Slow Fashion October: Loved

Friday, October 16, 2015

The theme for Slow Fashion October this week is loved. So, here we are in Estonia, steps away from the Baltic. See that green stuff-sack lashed to my bike? In that sack is one sweater. A very large, hairy, scratchy sweater that a friend found for me at a second hand store several years ago.

I brought it with me on that bike trip for reasons I don't remember now. It took up so much space. And it was so wonderful.

I wore it at the end of long days of riding in the rain. Before and after hot (and cold) showers. I put it under my sleeping back and slept warm and cozy on hard, rough ground.

My wardrobe is pretty small, and right now probably the smallest it's been for a long time. This sweater is one of those items of clothing that can start out feeling foreign and strange, and after some time of being worn, of offering something of warmth or confidence, or simply being there as a familiar thing with memories attached, it becomes a kind of relic, one of the foundations of a wardrobe.

The first time I wore it was during a meeting in an old, cold conference room at a university where I was working at the time. It was so big I felt swallowed whole. And itchy. But very warm. It's one of those sweaters that takes a bit of asceticism to wear. It scratches through everything. It's one of those ugly things that moves effortlessly from one outfit to the next. It goes with nothing, so it makes a place for itself wherever it is. I keep it, and keep wearing it, because it's warm.

After the hothothot heat of summer, I know that fall is here when I begin to seek warmth as comfort. The other day I did some rudimentary darning to hold this sweater together after the summer's moths had severed some strands. After washing it and letting it dry for several days, I pulled this sweater over my head and felt that first warmth-as-comfort feeling of the season. The house is beginning its great Arctic chill, and I'll be wearing this sweater a lot in the coming months, and will expect to wear it for several more years.

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© The Attic at Anderwood Maira Gall.