21 June 2012

Things Past


I am by my nature a collector - of objects, of images, of facts, of memories.  Everything and everyone you encounter in life leaves a trace.  All those experiences influence who you are.  But that is a very different thing to making you who you are, because we choose our own way in life.  I am a collection of all that I have been, but what I will be is up to me.  And so I find myself looking back at what I was, and how I dressed, and thinking of how I may improve on that.  Not to some outside measure of improvement, but a sense of on-going individual improvement.  You owe yourself that much at the very least.  We live, and so we learn and so we grow.  I think that is the case with life and with style - our experiences may influence how we dress, or how we wish to dress, but all said and done, how we actually dress is our own story to tell.

I said I collect objects, but perhaps more accurately I should say that I collect fragments.  There is a beauty to things unfinished.  A fragment with the potential to remind me of things far greater than one would think such a fragment being capable of is infinitely more valuable than a hoard of objects.  Each fragment bears a world of memory and emotion.  A reminder, a gift, a moment in my life.  Yet as much as I am a collector, I am not comfortable with the idea of owning too many objects without that deep attachment.  It is better to have a little that means a lot, than to have a lot that means very little.  It is a hard feeling to describe, but sometimes I feel that in owning so much, it would spread me too thin.  It is an odd experience to give things away, but it is also liberating.  If most of what goes is devoid of any great meaning in the first place, there is no real sense of loss, rather a curious sense of relief, of becoming unburdened little by little.  But there are also those objects that carry a wealth of personal meaning and memories, especially where clothing is concerned.  

I photograph every garment I sell or donate.  It is a record of things past.  It is a catalogue through which I can browse and remember how I dressed.  It is a reminder of how my tastes have evolved, how they have changed, and of the mistakes I have made along the way (sometimes including the rare garment I should have never given away in the first place).  I think style is something that is ever changing, but I like to remember the things that never quite worked, because it reminds me of the areas I have yet to better understand.  Without mistakes we can not learn, we can not improve.  So I look through my archive to remind me of things I still need to understand about dress, about style, about myself.  Above are two pieces that would seem like they belonged to a different person entirely if you looked through my wardrobe today.  But I like that because it reminds me of a different side of me - of someone I was, and someone I needed to be in order to come to where I am today.  They may not be the type of garments I would wear now, but I wore them in the past, and therein lies something important I think.

"When people [are] really tired of everything, then come, I can satisfy you..."
- Yohji Yamamoto



  1. It's quite amazing to see yourself evolve through memories of who you were in the past. Be it through how you dressed, or what you enjoyed reading.

    This was another wonderfully written post, as always. :)

  2. really nice post my man, i have recently started taking photos of everything i sell too. maybe not quite for the same reasons to start with but i can now see that this would be a great project for myself, as an achieve as you mentioned.

  3. Yes, clothing has a lot of memories. There are some clothing I can't get rid of. My aunt sewed several dresses by liberty fabric to my daughter when she was little.My best friend 's mom knitted cardigan to my son when he was born.Time after time I took out those.Precious!

    But now my daughter's wardrobe are from all fast clothing! She wears just 1,2 years.I don't have any feeling to them.That is fast clothing?

  4. M: I have clothing tucked away from when I was younger - those are the clothes I value above all others! But yes, like you said, that idea of clothing not having any feeling is not something I subscribe to. I want something that has more feeling where my clothing is concerned (as I do with everything else in my life, whether objects or relationships or just a way of living).

  5. Oh man, maybe I should've taken photos of all the clothing I've donated or given away... and then there are always the pieces that no longer fit or are in style that I hang on to because of the memories associated with them. I even have a pair of my dad's old Levis from when he was my age...


  6. Love the idea of taking photos of what we give, to associate memories.
    Very interesting your point of view... I'm a collector, but just because I can't decide what I don't need anymore.


  7. I have archives of outfits I've worn dating back a few years ago now. I'm embarrassed by a lot of what I wore back when I started, but I agree that we learn the most from our mistakes. I'm more comfortable with my style now that I have a better grasp of what suits me.

  8. This is such a cool post. I'm afraid, I collect a lot of things too.

    I have so many things I want to upcycle..so to speak. I'm just not sure I can do it..though.

  9. I love these items. I wish you'd wear them again..because you look great in these colors.

  10. Syed: I agree with you. I want to wear the clothing that my feeling is there. Those clothing make me happy. They might not be trend,some are purchased long time ago,but doesn't matter for me.

    When I was your age,I was wondering what I would wear when I become old. And I become the age, I still go to same kind of shop and find something what I like.Even though I feel my choice is more limited(like no puff sleeves,no mini skirt etc:D), the feeling to excite about fashion is nothing change!

  11. Thought provoking as always. I agree with the evolving personal style. Keeping a blog has reminded me just how much my style has changed over the years and how I've changed my style to 'work' better for me. I'm sure I make some mistakes here and there but it's definitely something to learn from.

    By the way, I love the pink shirt and the jumper. I think it's fascinating that you photograph everything you sell/donate. I guess you're right, they are definitely hold memories...it's funny because when I look at a piece of clothing of mine, I remember the story of how I came to buy it...each garment definitely has a memory of it's own.