June 8, 2012

The Tactics of Practice

"When one does not have what one wants, one must want what one has":
"I have had, you see, to resort more and more to very small, almost invisible pleasures, little extras.... You've no idea how great one becomes with these little details, it's incredible how one grows."
- Witold Gombrowicz, quoted in intro to The Practice of Everyday Life by Michel de Certeau (full text of book's introductory essay available on the wonderful UbuWeb)

We talked briefly of consumption, of the tactics for dealing with a structure not designed for the most of us to thrive, to be well, to be well taken care of. And we consumed more, trying to forget these harsh truths. Along the way little habits formed, intelligent adjustments that became sedimented practices. Old feelings of neediness, of brute desire sated in rash purchases, subsided.

Struggling with competing messages, personal desires, hopes for better social relations, the idea of a "community" as a thing that means something, I managed along the way (chronicled in the archives of this blog) to piece together with thrift and diligence and occasional indulgence some elements of a style of life that I believe in, and believe worth sharing.

This Comme des Garcons skirt is one of my little, "almost invisible pleasures." My secondhand scouring tactics enabled me to own this possession with the knowledge that my money did basically nothing to support the longevity of CdG, including the artistry of those workers who toil to keep the label alive and thriving. One brand, still not (to my knowledge) owned and subsumed by corporate luxury conglomerates, Comme stands for certain things, and makes clothes that suit my taste. The least I can do is share my love for this skirt, for the fact of its material existence, and for the fortuity that set it on my path, years after its original sale to the woman who would eventually consign it for a small return.

The least I can do is love this thing that I am lucky to own. To want this thing that I have. And I do continue to want it. Its heavy suit-like wool, strong pleats, and shoestring cotton drawstring that pulls together the enormously wide waistband all provide a subtle pleasure each time I pull it tightly around my waist, allowing its volume and drape to exaggerate my body's shape.

I wore it on a windy day, and the heavy fabric blew up in front of me as I walked down the sidewalk like a billowing, pleated black flag. Its weight and length protected my body but allowed the whipping gusts of wind to create new shapes of my profile with every step. The pleasure of wearing this garment has not faded one bit with time. Different patterns of wind and sun, plays of light, and temperatures reconfigure this garment with each wear. There is no newness to fade when one wears things that are already, eternally, old.


Alice said...

that skirt is awesome. the pleats really look so crisp i woudve guessed the previous owner didnt bother to wear it much.

vliin said...

Your accompanying writings - just like your wardrobe choices - are of an unusual quality, each and every time!

Twobreadsplease said...

this is such a beaut! i have such a soft spot for comme. xx

Syed said...

That skirt looks absolutely fantastic. I do love Comme, especially the older stuff - her attention to fabrics was more pronounced in a way, so the clothing did not feel like it needed to be broken in like so many of the pieces today. The only other place I really get that feeling is with Yohji or some Rick pieces.

Low Couture said...

The waist is really nice here - not sure if it's part of the skirt. Kudos on the CdG thrift find.

x Peter @ http://low--couture.blogspot.com