Notes on well-worn clothing. **I am working on a series of short essays about fashion and clothing, which will eventually be compiled into one larger work. This essay is a part of that oeuvre which will deal with art, clothing, cars, architecture and art.** Please feel free to give feedback on this line of discussion and essay.**
I have been reflecting a lot on my favorite clothes and why. A pattern began to emerge, where my most aesthetic pieces and the ones I felt the most confident and authentic wearing were items that have been well worn. Not worn-out or tattered or ragged. But a sort of custom patina to the wearer - worn in a way that indicates care and age. I'm not sure clothes can become too ragged, except near destruction.
Clothing functions beyond the basic assumptions of protection from the elements, warmth, and the like. And it still functions beyond more complex assumptions and tells stories based on class, style, and taste. A quick thought experiment will explain further. Suppose two people come from similar education and social strata, earn about the same amount of money, and have a similar style aesthetic. The two people would appear incredibly similar based on previous notions of what you can learn about a person from their clothing.
However, suppose one person is wearing older clothes, still nice, still natural materials, high-end, tailored, and the like, and the other is wearing brand new items of similar quality. In that case, you have two different impressions of the people. Similarly, if both of their items are roughly the same age, and one person has cared for their clothing well, and the other clearly did not, that says something else about the person, more complex than their particular tastes. Here, we see the concept of timelessness versus trendiness on display, as well as care and attention for the items themselves. On some level, for some reason, we think more highly of people who have older items that are well cared for compared to people with similar items but new ones. The same is true of cars. Anybody can buy a new car. Yet we marvel at old examples of cars still on the road in wonderful condition because we innately realize the extreme effort that goes into keeping a car looking and performing well over decades. It's not uncommon to see a 2020 or later model car in near-flawless condition. It's something else entirely to see a car from the 90s, even in beautiful condition. Some things begin to look better with age. A new house can be beautiful, but something about mature trees lining a driveway, grass peering through, stone pavers, and vines clinging to brick is sublime.
Some fashion houses have taken this idea of well-worn clothing to an interesting place. It is not a new trend; the "distressed" ripped or torn look in jeans and faded print on shirts has existed for some time. I remember older family members being bewildered in the late 90s when my cousins purchased jeans, probably from Abercrombie, with holes and ragged edges. The idea of paying a premium for new clothing that looked used and torn up was even distressing to some.
The Spanish high fashion house Balenciaga made waves in the fashion scene with extremely distressed clothing that could no longer be described as "hobo chic." The house looks spawned memes and jokes, yet they were on to something authentic at heart. AG Jeans, founded in L.A. in 2000, sells items with "aged years" in the description to indicate years of wear emulated. When I was a fashion neophyte, the idea that a person could, or would even want, to buy a new clothing item with a quasi-used look puzzled me a bit. However, I was a young adult, not yet having worn the same clothing items long enough due to outgrowing them to fully grasp the concept of what was being sold by these companies and why.
As you wear clothing, it breaks into your unique build and physical proportions. It also breaks in with the specific way you wear the items. I wear a jacket a lot while driving, and the left elbow is more worn than the right. That wear pattern is likely from resting my left elbow along the window and not the right. When I used to skateboard, my shoes would always wear unevenly, with my right shoe wearing much faster as I am "goofy" with my right foot and my front foot. This is the skateboard and snowboard equivalent to being left-handed. I often see people wearing jeans with the outline of a Skoal can imprinted into their back pocket. It's always just one pocket, never both.
I personally do not like either used clothing (worn by others) or new clothing that is distressed (aged by the manufacturer). The "sweet spot" is your own clothing that has been aged, worn, and distressed by you (Exceptions to this are made for family items passed along) .Aged clothing from another person tells their story. Factory distressing seems hollow in that it creates the image of a person with many stories about a clothing item, yet those stories do not exist. Your own well-worn clothing is a fascinating bit of personal archaeology from your past.
As your clothes wear, I noticed they also tend to fit better over time. It is often like an additional level of tailoring. Pants feel less stiff as where your knee break causes them to become slightly more pliable than when new. Sleeves fall more closely along your shoulders and arms. Once broken in, your clothes will never fit another person the way they fit you. And for that reason, among others, I prefer well-made, well-kept, and well-worn clothing. If you take care of things, they will last.
Today, I fully embrace the superiority of well-worn clothing.
i tried something a bit new with this one, adding a slideshow. i hope you enjoy and will work on the next one and article. keeping up with the legal work and writing. Thank you so much for the support.
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Full-time journalism, legal show production, more pixel art, more cozy images, more of everything.
Total takeover, firing on all cylinders.
Cost of readership would drop, we would reach more and more people with these stories, and the content would come more often.
At this goal I can hire people to help me with content, add video production and audio recordings of articles, and really begin to expand the entire operation. I would like audio versions of all of the content to ensure people who cannot read well or travel often are able to have access to the stories. We are the stewards of our people and must care for all of them.
In addition to full-time writing, the legal podcast, and a community resource, I will hire a secretary, PR manager, and a guard-pupper to alert me of intruders.
The pupper will probably be a beagle or german shepherd, the secretary will be cute, the PR manager will be friendlier than I am.