While no one by any stretch of imagination would consider me a fashionista, I do actually have a great interest in all the ways each of us have available to creatively express ourselves, and that absolutely includes how we adorn ourselves.
I also think it’s true what Epictetus declared: “Know, first, who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly.” There’s something satisfying about this for me, the possibility that our clothing/adornments get to reflect our internal selves externally. It, of course, can be complicated – it’s hard to deny the impact of social norms and personal finances and a myriad of other things. But I love the idea that I read about in some fantasy book ages ago about stashes of costumes hidden in caches in every forest. No one owned anything, including clothing, but they were free to borrow whatever they chose and everyone was delighted. How perfect is that?
My interest in textiles, especially those richly textured, has been with me for a long time. For years I’ve kept a journal in which I attach swatches of materials and fashion illustrations. It’s sort of the secret closet I don’t actually have, and it delights me no end.
My current musings about clothing were likely precipitated by two books I recently finished reading. First up, The Secret Lives of Dresses by Erin McKean. I was charmed by this one – the tale of a young woman who takes over her beloved grandmother’s vintage clothing store and falls in love with the dresses and their stories.
In keeping with my practice of awarding a rating based on floriography, the language of flowers, giving a hint at the plot as well as my appraisal, I would offer a bouquet of Ambrosia (love returned), Dogwood (durability), and White Periwinkle (pleasures of memory).
Fashion Forecasts by Yumi Sakugawa is another delight, filled with the strange illustrated musings of the author of what fashions might look like in the near future. It was originally produced as a limited-edition zine to accompany an art installation she did, and the book includes photos of the installation as well. I’m awarding this one a floriography rating of a vaseful of Saffron Crocus (mirth), Garden Ranunculus (rich in attractions), and Larch (audacity and boldness).
What’s your take on fashion? A fashionista? Someone with a clear style that reflects the inner you? Or perhaps a devotee of Gilda Radner who famously said: “I base most of my fashion taste on what doesn’t itch.” Do tell – you know I love to hear.