I own a collection of clothing with provenance. Like many Baby Boomers, I believe the ‘60s and ‘70s were peak fashion years, and there’s no reason to fix what isn’t broken. I’ve just returned from a visit to my closet, and this is the report.
Category One: New Clothes. We Baby Boomers believe new clothing is politically incorrect. However, one must maintain a small stable of this attire for occasions like the graduations of people who might otherwise find our appearance mortifying. I have a new dress. I feel about it the way one feels about an irritating neighbor who’s always out watering the lawn. You wave, you smile, you quickly part company.
Category Two: “Found” Clothing. This includes a pair of ancient blue jeans, worn to the texture of satin. I saw them wadded up on the folding table at the laundromat as I sat over my Mu Shu Pork at Happy Noodle restaurant next door. Even from a distance I knew they were divine. I monitored them all through dinner, lingering over tea and fortune cookie, praying their owner wouldn’t return. I claimed them when I left.
Category Three: Vintage. These are my nostalgia pieces, notably a 1920s mink jacket from the flea market, perfect except for some bald patches. Its owner said her dog kept attacking it. For some reason, she decided to sell the jacket and keep the dog. Also, a century-old gauze blouse to wear at friends’ birthday parties, so that something in the room will be older than the celebrant.
Category Four: Donations. This includes a red satin blouse, a gift from a sympathetic friend after I was jilted one Valentine’s Day. Also, high-end items handed down from the mistress of a criminal. I never met her, but she wore my size. When her paramour went to prison for embezzlement, she fled back to Italy and gave her clothing to a mutual friend who passed them along to me. They include a white suede blouse, leather stirrup pants, and a flowing gauze skirt and matching vest with crystal buttons. I never wear them. The dry-cleaning costs would bankrupt me, but I take them out on an occasional Sunday morning and worship them.
That’s one of many advantages of being a Baby Boomer. Our clothing is our history. We wear it proudly. Even stolen blue jeans, dog-abused jackets, and fabulous garments with a shady past.
Rose Marsh lives in Cloverdale, CA. Read more at https://www.marshroseauthor.com.