Memories in the threads

The sight of my dad straining and grunting to shut the boot of his car has become a sight that is synonymous with the end of the summer holidays. I always seem to return toGlasgowafter the summer break with a monumental amount of stuff. Much more stuff than I ever remember taking away with me from my flat.

I think my problem lies in the packing of clothes. I’ll pick up something that I never wear and instead of flinging it back into a drawer, or better, a charity bag, I’ll spend ages dithering over it and convincing myself that ‘yes, I’ll need trackies because I’m joining the gym this year’, or ‘yes, I’ll need the cake-shaped hat with the candles sprouting off the top to humiliate a friend on their birthday’. What actually ends up happening when I get back to uni is these items collect dust on the barely reachable top shelf of my wardrobe, and leave me with that familiar female issue of having a room full of clothes but nothing to wear.

Last week, while I was undergoing this farcical annual packing ritual, my mum leaned across me into my suitcase, pulled out my silky red Mrs Claus dress with the white lace across the bottom, and gave me that scathing, raised-eyebrow look that mums pull off the best. The dress was a result of a group impulse buying spree in Primark with my halls flatmates during my first Christmas at Strathclyde. “Let’s all get one!” they said. “Let’s wear them on a night out!” they said. This of course, was not how things panned out, and I ended up wearing mine to cook the flat Christmas dinner, while the others bailed on account of looking “fat” in theirs. No matter how hard I try to persuade my friends, I doubt anyone is going to join me in wearing a Mrs Claus costume on a festive night out this year, or on any year to come for that matter. So why do I continue to hold on to it?

To cut a tirade of sentimentality short, my clothes have memories in their threads. Whether it’s washing dishes in a pair of slippers and a Santa dress, or being bought numerous VKs from strangers at ABC Jellybaby on account of a birthday cake shaped hat, memories have made my clothes that little bit more difficult to throw out, however tight the squeeze in my wardrobe becomes. What my practical mother thinks is useless or what my brutally honest sister thinks is unfashionable is usually an item that has moved on from being just another bit of the H&M bargain bin, to becoming an extension of my personality. To discard them would almost be like parting with an old friend.

With Halloween coming up fairly soon, who knows what ridiculous yet lovable items will join my ever-growing clothes pile? Whatever it is, chances are my dad isn’t going to be happy about the weight of his car when he comes to pick me up at Christmas.

by Katherine Martin, picture by Melissa Reid
(Published: Issue One, October 2012)