffed but not quite to the wrist) and the right blousony looseness (not overly, just right), the kind of magical fabric (cotton) that allows you to tuck or not tuck (you prefer the not-tuck) and that understands how you walk and sit and stand and never has to be adjusted. The kind of shirt you are still thinking and writing about all these decades later because it was the first piece of clothing that when you put it on you were yourself. The kind of shirt that reminds you what clothes are for.

2.

This is the nineties now, in a large department store, the sort of place where you have to take seventeen escalators to buy a pair of socks, during which travels you pass floors of many purposes and in seasonal colours. You would never be in such a store (see above) except to accompany a friend’s mother, a woman more than twice your age who dresses mostly in mauve linen pants and matching blouses and matching jewellery and sometimes prim dresses that end somewhere between her knees and ankles, who wears pumps and stockings even in summer and can most of the time hardly think of a single thing to add to a conversation, who hardly speaks at all in fact except to ask vaguely polite questions, whose entire claim to fame has been a snack she makes out of pretzel sticks and seasoned mini shredded wheat and who, as the two of you pass the fancy part of women’s wear, looks at the sparkling display and says If I could do it all over again, I’d buy a sequined dress.

高雄大立精品百貨_Talee_Department_Store_-_panoramio

Image courtesy of WikiCommons.

 
 

7 thoughts on “two random memories about clothes that land on your day and have nothing to do with anything and that suits you just fine

  1. “the past falls open anywhere” — one of my favourite quotes. Thanks to Michael Donaghy.
    I admire how you’re always ready to tumble into the past too!
    I love the slippery photo.

Leave a Reply to Deedee Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s