A long time ago now, someone accused me of manipulating events in my life to make them more worthy of writing down. That person was angry with me because I wouldn’t give him something he wanted. He said what he did in the heat of moment, but I knew him well enough to know that he believed it. Many people turn out to be disappointing. This specific person just proved to me that I was right about him, and his disappearance from my life afterwards was no loss. But I monitored my behaviour for a while after that. I realised quickly enough that I was being silly. The truth is, I can see a story in almost any scenario, no matter how mundane – and I always could.
Many years later, I chatted with a blogger friend about photo shoots. I explained that my shoots always began with an outfit plan. Her approach was entirely different. “I always start,” she said, “by figuring out what story I want to tell.” I wondered if I shouldn’t consider doing the same. More often than not, I find myself contemplating a set of photos already taken, a post already assembled, wondering what I should write about them – what their story might be. Perhaps it’s because I grew up on stark editorials in Vogue, just designer clothes worn by models standing against a white background, but I tend to think that sometimes, the clothes are the story and it’s that simple.
If I’m right, the story of these clothes is a one as worthy of telling as any other. This coat is new, but is almost identical to an old one I bought in 2014. I loved it so much that I literally wore it through – the lining tore in multiple places, and the wool eventually became one large pill. It broke my heart to part with it, but it was beyond threadbare. When Zara released this incredibly similar one just before Christmas last year, I was ecstatic. And, in my exuberance, I added a matching beret to my online shopping cart, pressing the purchase button before I had time to reconsider. It was the right choice.
My sweater nearly went to the church donation bin. It, too, was badly pilled from years of loving wear. I left it with my mom while we were in Europe and she managed to revive it. It won’t last forever but I’m glad to get to spend another winter with it. I bought my culottes when I still worked in a corporate office and they have proven, much to my surprise, to be the piece of my old work wardrobe I’ve worn the most since I set up my home office three years ago. The boots came from REVOLVE. I had another pair in mind but they sold out. I wasn’t in love with the patent at first, but it turns out I love it. So much, in fact, that I forget what my first choice boots looked like.
Whenever I think back on the suggestion that I said and did things to provoke a reaction, rather than because I meant them, because I wanted my life to be novel-worthy, I shake my head. My life, like most lives, consists of work and meals and errands and sleep, with a bit of fun in between. Much of isn’t what anyone would consider worthy of literature. And I am absolutely happy with that. There are stories everywhere, if you know where to look for them. Even in your closet!