This week was a momentous one. I got rid of the dressing gown I've had since 1997 in exchange for a big fluffy M&S number. You know, small things, small minds .....
While I worked out what to do with my life after graduation, I worked in the gymn of a five star hotel training bored, rich women to get fit. It's more fun than it sounded. Free gourmet food, state of the arm gymn stuff to play with, sauna at lunchtime. Not too shabby for Northern.
Of course I got bored and left, but before I did I nicked one of the hotel dressing gowns. Very naughty, but was so big, fluffy and comfy I couldn't resist.
Anyway, I loved that dressing gown, but Mrs Northern hated it. And quite right, by the time she met me it was full of holes in it, bereft of its former downy softness and carried evidence of tea spilt years ago.Still, I couldn't force myself to get rid of it.
It had lived with me through London, Newcastle and then back to Leeds, it had seen more than 6 flats, been worn by different girls (not many I'm afraid) had worn in. It carried my story, it was symbol of a version of me that no longer existed, but I wa still fond of. It was mine in way that the new one won't be for awhile.
That's the thing about clothes. There's no point denying the wonderful novelty and possibility they represent on the racks in shops. Every one an idea of another you, a reinvention, a person you want to be. There's no point denying their power. And it's not just a girl thing, or a fashion thing- I know plenty of men who fall to pieces over trainers in the same way women coo over Manolo's.
But after a first wear, clothes become truly yours. They cease to become an idea - they mould and stretch to your shape, and the more you wear them, the more they become instrinsically linked to the things you've been through. Symbols of all the things you are, or were, familiar friends.
I'm not sure where to go with this, but guess there's a lot to be said for celebrating another truth about clothes in addition to the novelty of fashion.