When I met Greg, he had a uniform: jeans or khakis that were usually a size too large, a plaid flannel shirt, and a pair of hiking boots. He owned three green sweatshirts, because obviously two wouldn’t be enough, and his mom bought all of his clothes for him. He was 22.
Greg doesn’t care about fashion, though he is definitely putting forth more effort as he gets older. But I do, which works out nicely because someone has to buy clothes for our family.
When I decided to try nursing school, my main reason for going was to have a job that mattered. After we lost Genevieve, the world looked very black and white to me. I pondered my mortality a lot. Being a good wife and mother mattered to me, and helping other people mattered to me. But nothing else did. What use were literature, art, music, and fashion? They could not prevent suffering or death.
As time passed, my perspective shifted. Yes, the world could endure if people quit painting and dancing and writing, but what would that world look like? Reading a great novel doesn’t keep me alive, but it does breathe joy into my life. When Greg and I were in New York City over the summer, I attended a performance by American Ballet Theatre, and the dancers were so ethereal that they seemed the antithesis of death. Here was life — leaping, stretching, spinning life.
You could certainly debate whether fashion falls into the same category as music, art, and literature. I have a love-hate relationship with fashion. I know that nice clothes aren’t a necessity, that we could all go through life wearing a uniform. I know that my money could be spent on more important things. But I think about what the world would look like if we walked around in potato sacks. And then those suede boots that I bought last week seem like a small way that I can throw color, texture, and shape into the world.
So, I’m curious, do you put extra money and time into your wardrobe, or are clothes just something to keep you warm? Can clothing be a source of joy? (Anyone who knows how I feel about shoes already has my answer to this.)