Thursday, October 6, 2011

Where are your Jil Sander pieces?

What a weekend I had. In my recent obsession with "decluttering" my apartment, I went through my closets and threw away or donated at least ten years' worth of old clothing. It was really a moving experience, and some pieces were very hard to part with ... some had, over the years, become signature pieces of mine. Notably, the jacket I am wearing in this picture, my houndstooth coat by Jil Sander. I remember working at Harcourt in 2005, wearing this coat, or maybe some other Jil Sander piece. My crazy boss at the time came out and said, "What are YOU wearing?!" I replied, rather coldly, "It's Jil Sander. Where are YOUR Jil Sander pieces, Ms. Gilmore?" (I believe she was wearing something from the Gap).

Over the years, though, the coat got worn, and was pilled in places. Plus, the sleeves were too short for my long, muscular arms. And I seemed to have to have the lining replaced, like, once a season! I had to say goodbye to it, with regret.

I don't know why I was making this face in this picture, which I found in a little box of pictures of myself as a younger person. Perhaps I was making my "model face," which in retrospect, doesn't really make me look like a model. Perhaps this is my imitation of "Ape-X," a simian character from Marvel Comics' Squadron Supreme (which, I must be honest, was just a rip-off of the Justice League). Ape-X seemed to be around primarily to make this face, which she did quite often, heart-breakingly, usually after one of her teammates was slain. She had sort of a great effect on me ... I used to puzzle, reading comics, "Why do people wish that animals could talk?" Poor Ape-X, I don't think her "psychotic break" was ever resolved, a cruelty by her illustrators that mirrors humans' cruelty towards animals of all kinds. She just exists in a kind of limbo now, forever going insane. Ah, well. We've all been there, Ape-X ...

I guess what I was doing by cleaning out my closets was "culling." Once, when I was working at a toxic literary agency (but aren't all literary agencies toxic?), the singer Suzanne Vega wrote me a letter saying that she was "culling" her journals for material for a book. I looked off into the distance and wondered at that word. I knew what it meant, but I had never heard it used before. I remember that I imagined Suzanne with a giant scythe instead of an arm. Cull ...

As I was culling my closet, I was able to acknowledge various stages in my fashion history ... my Burberry phase ... my cardigan phase ... my vest phase ... certainly my Jil Sander phase ... and move on, with hope. My fashion history continues to spool out; I am currently in a kitty cat t-shirt phase. And a plaid sport shirt phase. The phases will continue, as life continues, like a wave of molten lava. And at the end, everything will solidify, and I will breathe my last.

I suspect that after you have read this post, you will cull it.

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