Sunday, June 11, 2006

Carnivale: Ritual Fashion

The Sewing Divas ask this week the thoughtful question:
Each of us has memories, sometimes tender, sometimes not, of particular garments or accessories that evoke strong feelings and attachments. So this weeks Carnivale of the Couture topic is “Ritual Cloth” - tell us about your special item, the story behind it and why it transcends mere fashion for you.
Oh, what a provocative, rant-inducing topic! There's so much (so much!) I could talk about, but I would, no doubt, try the patience of my gentle readers. So instead, let me focus on just one precious item.

The year was 1994. First summer job, between sophomore and junior years in college, as a receptionist in a seaside resort, working for the man long summer days and occasionally nights, forsaking my right to go to the beach. I was poor, so poor that I had to fashion my d'Orsays with oversized clam shells strapped on a bed of woven straw with wild beach weeds. (Ok, so maybe the simile is not as crafty as our own Manolo's "so poor that..." series, but at least I gave it a try).

I was surrounded by shady seasonals, sun-drenched fun-loving tourists, a square-jawed yelling boss and his wife, who looked like a shorter, 300-lb version of Elvira, Queen of Darkness. I subsisted on a bag of chips and a (small) bottle of Coke during the day, went out late, late at night with other various more or less shady summer characters, lived a carefree, unstructured life in a tiny, tiny hotel room, so tiny that the rats and I had to take turns to reach the popcorn bag. (Ha, I kid, there were no rats, but if there were, they would still be crammed in there). Which was all good for my sillhouette, as I was at my all time lowest, model-worthy weight! Oh, happy, happy starving days!

But anyway, at the end of the summer, I made away with my loot and a stash of new clothes now lost for posterity (I confess I didn't have such good taste at 20), a couple of new lovers under my belt (in fact, I ended up marrying one of them much, much later), and enough of a taste of the seedy nightlife not to be very tempted by it after that. It was the first large amount of money I had earned, and was dying to spend it on fashion! Luckily, not all my purchases were misguided choices of threads. One has endured till today: a gold ring with tiny itsy bitsy diamonds, in a somewhat more unusual shape: Upon closer inspection you will notice "scars" of battle on the surface of the ring, which come from heavy, extended wear. I liked this ring so much, I wore it every day, for basically years on end. It's not that it's such a fabulous piece of jewelry, but it was earned with my sweat and tears, the first taste of my independence as a woman. And nothing feels that good, you know.

There are many other pieces in my collection that have sentimental value, that mean something for various reasons, but this is a permanent reminder, in gold, nonetheless, of my working-class roots. I don't wear the ring that obsessively these days now, since my collection expanded with my tastes, but when I do, I always wear it fondly and get a bit, just a little bit, sentimental.

9 Comments:

At 7:57 PM, Blogger Gorgeous Things said...

What a lovely ring. And a lovely story. Keep wearing it in good health!

 
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At 5:57 PM, Anonymous emy said...

cool post

 
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