Beyond Babedom

We're (way) over 40. Deal with it.

Love, Loss . . . and What I Wore

There’s an off-Broadway play that examines how relationships and events in our lives are sometimes inextricably attached to memories of what we were wearing at the time. And it got me to thinking, not only about how clothes have an emotional life of their own, but how songs and even smells do as well. For example, you ever been transported back to your high school years – with all the angst and passion and fear and freedom you felt back then – simply by walking down a school corridor?¬† Or hearing classical music and feeling the warmth of security of being a kid, watching cartoons?

Whenever I hear “My Cherie Amour” I can feel the swoon I felt over Michael Polk, who for some reason I associated with that song. I still get a little angry at my sister when I think about that dark pink, ribbed top that looked so great on me until she lent it to her friend. . . in 1971. And when I look at the black cocktail dress with the plunging back and sheer sleeves I bought at Saks Fifth Avenue back in 1977 (on sale, for $70), I can’t help but remember how svelte and sophisticated I felt every time I wore it. And, no, it doesn’t fit, but I’m holding on to it, just in case.

And what about the “Beatle” hat – a kind of funky, kind of nerdy leather cap (like the one John Lennon sported for a while) that I wore to school every day, even though the high school kids made fun of me? Yes, I wore it because they made fun of me and I refused to let them intimidate me. And, yes, I still wear a similar one now, just in case you were wondering.

Do clothes and smells and songs have memories of their own? Or is it just something that we create to help us remember the good (and sometimes the bad) times? When I think about the off-white top with the off-center vertical wide blue stripes that I was wearing the one time I was supposed to go camping¬† – and didn’t – I still feel the same disappointment. And I know that the pink, gauzy dress that I’m wearing in the family photo really had multicolored embroidered flowers, not the rose colored ones that were erroneously painted in by the photographer, and it makes me a little angry.

Maybe memories are why we don’t like certain foods and love others. Maybe. But my happy memories didn’t stop me from gagging on those wax “soda bottle” candies.

Some things do change.

This entry was posted on Saturday, October 17th, 2009 at 4:15 PM and is filed under Fashion, Just Fun, Relationships. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  1. Tony says:

    Michael Polk – hmm – he was a friend of mine as well, cast mates too in Pippin and others… It felt really strange to be around him, because we shared many similar likes and characteristics…. He could almost be my brother. Anyway.. I really like clothes and styles… yes, these days I would be characterized as MetroSexual… stoooopid term is that. When I think of the outfits that I wore, they always conjure up the clubs and discos that I wore them to. There were some really outrageous things when I think of it now. Like the bright yellow tight rayon Sassoon jeans with matching yellow short sleeve rayon “bowling shirt” so popular in 1979. Or the “cowboy” inspired outfits that were momentarily fashionable in 1980.
    Sassoon, Vanderbilt, Pierre Cardin, Yves St.Laurent – all names that were available at your local Macys or A&S. Had to have that stuff.

    Going back further; how the hell did I think I wasn’t going to be looked at strangely when I wore Platform shoes, and a long dark red velvety maxi coat to one of my “away” games in upstate Cornwall, NY – Maxicoat and Platforms in Cornwall? No Effin’ way!! But I was the star of the all-white team, no one was going to begrudge me on this. But I do remember being on that bus and playing Average White Bands’s “Pick Up The Pieces” on my new portable 8-track player… and one of my teammates scream out from somewhere in the front of the bus “TURN THAT SHIT OFF”. I was shocked – they all knew that I was also in a popular area Funk Band (Ecstasy) – I felt betrayed… and was immediately reminded that I was different.

  2. Sherryll says:

    Ah, my first pair of Z Cavarichi’s… I KNEW they looked good. My all time favorite heels purchased at Stern’s…. An outfit I wore the first day of school, senior year, purchased at Orbachs. (Yes, I am definetly over 40 LOL)
    I can associate shoes and outfits with events like they were yesterday and some of them were just everyday events but never really thought about it until I read your blog. Funny.

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