I made a skirt in 2016. A self-drafted mini skirt, in a black quilted fabric. And I wore it for the umpteenth time to my local today.
I wore it with pride. Because I made it. Because I feel comfortable in it and because I’ve created something that is so versatile, it gets to be office wear as much as an invitation to party.
And it occurred to me that I’ve overcome one of the most ridiculous anxiety inducing things without really much effort at all…
The shame of being seen to wear the same thing more than once!
Social media hawks will ditch you for a lack of frock variation in your feed but that aside, and certainly before the world went online I grew up with a wince every time I had to show up wearing something I wore ‘the last time’.
And yes, people have commented. But not always bad though:
‘Oh I love that skirt/dress’.
If only they’d have stopped right there…
‘Isn’t that the one you wore to Sally’s, last week?’
And that would get me thinking about what they were thinking. How I was being judged. And then I’d get all stressed out. So unnecessary!
Like many families of the time, money was quite short when I was growing up and I simply didn’t have many clothes. And those that I did were almost always mum-made.
That in itself was an issue with my school friends who wanted to know where I got my skirt from. And I used to mumble “my mum made it” hoping it would go unheard. But it never was. It was amplified by an expression of sympathy. And I couldn’t ‘sit with them’ – home made clothes were simply not cool! And the comments came thick and fast. Thank goodness for school uniform – the only clothes you can not be shamed for wearing on a daily basis!
As an art college student, the freedom to wear whatever I wanted – even if it was from a charity shop – was so exciting. But still the look of ‘didn’t you wear that, yesterday?’, from students… and ‘friends’!
And as a studio junior with a plimsoll on the first rung of the career ladder at an advertising agency. The self same thing. Only different words now:
“Someone didn’t go home last night!”
Oh the horror! One thing to be shamed for poverty and assumed lack of laundry skills, but another to be tarred with the dirty stop-out brush!
And it didn’t stop at day wear. People actually remembered that you wore ‘that same skirt’ to last year’s party. Damn you long-term-memory-people!
So why now am I simply not bothered by those judgy eyes and cutting comments?
Well I kind of feel like I’ve got the upper hand now.
- I’ve addressed some confidence issues. Read: got older and wiser and care less about what other people think
- I have the back up of a new society who thankfully champions sustainability – reminding me to reduce waste by only making what I need – I simply can’t ignore those giant mountains of textile waste – and laundering only when necessary to sustain the life of the fabric and also the reduce water waste.
- My clothes are made by me now. I’m proud of the collection I’ve amassed, of the time I’ve dedicated to make them and have absolutely no intention of ditching any garms until they are deemed irreparable or unwearable. So until that day you definitely will see many more days of this skirt. I’m shouting loud and proud at the number of times I’ve worn it (if only I could remember!)
Do you have a favourite item that makes repeat appearances or do you do battle with repeat-wear shame?
Disclaimer: The right to repeat wears does not get upheld at the expense of cleanliness! I draw the line at being remotely stinky and appreciate fully when there is a real need for laundering!