You were dry-clean only. I had my reservations in the store because I’m really not the type of person who can commit to more than a washing machine. At best I’ll do a good ol’ fashioned hand wash but even then, those garments sit forgotten in the bottom of my hamper for years. Despite trying to forget you existed, you popped up again at another store and then another and another. Soon I couldn’t go out without running into you. It was a sign.
You fit my every inch so perfectly. You lifted me up in all the right places and made me feel like I was the most powerful woman on the planet. For months I leaped at any opportunity to wear you, until one day I noticed you had started to smell. I didn’t have time to go to the dry-cleaner searched online trying to find instructions on how to put dry-clean only garments in the washer. My searches came up short so I had no other choice but to donate you. The next person who owned you threw you into the washer and you came out looking more brand new than the day I bought you.
You were designer. The most expensive thing I’ve ever owned. The second I saw you, I knew I wanted you and despite the fact that you were drastically out of my price range, I could not stop thinking about you. I decided to simply visit you every now and then, one drive-by here, an innocent google image search there, without ever getting too committed. Then one day while window shopping, I gave in and tried you on. The moment the zipper reached the top, my love for you was sealed.
I still really couldn’t afford you but I decided to be less precious with my feelings toward you. I put a price alert on my phone waiting for the day that you might go on sale. And one day, you finally did. You were there for me, the last one left, in my size, and put on hold with a big label bearing my name. I rushed to pick you up but when I got there I found out that the store had gone bankrupt. I searched online: there was no record of it or you ever existing.
You were one-size-fits-all. I wanted you to fit just me and for a while you made me believe that that was possible. Still, every time I wore you out I got the sense that something wasn’t right. The way the light hit your fabric, the way you billowed from my body around certain people, the way your neckline seemed to choke me around certain others. And then I overheard someone talking about her favourite shirt in a way that sounded too familiar. I didn’t want to believe that it could be you because her body was so drastically different from mine so I asked her to show me a picture. That was the first time I saw you wrapped snuggly around someone else’s body. I wish it was last.
You were second-hand. You bore the stains of the previous owner but I felt together we’d be able to clean the stains and mend the holes. I used every trick in the book: vinegar, baking soda, rubbing alcohol, grandma’s tricks, ancient tinctures, plants, and even bleach despite my hesitance to use such caustic chemicals. Nothing worked. I consulted a professional and they suggested I patch you up. I bought the best fabric I could afford, watched the tutorials, and put all my love into making you new again.
Things were great. Together we got tons of compliments, people noticed the change and loved how you looked. But eventually one of the corners started lifting. I wasn’t sure if it was the thread I used or if you didn’t like the fabric I bought but you kept coming undone. I stitched you up but you unraveled. Then I stitched you up again and the same thing happened. Again and again and again, until the fabric had dyed my fingers red and I no longer recognized my own hand. It felt like you were coming undone on purpose just to see if I was still committed to you. And I was. Until the day I realized that you preferred being full of holes versus feeling whole.
I’ve decided to take a break from buying clothes.