Updated: Jun 19, 2022
“Looking back, I wish I did more things when I still could've.
Worn my best clothes before I couldn't."
A Shanghainese grandma told me this while we're waiting for the stoplight to go green. Or at least, how I understood when she meant, since she was speaking to me in Mandarin.
She was curious about my doggie boots. These boots were love at first sight in NY many lifetimes ago. I was out to get the practical Lowa winter boots, but saw these funny Italian pair that's so expensive even on a discount. The only pair. I ended up buying both, plus 2 more boots for good luck. hehe.
The pair always spark conversations with random strangers. New Yorkers say they wouldn't be caught dead wearing it. (Especially since I wore it with a Russian-style hat that's the exact color match. I looked like the lovechild of Kingkong and a Hummer). On the other hand, at the Tokyo airport, two lades chased me on separate occasions to ask where I bought these kawaii boots.
Usually, if a younger person asks what is it, I'd say, "It's a dog, and it's hornyyy!" Then hump their leg with a boot. It seems inappropriate to boot-hump the Chinese granny, so I restrained myself. She asked if it was very warm and comfy, that I'd wear it even if it looks so curiously ugly. I politely told her I'm wearing them because I find them cute and funny.
She paused and started pondering about doing the things we wish to do while we're young and able, but never do. I replied that we all have clothes we love in our closets that we never wear because we never find the right occasion. "--until it gets out of date (," the granny nods. We were talking about clothes, but we were really talking about life.
I had this realization early. I bought this gorgeous dress in first year college that fits me perfectly. It made me glow. Too much I felt, so I never wore it out. Casual then meant "loose men's white tshirt and jeans'. I felt it was too dressy for everyday, too casual for formal events. So I would try it on occasionally in front of the mirror, feel happy, then shove it back in my closet. When I was packing up after graduation, I saw the dress. It was too tight and out of style. Before putting it in the donation box, I slit the darting to make it looser, and wore it while cleaning my room and going random errands that day. At least I got to wear it out once and turned heads with it (though probably because I looked like an overstuffed sushi roll.)
I guess that's why I wear whatever I want to wear nowadays. Even if most days I look like I had a head-on collission with a rainbow. I wear what makes me happy. I also use my pretty things even if that means I've broken the best pieces. It is a pity to get broken, but it would be a greater pity to be whole but never been able to do what its made for.