Saturday, 27 October 2012

I Wish for Clothing with Meaning

I have never been very interested in wearing 'pretty' clothes. Even as a child, I felt a need to express something (not sure what) with the way I dressed. At a very young age I was wearing my father's hats. In high school I would wear his business shirts over my t-shirt. I didn't wear what everyone else was wearing. I would paint a flower on my face, and ridiculously hope that no one would say anything. I wasn't doing it for attention, not even positive attention, I felt a need to.

Some of you know that I have been doing some refashioning over the past year. I am a big fan of Ricë and her blog - she is a great inspiration to me. She has written in the past about 'soul clothing' (my apologies Ricë, if that isn't the correct expression).

I am not any kind of fashionista, I have always felt most comfortable dressed down. I am not motivated to 'always looking my best'. But there is this need to have clothes that have meaning, even though I am not sure what that means.

In quest of that I have been refashioning. I am not much of a seamstress, I don't like working from patterns, but I find that the chop and try it out method is pretty fun. I haven't come up with a lot of stuff that I am feel satisfied with. I have made quite a few things that I have not been comfortable with wearing.
Here is a good example. I dyed the t-shirt, re did the neckline, and tried out a technique called under-collage. It was all fairly successful. But maybe it is too cute for me? I never want to wear it.

Here is a refashion that is more successful, but not 'there' yet. It was looking way too crafty until I added the square patches. (If you want to see the steps I went through go here.) It helps that it is a jean jacket, I love jeans.

The painted flowers are only decorative. The cabbage roses are cut from the first bedsheets my DH and I shared so that has meaning. But to be honest, I am not very sentimental so it doesn't hold the 'charge' I am looking for.

The reason that I ended up loving this jacket is in the photo below. It is the writing. It was a message I had written into my art journal that has deep meaning for me.
I am finding that unraveling what clothing with meaning is for me is like making art. You try this, you try that. There are a lot of failures. 


Alison Mackay said...

your jean jacket is gorgeous! I think its great to dress in a very individual way, and luckily quite acceptable in the area in which we live!

Ricë said...

I think we are absolutely on the same path. I do. I sometimes I hope I have an entire wardrobe that is Just Right, that is exactly what I'm going for. And then, other times? I hope I never get there, because then I would be lost. It is, indeed, the journey.

Pull Your Socks Up! said...

I love this post. The cute pic of you as a kid wearing your dad's hat speaks volumes about how you feel about clothes with meaning. Even though you won't wear that sweet t-shirt, give yourself a pat on the back for mastering some new skills that you can use to make something that you do love:). The jacket is just hands-down amazing and I love the rectangular patches and your beautiful words, contrasting with the pretty flowers. xo

Jeanie Thorn said...

I know exactly what you mean about “clothes with meaning”. I also know that when I try to give something meaning it usually comes out like I forced I tried too hard.

I think things with meaning happen over time. My favorite clothes are the ones I’ve had for years where I replaced a missing button with something that didn’t match or I mended because there really was a hole that needed to be patched. They grow funkier and seem to take on a life of their own. I guess it’s like an old building with warped wood floors and peeling paint and a new building that they try to make look old…somehow it never seems to work.

I think my favorite project of yours is when you mended that sweater that had all the little holes (I can’t find the post). I just loved that….that sweater was cool because when it was done I could see and feel your energy…you gave it new life.

Zom said...

Rice, I don't think I will ever get there, because I have found that clothes that were 'just right' can become 'not quite right' at a later date. Like they say, a journey not a destination.

Hi Socks Up *waving*. thanks for dropping by!

Jeanie, I think you are right. The best meaningful clothes happen over time, like something worn with love. But I am going to keep trying, because it is fun :)

Caterina Giglio said...

what a timely post ... I have been giving this a lot of thought. ... and I think that meaningful clothing changes for us as we change inwardly... and we subconsciously want our clothes to reflect that change, and do not feel comfortable when the clothes do not match up with how we feel... .if that makes any sense... and I do like your quote, and I thought I might like a jacket covered with quotes I love...

Sharon Robb-Chism said...

Our tastes in clothing evolve, just like everything else in our lives. I look back at some of the things I thought were just the coolest, and now either cringe or laugh.

I, too, used to wear my dad's clothing. A hat, a yellow V-necked sweater, and a jacket. I think because I was sort of a loaner, the clothing was a way for me to authenticate myself as an individual. I wanted to be noticed, and accepted. Sometimes that worked, sometimes it backfired. It never stopped me from experimenting.

I still love creating my own style, which mostly these days involves jeans and T-shirts, and a lot of jackets. And jewelry.

Rice has been the most recent influence. I love her enthusiasm, and the wild colors she uses. Her posts about the Alabama Chanin clothing were hugely inspirational. I couldn't wait to try those techniques.

We all have our own style, even if it's done subconsciously. There are reasons why we pick certain colors and types of clothing and avoid others like the plague.

So yeah, our clothes have meaning, if the meaning isn't obvious to anyone else. :=)

Sharon Robb-Chism said...

Ack...make that... "even" if the meaning isn't obvious...