June 19, 2012

Brite Futures

Things happen when i wear these pants, different things. The feeling starts when I put them on. A strange power flows through these layered, silky, billowing yards of shockingly bright fabric. Several poses in the mirror later, along with some quality swooshing of the legs and splaying the pants out wide with hands in pockets then letting the fabric fall like a collapsing tent, and I am ready. 

Walking around in them, all over the city, brings a variety of stares and looks. A little girl, probably 4 or 5, stares transfixed by the pants. Another hip young woman stares while grinning widely. It makes me laugh. In the Japanese grocery store, a teenage female stocking the shelves gapes with her braces showing, and after a long pause stopped directly in front of me, she declares, "those pants are so bright!" 

"Yes, they are." I say to her. I get on with browsing for a sesame-based snack.

This profile is different, too. Not my usual form-hiding layer that drapes to below my hips. These pants my be extremely loose, but they also define my form. They make a threadbare cotton tee with holes look nearly blouse-like. They elevate that which they touch to the place where fancy borders on gaudy.

But I like to keep them simple. They are just another pair of pants, after all. They demand attention, but they don't have a strong message. They are just, different. They are almost too bright to handle, a feeling I don't mind draping across my body from time to time.

100% secondhand items, including the couch :/

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.