Inevitably, the conversation turns to that life-changing moment in every fashion piece’s existence when they will be plucked from the shelves, purchased at the counter, and taken to a new home, their own home, to live happily ever after.
The mood softens, the voices fill with longing, and somewhere from the back corner of the store a whisper thin silk shirt in an impossible size waits on the final clearance rack and croons a torch song in a high clear voice, while the silk cocktail dress, recently arrived, sways dreamily on its hanger. The pencil skirts describe their dream closets, while the pumps talk about the ones that walked away.
Like newly engaged couples, the clothes dream of a future that only exists, for 99% of them, in their fevered, lovesick imaginations; padded hangers, fashionable friends, svelte bodies, fancy restaurants, society pages, and Broadway shows.
The entitled 1% will indeed enjoy an existence of luxury and ease in their well maintained and spacious closets and will only be worn several times before being lovingly consigned to, filmed and fawned over by, the southern belles of Resale Royalty. They will move on, after a retail refresh, to a second, and possibly more fulfilling, relationship with a young starlet obsessed with vintage.
Oh, of course, most of them are born into this privileged existence; the Birkens, the Coaches and the Lily Pulitzers, for starters. And let’s not get started on the World of Ralph Lauren. Every once in awhile, however, an upstart from humble beginnings, an Alex and Ani bracelet, for instance, or a Tom’s shoe, shows up on the red carpet or a coveted foot, starts a new trend, and all of a sudden finds itself living large and taking names. These success stories are the stuff of dreams for the “off the rack” fashion lines.
“But what about the remaining 99%?”, you ask. “What about them?”
Well, my Darlings, after an auspicious and hopeful beginning, they will, of course, be brought to terms with reality.
The most unlucky will pick an owner (typically based on body type), consummate their relationship in the dressing room, legitimize it at check-out, and travel to their new home with high expectations. Upon arrival, they will be disappointed by a messy abode, a minuscule closet, and the negligence that accompanies over consumption. They’ll notice signs of neglect; a missing button here, a dropped hem there, stains of every sort, and the smelly evidence of infrequent dry cleaning. At night, they’ll cry softly for the sale rack they left behind. It was crowded, sure, but at least they were hung up and not thrown over a stationary bicycle with 25 other sweaty, misused garments. The energy will be stilted and the air suffocating, as all the Clotheszillas come to terms with a future not filled with parties and lilting laughter, as expected, but debt collection calls, jello shot vomit stains, and yard sales.
The average experience is sure to be something more heartening, one must hope. A cute dress is found by an average woman who chooses it among all the others on the rack and purchases it with hard earned cash. She will take it home, to a regular sized closet, and a small but carefully selected wardrobe. It’s a hard life, sure, being worn once, sometimes twice a week. A dress slows down more quickly, shows some wear and tear, but at least it can count on being cleaned regularly, hung up nightly, and repaired as needed. It will develop affection, over time, for the woman, who will likewise come to rely on it when she doesn’t know what else to wear. It will have space in the closet to spread its wings and it will become close friends with the accessories it is paired with on a rotating basis. This dress will learn to accommodate and forgive the occasional stretch required of early or post pregnancy weight, date night at Texas Road House, and middle-age spread. When it grows old and beyond repair, it will be recycled in a respectful manner, and find new life.
These clotheszillas are the lucky ones. They get to fully live.
|And then, of course, there’s eccentric fashion|