My birthday suits allows me to live in the no frills comfort of my own skin. But society does mandate that I forego the Emperor’s new clothes and get dressed up. In the days of Adam and Eve fig leaves worked for a while, but then the time came for fabrics. I went off to pre-school in cotton, only to come home in polyester because I had to follow the other kids and slide down a wooden see-saw full of splinters. My mother was called, and after she picked me up I boarded a public bus in pants that were too big for my petite size. On the ride home my head hung lower than my drawers!
Kindergarten opened the doors to a whole new wardrobe for me. As a Catholic school student I was required to wear plaid dresses and white blouses. The uniform fit, and every morning I woke up to this no brainer, donning it each day for 13 years. After high school graduation I gripped the handles on my closet and stared in bewilderment. What was I going to wear to college?! I became familiar with street clothes, and as the terminology became part of my repertoire I shopped the Can-Can Sale of clothes racks, filling my hangers with shirts, sweaters, and jeans. Ooh la la!
I left the hallowed halls of higher learning and started climbing up the Monkey Bars on the corporate ladder at the office playground in business suits. When I reached the top I traded them in for my aunt’s bridal gown and maternity attire. For the next 23 years, on a good day, I got out of my pajamas and grabbed a pair of sweatpants and a T-shirt off the floor, pulled on my husband’s L.L. Bean socks, and slipped into my son’s cast off Ugg moccasins. Then my fashion underwent a dramatic change and my senses were assaulted with brand names!
Who would have thought that I would be strutting around town in designer college wear?! I got the look in the sweatshirts and pants that are like new. The gently used hand-me-downs from my kids make me a free walking talking Billboard Advertisement for Fordham University, Providence College, and Loyola Maryland University. I may no longer have to think about what to put on, but I do still have to think about paying for it! These are some of the most expensive clothes I will ever own, and I am going to wear them until they shred to pieces, leaving me once again on display in only my birthday suit!
And here I am born again when it all comes back around. As I dressed my kids so, too, they will dress me, in whatever they see fit to buy themselves and later discard. I never ever thought about spending a dime on college wear when I was at school. All my pennies went towards books and tuition. Now I have redemption. And oh the people I will meet when I travel to all the places I will go. The textile seeds that are planted in the clothes on my back will flower into tales as parents cultivate together and spin yarns about college experiences. The unscientific pull of a logo T-shirt has just as much force as the traditional college car magnet. While I may have thought that at this age I would be dressing like an adult, home grown college wear was a style introduced to me by my kids, and with that comfort thought in mind why would I want to give up any article of university clothing that warms my heart and soul?