My thoughts have been taken over with her idea that her handmade clothes can be "a line of defense at a vulnerable time."
I know this is true for myself. I made some socks long ago that have been worn, darned and partially reknitted. Yet there is something about the color and the fit that always make be feel protected from the ground up when I wear them.
When my bother was in the hospital, I dressed one morning knowing I had a hard day ahead. Looking through my clothes, I felt I had to wear the skirt I had recently designed and made, even though it wasan impractical choice. Sometimes during those weeks, I felt my personal boundaries with the world were dissolving into a terrible, alien reality and I hoped that this piece of fabric I had cut and reassembled would be a second skin to hold me together. I sensed that a piece of clothing I had envisioned and then formed with my own hands would remind me who I was when I had to hold on tight to that solid person deep inside.
It happened that I walked out of the hospital very late that night into an altered world: I had one brother less and was surrounded by heartbreak. And yet, I also had a sense of wonder that I could still walk, push an elevator button, turn a key in a lock. I was intact and that seemed unbelievable.
Last fall when I unpacked my winter clothes a lot of them seemed to have been stained by sadness so I got rid of them. More recently, I threw away all the unfinshed sewing and knitting projects I had been working on at the time of his accident. And yet, strangely, that skirt I wore as I watched him die still stays in my closet. I got me through one of the hardest days of my life in it and I still feel strong wearing it. I even feel happy. If I had to go on a date (horrors), I might wear it as a swishy piece of armor.
I guess this is why I like sewing blogs so much. The wardrobes I see are so fiercely personal. We all struggle intensely to make clothes to accommodate our bodies. But much of our "fit issues" revolve around creating a second skin that fits our personality, our emotions, where we are right here and now and where we want to be. Sometimes our shape changes and we need something that fits better, sometimes we change and the old clothes just don't "feel right" anymore.
Most often, though, I think we want to dress for that unchanged person we have always been, the person who wants to escape from the ready-to-wear fashions from stores.
We go into some days knowing we need those clothes that can help us through our little battles and celebrations. And often, it is the handmade items that we dream up, make, reach for, and wear that create our daily armor.
Fashion magazines always have the same articles: what to wear to drinks after work, what to wear to your job interview, what to wear on the red carpet. But really, does that ever happen? (And how hard is it to put on jeans and go to the local bar or to wear my only suit to an interview?) Then these same magazines show pictures of clothes that I would be terrified to wear, with shoes I could only hope to hobble around in.
What I really want to know is: what do you wear to feel like yourself?
And no fashion magazine touches that.