Growing up, we were taught to save the ‘special things’ for worthy occasions: our grandmothers would bring out their bejewelled Christian Dior only for the most memorable moments; our fathers saved their bespoke leather shoes for weddings only; our mothers would keep their few ‘designer’ handbags wrapped in dust bags only to resurface – very briefly – on their birthdays (and then to be stowed away again for years to come). The art of preservation has been ingrained in us from such a young age that we’ve long had a propensity for neglecting those so-called ‘special things’ in our wardrobes that actually bring us joy. During the numerous lockdowns, nostalgia really set in especially as we binged shows and movies – for time with friends; for creating memories; for getting dressed up. No matter how hard we’ve tried, no amount of matching loungewear sets or beautiful satin slippers could come close to recreating the sheer joy of donning our swankiest commodities. Such was my nostalgia that I even felt an itch of sorrow for the now distant feeling of wearing a heel so beautiful that the balls of my feet almost cease to exist. I longed for the day that I could wear them again – appropriate occasion or otherwise. For too long, I’ve taken each opportunity for granted, grabbing for the ‘less dressy’ option at every turn, despite being blessed with a wardrobe 10-year-old me could only dream of. No more. And so it is that I’ve come to two wardrobe-altering conclusions. One: cherishing ‘things’ is as much about getting joy out of them as it is about preserving them. After all, how can they be cherished when they’re sitting in the dark, hidden in a dusty box in the back of your wardrobe somewhere? And two: there is no time like the present to wear the things you love. In 2021 and 2022, there is no such thing as occasionwear – we make the occasions; we make the rules. As for me, consider this my sartorial awakening. What was once tucked safely in the back of my wardrobe has made a triumphant return to the front and what should have always been in the back has been unceremoniously chucked, donated or sold. But save I will no longer, because my greatest lesson of all is this: there are no right occasions, and waiting for one is about as fruitful as vacuum packing your wedding dress. And, anyway, if the greatest risk is choosing the wrong moment to wear something, I’m more than willing to take it.
Story by Gabriella Foreman.