Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Letter from America

Apologies to all of you who have been missing this blog. The fact is, I've been in another world, the world of writing a new novel, and clothes have been less on my mind. 'Harry Fenton' aka Nigel is battling various institutions of the state to get compensation for his son (we hope there will be some good news very soon).

Meanwhile, I have permission to share with you an email I recently received from Georgia, USA from a reader of the book, The Thoughtful Dresser:

Dear Linda,

I'm in the process of packing for a move to a retirement home (I'm 83) and came across your "The Thoughtful Dresser" as I was packing books. I read it not so long ago, but glancing through it I became engrossed again - a most unusual thing for me.

Being in the throes of decisions on what I can take, your writings have endorsed my desire to have with me so many of my clothes, whether practical to my new environment or not. Having my clothes, pants, jackets, shirts, shoes, boots, bags, dresses, hats, even evening wear, will make me happier, and you confirm the wisdom of what others see as imprudent.

Some of my favorite things are 40 years old, but I'm a size 6, and can still wear them should I wish to. (Actually,I was a size 8, but the fashion industry has reduced the size structures to flatter all women, so my newer clothes are 6.) But ability to wear them is not really necessary. I have shawls and scarves, belts and baubles which I never wear now, but like to admire and try on, and they give me pleasure.

A friend says, "Carol, all you need is four pairs of shoes" I told her I've packed forty pairs, and mourn those I must leave behind. I need sandals, straps, slides and boots, all in varying colors and heel heights to go with chosen dresses, skirts and pants of varying lengths. How could I possibly be content with four pairs of footwear, though they might be the ones I;d wear most of the time? I have gvien away all high heels, not because I think they're imappropriate at 83, but because they are no longer comfortable.

I think I was born to love clothes, just as I was born to love literature and learnng. At age 6 I was trying to choose my own clothes. I was a tomboy, and loved to dress in my brother's pants and shirts, but I also loved girl's things, always stressing my poor mother by choosing the most expensive classic designs that she hadn't the money to buy for me. I didn't realize I had a "fashion sense" until I met an employer who recognzed my potential and insisted upon hiring me to teach a New York department store teen "Beauty Workshop" which led to a career in fashion promotion and commentary. Later i got serious and went into health agency administration, but my love of clothes never failed.

There were periods when I couldn't afford many clothes, and other times when I could but didn't like anything in the stores. What I own now is the aggregate of many years of acquisition and carefull culling. I've gotten rid of mistakes and whims and hope now to be able to hang onto what's left. I think shopping opportunity will not be so near at my new abode; all the more reason to bring as much of what I like with me.

Please accept my plaudits for your book; it's informative, wise, amusing,well-written, and even when I disagreed, plausible. Congratulations!


Carol Fox