It’s no secret that I love fashion and all it encompasses—clothing, accessories, purses, and shoes; I love it all. I live for expressing myself through dress, mixing tried and true favorites with the latest trends. Fashion, to me, is art. I nearly cried this morning when I realized a member of my trusted fashion arsenal had come down with a terminal illness and would not be with us much longer.
It’s always sad when your favorite anything begins to show its age. I shudder when my favorite wool sweater begins to pill uncontrollably or my favorite white tee starts to turn an embarrassing shade of yellow in the pits. My fear is that a replacement for this ‘perfect’ item will never be found and nothing can ever compare to the relationship this ideal article and I once had. Our glory days, as they are called, have ended.
While t-shirts and sweaters can easily be replaced by newer models with minimal impact, some wardrobe staples can prove to be truly irreplaceable. A pair of jeans, regardless of your size or body shape, is hard to find. Even we skinny girls struggle to find denim to accentuate our lack of curves and bony butts. This is why I snatch up a perfectly fitting pair without question, because I intuitively know I will regret my horrid decision if I do not. Oddly, some of my favorite and best-fitting jeans are the least expensive pairs I have snatched up at fine retailers like Target and Forever 21.
My most favorite and comfortable pair, purchased my junior year of college from one such store, is beginning to show its age from the excessive wear and love I have heaped upon it. If it was a college football player, it would be red shirted for the coming season and will hopefully return after some intense physical therapy. Deep down, like a veteran coach, I know things will never be the same. (Editors note: I am using sports analogies in reference to clothing. Help.)
I had the quintessential "oh sh*t" moment recently when the teeny little hole that had begun to wear in the knee of my beloved jeans became excessively larger courtesy of my big toe. And my clumsiness. Some people buy their clothing destroyed, but I seriously doubt there was any big toe destruction involved.
I liken a pair of jeans to the way we look at our grandparents or children—in our eyes, they will always be just as we imagine them from our fondest memories. We look past what the hands of time have done and see them just as we remembered—perfect and untouched. My beloved jeans are no different. I consciously choose to look past the ever-thinning knees, frayed seams, mangled hems, and see the denim beauties just as they were back in ‘03. They have always fit like a dream, with their dreamy cotton blend with just a kiss of stretch that somehow manages to make it look like I actually have a butt. They are perfect with a cute pair of ballet flats, my old gray New Balance sneakers or a sky-high heel. I have dressed them up, dressed them down and thrown them in the wash more times than I can count. The jeans and I have been through a lot.
Every article of clothing you own contains memories. Sometimes, I imagine myself touching an article of clothing and magically being whisked away to all the moments it remembers and the stories it has to tell. For every article I own, I always remember when I purchased it, whether I splurged on an, “I deserve this” piece or snatched up something truly fab on clearance. I can clearly recall every article of clothing worn during the defining moments of my life. I’ll always remember the beautiful blue backless dress I wore to prom, the old maroon t-shirt my husband was wearing when we met, the LBD that always looks good—they were there with me through the ups and downs of it all. These are the moments of your life, and clothing is always there to guide you through them. Think about it—how many times do you change before leaving for work each morning? And how many times do you look in your closet and whine, “I have nothing to wear!” And, of course, how many times do you call friends to ask them what they’re wearing to an event in the hopes that if you look like an idiot, at least you'll be in good company? As for me, the answers are: at least five, twice a week and more often than I’d like to admit.
Some people have a photographic memory. I have a fashion memory. I can tell you what I wore to just about any event in my life. I can even tell you who saw what outfit and when, in the hopes that I will avoid wearing it twice in a short span of time. I can even tell you what YOU were wearing to those same events and if you are wearing something new, I will probably notice that, too. I am not judging, I am just obsessively observant. There's a difference, right?
Some day, my jeans will become unwearable and I will have to permanently retire them from the starting lineup. That will be a sad day and I will have an incredibly hard time letting go, this I know for sure. Some other hot, young, fresh pair of jeans will step in to replace them and they will become yesterday’s news. They may leave me, but I will not forget the moments we shared. Saying goodbye is always so hard.