I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about items of clothing that I used to own and are long lost. And an inordinate amount of money buying back similar items.
That’s not to say I’m fickle with throwing away clothes – in fact, the opposite. I still have a bottle-green skinny-rib top that is a Marks and Spencers age 11–12 and I have worn regularly since that age (well done on your excellent quality, M&S). I would estimate that around 20% of my wardrobe is made up of cast-offs from my mum and nan, along with a few from my sister and various friends. My nan’s silk blouses and Jaeger jumpers from the 70s basically form the top half of my work wardrobe.
However, an ode to the pieces I lost and now miss:
- A long-sleeved T-shirt from Miss Selfridge circa 1996, navy with orange arms. I would wear it with enormous denim flares and Adidas trainers, my hair in a topknot. I would feel awesome, convinced I looked straight out of the Smashing Pumpkins video for 1979. It no longer exists, as I wore it until it fell apart – the wrist seams frayed, the holes under the armpits growing bigger until it just got silly.
- A perfect black polo neck, that I bought in San Francisco in 1998. It really was the dream black polo neck – and it was from San Francisco, how perfect! So of course I think of it often. I accidentally spattered some bleach down the front of it, when I was dyeing my hair once, and it came up in a weird little archipelago of orange stains. Ever resourceful, I tried to colour these in with a permanent black marker, but the blacks didn’t match up and then it looked like grease stains. I was forced to throw the perfect black polo neck away, and I have never found another to match it since.
- A black velvet strappy mini-dress – it was my mum’s in the 80s and, in the late 90s, I used to wear it over jeans. It was awesome – stretchy and 80s and flattering. I would love to wear it to a party now. I can’t remember what happened to it; given the timing, I bet I lent it to a friend and never got it back. Sorry, Mum.