In my ongoing, desperate attempt to find writing time in the midst of work and family time, I joined a parent-writers group online. This week one of the members, Hannah Shanks, offered this prompt:
Tell us about one of your “little things”—a personal talisman, your daisy-print office supplies, your worry beads, your prayer shawl, your favorite mug, whatever grounds you to yourself and the wider world. Tell us about one of your touchstone items. How did it get to you? Why do you love it? How does it help you get through the day? Who gave it to you? What stories would it tell, if it could talk?
One year my friend Meehan set a resolution to wear her favorite clothes more. She had a habit I recognized all too well, of wearing her meh clothes and “saving” her special stuff for special occasions. Inevitably, by the time a worthy occasion rolled around, the clothes she’d once loved too much to wear would be out of style.
I love reading the Nostalgia column in Vogue because the writers fetishize single items of clothing so beautifully. A cream-colored cashmere sweater, a classic trench, a filmy scarf purchased on holiday in St. Tropez. These items are made from the finest materials by nameable designers. They are associated with summer romances, internships with famous photographers, mothers who died young and never let their children see them without lipstick.
|"Anjelica Huston remembers the Richard Avedon photograph that launched her career." (Don't we all?)|
The other night I went to a party wearing skinny jeans from Target, a patterned tube top from Forever 21 (or maybe it was H&M) and a blue collared shirt with a bird embroidered on the shoulder, which I found at a thrift store. I thought about wearing heels, but we were bringing Dash to a house with a lot of uneven stone steps, so I stuck with Kelsi Dagger olive-green army boots. That’s the kind of dresser I am.
|Army boots for wars fought on the mean streets of Paris.|
That’s why I love my motorcycle boots. I bought them, oh, seven or eight years ago from Zappos. The brand is Gabriella Rocha, a shoemaker I don’t have any particular affinity for. They are black leather, stopping just below my knees. A seam runs vertically from the tip of a rounded toe to the top of the shaft. There are a couple of non-functional-but-sassy buckles and a low wedge heel (so no, they’re not for the riding of actual motorcycles).
|Mine weren't lace-up, but you get the idea.|
Because of the durable part, these boots are one of the rare really-nice clothing items I wear all the time. For years now. The soles are getting worn down and I keep meaning to take them to a shoe repair shop, but even with a lot of wear and tear, they look great.
They don’t have sentimental value beyond what I’ve imbued them with in my years of traipsing streets (Los Angeles, New York, Vancouver, Positano). But that’s part of it; when I wear them I don’t owe anyone anything. They’re great for making a cocktail dress funkier or jeans (slightly) dressier. They’re like armor when I have to face someone I don’t like.