When clothing makes the memory

I would be lying if I said I don’t love fashion and enjoy checking out the latest trends.  Thankfully, I do have the confidence to wear what I want and do not feel a slave to whatever the latest issue of Cosmo is sporting in its glossy pages.  Some styles are hideous and it pains me to see how many people will blindly follow for the sake of expected popularity or trendiness.

Clothing says a lot about who we are, about our personality, our favorite styles and colors.  It can express our desire to be comfortable at all costs, or our desire to look our best, be our tallest or for some, show the world more than what is considered decent.

For me, clothing is tied to memories.  Maybe that’s why in my sub-conscience, sometimes I want that perfect outfit for that special event; because I realize there will be memories tied to it.

Some of my earliest memories include black and white patent shoes and purses with delicate flowers and beading attached.  These accessories made me feel special and whimsical.  They were part of my “Sunday best”, so to speak.

I remember one particular outfit; it had been handed down to me by a cousin and I was overwhelmed with gratitude because it was the most wonderful two piece, matching, polyester pant set I had ever laid eyes on, much less worn.  The pants were red with bell bottoms and the top was red and covered with white hearts.  When I put this on, the world was mine and everyone noticed me.   I know, shocker, right?    The way people looked at me probably had as much to do with the confidence I exuded by twirling and prancing and flaunting myself around as it did the actual clothing.  I also remember a green dress with an apple on it, which made me feel especially smart at school.

Then there were the handmade, look alike dresses my mom would proudly adorn my sister and me in.  This bothered me because how in the world could I be the center of attention dressed in look-alike clothing?   (Note:  Prior blogs will reveal my failures in personality and character as a child)

Fondly, in some cases, I remember the clothing of others as well.  I say in some cases, because I remember cringing when we would be on vacation and my dad would don his swimming trunks and accompany us to the pool.  I know this was wrong, but I promised I would always be real and transparent here, so the truth wins!  My dad was and still is a very handsome man, but never ever wore shorts, so maybe it was just the oddness of it (although it could very well have had something to do with his pale little bird legs too).

I remember both of my grannies and even my great-grandmothers in their starched looking dresses, embroidered with small flowers and often with pleats.  My sis and I were both just remembering yesterday a yellow shift style dress my Granny Byrd wore often.  She looked pretty in it and when I think of her, I think of her in that dress.

Grandpa Byrd and Poppy Goff wore their work pants, either khaki or dark blue, both being fishing guides.  They both always sported a hat to keep the sun off.   Grandpa Byrd preferred a cap and Poppy always had a big straw hat, sometimes with the green sunshield across the top front.  I remember the smell of the straw and the salty sea water left on the green.

My mom had unruly hair, much like mine and I remember her scarves and kerchiefs she would wear, especially if we were on the boat, which was often.  In one of my favorite pictures of mother, she had on a floor length dress and her hair in the bouffant style, ready to go to a Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty concert in Miami.  I thought she far outshone any princess, movie star or fashion model I knew of.

I could go on and on about people and what they wear.  The things I remember about them somehow relates to the way they were attired.  So you see, clothes don’t make the person, but they do speak much about them presently as well as in our memories.

Mitch Teemley

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