my clothing story. part 3 of 3.

my wardrobe (circa. 1990 – present)

Elementary school
was neon everything –
jelly bracelets
and t-shirt clips.
We wore B.U.M. Equipment sweatshirts
and t-shirts
from the Body Shop.

Growing up in a small town
in Northwestern Ontario,
the closest mall
was at least 3 hours away.
Getting new clothes often meant
flipping through the latest
SEARS catalogue
to pick out a new dress
or outfit,
and looking forward to
the grey plastic bag arriving
with my order.

I loved putting together
an outfit.
and the right pair of shoes.

Family excursions to Winnipeg
or Thunder Bay
were exciting.
Entire days were spent
shopping at the mall
with my mom.
Imagine 8 hours at a mall.
We were in our happy place.

I would make a list
of things I wanted to buy
and stores
I wanted to visit.

Club Monaco sweatshirts
Guess jeans
with the triangle on the bum.
Red Eraser
blue button-fly jeans
and Mondetta anything.

I cared about name brands
and saved my money
to buy them.
The paychecks from
my after school job
in grade 8
were tucked away
for the next
shopping trip.

I loved shopping
and clothes.
I loved colour
and having my own style.

And then high school happened.

My style
no longer seemed
to fit in.

I remember wearing hats
and ties in grade 9
when others didn’t.
Rather than wearing what I liked
I tried to blend in.

I don’t have memories
of what I wore in high school.
I only remember wearing
short skirts
for the first time
in my life.

Then University.

You can always tell the difference
between a first year
and a fourth year.
Pajama pants and modrobes
versus actual clothes
you would wear out in public.

By second or third year
I started to buy dress clothes
because I had placements
in classrooms and children’s centres.
Blouses, dress pants,
and sweaters.

Then graduation
and “Teacher Clothes.”

Button up shirts, cardigans,
dresses, and reasonable footwear
for being out on yard duty
and on your feet all day.

To me, clothes couldn’t be revealing
in anyway.
I taught grade 8
for many years.

Getting dressed in the morning
often involved me bending over
to check the length of my skirt or dress
and making sure
that no one could look down
my shirt.
True story.
Ask Eric.
I wanted to make sure
I was dressed appropriately.

Then Consulting.

At 29, I bought my first suit
for a curriculum consultant interview
at the school board.
I wore that suit once.
I got the job.

Then I remember the summer
when I finally realized
that my wardrobe
wasn’t me.

A closet full of blacks
and greys,
and yet an underwear drawer
filled with bright pink,
and fun polka dots.
Somewhere along the way
I started to keep the real me

I decided to make a change.
To wear clothes
that were me.
So I started to buy pieces
with colour,
like a striped mustard yellow long sleeve
from Banana Republic
and a cute denim dress
with pockets and a cowl neckline
from Esprit.

I bought colourful tights
in mustard yellow,
and deep royal blue.
They were worn with skirts
and my tall brown
leather boots.

I enjoyed going to the
One of a Kind Show
in search of a new piece
for my wardrobe.
a handmade dress
from Montreal
or a cute shirt sewn in Toronto.

I loved getting dressed
in the mornings.
I felt more like me.

Then baby #1.

Enter the maternity wardrobe.
My drawers became filled once again
with black and grey.
stretchy t-shirts,
tank tops,
and forgiving maxi skirts.

It was noticed by others.
Why are all of your clothes black?
a colleague would say.
Most of the maternity clothes are black,
was my response.
But I think I was just trying to hide
my body.
Which is kind of sad
because baby bumps are the best.

Fast forward
three years
and three babies.

The maternity jeans
have finally left the building.
My replacements
are from the GAP,
three pairs
of the same kind.
Mid Rise True Skinny Curvy Jeans.
The only style
that feels comfortable
on a body
that doesn’t feel
like my own.

Maternity tank tops
from Target remain
as something to layer under
or to wear as pajamas.

My dresser is pretty empty,
my closet too.
Most of the clothes I love
sit in Rubbermaid containers
waiting for me to lose
that baby weight.

A Netflix documentary
called Minimalism
and the idea of Kelly Rae Robert’s
Wear your Joy 30 day program
encouraged me
to purge pieces
that I don’t enjoy wearing.

I’m learning to find clothes
that I love to wear
without worry
of standing out
or worry
of judgement.

My favourite pair of boots
are plum in colour
and reach my ankles.
My dark green hoodie
from Lulu
is a staple.
And my brown leather moccasins
are comfy and cute.

I’m interested in learning
how to sew from a pattern
and make my own clothes.
Simple dresses with
great pockets.
Clothes with little details
I love.

I’m slowly starting to find myself again
and it feels good.


Note from Lainie:

I would love to hear your clothing stories! Interested in sharing? Reply to this post or email me at:

You can choose to stay anonymous or share your name.  It’s totally up to you.  I’d like to add these stories to my website.  I think they would be fun for us to read and so often they spark memories forgotten.

my clothing story part 1 of 3.

my clothing story part 2 of 3.


2 Replies to “my clothing story. part 3 of 3.”

  1. Ok it’s Heather again. You’ve so got my attention when thinking about my evolution of fashion.
    In elementary school I remember striped knee socks like the Bay City Rollers, rolled up jeans (so one could show off the socks). I remember for whatever reason, I wasn’t allowed to wear jeans to school until grade 7! I always wanted Adidas Rom running shoes but got knock off (cheaper version at the time). I will say I always had new shoes for school and they were usually pretty high end and stylish….my mom loved shoes too:0)

    Fast forward to high school:
    Speedo bathing suits (I swam competatively and worked at a pool during the summer)
    Red Adidas Gazelles – made your socks red when your feet sweat but who cares!
    Lee Painter pants – I had brown corduory, grey corduory, denim – you name it
    Lee overalls- oh yeah
    Turtleneck sweaters
    Baggy jeans (that’s what we called them)
    Roots Earth Shoes – with the heal lower than the front of the shoe!

    Whatever was comfortable.

    Working with little ones (primary educator) my entire career I never really worried whether I got paint or glue, etc on my clothes. I always felt better when I felt good in what I wore, so clothes including shoes and boots were and still are a passion that I love to indulge in and think about in terms of what I am wearing everyday. I am not sure about the idea that I have heard mentioned lately around ‘disposable clothing’…clothing that is cheap but you are only planning on wearing a few times and then you get rid of it and buy new. I would rather invest in good quality items, that will last the test of time! However it does make purging harder though!


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