Everyone has a memoir in miniature in at least one piece of clothing. In Worn Stories, Emily Spivack has collected over sixty of these clothing-inspired narratives from cultural figures and talented storytellers. First-person accounts range from the everyday to the extraordinary, such as artist Marina Abramovic on the boots she wore to walk the Great Wall of China; musician Rosanne Cash on the purple shirt that belonged to her father; and fashion designer Cynthia Rowley on the Girl Scout sash that informed her business acumen. Other contributors include Greta Gerwig, HeidiJulavits, John Hodgman, Brandi Chastain, Marcus Samuelsson, Piper Kerman, Maira Kalman, Sasha Frere-Jones, Simon Doonan, Albert Maysles, Susan Orlean, Andy Spade, Paola Antonelli, David Carr, Andrew Kuo, and more. By turns funny, tragic, poignant, and celebratory, Worn Stories offers a revealing look at the clothes that protect us, serve as a uniform, assert our identity, or bring back the past-clothes that are encoded with the stories of our lives.
I found myself looking for something quick to read so I picked this up out of my “to read” collection and started thumbing through it the other day. I’m completely enamoured with all these little one-page stories about how an article of clothing can mean so much to someone and why. It makes me think of my grandmother’s lace sweater that I still have hanging up in my closet to this day. I will never let go of it, and she died in 1998. I’ve washed and worn it so many times now that her smell is gone but there are times I still find myself holding it up to my face, closing my eyes, smelling it, and remembering her.
It’s a great book for your coffee table.