I bought a shirt when I was in college that I miss to this day. It was mint green, the color of institutional walls. It didn’t fit. The shoulder seams went way past my shoulders and the sleeves petered out long after my arms did. It was of the kind of material that the disco era was made of – polyester and dreams, Baby. But it was soft and satiny and cool to the touch, and made me feel small and lithe and full of talent. I wore it to dances, class, and dance class. I don’t remember what happened to it. I suppose I wore it until it was no longer made of matter but memories, because I don’t think I had it in me to dispose of it.
It did teach me to feel clothes before buying them. I have many shirts that feel better than they look. I also have way too many velvet things. Velvet is not a day-to-day fabric. I’ve found that if you show up to a casual thing in velvet, people assume you have misjudged the import of the occasion when actually I have just misjudged people’s sense of humor.
Do you know about Tencel? I love Tencel. It’s a fabric made of wood fiber (!) that is supposed to be environmentally friendly. What I like about it is that it is soft and heavy at the same time. Like a blanket that you couldn’t give up when you stopped sucking your thumb. I used to have a pair of pants made of Tencel. Tencel is so drape-y that the pants ended up looking kind of creepily saggy, but that didn’t stop me from wearing them like ALL THE TIME. I would still be wearing them, still rocking that 00’s cargo pants look, if I hadn’t gained that last five pounds.
I have a workout shirt in highlighter yellow, not because I am worried about being seen in the dark or because the Oregon Ducks sometimes enjoy visually shocking their opponents, but because it is so soft. Unfortunately, soft things don’t last, and that shirt might have one more season in it at best.
Soft and strong is a myth, at least where toilet paper is concerned.
I guess I'm telling you this because I'm feeling sad about losing an extremely deep pile fluffy jacket that died in the washing machine this week. It was like wearing a teddy bear. It's in the bottom of the garbage can and I keep planning rescue attempts that I know are doomed to failure.
I don’t know if I have a point, so I will think of some and you can choose: (1) The disco era was helpful in shaping my fashion destiny. (2) If you see me wearing something odd looking, you can safely think to yourself, "I bet that's soft." (3) Always wash your hands after using the restroom.