What is your clothing memory?

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about ideas related to clothing – clothing as a costume, clothing as a disguise, clothing as a way to express identity, clothing as a uniform, clothing as a way to mark a milestone, and of course, clothing in relation to storytelling. I know so many people who have assigned vivid memories to one item of clothing…how it made them feel, what happened when they were wearing it, how the garment transformed them….

I inadvertently started a conversation thread when I threw these thoughts onto my Facebook wall last week, and I was greeted with stories of longing, sophistication, celebration, and horror.

Jordan: We’d always get new shoes once a year. One year we, my brothers and i, got cowboy boots and we became tough. Kicking dirt and swearing. Another year we got new running shoes and we would run everywhere thinking we were faster just for having them.

Kat: Once when I was a scruffy teen I tried on a lavender grad dress that was so femme-y and grown-up that I felt physically dizzy when I looked at myself. The style was so far from my usual way of presenting myself that it gave me the spins.

Dan: I always wanted a bone dry jacket a cotton jacket treated with wax,they were never washed and took on a great patina with age. When I visited Japan rainwear in the form of capes, umbrellas, and even simple shelters were paper and treated with wax, these were well used by farmers and fisher-people.

Kim: When I was five my father brought me back a brocade jacket and dress outfit from New York. It had mink buttons. I felt grown up and elegant when I wore it. I would serve drinks on trays at my parents cocktail parties in that outfit. It may explain my penchant for party drinks and frocks.

Do you have a strong memory attached to a piece of clothing? I’d love for you to share it with me. Tell me about it in the comments below or at info (at) leanneprain (DOT) com. A word of warning: I may quote you in my next project.


  1. Susan September 5, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    I love this! I immediately remembered a floor length skirt I had in high school. It was made of patchwork fabric, sort of neo-hippy because there were definitely some late 80s florescent prints in there! I felt funky and beautiful and different in it. I wore it with everything from a Body Shop t-shirt to a black blouse and my Doc Martin 10-holes.

  2. Mommy Lisa September 6, 2013 at 7:00 am

    SO MANY- the CUTE Owl Dress in purple when I was in Kindergarten. My 3rd grade PINK Sweat Suit, bell legs – ss hoodie top! My FAVORITE pants in Sr. High white and blue vertical stripe crop pants – so suburban punk! My purple flowered mini dress, and the BLACK JUMPSUIT *off the shoulder* in college! My Talking Heads sized Blue Blazer – the green suede pumps with zipper trim, the PINK suede flats with black bows. The vest I wore as a top one summer when I worked at a Country Station. My patchwork suede skirt I got for $6! My cashmere wrap that I got on clearance for $5 at Banana Republic! OHHHH, my black cashmere sweatpants…mmmmm. And my lacy crocheted skirt I still love today! And the two tops I seek everywhere since I wore the originals out. A black jersey peasant top with crocheted trim and a funky rayon ss top with an empire waist in velvet. Sigh.