Year for the Planet Year 2 Week 5: Wearing My Vintage Self

Year for the Planet is a campaign to make better choices for the planet. 2017 was when I fixed my eating habits. This year, 2018, is where I deal with my clothing choices.

There are many things you will come across in a house you are decluttering, and among the more nostalgic things are your old clothes. It’s like a treasure hunt of one’s old identity. Among clothes that triggered sartorial Proustian moments are: 1. A pink dress for the beach, 2. A flowered shirt that I would wear on my fat days, 3. A blue dress I wore to my high school graduation, 4. A sports jacket that was too small for me then but was too cool to throw away, 5. A uniform for a fast food restaurant when I worked there when writing an article for a newspaper I worked with.

Among other things, health is a combination of regular exercise and a nutritious diet, and I learned these at different life stages. When I started to seriously train in taekwondo, I lost 30 pounds. With last year’s Year for the Planet: Food edition, I lost another 30. Sixty pounds is like losing post-pregnancy weight if I had quintuplets, a beanbag chair that was glued to my butt, a Siamese twin, or a third of a clingy boyfriend. Nothing makes you see how much your body has really changed until wearing clothes that, although they clung like second skin more than a decade ago, are now drowning you. I have come from a size 18 to a size 8. And this makes me wonder, was I really that huge when I was younger? (It’s best to not answer that.)

I had saved these nearly-forgotten clothes because they felt so much a part of my then-identity. They were too intertwined with important memories, and so they survived my seasonal culling. Even now, I remember clothes if I wore them when I performed / gave an artist talk / was with special people, so they became more than just a shirt I bought off the rack. I would want to wear them again if only to multiply their positive energy. In today’s world of fast-fashion, perhaps the challenge is to have more special moments to have, if only to have less-erasable memories associated with clothes such that we demand that they last as long as the memories we have of them. This might explain the persistent irritation I have when I look at the suitcases of designer clothing that I am suddenly stuck with in last week’s brouhaha. (Seriously, if you are in need of clothes, call me, or else I might send them to survivors of super typhoons, volcanic eruptions, war on drugs, or whatever crisis is happening at the moment.)

This week, I feel like I thrifted my own closet, shopping my vintage self. And what better way to be curbing one’s clothing waste than to alter these decade-old-threads so that I can use them again in my 30s? It’s so ironic, it feels almost hipster. What is old is new again.

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