clothes make the (wo)man

I was re-listening to the Weavecast interview of Anita Luvera Mayer just recently and was struck again by the thought that my clothes reflect who I am.

Do they really?

I’m not sure this is always true, since there is always the element of choice. If I can choose my own clothing, then yes, I can say absolutely that my clothing reflects me. But there are always shades and nuances of meaning in those choices. For example, my mother still buys me clothes for Christmas, and most of the time, she chooses clothing that is acceptable, meaning it looks okay, generally fits, and doesn’t make me cringe. (She has been known to choose clothing that makes me cringe, but I’ve been able to educate her a bit more about what I like.) But in many ways, the look of that clothing still reflects her more than it does me. Yet at the same time, it does reflect at least some aspects of my personality, in that I am too practical and frugal to simply not wear them. Plus, I will not willingly distress her by refusing to wear them (unless they are the cringe type). But given time, I will eventually mention what I don’t like about certain items. An example would be the cardigans she bought me that have a shawl collar; I don’t really like that type of collar. Otherwise those sweaters are fine. So I wear them for now, and plan to replace them when the right opportunity offers, and in the meantime mention that I’ve realized I dislike shawl collars; hopefully she’ll pick up the hint. So, yes, to a certain extent, those clothes reflect me.

But what about when I make the choice without reference to other people? What kinds of elements do I choose and what do I think they are reflecting about me? Other people may see something else, but I always have some kind of intent.

Natural fibers for preference, a blend of colors with touches of jewel brightness but no garish shinyness, cloth with a subtle sheen or an interesting texture with layers of color and interest, clothes that are practical yet beautiful, clothes that fit well, clothes that I have made. I prefer subtlety to a shout, strength and durability to flash in the pan beauty that cannot be worn, and depth in the cloth and fit itself rather than surface decoration. When I add decoration, I prefer that it become almost an integral part of the cloth.

I haven’t achieved all these things with my clothes, but I’m working on it.