There’s a certain romance that glazes over a woman’s eyes when she recalls playing in her mother’s closet as a girl. Wobbling around in high heels, trying on her first silk, sequined or lace dress. Destroying a precious tube of Revlon red, while trying to apply it like she did. Still even, how many times can I recall being at some painfully cool/boring party, leaning over to some impossibly thin/boring actress to ask her where she got her amazing top and getting the response hissed through whitestrip-ed teeth ‘oh it’s vintage, it was my mother’s‘? The answer is: too many. Those among us who had a mother who raged in the 70s and 80s view their closets with reverence and feel a sharp pang of horror when we point to an old photograph and ask her: WHERE is that fur hat? and she replies casually, oh I threw it out years ago…
However, I would be lying to you if I said I was one of these girls. I was closet raiding by the tender age of 9, oh yes, but not in my mother’s, I was waist deep in tweed, button ups and golf shirts in my dad’s. Now, before you go there, I will preempt you by saying this has nothing to do with interesting gender socialization or identity and sexuality exploration (read: back off, Women’s Studies). In fact, I considered it a personal victory last week when I finally found the best eyelash glue in the world at a crappy Rexall in St. Jamestown since it’s been unavailable in Shopper’s Drugmart for the past 3 years. They replaced it with a shitty house brand, whatever. Point is, I’m less interesting than you think. But thanks.
I was cruising my stripe and plaid instead of sequin and feather options so young, not because I had some Katherine Hepburn fixation (again, I’m not that interesting), but simply because though my mother is great at a lot of things, sharing isn’t one of them. My dad however thought it endearing when I wore his clothes and I liked how his golf shirts looked like cool dresses on me. This arrangement turned out to be mutually beneficial.
When Greg Norman came out with his line of golf apparel that included Australian style wide-brimmed straw hats, I was sporting my dad’s so fast he eventually bought himself a replacement. In high school I got into the ties and cummerbunds. Then I moved to the over-sized wool sweaters and still to this day, (on the dirty side of 25) I’m writing this in my dad’s tie-dye sweatshirt from the 80s that has a cow skull on the front and, wait for it… POCKETS. It’s the details, right Jeanne Beker? They just don’t make things like they used to.
So, pfff I say to the endless blogs about mom’s closet, to dad’s I say! Chin chin mon père, thanks for the great closet finds.