Thursday, January 31, 2008

The ones that got away. By Alicia Pyke.

Regrets, I’ve had a few. Among them is a tiny cream lace dress I wore with hefty boots aged 16 and a collection of glamorous vintage slips and nighties worthy of a silver screen goddess I really was too young to appreciate.

Sure, there are certain other items I wish I had purchased at the time rather than letting common or financial sense stop me but it’s the items I’ve loved and lost that continue to haunt me.

Clothes are hopelessly linked with emotion. No surprises there. Who doesn’t remember their first pair of heels or what they wore to graduation? Incidentally mine were black patent courts from Big W in 1987 and my high-school graduation frock five years later was a plum sand-washed silk sack Dad had purchased at Country Road as a gift. A $200 gift I felt very grown up swapping my usual Levi’s 501s and band T-shirts for. If only on that occasion. And while I’m not in mourning for these particular items, there are others worthy of misty-eyed memories.

Not that I’m alone. After recently complimenting a friend on her all-black matador-esque ensemble (yes, that was a compliment) she confessed she never enjoys getting dressed. Not since her Dad threw away her entire wardrobe after she moved from the UK to Australia with a single suitcase. Who knew one long-distance closet clean-out could rob a woman of a lifetime of sartorial pleasure.

Maybe it’s because the clothes she still misses had been lovingly fossicked for at markets. As the ones that get away usually are. For me, op-shop forget-me-nots include a burnt toffee suede jacket I can only hope went to a better home plus a cache of early Carla Zampatti, Robert Burton and Simona pieces I gave up collecting when downsizing to a studio apartment in my mid-20s.

But that’s not all. New pieces hurt too. I’m still sentimental over the silver Emanuel Ungaro lab coat that was my first big-ticket designer buy in 1998. And I’ll never forget the comforting familiarity of an original Remo Stripy Thing fisherman’s jersey.

What’s more I didn’t even profit from my losses since most of this divesting occurred B.E. – before eBay. Now if you love something, you can set it free. For a price, anyway.

So, what special pieces have you loved and lost?

Image Credits from top left: Simona, Carla Zampatti, Emanuel Ungaro
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