As I stand in a coffee shop on 4th St. in the Village near New York University’s campus, I remember all the hours I spent here years ago studying, reading, catching up on my homework for my grad school classes. I see the students walking down the street immune to the demands of the freezing cold, snowy weather. Girls wearing bright blue hose, Chuck Taylors, long bright printed cotton skirts with a light blue coat and a rose colored felt hat. Since it is clearly the outfit of a student, a young girl, it all makes sense and as awful as it looks it possesses a charm. This morning she put on what she liked to wear regardless of the weather or for that matter, anybody’s opinion. It strikes me especially as I stand here in this coffee shop that feels more like an old institution housing a record of a significant chapter of my past life. My month of acquiring nothing “new”, no “newness,” no “new” expressions has made me remember how it felt to be that girl. More into myself than what a fashion dicatated, more into my choices than what anyone told me I had to be or needed to be or what I thought I should have, or could have, or would have. Having no new choices leaves me alone with my devices, curious, brilliant in their own way special only to me, confident because I love what I have seen and chosen. When I deal with only me, left alone with my own set of toys to play with, not accepting the choices of shoulda gotten this, woulda been this if I had it, and coulda had it if I had not bought this, I am finally dealing with a full deck of me.
Wearing what I already have, putting my imprint on it, my messiness when I cook and eat and drip, the wrinkles when I dont put clothes away and throw them on the chair to look as exhausted as I feel when I pick up their incidentally sculpted forms in the morning, the frayed hems and permanently stained cuffs. These are my things in life, the things that are extensions of the thoughts and actions in my head, the way I need to move, the tears that need to be soaked up in the wool sleeves, the stretched collar that permanently gives in when I laugh or pull too many times. That is what makes clothes the very most beautiful — those clothes are mine, or they were once my grandmothers coveted stacking rings that I will never forget on her long articulate fingers, or my fathers sweater that reminds me of his impeccable taste that reflect his character and make me proud to be a part of him. There are fingerprints on them and the finer the clothing or the object, the longer it can hold the shape and form of those who once embraced them. Greatness of style in clothing is epitomized for me no better than that.