Do you remember your old clothes? At times I look up and begin to wonder, “What ever happened to that red dress that I wore to a party when I was a young girl? It was a long sleeve red knit with white dickie.” My mother bought it for me from Macy’s Department Store where she worked; I wore it on my first date. She was always bringing me the latest fashions which she got at an employee discount; that is until I was a young adult, working and able to buy my own clothes. I remember buying a beautiful chiffon, yellow striped shirtwaist. At the time I wore size 10. I got to wear it once before it became too small or did I gain weight? Still I held on to it for the longest time, hoping one day I’d be able to fit into it again. After a few years, reality set in; I gave it to my local thrift shop. What ever happened to the dress I wore at my wedding? It was beige with brown trim. Being impulsive and a romantic, I had convinced my boyfriend to elope to get away from his domineering mother. We’ve since divorced. And what did I do with those platform shoes that were fashionable years ago and have recently come back into fashion?
You’re wondering what brought about my reminiscing about clothes? For some of us, clothes, shoes, hats, what we wear hold not only significant memories, but also a bit of cultural history. Long after the item is gone, probably completely disintegrated, forgotten, something will trigger the image in our minds. A dress gone out of fashion years later will suddenly be in vogue. But the memory of the times and situations when we wore certain items remain embedded and can evoke happy or sad memories. Few of my clothes carry any meaningful memories like my mother’s mouton. I don’t have the mini skirts or Dashikis I wore back in the day. Though sometimes I wish I did especially when someone throws a “good old days party.” Styles continually evolve forcing fashionistas to run to keep up. Some people shop often, buying new things and tossing out the not-so-new without a backward glance. I don’t imagine they attach any important significance to their clothes. However, for those of us who seldom shop, once in a while, somewhere in those items we’ve tossed is a memory that lies dormant and when we least expect it, it will reappear and demand some sort of response, a laugh, a smile, or perhaps, a tear.