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83. Do you remember the first time you were conscious of what you were wearing? Can you describe this moment and what it was about?
My mom sewed the dresses that stick out in my memory. She is a artist/bohemian type and has a great appreciation for vintage clothing, history, and old things. For my third birthday I had a simple creme-colored bib dress with pearlescent buttons decorating the entire bib part. My father is an antique dealer and bought me my first vintage dress. It was the sweetest 1930s deep red silk with a white collar and hand-sewn smocking on the bib. It was a lot like Little Orphan Annie's dress. I remember when he gave it to me I felt like the most special and unique girl in the world. The first pair of shoes I remember owning were oxblood leather t-strap mary janes with a perforated decoration on the toe caps. I remember choosing them and trying them on; the richness of the leather, the smell, the beautiful european handmade quality. They felt like little treasure boxes to slip my tiny toes in. My parents did not have a lot of money but they still managed to buy good quality clothing. They would get most of my clothes from the French company Pettite Bateau outlet store. I had fewer clothes but the quality made them last longer. They even felt better. Quality handmade or well-designed clothes fit the body better. The europeans definitely know how to do it right. There is also something to be said about companies that have been around for awhile. I have recently switched from cheap underwear that I find at Marshalls to hanes hi-cut briefs (basic fine black cotton knit with amazingly seamless but durable elastic) and it just feels right. Even though they were sewn in the east the patterns and cut seem to float on my body so I don't have to think about what is going on with my underwear.
Wonderwoman underoos, 1979. I was three years old. I wanted them very badly because I believed if I wore them I would be Wonderwoman. My parents gave them too me on my birthday and I put them on right away, not understanding they were underclothes. I wore them with red rain boots and felt very powerful.
A shopping trip aged 7 with my new stepmother to the Army & Navy Stores. I chose a nylon shift, roll neck, swirling paisley-pattern, sleeveless – quintessential sixties, it made me feel rock 'n' roll special. I still love paisley.
Frilly knickers when I was three or four. The rows and rows of lacy frills went along the bum, but I put them on backwards so I could lift my dress up and look at them. I was caught doing this at a family holiday dinner. There was much guffawing so I ran away, threw myself on a bed and cried.
I’m not sure if this was the first time I was conscious of what I was wearing, but it was definitely the time I was most conscious of what I was wearing. When I was fourteen, I was developing what could be considered my own style. As I didn’t have much money, I used to make my own clothes. At this age I had made a pair of trousers from pieces of fabric that had two prints: one had a cow print, the other was green and dotted with daisies. I used the cow for the upper half of the trousers and the daisies for the flares. When I first wore these pants, it was the first time ever that this guy I had fancied for quite some time seemed to notice me. He told me how cool it was that I had the guts to wear this. It occurred to me that what I wore had an immediate effect on how people saw me and that it allowed me to express myself without saying anything. I wasn’t exactly cool or pretty, so this was a break-through moment. Despite the coolness of these pants, I can't remember if I wore them after that. I don't believe I did.
No, but because my father was camera happy, I can see myself plastered onto their living room wall, wearing a sky blue dress with fluffy sleeves and little red buttons, cotton deeply into a piece of birthday cake, probably at the age of 3.
It would have to be around my sophomore year of high school, which was also around the time I had begun thrifting my clothes for the new school year. My mother had given me a choice: we could go to the mall and I could get a couple new things, or we could go to the resale shop and I could leave with a whole bag of stuff.
Getting a garbage bag full of second-hand clothes for $50 made me realize that I could create my own style, and the odds of someone else wearing the same thing as me was slim to none.
This was an amazing discovery.
On Hat Day, in second grade, I wore an Anne of Green Gables straw hat with braided red yarn pigtails attached. A girl snidely told me, “That’s not a hat.” That was the first time I remember being aware that there were rules about clothing. There were hats and then there were costumes. I wanted to wear costumes.
The very first time was in kindergarten or maybe grade one when I was wearing blue overalls and a red and white striped shirt. I had short hair (which I love to this day) and I went into the girl's change room at the pool at school. The older girls looked at me and said 'are you a boy or a girl?'. I don't know how I felt at the time, but I loved my clothes and hair so it didn't matter to me. It was probably the moment I realized how you dress can influence people's perception of you in many ways.
Yes, when I wore a generation x t-shirt to school and everyone thought an adult must have purchased it for me, but actually I purchased it myself.
One of my earliest memories is waking up on my third birthday, and the first thing I noticed is that one of the pompoms on my socks had fallen off. I doubt I felt anything more than, “Huh. I don't know when that happened,” because it was my birthday and I had CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE-ing to do. As is a 3 year old's wont.
I feel like I've always been conscious of what I am wearing. Even my earliest memories as a 4- or 5- or 6-year old revolve around clothes in some way. I can vividly remember my favorite green overalls and purple flowered swimsuit in preschool or kindergarten. I have a vague recollection looking in the mirror as a child while wearing one of my favorite outfits and thinking, "I look so cute in this!" and feeling proud. Is that weird for a tiny girl?
Clothes are like my memory signposts. When I see myself in an old photograph, that's often what triggers the larger memory for me -- the outfit, not the scene.
One of my earliest and fondest clothing-related memories is from when I was maybe 6, and my sister, who was 8, either found a jellyfish in her shoe or was irrationally terrified of finding a jellyfish in her shoe. We were living in Hawaii at the time, so it wasn't entirely irrational, I guess. My mom sat us down and had us write and illustrate little books about finding jellyfish in our shoes to work through her anxieties. Sort of a "what's the worst thing that could happen?" exercise, but cuter. I think they were titled, "What Would You Do If You Found a Jellyfish In Your Shoe?" I'm not sure where the story went from there.
I was wearing a red bathing suit, age 2 or 3, and my mother suggested that I suck my tummy in.
Yes, it was in fifth grade. Growing up, my mother would always dress me in my brother’s hand-me-downs and cut my blond hair into a bowl cut. I finally grew sick of it – I threw a tantrum when I wasn’t allowed to wear a dress on my birthday and I demanded that I get to grow my hair out. Of course, it was right after my mother relented that I got lice...
I remember screaming “Heart Shirt and Green Pants!” If I didn’t have my outfit, my turtle neck with a heart print and mint green sweat pants, I threw a tantrum. Because how did my parents expect me to be me without them? It’s as if I was a cartoon character, defined by one outfit. I wish I could say that I’ve grown and changed my relationship with clothes, but I still rotate familiar outfits. It’s safer, guaranteed comfort, and no one notices—except for my mother. She’ll smile and say, “Nice heart shirt and green pants.”
light brown corduroy bell bottoms - i just loved them and loved them until they fell apart. They looked like a pair my father had. I think I was 6.
I remember my saltwater sandals, and loving them.
I think I was 4 years old. My mum had bought me shiny black shoes and I wanted to wear them the day after, to go to school. She said I shouldn’t wear patent leather shoes to school and I asked « Why do we have nice shoes if we can’t wear them when we feel like it ? »
I was 6. It was at my ballet recital and I remember having a yellow costume when all I really really wanted was the pink one (there were pink, yellow, green and purple costumes). I have the photos to prove it.