What I Wore

I caught a snippet of CBS Sunday Morning, interviewing the Ephron sisters about their adaptation of Ilene Beckerman’s memoir Love, Loss, and What I Wore into a play. I think it was Delia who said that women remember what they wore, and men remember the car they drove, or the music that was playing. It’s true that there are very few outfits that I remember wearing and would probably forget many more without photographic evidence. There are some exceptions.

The night I was kicked out of a bar my freshman year of college I wore an orange shirt and black pants from Urban Outfitters, because that was the day I declared, “Orange is a dangerous color.” (Sidenote: how has that quote not made the blog before?) However, that outfit borders on costume because it was for Bacchanal, and costumes fall into a separate category entirely. (The three guidelines for Bacchanal, an annual end-of-the-year performing arts party, were 1. Dress to Impress/2. Wear comfortable shoes/3. Cover your ass.)

Thanksgiving in the year 2000, my sophomore year of college, I wore the coat with the fake fur collar that I bought at a thrift shop. I have always loved jackets/outer layers. Vy called that my “pimp coat.”

When Hannah interviewed me for her coming out photo project, I wore my red t-shirt that said “Fiji” on it.

I wore khaki suede shoes purchased at Zara in Lyon and Gap jeans to the main Penn commencement on Franklin Field. That was probably the fourth graduation ceremony I attended, and we were going to have the gowns on anyway. I waited to see whether my father would comment.

The year I went to the Christmas Dance with Cristine (junior year) I wore a silver tie because she told me she was wearing silver and I wanted to match. I still have that tie (it has even made it to Denver) but have not worn it since.

The year I went to the Christmas Dance with Andrea (sophomore year) I wore a dark green suit which I dug at the time, but in retrospect it probably made me look like the driver of a Peter Pan bus.

When the g5-minus-Katie went to New Orleans, my “Swamp Tour Outfit” consisted of white khaki man capris (2005, people! I tried to validate that this was something men wore, and Google gave me this.) and a light blue t-shirt with brown ring collar and sleeves. This ensemble would be entirely forgettable if not for the fact that when we unpacked our luggage Courtney and I spent time deliberating what we would wear on the swamp tour.

Of course, over the years, I have a good idea of what my favorite clothes were, even if I can’t recall the specific occasions when I wore them:

Middle school was a magical time filled with nylon track suits. You may be able to find a picture of my family all in track suits in front of the Eiffel Tower. The French heard us coming from 500 miles away, because those things were damn loud. Swish, swish! I had one flannel shirt that I really liked when we were all grunge. I was partial to Rickie Vasquez-esque vests, and I had a colorful one that I would pair with a purple silk shirt. Basically, the gayest I ever dressed was when I was in seventh grade.

When I was a sophomore in high school I had a chocolate corduroy blazer that never fit very well but I adored all the same. I wore corduroy a lot.

I wore a bright yellow windbreaker with a wide reflective horizontal stripe. It was from Old Navy. We had to write autobiographies during our junior year in high school for Mr. Lamb’s class. I made mine a comic book. I drew myself wearing that windbreaker.

I wore red Doc Marten boots and thought I was as cool as my sister.

I wore a maroon sweater with one central argyle pattern that was a hand-me-down from Marc S. At first I hated it, because I thought it was weird to have clothes that used to be my neighbor’s. Eventually it became one of my favorite things.

I bought Rohini a button-down military style shirt for her birthday one year, and I bought myself the same shirt. I wore it till it died.

I hated wearing ties when I was a kid. Eventually that changed. I would borrow from my dad’s endless inventory. I especially liked a maroon tie with dragonfly silhouettes in blue and green.

I like cardigans. The brown wool one I love has a hole in the left shoulder, and it’s about time to stop wearing it in public. I have a dull dark green cardigan in New Jersey that is truly a grandpa sweater: zipper, front pockets, not remotely fashionable. It was a gift from my parents to my grandfather the Christmas he passed away. I asked to keep it and am happy to wear it.

I bought a German field jacket at an Army/Navy store in London that lasted for about 12 years. I’ve been keeping it in the closet for a year even though it’s time to part with it. You can fit a paperback in the pocket! I haven’t found a suitable replacement.

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